The Apatani, or Tanii, are a tribal group of people living in the Ziro valley in the Lower Subansiri district of Arunachal Pradesh in India. However more Apatanis live outside this valley, making the total population approximately 50,000 all over the state. Their language belongs to the Sino-Tibetan family.
There are no known written records of the history of the Apatani tribes, but throughout their history the Apatani have had a democratic system of running the society. The village council is known as the Bulyang.
One of their oral accounts speaks of their migration from the extreme north of Subansiri and Siang areas following the rivers of Kurung and Kumey. These oral accounts are usually presented in the form of folk tales such as the miji and migung. These accounts on many occasions are supported by landmarks which still exist on the migratory paths of the Apatanis. At the small village of Yangte in Kurung Kumey district, for example, is a stone beside which the Apatanis held a high-jump competition on their way to the present habitat. Therefore, these oral accounts have substance but need corroboration by anthropological and scientific evidence.
The Apatani Church choir. Click image to enlarge
Custom and lifestyle:
Apatanis trace their descent patrilineally. While the status of men is considered higher than that of women, the sexes share responsibilities in the house and the family.
Apatani women carry out the household chores of gathering both wild and kitchen garden vegetables, cooking, fetching water, pounding rice, cleaning houses, washing clothes and utensils, nursing, looking after infants and children, ginning (clothes) and spinning of cotton, and other jobs associated with the household. In the field, the Apatani woman carries out the tasks that include gardening, seeding, transplanting of paddy and millet, weeding of fields, and other activities. At home, the internal family income is controlled by a woman. But the man also has his part of duty in looking after cultivation activities, and acts as the head of family in society. (Courtesy: Free Wikipedia)
Translator(s): Mr. Tallo Apa.
Mission: Apatani Baptist Association
Translation begun/end: 2005/2012
Population: 50,000 (2001 census)