I am the land and the land is me
For us, the land and people are inseparable, if one is affected the other is affected also. Beneath the earth lies the bones of my grandfathers and great great grandfathers, above the sky lives the spirit of my great great ancestors! We as people, live in the space between, with our feet on our Mother, the land which provides for our physical needs, and our heads in the sky which provides our spiritual nourishment. For us land and the spiritual significance and the people are inseparable. We have a sacred responsibility to care for the land. Land belongs to me and I belong to land, I am the land and the land is me, we are inseparable!
We are part of something that time has not erased. Through our legends we speak of our close ties with the spiritual world, and of our reverence for and understanding of wildlife. Stories handed down through time depict our interrelationship with the animal world, and tell of animals and humans exchange roles, acquiring supernatural powers and teaching and providing for one another. Our artwork also reflects these relationships, and has rituals that show respect for and acceptance of this oneness and harmony, which are displayed in our carvings and shawls.
Our older people told us that we are the earliest inhabitant of this land. We are also aware of the tales and stories associated with the earliest contact with non-Nagas-in the form of wanderers, traders, missionaries, geographers, administers. Our older people speak of their parents meeting the earliest visitors and sharing our food and shelter with them.
There are many sites in our place, which tells the heroic deeds of our forefathers and speak about our past.
Standing here in my own land – with friendly birds and lovely animals- I am aware, as they may be that their ancestors probably watched mine in the same manner as in this same place hundreds of years ago. Here at this land, nothing has changed through time. I-Naga- and the land and the animals are still here. This is my past, and this has become a special place.
“Our land belongs to us (Ura Uve)”