The Indigenous Veddas of Sri Lanka
On the island of Sri Lanka, the Vedda people are the final indigenous group to remain. The Veddas, who lived in Sri Lanka's forests long before the arrival of the Buddhists, date back to the sixth century BC.
There are two broad hypotheses about how long the Vedda have been on the island, albeit the origin stories are not entirely documented. According to the oral tradition of the Sinhalese, Pince Vijaya, the fabled first monarch of Sri Lanka, is the ancestor of the Vedda. The Vedda tribe, on the other hand, is far older than that, dating all the way back to the Stone Age, according to archaeological and anthropological studies.
It is safe to assume that Prince Vijaya and his ancestors were the first individuals to conquer the Vedda regions in light of the available scientific evidence. The Vedda began to adapt to their invaders after living in freedom for a very long time. The native Vedda gradually lost much of their uniqueness as a result of being forced to embrace the Sinhalese and Tamil settlers' traditions. The future of the Vedda culture is unknown as the last of them currently reside on reservations in the jungle.
Veddas in Mahiyanganaya
The Vedda were heavily concentrated in Mahiyangana, a region in Sri Lanka's south-central jungles. The Mahiyangana Raja Maha Vihara, one of the most revered and significant ancient Buddhist temples, was constructed at Mahiyangana. The Vedda began adopting contemporary practices as Sinhalese communities grew nearby, endangering their ancient way of life. The Veddas who were wiser went further into the jungle, and Maduru Oya National Park later came to be known as a Vedda reservation site. One of the few sites left where the Vedda can continue to live according to their traditional ways is here, albeit with a few contemporary conveniences like brick huts.
Some Vedda reside in villages mixed together with Tamil and Sinhalese villages; not all Vedda do. Only the Vedda, who are residents of a reservation deep within the bush, are hunters and gatherers. Observing native tribes vanish due to our contemporary impacts is a difficult condition.
Hunting and Gathering Lifestyle
The actual Paleo population in Sri Lanka is the Vedda. They survive by hunting and collecting food in the jungles where they inhabit. Wild honey is one of the primary foods that the Vedda forage for. To get it, they climb trees where the hives are located and burn dry leaves to scare the bees away. They embark on a two-month honey quest every year around June, simply bringing rice and chili with them. They hunt or gather everything else they consume. It's possible that the village Veddas no longer do this.
Venison and other huntable meats make up the majority of the diet of the jungle Vedda. They carry out the hunt quickly and stealthily with a bow and arrow.
The coconut palm is the most crucial natural resource for the Vedda. They are consistently given fruit by coconut trees throughout the year. In addition to providing food, the coconut palm also yields plenty of materials for hut construction, shelter construction, rope production, and even bowl storage.
Trying to save ancient customs
The Vedda have recently started dressed in sarongs like the Sinhalese. Even though it is less frequent now, some of the Vedda communities further into the bush still don their traditional basic fiber covers. Younger generations continue to learn and perform ancient Vedda song and dance. They have a strong bond with the natural world, and their ritualistic songs resemble a dialogue with the elements. To make judgments and provide the chief advice, tribal shamans consult the ghosts of the dead. The Vedda have their own language, and some of them are working to preserve it by teaching it to their younger children in an effort to uphold their culture.