Bugun people
Total population
Regions with significant populations
India (Arunachal Pradesh)
Bugun language
Donyi-Polo (sun and moon), Hinduism, Christianity

The Buguns (formerly Khowa) are one of the earliest recognized schedule tribe of India,[1][2] majority of them, inhabiting the Singchung Sub-Division of West Kameng District of Arunachal Pradesh. Buguns live in several exogamous clans. Traditionally, the predominant occupation was agriculture, supported with other allied activities like fishing and hunting, cattle rearing etc. Buguns have their own folklores, songs, dances, music and rituals. A rare bird, the Bugun liocichla, was named after the tribe.

They live mainly in the subtropical Singchung Administrative Sub-Division of West Kameng district with its, almost whole, native population under 6-Thrizino-Buragaon ST Assembly Constituency of the state of Arunachal Pradesh.[3]


The Bugun language, one two of the Bugunish/Kamenic language under Kho-Bwa languages is considered endangered by UNESCO, with only around 10,000 speakers mainly concentrated in the Kameng district of Arunachal Pradesh, India.[4]


The Buguns are traditionally followers of the animistic religion[5] However, the early 20th century witnessed the gradual penetration of some dominant religions like Buddhism (Mahayana), particularly from the neighbouring ethnic group Sherdukpen, and Hinduism. Some have come under Tibetan Buddhist influence. Profound Buddhist influence has led to the adoption of many Buddhist rituals and the invitation of Buddhist lamas to participate in their communal rituals.[2] As a result, many Buguns declared themselves as Buddhist in censuses.[6]


  1. ^ file:///http://lawmin.nic.in/ld/subord/rule9a.htm Archived 2017-09-20 at the Wayback Machine The constitution (schedule Tribes) Order, 1950
  2. ^ a b Tribes of India
  3. ^ Ram Kumar Deuri (1983). Festivals of Kameng. Directorate of Research, Govt. of Arunachal Pradesh. p. 11.
  4. ^ The Kho-Bwa or Bugunish languages are a small family of Tibeto-Burman languages* spoken in India. They are Khowa (Bugun), Sulung (Puroik), Lishpa, and Sherdukpen. Van Driem (2001) suggested the name Kho-Bwa based on their words *kho 'fire' and *bwa 'water'.
  5. ^ Dalvindar Singh Grewal (1997). Tribes of Arunachal Pradesh: Identity, Culture, and Languages. South Asia Publications. p. 53. ISBN 81-7433-019-4.
  6. ^ William Carey Library (2004). Peoples of the Buddhist World: A Christian Prayer. South Asia Publications. p. 135. ISBN 0-87808-361-8.