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By David Levinson
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Extra info for Encyclopedia of World Cultures: South Asia
The souls of those who have not been properly buried or who died unnatural deaths become rams (evil spirits who join the Epom in combat against humanity). Other notable evil spirits include the nipong (spirit of a woman who dies during pregnancy) and the aying uyu (lowland evil spirits whose assaults are directed against men and women of all ages). Among the more important benevolent spirits, Benji Bama (controller ofhuman destiny) must be noted, and each natural force is believed to possess a spirit that must be held in check through proper personal conduct and the performance of certain rituals.
Public buildings in a typical village include the moshup (bachelors' dormitory), the rasheng (single females' dormitory), and granaries. In older villages, stone walls with wooden reinforcements are found. Major building materials are bamboo, wood, thatching grass, and cane. Economy Subsistence and Commercial Activities. The major subsistence activities are hunting, fishing, gathering, agriculture, and barter of surplus crops for basic necessities and luxuries. Slash-and-burn (or jhum) agriculture is the norm.
Ongees prefer to hunt and gather in their own megeyabarrota but there are no restrictions on hunting in someone else's megeyabarrota. If one does hunt in another's megeyabarrota one is obliged to offer and share first with the owners any resource taken. A person's identity with a megeyabarrota plays a crucial role in Ongee rituals and ceremonies; for example, consummation of a marriage must occur in the wife's megeyabarrota, and a dead person's bones must be kept in the berate (circular hut) of a descendant's megeyabarrota.