The Nagas are generally believed to be a people of Mongolian descent who migrated to the hilly regions of what is now northeast India and Burma centuries ago. Where the name, “Naga” comes from is unclear. The word might be derived from the Hindi word for “naked” and may have first been used by the people of Assam to describe their primitive neighbors. But this is debatable and there are other possible explanations.

The Nagas were originally warring, savage people who practiced headhunting and had little contact with the outside world. In their early history it was not uncommon for one village to attack a neighboring village, killing and beheading their enemies in the process.