The Apatanis belong to the Tibeto-Mongoloid stock. All Apatanis trace their descent from one legendary ancestor, ABOTANI. They migrated to this magnificent valley from northern areas, beyond Khru and Kime rivers. This reveals from finding of three neolithic belts at Parsiparlo and Raga circle and historical remains at Talle Valley by Archoelogical findings. It is, therefore, apparent that followed the path of Kime, Khru (now called Kamala) and Subansiri river. They are wellbuilt, fair in complexion and medium to tall in structure. The Apatanis live in fairly large villages, which are compact and permanent, although during recent years they have been persuaded to disperse to avoid damages caused by fire accidents.

Apatani Men

In spite of their entities among class ,they are mutually linked up with kinship, ritualistic and friendship ties, some of them have business acumen. Their houses are made of bamboo and timber.

An Apatani family is patriarchal. They divided into two classes namely the Gyuchii and the Gyuttii, who do not intermarry. But now a days inter-marriage among these classes is being encouraged by the younger generation and intellectual group of the tribe. The religion is indigenous. Earlier, the Apatani have prominent tattoo marks on the face. However, the system of tattooing is being discouraged by the younger generation and has been abolished.

The Apatani tribe is sub-divided into a number of clans. All of them are believed to have originated from a single tribal identity. Among themselves, these people are highly cooperative. The tribe endogamy and clan exogamy is the rule of the tribe. Monogamy is the social norm but sometimes bigamy is also practiced. Marriage is being solemnized either by the way of negotiations or by seeing omen with the help of chicken lever. The process is first initiated from the boy side.
An Apatani Women
DREE ,YAPUNG, MYOKO and MURUNG are the major festivals of Apatani. Dree festival is celebrated in the month of July of every year and Yapung festival celebrates in the month of September or October respectively. There is a great merry making and dancing during the Dree festival. The Myoko festival is celebrated each year in the month of March in a cyclic manner by forming three groups of villages. First group comprised of Hong village alone. Second group are Hari and Bulla(comprising Kalong, Reru, Tajang and Lempia villages). Third group are the villages of Hija, Dutta, Mudang-Tage, Michi and Bamin. Murung is celebrated every year in the month of January.

The significance of these festivals are mainly to ensure better cultivation, protection of the grains from hailstone, storms, insects and wild animals and well being of villagers in general and their livestock.

The Apatanis perform many traditional dances out of which the DAMINDA and PAKHU ITTU dances are very popular.

The Apatanis are agriculturists. They practice permanent type of cultivation and their agricultural paddy field are well developed and irrigated.

Daminda Dance

They rear Mithuns(Bos frontalis) cattle, pig, goats and poultry. They practice fishing by nets, angles and traps. They hunt and chasing by means of spears, traps and arrows. The Apatani women are skillful weavers. Basketry is the popular handicraft amongst the men folk.

There is a village council in each Apatani village and the council consists of one or two BULIYANG representative from each clan. The position of a Buliyang is hereditary.

Mithun (Bos frontalis)

They are arbiters of tribal law and upholders of tribal justice,(NIKUNG DAPO) but the individual Buliyang are primarily the spokesmen of their own clan or groups of clans and not chieftains, wielding absolute authority. The councils of Buliyang formerly decided almost all the cases that were reported to them. If a person or party did not conform to the decision of the council, the MEEHAS could destroy the disputed property and thus coerce his or their property to agreed party. The Buliyangs of the entire Apatani community are divided into broad group viz; (1) TALYANG-HAO; comprised of Hari-Kalong, Dutta, Mudang-Tage and Bamin Michi villages and (2) NIICHII-NIITII; Reru-Tajang-Diire-Hija comprising of Reru,Tajang, Hija and Hong villages.

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..THE APATANIS