A report of the committee of experts appointed by the Kerala High Court regarding human-elephant conflict stated that traditional settlements of the Muthuvan tribal community have coexisted with the wild animals in Chinnakkanal.
- Muthuvan tribe people live on the border hill forests of Kerala and Tamil Nadu.
- They speak slightly two different dialects and call each other Malayalam Muthuvan and Pandi Muthuvan.
- Muthuvan are animists and spirit worshippers and also worship the forest gods,
- They believe that the spirits of their ancestors are to be the first migrants to the hill forests.
- The Muthuvan tribe has a unique system of governance called the ‘Kani System’.
- Under this system, each village is headed by a ‘Kani’, who is responsible for the administration of the village.
- They have expertise in traditional medicines which are very effective and these medicines and the medicine men are confidentially preserved and passed on to the generations.
- Agriculture is the main occupation of these Muthuvan tribes, producing quite a number of products like ragi, cardamom and lemon grass.