‘Tigers are our brothers’: Understanding human-nature relations in the Mishmi Hills, Northeast India

Human-nature relations are diverse, multifaceted and often contradictory, especially the relationships with animals. Mishmi people living on the Sino-India border claim tigers to be their brothers and take credit for tiger protection as they observe taboos against hunting tigers. Drawing on this notion of relatedness with tigers, local residents of the Dibang Valley question the governments’ recent plans to declare the Dibang Wildlife Sanctuary into Dibang Tiger Reserve and its scientific surveys of tigers and habitat mapping. This paper highlights how Mishmi people relate to tigers and how their understanding of tigers is in contest with versions of state and science, as national property or endangered species.

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