The Apatani tribe, located in the Ziro valley of Arunachal Pradesh in Northeast India, has a unique tradition of wet rice cultivation. This involves the use of an intricate irrigation system that has been passed down through generations. The Apatani women play a crucial role in this practice, working as field laborers and preserving this traditional method of agriculture.
Despite facing modernization and changing cultural values, the Apatani women continue to work in the fields, often balancing their agricultural duties with domestic responsibilities. They wear traditional attire, including distinctive facial tattoos that were once a symbol of beauty.
Through their hard work and dedication, the Apatani women are not only preserving their cultural heritage but also ensuring food security for their community. Their fieldwork is essential in maintaining sustainable agriculture practices and is a testament to the resilience and strength of indigenous communities in Northeast India.
Leslie Spurlock is a photojournalist, storm chaser, and creative portrait artist. She lived with the rebels in Haiti for 3 weeks when they ousted President Aristide, photographed Tropical Storm Jeanne that killed 3000 people in Haiti, covered many hurricanes and natural disasters, and 17 protests across the US during 2020. Her work has been published in many publications including Time, Wall Street Journal, Mother Jones, NY Post, The Guardian, Der Spiegel, Miami Herald, Austin American Statesman, Daily Mail, ABC, CNN, and Yahoo.
Ziro, Arunachal Pradesh, India
Leslie A Spurlock
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