Orissa (Odisha) is home to a 62 kind of tribes. Each tribes of orissa possesses its distinct identity in terms of social organization , culture and language. The tribes of Orissa organize their social relationships in certain ways which are distinct from those of another tribes. The Languages of tribes of orissa differs from one another. Except a few tribes of Orissa like Ho, Kondh, Santal and Saora who have in the recent years developed their scripts, all other tribes do not have scripts of their own and thus possess only spoken languages in unwritten form.
Each tribe of orissa has its hill dwelling division which is different from plain dwelling or foothill dwelling or plateau dwelling. A majority of tribes of Orissa are divided into exogamous Clans, some have totemic symbols and others have non-totemic. Saoras is one of the tribes of orissa which is reported to have no clan system but a system of descent groups known as Birinda, lineage.Many clans of the tribes of orissa have totemic clans in the form of animals like elephant , monkey, birds, tigers, cobra and flutes etc.
The Housing pattern of each tribes of orissa exhibits its uniqueness of identity. The kondh settlement structure is linear , arranged in rows of Houses.The alignment of Kondh villages in relation to the shrine of earth goddess and sun god is same everywhere.The shrines dedicated to the two deities are found centrally located within the settlement placed lineally between two rows of houses. Some orissa tribes like the Munda have scattered settlement structures.
Tribes of Orissa like Bonda, Dongoria kondh, Juang, Gadaba, Koya and lanjia saora exhibit distinctiveness in their clothing, adornments , hairstyle . From the very look of a man’s wear one could know which tribe he or she belongs to.
The food habits of the tribes of orissa are quite similar to one another. yet variations are noticed in their preparation.The diet of some of the tribes of orissa are vegetables , fruits from the forests and fish which they catch from the local rivers.The tribes of Orissa pursue their subsistence economy in a variety of ways by means of small scale technologies which vary from tribe to tribe.Some tribes subsist on shifting cultivation, rice cultivation and pastoral and few others maintain nomadic or semi nomadic life style, who mostly depend on hunting a gathering of vegetables and fruits.
All tribes of orissa maintain a number of rituals and festivals throughout the year.Some of the major festivals are : CHAITA, PARAB, MATI PUJA , MERIAH etc.
1. Munda ( Austro Asiatic ) : spoken by tribes like Bondas,birhors, gadaba, juang and saoras
2. Dravidian : Spoken by tribes like Koya, kondhs and Gonds .
3. Oriya ( Indo – Aryan ) : Baiga, Bhumia, Banjara and Bagata.
Have you checked our Odisha Tribal Tour ?