The Nagaland government is taking steps to document tribals' traditional attires, motifs, designs, and ornaments to prevent their misuse and Chief Minister Neiphiu Rio on Monday held a meeting with all tribal Hohos, apex body of various Naga tribes, to make the process successful, officials said.
Addressing the meeting, Rio said that of late, there has been misrepresentation and incorrect usage of Naga tribals' traditional designs in fashion shows and on clothes being sold on e-commerce platforms without any regard for the people who hold these traditional symbols in high regard.
"This misuse of traditional attires and symbols, known as cultural appropriation, has to be guarded. Cultural appropriation should be taken in all sincerity because the unregulated use of Naga cultural designs and symbols would lead to distortion and misrepresentation," he said.
The Chief Minister clarified that it is not that others should not use Nagas traditional attires, nor should their communities and entrepreneurs be stopped from doing business in Nagas traditional attires, but they have to be appropriately used.
He said that it is important that steps should be taken to ensure that cultural heritage is protected under legal provisions such as Intellectual Property Rights and Geographical Indications.
"Only then can we start controlling and regulating the use of our traditional attires, symbols, and ornaments."
Rio hoped that all concerned would cooperate and contribute positively to this work which would ultimately benefit all the Nagas.
Advisor, Information Technology and Science and Technology, Mmhonlumo Kikon said the meeting was significant for the preservation of not only Naga culture and identity but the progress of the Naga people in the days to come.
"Uunless our rights are enshrined in the various systems that are available in the Intellectual Property Rights, we will be allowing people to take advantage of our heritage," he said.
There are 16 tribes in Nagaland and their members comprise over 86 per cent of the state's two million population.