Indigenous people

Indigenous people of Bangladesh are descendants of the original inhabitants of their land and are strikingly diverse in their culture, religion and patterns of social and economic organization. They have enriched the cultural heritage of Bangladesh by their exotic traditions, literature, languages, arts, and crafts. They identify themselves as indigenous peoples in the global landscape, or ‘adivasi’ in Bangla.

Although there is no definitive specific recorded history of the indigenous peoples, it is estimated that up to four hundred years ago more than forty-five original distinct indigenous communities lived in different parts of what is known today as Bangladesh. Gradually an influx of migrants came from different regions of the Asian subcontinent and forced the indigenous people through violent coercion to settle in selected locations. Presently, indigenous people are congregated mainly in the districts of Rangpur, Dinajpur, Rajshahi, Mymensingh, Sylhet and the Chittagong Hill Tracts.

The main ethnic groups in the plain lands of Sylhet are Khasi, Manipuri, Garo, Patro, Bishnupriya and Tripura, although ECDO’s non-formal researchhas indicated that there are approximately 30 different indigenous communities living in Sylhet region. Among these groups, the Manipuri and the Khasi are the largest in population. Each group has distinct linguistic and cultural practices.

Indigenous communities of Sylhet Division

  • Khasi
  • Garo
  • Manipuri
  • Pangal
  • Bishnupriya
  • Patro
  • Hajong
  • Santal
  • Oraon
  • Telegu
  • Koch
  • Shabdakor
  • Munda
  • Bormon
  • Deshwali
  • Bewri
  • Robidas
  • Bhenia
  • Bhumija
  • Painkha
  • Baraik
  • Rajbhor
  • Kumi
  • Pande
  • Naek
  • Pasi
  • U-ria
  • Madraji
  • Lohar
  • Mahali

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