The Konyak People

Konyak, Nagaland, India

Traditionally a head hunting tribe from the mountains where India, Myanmar, China, and Tibet meet, the Konyaks are now primarily an agricultural people within the Naga nation.

The introduction of Christianity brought an end to the practices of headhunting, facial tattoos, and a belief in spirits. Now, precious few Konyak elders with facial tattoos are still alive and the remnants of their past are being shunned into a dark corner not to be spoken about. Increasingly, the younger generation are quickly assimilating into the nation of India and only the elders are left with a clear knowledge of their past. Tattoos were made for acts of bravery in war, especially for returning with the head of an enemy and were linked to various strong spirits. Few now live who understand the intricacies of this culture.

The people which now comprise the Konyaks were not so long ago disparate villages constantly living in fear of each other. Now, they call themselves Konyaks within the larger Naga Nation. This unity has brought about a peace that the elder generation could never have dreamed about.

Konyak Naga Headhunter India
Konyak Naga Headhunter India
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