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Tribes of the North-east form a major part of the population of the region. While there are some tribes like Khasis, Jaintias, Mishings, Bhutias and Lepchas which come to our mind when we talk of tribes of the North-East, there are some almost forgotten tribes like Kuki, Aptanis and Zelaing who are known for their unique culture, habits and dress.
Zeliang Naga tribes inhabit the hills of Nagaland, Manipur and Assam and the term ‘Zeliang’ refers to the combined tribes of Zeme, Liangmai and Rongmei Naga tribes.
Kuki tribes of Manipur includes a number of hilly tribal clans found not only in Manipur but rest of the north-east states except Arunachal Pradesh.
Adi tribe are the Himalayan hill tribe of Arunachal Pradesh. They are known as fierce warriors because of the inhospitable terrain they live in. Roasted rat is their favourite dish!
The Aptani tribe reside in Ziro area of Arunachal Pradesh believed to have descended from legendary ancestor Abotani. Apatani nose plugs of the elderly women are a distinctive feature of the tribe.
Derived from the word Deva or supreme divinity, the god fearing tribe, Deori tribe resides in the districts of Lakhimpur, Sibsagar and Dibrugarh of Assam
Tai Phake Tribes
A very small tribal community, the Tai Phake people of Dibrugarh and Tinsukia of Assam are believed to have migrated from Myanmmar in the 18th century. Only 150 Phaikal families have been able to still maintain their culture and tradition. Umbrella dance or ‘Kachong’ is their distinctive feature.