How can local communities in North East India use contemporary media platforms to tell their own stories and reignite interest for the traditional narratives with younger people?
The Stories of our Ancestors is a project to research and document the oral storytelling traditions of the Wancho of Arunachal Pradesh and the Tangkhul of Manipur. By working with people from the two communities as researchers, storytellers, translators and media producers the outcome will include two short animated films based on the Wancho and Tangkhul folklore.
The Stories of Our Ancestors is a research project incollaboration with the Department of Anthropology, North-Eastern Hill University that is funded by North Eastern Council (NEC).
The Wancho people are a population of 56,866 (recorded by the 2011 census), residing in the secluded landscape of the Patkai range located at the fringe of India, an area that extends from the edge of Assam to beyond the point where the international border with Myanmar divides the community.
The stories of the Wancho, that are broadly organised into the categories of myth, folktales and remembered histories, originate from the period of Wancho life that preceded the arrival of Christianity in the area.
The Wancho Story of the Gourd is a local story from Kamhua Noknu village, Longding District, Arunachal Pradesh. It was told to us by Late Ngamchai Wangsa. In the story, it was Topa (a local hero) who planted the magical seed from which sprung the gourd plant. Two gourds grew on the plant, and Topa chopped the two gourds with his dao. The first Chief of the village emerged from the second, smaller gourd.
The story, which traces the history of the community from the primordial time, to the evolution of hunting, agriculture and social order, has been chosen to adapt for a short film for The Stories of Our Ancestors project.
The wancho story of the gourd
The Wancho Story of the Gourd was chosen to develop into a short animated film for The Stories of our Ancestors project. During the Wancho Animation Workshop at Department of Anthropology, North-Eastern Hill University, the participants began to work on the animation, using techniques of stop-motion and pixillated animation.
The project has been stalled due to administrative issues related to the funds for the production.
How We Got Fire
A story from the Andaman Islands
How We Got Fire is a short film in development for The Stories of our Ancestors series that has been adapted from the folklore of the Andamanese oral traditions. To complete the film, a research trip is required to interact with some of the local indigneous peoples and record voices and sounds for the short film.
tso Tawo (The spirit stone)
A story from Khezhakeno, Nagaland
Tso Tawo (The Sprit Stone) is a short film and the first to be completed in The Stories of Our Ancestors project. It is a migration story from the Chakhesang folklore of Phek District, Nagaland. The film was produced at West Highland Aniamtion in Scotland.