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Clture and Religion

Indigenous People

Introduction

Dambana is a village within the Badulla District in Sri Lanka. It is closest to the town of Mahiyanganya. It is known as the refuge of the indigenous Vedda people as well as their moribund Vedda language. It is well known for its eco-tourism projects. In 2010 it had population close 1000 individuals all belonging to Vedda families. The population of these indigenous ‘Veddha' people now consists of only about 350 families, a number significantly reduced from a once thriving community. The ‘Veddha' are so influenced by the imposing dominant culture that they risk losing their traditions and what has been their livelihood for centuries. Visitors to this fascinating village have the opportunity to meet and chat with the people who live there, learn about their traditions, and gain a unique insight into their way of life. You can gain more experience in organic bee keeping from these peoples and it will help to their sustainability for the future. Your visit will also be of a direct financial benefit to the community.

More about Indigenous People

The settlements of indigenous people have been restricted to the provinces of Uva, North Central and East in Sri Lanka. Exceeding 16,000 in number, these people live in hamlets called Guru Kumbura Yaya, Kotabakinia, Nidangala Yaya, which form the village Dambana in Badulla district. Furthermore they have settlements in Dalukana in Polonnaruwa district and in Henanigala and Pollebedda in Ampara district. Their settlements are found in Vakare, Nilgala, Sorabora and Dimbulana in Batticaloa and Trincomalee district, too.

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With the clearance of forest to set up villages and to execute mega development initiatives, these people, whose native place was the jungle, were compelled to mix with the ordinary society. As a result of it, they lost their native place, the forest. Apart from that, they had to face many difficulties in their routine activities such as hunting, chena cultivation, and gathering of various substances from the forest. Some of their positive cultural features are in danger of disappearance due to deviation occurred in their familiar life style and mixing with ordinary people.

With the intention of conserving and preserving their traditional cultural features including arts and crafts for the posterity and ensuring their simple life-style, the Ministry of Cultural Affairs and National Heritage, in collaboration with other institution concerned, has designed a project. The main objective of this project is to conserve and preserve folk culture of indigenous people and to table a draft bill to safeguard their existence and rights.

Location :
Badulla – Mahiyangana
Moneragala – Madulla
Polonnaruwa – Dibulagala
Ampara – Mahaoya, Dehiyaththakandiya
Batticola – Wakarei