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Tribals in Kerala are living on the high ranges, mainly on the Western Ghat, bordering Karnataka and Tamil Nadu. As a natural boundary, the mountain has parts of Kerala as well as in Karnataka and Tamil Nadu.
The tribes of Kerala today are mostly farmers, whereas the plantation is still an important part of their inhabits. The main crops farmed by all the Kerala tribes and other communities in Kerala are: paddy, dhal, raggi, plantains, turmeric and chilies. Step agriculture, with their well planned grids, is usually practiced, which was conveyed from the Tamils. In supplement they also perform their customary techniques of agriculture and irrigation.
Major Tribes in Kerala
Adiyan The word Adiyan literally means slave in Malayalam language. The Adiyan tribes were seen in the Kannur and Wayanad districts. Most of the Adiyan people are agricultural workers.
Aalar Alar tribes are not listed in the scheduled list of tribes in the Kerala state. They are very less number of people seen in Malappuram district.
Aranadan These people are seen in Eranadu of Malappuram District. Aranadan tribes are nomadic hill tribe and most of them are live by hunting.
Cholanaikkan The Cholanaikkan tribes are the most primitive and vanishing tribes in state and one of the ancient communities of Kerala. They are only seen in the Chungathara and Karulai forest ranges in Nilambur, Malappuram district.
Iravallan Eravallans are inhabitants of the Chittur in Palakkad district. These tribal was originally known as Villu-Vedan, that means hunters using bows and arrows.
Irular Irular tribes are living in Attapady region in Palakkad District and also found in Nelliyampathy, Mayamudi, Pothuppara, Palakkapandi, Valayar hills and Koonapalam.
Kadar Kadar is marked as a primitive tribe by the Kerala State. Kadars are now seen in 15 areas of Palakkad and Thrissur districts. Kadars are also found in the Western Ghat areas of Coimbatore district in Tamil Nadu.
Kammara Kammara tribes are seen in Kasargode district in Kerala. They are mostly working as blacksmiths. Their total population in Kerala is just 123.
Kanikkaran Kanikkars are living in the area around Mahendragiri and Agastyakutam peaks of the Western Ghats in the Kollam and Thiruvananthapuram districts.
Kani Kani is a nomadic tribe in Kerala. They were famous for familiarizing Kallana, which is a cryptic elephant and an herbal medicine called, jeevani.
Kattunaikkan The Cholanaikkans and Kattunaikans are known to be two groups of the same tribe. The Kattunaikans are living in Kozhikode, Wayanad and Malappuram districts. Both these tribal groups are listed as primitive tribes.
Kurichiyan Kurichiar tribes are found in Wayanad and some areas of Kozhikode districts in Kerala. They were warriors in the army of king Pazhassi Raja during the war against British with utmost honesty and courage.
Kuruman They are living in Wayanadu district near to forests but live good houses. All the different tribes among them are jointly named as Kuruman in the scheduled tribe list of the Kerala state.
Kurumban Kurumban is believed as a primitive tribe in the list of scheduled tribes of Kerala state. They are mostly seen on both sides of the Bhavani River in Attapady area of Palakkad district.
Malakkuravan The Malakkuravan’s are living in Pathanamthitta, Thiruvananthapuram and Kottayam districts. They are engaged in collection of honey, hunting and agriculture. Women are engaged in fortune-telling, fire-wood collection and palmistry.
Malayan The Malayans are living in the hilly areas of Palakkad and Thrissur districts. Most of the Malayans at engaged as agricultural workers and some of them involved in collecting forest products.
Mannan Mannan tribes are living in Idukky and Kottayam districts and a few in Palakkad district. They are engaged in agriculture, fishing and collection of forest products.