Tanu in India

Joshua Project has identified the Tanu only in India






Largest Religion

Main Language


Introduction / History

The Apatani (or Tanu, as they describe themselves) are a well-known tribal community in Arunachal Pradesh, India.

Their society is made up of several clans: Dani, Dora, Dumper, Dusu, Haj, Hidi, Kago, Kimte, Miri, Nada, Nemko, Nemp, Nendin, Pemu, Plangang, Puna, Pura, Taku, Taro and Taru. These clans are divided up into two endogamous units. Traditionally, the clans of the Mora or Guchi division perform services for the clans of the Mith or Guth division.

Europeans first contacted the group in 1897. After subsequent contacts and construction of an outpost by the Assam Rifles in 1948, the Apatanis attacked. Two of their villages were burnt in retaliation.

Where Are they Located?

They live in the Lower Subansiri district of Arunachal Pradesh.

What Are Their Lives Like?

The Apatani are known for their use of large nose plugs by the women, although that practice is in decline, especially among the youth. The women were considered to be the most beautiful ones among all the Arunachal tribes. Men and women alike tattoo their faces, although this too is falling out of popularity. They are beginning to follow more modern traditions now, yet much remains intact of their customs.

They live in bamboo houses on stilts. The women cultivate vegetables and do many household chores as well as spinning cotton and weaving. Men also have a part in overseeing the agricultural aspect of the village and are seen as heads of their families. Their wet rice fields are irrigated using an effective system of canals.

A sacred pole and a sacred platform are constructed every four years and used for festivals and community events. They celebrate the festival of Myoko in March and the festival of Murung in January. Another very important festival, called Dree, is celebrated in many towns in Arunachal Pradesh.

What Are Their Beliefs?

The Apatani follow the Donyi-Polo or Danyi-Piilo faith. They venerate the sun and the moon. They also believe in evil spirits who are to be appeased with animal sacrifices accompanied by chants lasting anywhere from a few minutes to a few hours.

Profile Source:   Anonymous  

People Name General Tanu
People Name in Country Tanu
Population in India 37,000
World Population 37,000
Countries 1
Progress Scale 2.1
Least-Reached No
Indigenous Yes
Alternate Names Apatani
Affinity Bloc Tibetan-Himalayan Peoples
People Cluster South Himalaya
People Name General Tanu
Ethnic Code MSY50q
People ID 16225
Country India
Region South Asia
Continent Asia
10/40 Window Yes
Persecution Rank 21  (Open Doors top 50 rank, 1 = highest persecution ranking)
Total States on file:  2  (up to 20 largest shown)
Arunachal Pradesh (37,000) Assam (90)
Total States on file:  2  (up to 20 largest shown)
Arunachal Pradesh (37,000) Assam (90)
Languages & Dialects on file:  15  (up to 20 largest shown)
Apatani (25,000) Nyishi (9,300) Adi (800) Hindi (200)
Naga, Tase (20) Bengali (10) Assamese (10) Monpa, Tawang
Duruwa Nepali Garo Telugu
Naga, Nocte Mundari Sherpa
Languages & Dialects (speakers if known) - up to 20 shown
Apatani 25,000 Nyishi 9,300
Adi 800 Hindi 200
Naga, Tase 20 Bengali 10
Assamese 10 Monpa, Tawang 10
Duruwa 10 Nepali 10
Garo 10 Telugu 10
Naga, Nocte 0 Mundari 0
Sherpa 0
For Primary Language: Apatani

Bible Translation Status  (Years)
Bible Portions Yes
New Testament Yes   (2004)
Complete Bible No
Resource Format
Audio Bible teaching (GRN) Audio Recordings
Primary Religion: Unknown

Major Religion Percent
0.13 %
Christianity  (Evangelical 0.00 %)
15.08 %
Ethnic Religions
0.00 %
8.13 %
0.01 %
0.00 %
Other / Small
0.00 %
76.64 %

Christian Segments Percent
0.0 %
0.0 %
0.0 %
Other Christian
0.0 %
0.0 %
Roman Catholic
0.0 %
Photo Source: Arif Siddiqui   Creative Commons  
Map Source: Omid / Joshua Project / Global Mapping Intl  
Profile Source: Anonymous  
Data Sources: Data is compiled from various sources. Read more

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