chapter  5
26 Pages

Colonial Portrait and the Colonizing of the Mind

While in a graduate school in Kansas City, KS, my family and I attended a local church for two years. On our last Sunday during a church service, a lady invited us to come forward. Having just graduated, I stood in front of the congregation with a sheer sense of pride and gratification. The lady grabbed a microphone and began her introduction by saying, ‘These people were once headhunters, but because of our missionaries they are here today, studying the word of God’. On hearing those words, my ear-to-ear grin and sense of pride turned into utter dejection. It would be tantamount to me taking my American friends to Nagaland and introducing them in front of my people saying, ‘These people were once slave owners and racist, and they come from the only country on earth that used nuclear bombs to annihilate other human beings. However, today they have become good human beings’. Such an attitude and introduction would not sit well with my guests. And yet, this is how Nagas are often introduced or spoken of. To this day, the term ‘former headhunters’ or ‘once headhunters’ is frequently used to describe the Nagas.