Indigenous peoples in Nagalim

Approximately 4 million in population and comprising more than 45 different tribes, the Nagas are a transnational indigenous people inhabiting parts of north-east India (in the federal states of Assam, Arunachal Pradesh, Nagaland and Manipur) and north-west Burma (parts of Kachin state and Sagaing division). The Nagas were divided between the two countries with the colonial transfer of power from Great Britain to India in 1947.

Nagalim is the name coined to refer to the Naga homeland transcending the present state boundaries, and is an expression of their assertion of their political identity and aspirations as a nation.

The Naga people’s struggle for the right to self-determination dates back to the colonial transfer of power from Great Britain to India. Armed conflict between the Indian state and the Nagas’ armed opposition forces began in the early 1950s and it is one of the longest armed struggles in Asia. A violent history has marred the Naga areas since the beginning of the 20th century, and undemocratic laws and regulations have governed the Nagas for more than half a century. In 1997, the Indian government and the largest of the armed groups, the National Socialist Council of Nagaland Isaac-Muivah faction (NSCN-IM), agreed on a ceasefire and, since then, have held regular peace talks. However, a final peace agreement has not yet been reached.

Largely as a result of India’s divide-and-rule tactics, the armed movement was split into several factions fighting each other. In 2010, the reconciliation process among the Nagas of the past years resulted, however, in the formation of a Joint Working Group of the three main armed factions, the NSCN-IM, the Government of the People’s Republic of Nagaland/National Socialist Council of Nagaland (GPRN/NSCN) and the Naga National Council (NNC).

Yearly update

Read the 2012 yearbook article on indigenous peoples in Nagalim to learn about major developments and events during 2011 (internal link)


IWGIA - International Work Group for Indigenous Affairs - is a global human rights organisation dedicated to promoting, protecting and defending indigenous peoples’ rights. Read more.

Indigenous World

IWGIA's global report, the Indigenous World, provides an update of the current situation for indigenous peoples worldwide. The Indigenous World 2019.

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