The Akas are inhabitants of the south-eastern part of
Kameng district of the state. Their main concentration is noticed in the
Thrizine area. The name 'Aka' is given to them by the plains people
and they call themselves 'Hrusso'. The word 'Aka' denotes 'painted' and
their customs of painting the faces profusely, served as a distinctive
The Akas have fair complexions, a well-built body, usually a flat nose
conspicuous cheek-bones with black hair and brownish to pale blue eyes.
Men grow scanty hair on the face as well as over the body. Their
stature varies from medium to tall.
The language of the Akas is quite different from their
neighbouring tribes. The Aka language belongs to the Tibeto Burman group
of languages. Akas are one of the main jhum cultivators among the tribes
house is a long structure raised on a platform,
about six feet above the ground and divided into two compartments by a
partition wall. The space between the platform and ground serves as a
shed for pigs and goats of the house hold. The house is a work of
bamboo and wood, bamboo sheets forming the floor, the wall and the roof
and wooden logs serving as the main pillars over which the structure of
the house is raised. The roof is usually thatched and often supported
by bamboo sheets. The four walls of the house are usually high.
Akas have various weapons which are of practical use
to them in war and peace as well as in their day-to day tasks. Generally
they use weapons for defensive purposes. They protect themselves against
wild animals and also practice hunting. The most important weapon of this
kind is the bow and arrow, known by the name of Tkeri and Moo respectively
and used in the chase. The bows are usually hung over the shoulders while
the arrows are carried in a case of bamboo called 'thauvaou'.
Another weapon is a kind of crude harpoon, one end of
which is barbed with sharp iron nails. It was the popular weapon in the
days of tribal feuds. The most common weapon is the Dao. It is used for
cutting wood and bamboo pieces, clearing shrubs, in making baskets as
well as killing large mithun and pigs for sacrifice or feast. It is made
from steel. Dao, for which the local term is wetz are like bow and
arrow of various sizes. The biggest type of wetz is known as wetzpa,
the medium size by welfa and the smallest one is called wetza.
The Aka women wear a number of silver ornaments as well
as necklaces of beads. The common silver ornaments are melu-a flat shaped
ornament worn over the chest, rombin- the ear bulbs, gichlu-the
earrings and gejjul-the wristlets. Well to do women wear a fillet of silver
chain-work called lenchhi. An ancestral necklace, called aescheri is worn
invariably by women and often by men. It forms a necessary part of gift
which a brides parents give at her marriage.
Women tattoo their faces in a pattern of a straight line
running from below the fore head to the chin where it bifurcates into
two directions. No other part of the body are tattooed. The most common
form of aka art is their drawings on wood in their house.