Origin, culture and kinship structure of Hill Saora are studied through intensive field surveys carried out in two gram Panchayats: Sagada and Puttasing, of Rayagada district, Odisha. Hill Saora, popularly known as Lanjia Saora, inhabit the forest clad lofty hills in the eastern ghat regions of south Odisha. Hill Saora have their racial affinity to the Proto-Australoid group but have their linguistic affinity to Austro-Asiatic Mundari group. The study depicts the physical features, dress and ornament pattern, art and crafts of Saora tribe. The study reveals the strong belief on ancestral worship of the tribe and the role of Shaman/Shammani who acts as middle man/woman between the deity and the sick, and also as ambassador of God and Goddesses in all kinds of rituals. One of the most distinguishing features of the Saora tribe is that it is clan less and has no totems. The tribe has only lineages called Birinda, which is a local connotation for intimate group and best serves as the title group of saora tribe. The patrilineage, which is the essence of socio-cultural principle of “Saora” tribe, is termed as “Kheja, alternatively known as “Punja” or “Sisha”. After Birinda, the second important kin category is “Kulam”, the specific term of “Saora” used for the affinal relatives. Anseer or Antera , the third important structure of Saora society, is a labour co-oprative of indigenous nature and is formed as per the requirements of Saora tribe. The study also reveals that the Saora tribe, though with time, is subjected to the changing economic, political and religious conditions, yet it maintains its traditional culture.
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