Virtual Tour to State Tribal Museum: Collection of Forest Produce by Tribal Communities of Odisha


Bhubaneswar: The Forests of Odisha are the home of several tribal communities. Forests provide them food, fuel and raw materials.  Today, visitors can see the collection of forest produce by the tribal communities of Odisha by the virtual tour to State Tribal Museum. One can visit the museum by opening the pages @stscdev, @scstrti in every Sunday.
To supplement their food resources the tribal communities now forage. At
such times, a variety of fruits, leaves, edible flowers and insects, mushrooms, roots
and tubers are collected from the forest. The Kutiya Kandh of Kandhamala hills practice shifting cultivation. Amid the newly cleared fields they dig a deep hole close to the cluster of vines and carefully remove wild tubers from the soil. These tubers are naturally sweet and are usually boiled and eaten.
Across Odisha tribal communities collect 13 different types of roots and
tubers. Pahadi Bhuyan men of Angul district search for a tuber locally known as
Benga, which is roasted and eaten during winter.
Forays into the forest usually result in collection of a combination of roots,
leaves and other produce. Identifying the different trees and creepers ‘Dharua’
women determine where they must dig for tuber called Kanda or Matialo. The
Dharua communities resides in the districts of Koraput and Nabarangapur.
Further, in the southern part of Malkangiri district Didayi men dig up long
vine tuber locally called Kanda. This tuber is either boiled or cooked as a vegetable
curry. Collection of wild arrowroot is an income generating occupation for the hill
Khariar. Setting up temporary camps within the Similipal forest in Mayurbhanj
district they collect these tubers during the winter. The tubers are brought to the
village and processed in arrowroot powder which is sold in local market.
Arrowroot powder is used to make biscuits and cake and it has medicinal
Several species of fruit bearing trees are important to the life of tribal
communities. In Koraput district, group of Gadaba men gather Jackfruit. The fruit
and seeds may be consumed in both unripen and ripen form. Along with a variety
of leaves, fruits and mushrooms in the summer, the communities also cultivates
cashew. The Mahua is another important tree. Its flowers, fruits and seeds are
collected in summer. In the video the Gond Women of Nabarangapur are collecting
mahua from the forest floor. Once the brown seed coat has been removed the seeds
will be crushed to extract cooking oil.
Communities like Paroja collect horsegram locally known as Jhanta Manji.
The forests and fields also provide other seasonal delicacies. Rice paddy crabs are
one such food. Similarly, Omanatya community consider palm weevil larva locally
known as Sindhi kida, to be a delicacy. The forest also provides other produces
like raisin, gum, black and white honey. Siali creepers, broad leaves of Sal and
Sargi, collection of wild grass. Date Palm leaves are also used by the tribal
communities as important source of income. The forest is a rich store house of
medicinal plant, herbs. The tribal communities have a world of their own set of
verbal remedies for a variety of common ailments.