VEDDA (VANNIYALETTO) AS FOLK LIFE: INTANGIBLE CULTURAL HERITAGE IN SRI LANKA
AbstractThis paper addresses the potential of intangible folk life as a continuum amounting to world heritage in a country of magnificent UNESCO listed sites. If the indigenous Vedda (Vanniyaletto) of Sri Lanka are the heirs of an existence dating back to the Mesolithic of Southern Asia, then this community represents a sphere of cultural expression that requires world attention in conserving a folk diversity that is rapidly disappearing in this century. Yet to date these Vanniyaletto, living in a land of significant ancient world heritage, are struggling to have a museum or community center dedicated to their existence. They are a people wrapped in the matrix of the Sinhala and Tamil communities from earliest times, yet relegated as fringe curiosities at best, seen without an acknowledged contribution to national program.