“My People: Tradition and Resilience among the Naga” Summary
The article “My People: Tradition and Resilience among the Naga” is written by Tuisem Ngakang. In his writing, Ngakang makes it clear several times that his people have a “continuing
high regard for the past.” Ngakang also stresses the importance of maintaining his ancestors
heritage and the threats and challenges to doing them. Ngakang explains the misconceptions to
Naga traditions, the loss of Naga traditions, and how the Naga implements their traditions.
Ngakang makes it known that the Naga traditions are very important to his ancestors. He
talks about the difficulties his people go through in keeping the Naga traditions alive. The Naga
people believe that the “knowledge and the skills to ensure survival” should be handed down
from generation to generation. However, the arrival of the British colonization changed the trend.
The British brought with them literature and writing to communicate. They believed that in order
to be “civilized” everyone should be able to read and write.
Another misconception to the Naga traditions came when Western missionaries came to
their land and ridiculed their traditions. The Westerners considered the Naga people “primitive
and uncivilized” because they did not meet the “civilized” standards. However, Ngakang states
that the Westerners “missed the point completely.” They did not understand any of the Naga
practices and beliefs because their civilizations were different from the Naga traditions.
Along with misconceptions of the Naga traditions came some losses. The Naga felt as though
they were losing their traditions with all of the ramifications going on. Changes started to take
place when archaeologists came and did some work on their land. Aside from archaeologists
doing work on their land and taking Naga artifacts, outsiders began to intrude, causing a threat to
their physical environment. However, Ngakang acknowledges...