Field paper - Essay Example

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Name: Tutor: Course: Date: Ethnography- The Chakma People Abstract This paper is about a study on the culture, of the Chakma People, an Indian ethnic group traditionally living in and around Chittagong Hill of Bangladesh, the North-Eastern part of India and Myanmar's Rakhine state…
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Download file to see previous pages The results or the findings from the research ought to reflect the true cultural practices of the group in question. A comprehensive ethnography ought to consider among other things, the language, history of the culture, physical geography of the group and its impact to the group's livelihood, the people's views on animal and plant life, their art and craft (material culture), occupation and social structure (Philipsen 1992). The paper delves into the livelihoods of the Chakma people living in the United States. The ethnography was conducted through interview and personal observation. Literature review The Chakma The Chakmas or Changhma, are a Tibeto-Burman community traditionally living in and around Chittagong Hill of Bangladesh, the North-Eastern part of India and Myanmar's Rakhine state. They are Chakmas are the largest ethnic group inhabiting the Chittagong Hill Tracts. In Myanmar the term Daingnet people is sometime used to refer to the Chakmas. They are traditionally divided into 46 distinct clans called Gozas. In addition, they consider a tribal group called Tongchangya as Chakmas since both ethnic communities speak the same language and have similar cultural practices. The latter, however, maintain that they a different ethnic group altogether. Today, many Chakmas have migrated to different parts of the world including the United States in search of better lives. In the US they are mainly professionals, students, small scale business people and domestic workers. Major Findings Language The lives of the Chakma people in the United States are highly similar to that of many Chakmas back in Asia. Many still speak their vernacular when they are at home. Many live in low- roofed houses that are indicative of the nature of their traditional architecture. Most Chakmas speak their mother tongue in addition to English. Some also speak have been influenced by neighboring other Eastern Indo-Aryan languages such as Chittagonian and Bengali who they get to relate with due to their many common cultural activities. The Chakmas refer to their language as Changma Vaj. The language is written in its own unique script, the Chakma script, also referred to as Ojhopath. Chakma language's is written form is in an alphabet very closely related to Khmer and Lanna which is mostly used in Cambodia, Laos, Thailand and some parts of Myanmar. The minute differences in the alphabet allow the Chakma script to use a unique cursive form. Religion Most Chakmas profess to Theravada Buddhism. Their geographical locations in modern American cities and limited numbers hinder them from practicing the orthodox version of the religion. However they have been actively involved in the establishment of organizations and movements that call for ultimatism, Green movement and environmental conservation that are in line with their beliefs. However they differ in opinion between those who propose that they should adopt universal inclusivity and syncretism with traditions from other Buddhist forms and those who are of the view that Theravada Buddhism is pure since it is the oldest form of Buddhism and the suggested modernization will lead to its corruption. Cuisine Being Buddhists, most Chakmas are vegetarians. Many eat hot spicy foods with many oriental spices. Rice is a staple source of energy. Their most favorite delicacy is a vegetable curry called Pazon ton. Cultural ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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