|Regions with significant populations|
The Khiamniungan as a distinct tribal group occupies the easternmost part of India and northwestern part of Myanmar. In india, they are found in Tuensang district of Nagaland state. They are linked linguistically as well as culturally to the Tibeto-Burman. The origin of the Khiamniungans remain shrouded in mystery. There is no written record of the origin of the Khiamniungans. According to popular myth, the early ancestors of Khiamniungan are said to have emerged in a place called KHIAMNIUNGAN, meaning, SOURCE OF GREAT WATERS. This place is identified near Lengnyu-Tsuwao villages over looking from the present day Pathso and Noklak Town. Legend has that the ancestors spread from there to different directions whose descendants make up the present day Khiamniungans. Oral traditions in the form of folktales and bedtime stories had been the only source through which they came to know about their ancestor's life, in the absence of any literary tradition. Having inherited certain fundamental socio-cultural traits, religious beliefs and practices from these early inhabitants of the Khiamniungan, the present day Khiamniungans habits both in India and Myanmar. But they possess the legacy of one cultural heritage and identity. It is noted that the Khiamniungans were earlier referred to as "Kalyu Kanyu", particularly in the works of anthropologists(courtesy- Furer Haimendorf). The consciousness of being a distinct group with a distinct cultural heritage and identity was unmistakable. Today, the Khiamniungans are proud of whatever their ancestors have set forth. After the coming of the new education system, social system, modernization and Christianity, there has been drastic changes in the social life of the Khiamniungans. As far as modern civilization is concerned, the people of Khiamniungan are latecomers. The area is yet to reach the reasonable level of development and modernization. Thus, call for all attention and special provisions from all individuals.
The traditional Khiamniungan village had eight important people:
- Nyokpao or Nokpao (war leader)
- Petchi or Puthsee (peace maker, elder)
- Meya or Ampao (priest)
- Meshwon or Kieo lomei (doctor)
- Ain (priestess and oracle)
- Sonlan or Shoalang (blacksmith)
- Paothai or Paothieo (story teller)
- Ainloom (the keeper of the a supposedly magical stone; the stone is said to warn of any impending disaster such as a fire or a raid, by moving out of its basket or by creating a sound through striking another object)
By the early 1990s, only the Petchi, the Sonlan and the Ainloom remained relevant, others being remembered mainly as part of books and oral tradition.
The Khiamniungan tribals, who traditionally practised jhum cultivation (slash and burn agriculture), celebrate the Miu festival at the time of sowing. They offer prayers for a good harvest.
Tsokum is the week-long harvest festival of the tribe, celebrated in October. The festival includes dancing, singing, cleaning, repair of the roads, and outdoor cooking and eating. In this festival the people invoke god's blessing for a bountiful harvest.
- Ved Prakash (2007). Encyclopaedia Of North-east India Vol# 5. Atlantic. pp. 2137–2139. ISBN 978-81-269-0707-6.
- Hamlet Bareh, ed. (2001). Encyclopaedia of North-East India: Nagaland (Volume 6). Mittal. p. 259. ISBN 978-81-7099-787-0.
- Sushil K. Pillai. "Anatomy of an Insurgency: Ethnicity & Identity in Nagaland". SATP. Retrieved 2011-10-24.