In traditional Kachin society, the chief, who exercised authority over at least a few villages and, in some cases, as many as one hundred. The status was hereditary, being passed from the father to the youngest son within chiefly lineages. The duwa imposed labor service duties on his villagers and had the right to the best portions of animals offered up for sacrifice to the spirits. But he was expected to sponsor costly festivals, manao, on special occasions. Usually, the chief exercised his authority with the assistance of a council of elders. The British colonial government ruled the Kachin Hills, part of the Frontier Areas, indirectly, recognizing the authority of the duwa. Under the gumlao system, some Kachin communities did not recognize hereditary chiefs but had a more democratic form of authority exercised by local councils.

Historical Dictionary of Burma (Myanmar). . 2014.

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