About Indigenous Sri Lanka  
     
 
HISTORY, EARLY SETTLEMENTS AND EXPANSION
Indigenous people or Veddhas of Sri Lanka has a history stretches back up to 37000 years. There is also another popular idea that Veddha’s are the descendants of Vijaya and Kuweni. This idea is discarded by today’s Veddha people and insists they have a history which goes beyond the Vijaya & Kuweni era. There were Yaksha, Dewa, Naga and Raksha tribes who populated ancient Sri Lanka and Veddhas are the descendants of Yaksha tribe. Early days they used caves and tree caves as shelter and few families as a team lived together in these caves. After that they changed their lifestyle in to nomad traditions and cultivations Chena were practiced as the main source of food. During those times their houses were categorized as Athgeya, Mada pela and Kanda pothu pela. While cultivating Chenas they traditionally made sure they minimize the damage to the environment. During the end of 1970 these areas became villages. Thus leadto cultivation of permanent crops on these lands. The creation of Maruduru oya national park under Mahaweli development project forced these people to resettle in other areas. This permanently changed their traditional life style and living ways.
 

 
     
   
 
INDIGENOUS PEOPLE LIVED IN THESE AREAS AMONG THE BINTENNA FORESTS
Presently famous for indigenous communities the areas of Dambana and Sorabora are part of Uva province but were a part of Bintenna during ancient times.

Galmeda Balana Seethawanniya
Danigala Bingoda Henebadda
Nilgala Ratugala Dambana, Sorabora


  These Veddha people inhabited caves in the past add photo galguhaw where reallocating chena cultivation and hunting were the main source of food thus making their life a harsh reality.In 1939 due to the Parangee decease and Malaria with the effect of long droughts has caused mass deaths among these Veddha people. There were a shortage of bee honey and hunting dogs around that period. As result of this Dr Spittle in 1941 has lead them to relocate their settlements to Pollebadda from dense forests they inhabited previously.
 
     
 
TRIBE
Bingodawarigaya (tribe) has lived under the headship of their leader for many years though they had frequent connections with the village commoners. With time they have separated to following tribes.

Henebadda Tribe
Bingoda Tribe
Nilgala Tribe
Bandaraduwa Tribe
Tribe is based on their birth land and there are few warigaya’s as well
 
     
 
Morana Warigaya
Mora is a fruit that yield every seven years and “masmora” has the better taste. These people have served the king with mora fruits in bee honey during the out of season and obtained the name Morana Warigaya.
 
     
 
Uru Warigaya
An ancient great grandmother has given birth in a swine pit has resulted in her tibe being called Uru Warigaya
 
     
 
Unapana Warigaya
There are twostories behind the birth of this name.
 
     
 
Kiridakwu Warigaya
These people have offered the king with bee hives and squeezed liquid from lavas and hasgained the name Kiridakwu Warigaya.
 
     
 
Thala Warigaya
An ancient great grandmother has given birth on a grass plain has resulted in them being called Thala Warigaya.
 
     
 
         
 
     
 
SACRAMENTS
These holy sacraments are a fine reflection of their beliefs of divine spirits. The pay homage to the dead by performing the “Kiri Koraha Yagaya”.

They start the performance by tighten a sacrament for the devils and holding a coconut by hand. They prepare various kinds of food items, flesh and flowers on the sacrament tables and offer these offerings to the evil spirits by chanting, lighting torches and beating the ‘Dawula’ (drums).

It is a common belief they go for hunting as soon as the “Kiri Koraha” ritual was performed, they never going to miss their prey.


The dance of “Kamba Kanuwa”

This ritualalistic dance is performed to cure the sick.

The dance of “Naa Yakun”

It is a sacrament performed in the name of “Naa Yakun” from the past. They perform this when
• Lack of huntings
• Training a pupil for the leadership

In the areas like Dambana, Rathugala, Polalebadda, the chants they use for the performance differs.
 
     
 
 
When Lord Buddha visited Sri Lanka the yakka people from Bintenna made their living off farming but they never fully exuded hunting and feeding off the forest as methods of obtaining food according the history books. They have made weapons using iron a material.

During the many wars throughout the history, beginning from King Pandukabhya to King Sri WickramaRajasinghe these Veddha people have helped the kings of Sri Lanka to fight the enemies. They have even fought and played an inaugural part in wars against the British army to gain freedom. During these wars against the British the vital part played by these people has been underestimated by the historian’s undervaluation of their contribution. Bintanna area used to be covered by lush and dense forests throughout the history where nine months of long dry season was followed by three moth of rain from the north eastern monsoon. This area was a large part of wet zone in Sri Lanka.
 
     
 
Language
According to Dr. Seligman and Dr. Spitle if the Vaddas have longer history than the Sinhalese it is evident that their language also must have a long history. The vaddas around the areas of Binthenna, Wellassa and Dimbulagala have merged with Sinhalese and the indigenous people in Panampaththuwa and Wakarei have merged with the Tamil civilians in those areas. Besides, their language is limited to about 200 words.
 
     
 
Few words in Vadda’s language
Nouns   Verbs   Names of places
‘ammila aththo’
‘appila aththo’
‘ayyala aththo’
‘lo bond’
‘nanila aththo’
-
-
-
-
-
mother
father
brother
brother-in-law
sister-in-law, woman, wife
 
‘anna mangachchanawa’
‘anna ukalanawa’
‘kuru kuru gachchanawa’
‘katha dammanawa’
‘miyambata damanawa’
-
-
-
-
-
going with
take
write
tell, discuss
die, sleep
 
‘kurukuru gachchana rukul pojja’
‘kapuwala aththange rukul pojja’
‘rukul pojja’
‘aandu pojja’
‘lanka pojja’
-
-
-
-
-
school
temple
home
government
Sri Lanka
         
Tools   Animals   Few other nouns and words
‘mala leeya’
‘moriyankachcha’
‘gakrukkya’
‘kapathana yamake’
‘katha damana yamake’
-
-
-
-
-
bow
arrow
axe
areconut cutter
telephone
 
‘bota kandaya’
‘polachcha’
‘kankuna’
‘gatamanda’
‘piya machchee’
-
-
-
-
-
elephant
tiger
stag
crocodile
fish
 
‘ai danda’
‘kiri gejja’
‘kona pojja’
‘giniramcha’
‘gai atta’
-
-
-
-
-
hand
coconut
year
fire
areca (betel nut)
 
     
     
     
     
   
     
     
 
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