Adi tribal peoples of Arunachal Pradesh still maintain animist
beliefs. In this mountainous land of wild animals and dramatic
weather, the prevailing respect for nature is understandable.
When a problem arises, Nishi tribals often consult Nyubu,
priests who act as intermediaries between the human world and
that of the spirits. It is believed that misfortunes and disasters
are not natural occurrences. Rather, they are attributed to malevolent
spirits. In ceremonial dress, adorned with animal parts believed
to empower the priests with the qualities of the animals, the
Nyubu wave eagle feather fans and invoke Doni-Polo,
the sun and the moon. Their dress includes the tribe’s distinctive
intricately woven helmets adorned with the beak and feathers of
a hornbill. Daos, tribal spears, hang in bearskin
sheaths slung over their shoulders on straps ornamented by cowrie
shells and a tiger’s upper jaw.
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