Idu Mishmi Tribe

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The recent announcement by the National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA) that the Dibang Wildlife Sanctuary would soon be notified as a tiger reserve has caused disquiet among the area’s Idu Mishmi people.

About Idu Mishmi Tribe:

  • Who are they? The Idu Mishmi is a sub-tribe of the larger Mishmi group (the other two Mishmi groups are Digaru and Miju) in Arunachal Pradesh and neighbouring Tibet
  • They primarily live in Mishmi Hills, bordering Tibet in Arunachal Pradesh.
  • Their ancestral homelands are spread over the districts of Dibang Valley and Lower Dibang Valley, as well as parts of Upper Siang and Lohit. 
  • They are known for their weaving and craftsmanship skills.
  • They can be distinctively identified by their typical hairstyle, distinctive customs and artistic pattern embedded on their clothes.
  • Population: The tribe is estimated to comprise around 12,000 people (as per the census 2011).
  • Language: Their language, called ‘Idu Mishmi’, is considered endangered by UNESCO.
  • Relation with nature:
    • Traditionally animists, the tribe has strong ties with the region’s rich flora and fauna
    • Tigers are especially important to the Idu Mishmis — according to Idu mythology, they were born to the same mother, and thus, tigers are their “elder brothers”.
    • While hunting has traditionally been a way of life, the Idu Mishmis also follow a strict belief system of myths and taboos — ‘iyu-ena’ — that restrict them from hunting many animals, including a complete prohibition on killing tigers.


Q1) What is the National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA)?

NTCA is a statutory body under the Ministry of Environment, Forest, and Climate Change (MoEFCC).It was established in 2006 under Wildlife (Protection) Act 1972.

Source: Why the indigenous Idu Mishmis are protesting a proposed tiger reserve in Arunachal Pradesh