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Centre of Excellence (Culture) in Tribal Health Collaborative deliberates their role in fostering preservation of Shamanistic Cultures

ITANAGAR-  Kaling Dabi, Manager-Culture at the Centre of Excellence (Culture) in Tribal Health Collaborative, spoke at the two-day National Seminar on Shamanistic Practices and Narratives among the tribes of Arunachal Pradesh. The seminar was jointly organized by the Arunachal Institute of Tribal Studies, Rajiv Gandhi University (RGU), and the Research Institution of World’s Ancient Traditions, Cultures, and Heritage (RIWATCH).

Dabi’s presentation, titled “A Fading Shamanistic Culture: A Look into the Tangam (Adi) and Nah (Tagin) Communities of Arunachal Pradesh,” illuminated the concerning decline in shamanism among the Tangam and Nah communities, lesser-known indigenous ethnic groups residing in the remote regions of Arunachal Pradesh.

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Throughout his presentation, Dabi emphasized the pivotal role of shamanism in the cultural and spiritual identity of these communities, underscoring its gradual erosion due to a myriad of internal and external influences. Drawing from extensive ethnographic fieldwork and interviews, he unveiled the intricate interplay between these factors, offering invaluable insights into the current state of shamanism among these tribes.

“The Tangam (Adi) and Nah (Tagin) communities are integral components of the region’s rich ethnic diversity. Nevertheless, they are confronted with the stark reality of either having no remaining shaman or just a handful remaining,” remarked Dabi during his presentation.

His discourse provided a comprehensive comprehension of the forces responsible for the diminishing shamanistic culture within these communities. Dabi’s discussion explored a spectrum of factors contributing to the waning of shamanism among these communities, encompassing the impacts of modernization and external influences.

Moreover, he fervently emphasized the urgent necessity of documenting and preserving their unique shamanistic heritage. He passionately called for concerted efforts to safeguard and reinvigorate the shamanistic practices and narratives among the Tangam and Nah tribes, ensuring the perpetuation of their culturally rich heritage.

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In addition, Dabi highlighted the role that an organization like the Tribal Health Collaborative can play in creating awareness among the tribes, fostering cultural competence, and informing communities about the preservation and dissemination of vanishing shamanistic culture in the region. The Centre of Excellence for Culture, a part of Anamaya, the tribal health collaborative, represents a multi-stakeholder initiative supported by the Piramal Foundation.

The National Seminar served as a vibrant platform for participants to engage in profound discussions and exchange ideas regarding strategies for cultural preservation and the paramount importance of safeguarding indigenous knowledge systems. With high hopes, the seminar’s outcomes will galvanize greater awareness and action to protect the endangered shamanistic culture among the tribes of Arunachal Pradesh.

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