When I began reading anthropological literature I felt uneasy and troubled by the way in which it was written. It was greatly problematic and I stated to think how one should do it differently. One of the problems with tribal studies is the concept itself and how tribes are looked at in a colonial social structure. The idea of a tribe was represented as primitive, savages and inferior beings which continues even today. Anthropologists did try to do away with this idea but still categorised tribes as a type of society which has very little division of labour, absence of complexities and reading and writing. Anthropology looked at the kind of transformation taking place as if they are becoming peasants, caste or socially heterogeneous. In that whole process the erosion of identity occurred.
I am so glad I reached out to you after hearing your UCLA talk, and for your honest and generous response that unspooled into such a heartfelt conversation…
I like the idea of reflecting together via letters. For some reason I feel the format is perfect; sort of a very deep political and feminist conversation in a letter-writing genre.
It doesn’t snow in my village,
Santa Claus is unfamiliar to us,
though we don’t get Christmas cake,
Yet Christmas is best in my village;
Reindeers don’t roam in our forest,
Exchanging Christmas gifts is not our tradition,
Bethlehem is a place we’ve never seen,
yet Christmas is best in my village.
[Khrismas Ye Niphulo pavi / Christmas is best in my village, a christmas song by Sumi Naga Choral group NAGAGENOUS]