List of recognized tribes in Nagaland

‘Naga’ is a generic name for several groups of tribes, each having distinct identity. There are various sub-tribes under the ‘Naga’ tribe spread across various states in India and in Burma. In this post we shall see the list of recognized tribes in Nagaland.

In 1971 Census, figures of sixteen Naga sub-tribes were given separately for the first time.  They were:

(i) Angami, (ii) Ao, (iii) Chakhesang, (iv) Chang, (v) Chirr, (vi) Khiemnungan, (vii) Konyak, (viii) Lotha, (ix) Makware, (x) Phom, (xi) Rengma, (xii) Sangtam, (xiii) Sema, (xiv) Tikhir, (xv) Yimchungre, and (xvi) Zeliang.  Subsequently, in 1991 Census, Pochury Naga was added and their number shown separately.
Source: CensusIndia.Gov.In

As per the Department of Personnel and Administrative Reforms post on its website in 2016 , there are 14 officially recognized Naga Tribes in Nagaland and five recognized Scheduled Tribes in Nagaland as given below. Based on that list, and after the recognition of Tikhir as a separate Naga tribe in Jan. 2022, there should now be 15 recognized Naga tribes in Nagaland as given below.

List of recognized Naga Tribes in Nagaland: 15

(1) Angami,(2) Ao, (3) Chakhesang, (4) Chang, (5) Khiamniungan , (6) Konyak , (7) Lotha , (8)Phom, (9) Pochury, (10) Rengma, (11) Sangtam , (12) Sumi , (13)Tikhir, (14) Yimchunger , (15) Zeliang

Before the recognition of Tikhir as a Naga Tribe by Govt. of Nagaland in 2022, Tikhir Tribe was considered a sub-tribe of Yimchunger (now Yimkhiung) tribe.


Nagaland has five communities notified as Scheduled Tribes. These are Garo, Kachari, Kuki, Mikir, and Naga

List of recognized Scheduled Tribes in Nagaland

  1. Nagas (Indigenous of Nagaland)
  2. Kachari (Indigenous of Nagaland)
  3. Kuki (Indigenous of Nagaland)
  4. Garo (Indigenous of Nagaland)
  5. Mikhir (Indigenous of Nagaland)

Generally, we hear ‘16 recognized tribes of Nagaland‘ which includes:

(1) Angami,(2) Ao, (3) Chakhesang, (4) Chang, (5) Khiamniungan , (6) Konyak , (7) Lotha , (8)Phom, (9) Pochury, (10) Rengma, (11) Sangtam , (12) Sumi , (13)Yimchunger , (14) Zeliang
+ (15) Kachari & (16) Kuki

With the recognition of Tikhir as a separate Naga tribe, we would now have 17 recognized tribes of Nagaland.

Backward Naga Tribes of Nagaland:

The following nine (9) Naga Tribes are considered ‘backward tribes’ for the purpose of reservation namely –

Chakhesang, Chang, Khiamniungan, Konyak, Phom, Pochury,
Sangtam, Yimchunger and Zeliang. 

Besides the above, ‘Sumis from Kiphire District’ are also entitled reservations under backward category.

Names of Composite Naga tribes or communities

  • Chakhesang: Chokri, Khezha and Sangtam tribes together.
  • Zeliang: Zeme and Liangmei together are called Zeliang in Nagaland
  • Zeliangrong: Zeme, Liangmai and Rongmei tribes together.
  • Tenyimi: Angami, Chakhesang, Inpui, Mao, Maram, Pochury, Poumai, Rengma, Thangal, Zeliangrong [10 tribes]


What is a tribe?

A tribe is a social group that shares common ancestors, beliefs, culture, customs, and traditions. The term tribe is used in many different contexts to refer to a category of human social group.

In the context of India, the tribes are the autonomous or native people of the land who are believed to be the earliest settlers in the Indian Peninsula. They are generally called Adivasis, implying original inhabitants.

Definition of Scheduled Tribe

  • The term ‘Scheduled Tribes’ appears in the Constitution of India.
  • Article 366 (25) of the Constitution of India defined scheduled tribes as “such tribes or tribal communities or parts of or groups within such tribes or tribal communities as are deemed under Article 342 to be Scheduled Tribes for the purposes of this constitution”.
  • Article 342 prescribes the procedure to be followed in the matter of specification of scheduled tribes.

Why the name “Scheduled Tribes”?

The tribal communities in India have been recognized by the Indian Constitution under ‘Schedule 5’ of the constitution. Hence the tribes recognized by the Constitution are known as ‘Scheduled Tribes’.