Amenia Receives Visitors From Nagaland, India

On July 5, 2018, a couple from Nagaland, India, arrived in Amenia for a visit organized by Betsy Strauss of the Amenia Historical Society. Rev. Maken Sanglir and his wife, Narola, along with two American friends, spent a few hours with Strauss touring the sites connected with the lives of the first missionaries to Nagaland, Rev. Edward Clark of North East and his wife, Mary Mead Clark, of Amenia.

Rev. Maken & Mrs. Narola Sanglir in Nagaland attire, at the graves of the Rev. Edward and Mrs. Mary Mead Clark in the Amenia Island Cemetery, July 5, 2018

The Clarks, who traveled to India in 1868, spent 42 years there, as teachers, linguists and ministers. Their work among the primitive tribes of the far eastern, mountainous provinces of India is still evident today in the lives of the descendants, such as our visitors, the Sanglirs.

Maken Sanglir’s great-great-grandfather was one of the first converts to Christianity in the Ao-Naga tribe. Turning away from a tradition of head-hunting and terror, this man and others in the tribe, desired to know peace and to acquire an education. He helped the Clarks, as a translator, to develop a written language and the first Ao-Naga dictionary. The Clarks established primary and secondary schools, as well as a theological college, all of which are still producing scholars today.

Over 100 years ago, Rev. Clark, with the help of the Ao villagers, constructed a suspension bridge, which is still in use today, providing transport and aiding commerce in this remote region of India.

The Sanglirs, who were raised in Nagaland, are now missionaries in Thailand, where they have served the Hmong people for 28 years. Their lives are present-day examples of the legacy of Dr. Edward and Mrs. Mary Clark.

The Sanglirs, and all of Nagaland, greatly revere the Clarks for their contributions to their country. For them, it is an honor to be able to visit the graves of the Clarks in Amenia and to see the sites of the homes, schools and churches connected with the Clarks and the Meads more than a century ago.

Written by
Elizabeth (Betsy) Strauss
Amenia & North East Historical Societies
July 6, 2018