Veddas  or Wanniyalaetto of Sri Lanka

Features of the Cultural Survival Plan

  • Briefly, the plan provides for the legal occupation and phased self-administration by Wanniyalaeto families of traditional hamlets and hunting grounds within the Maduru Oya National Park boundaries, with the gradual transition of administration from the Department of Wildlife Conservation to the Wanniyalaeto Council of Elders occurring over a period of three to five years.
  • Within the Wanniyalaeto Cultural Sanctuary, traditional Wanniyalaeto livelihoods including hunting, honey-gathering, and shifting cultivation will be permitted with provision for indigenous self-management of these and other forest resources.
  • Surveys conducted with Wanniyalaeto participation will determine the sanctuary's game animal population and carrying capacity for the issuance of game quotas to Wanniyalaeto families.
  • Collective land tenure will be secured within the provisions of the Fauna and Flora Protection Ordinance.
  • The Wanniyalaeto will assume responsibility for determining policies and regulations concerning visitors and their permitted activities within the cultural sanctuary.
  • They will be empowered to open or close access roads to motor vehicles as needed to restrict vehicular traffic or unwelcome intrusions from tourists.

The Cultural Survival plan also provides for:

  • a bio-survey/inventory of the sanctuary's fauna and flora
  • documentation and dissemination of indigenous environmental lore
  • facilities for scholarly training and research activities
  • recognition and protection of indigenous intellectual property rights
  • bilingual education opportunities in Sinhala Wanniyalaeto languages.
  • limited marketing of Wanniyalaeto handicrafts and forest products
  • enhanced participation in economic and cultural life by women
  • promotion of indigenous health practices and herbal treatments
  • public/media awareness of indigenous development priorities & goals
  • networking with other indigenous groups to raise community awareness
  • indigenous representation in national-level decision-making
  • internships for Wanniyalaeto programme trainees