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The Bhumij people are members of the Munda tribe. According to an early ethnographic "Dark brown-almost black in colour, short in stature but sturdy in his limbs, with irregular features, scanty beard, thick lips, broad nose, a low facial angle with a head long or doliko-cephalic like that of the average Dravidian’s, the Munda is a typical representation of the great kol race" (Roy:1970). These features are not marked any more.

It is believed that the Mundas were perhaps the earliest inhabitants of India. Regarding the original home of the Mundas, however, the tradition and legends do not give any information. According to Roy(1970), the Mundas, hounded down by successive bands of alien enemies, fled from place to place till they settled down in the jungles of Jharkand and established their villages. The Mundas left behind them inedible signposts of their former abode in the names of places and in sepulchral and memorial stones which exists even today. Dalton (1978), however believes that their original home must be the Ranchi district of Bihar.

The Bhumij near Chotanagpur in Bihar consider themselves members of the Munda tribe so do the Bhumij in Orissa. The Bhumij from Orissa and West Bengal participate in the annual meetings of the Mundas. Some of the Bhumij in Orissa have relatives in Bihar and visit them annually. However, the Bhumij in Dhalbhum consider themselves as autochthones and not connected with any other Munda groups.

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