The LAST NOMADS of NEPAL | NOMADS NOMORE
Confident in their nomadic lifestyle, the Rautes have been successfully maintaining the privacy of their indigenous knowledge and are reluctant to follow modern lifestyle.
The last of the herders and gatherers tribe, Rautes lie under the group of conserved endangered human species. Although there is no documented history, the Rautes are believed to be continuing their tradition since 900 years. According to the 2001 census, Raute population accounted to just 658 living in small settlements in the Karnali and Makahali watershed regions of western Nepal.
Today, there are less than 150 of them remaining. Confident in their nomadic lifestyle, the Rautes have been successfully maintaining the privacy of their indigenous knowledge and are reluctant to follow modern lifestyle.
This ethnic group is officially recognized by the Government of Nepal and is known especially for the hunting of monkeys. Other male activities involve production of wooden utensils which they barter in the neighboring villages in exchange for food grains.
The raw material for such activities is obtained from cutting a part of the tree, the rest of which they leave to remain alive. Women can be seen involved in gathering of fruits and vegetables. Depending on the location and available resources, the Rautes extend their stay at a place from one week to one month, often leaving a place in case of death of a member.
Strangers are not allowed within their camps as most of the activities involving outside people are considered as a taboo.
While leaving, they set their huts on fire which are made out of leaves and branches, along with pieces of old clothes. However, they never set the jungle on fire. Although forestry regulations restrict this lifestyle, their nomadic ways never involves over-exploitation of forests, leaving time for regeneration. Rautes hunt in groups and share their food and property evenly. They follow their own unique religion, rituals and belief systems and maintain a closed society with limited socialization with outsiders just to fulfill their few material needs.