An ethnographic study on the impacts of Covid-19 pandemic on indigenous people and their coping strategies in Bangladesh

Joydeb Garai, Hok Bun Ku

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


The COVID-19 pandemic has brought unprecedented suffering to the lives and livelihoods of indigenous people across the country, especially in the south-eastern parts of Bangladesh, but the situation has rarely reported by the mass media and academic literature. This study was an attempt to find out the impacts and vulnerabilities of COVID-19 on the indigenous Chakma community at Rangamati sadar (sub-district) of Rangamati (district) in the Chattogram Hill Tracts (CHT) area, Bangladesh. It also aimed to investigate how indigenous people respond to the pandemic and how they can develop resilience to adapt to the adverse situation. For conducting this study, a critical ethnographic approach was adopted, along with participant observation, in-depth interview, and focus group (FGs) for collecting data in the study area. The findings of the study indicate that the COVID-19 pandemic severely affects the traditional way of life, mythology, culture, food security, economic activities, and educational activities, along with increasing health risks for the people of the indigenous community. However, indigenous people respond to this pandemic in their own ways, involving their ancestors’ works, avoiding dependence on market systems, keeping faith in traditional medicines, building close relation to nature, along with following some health guidelines announced by government. This work refutes the existing mainstream discourse that indigenous people are unwittingly vulnerable and docile in their waiting for outside assistance.

Original languageEnglish
Article number103553
JournalInternational Journal of Disaster Risk Reduction
Publication statusPublished - 15 Feb 2023


  • and Resilience
  • COVID-19 pandemic
  • Indigenous community
  • Response
  • Vulnerabilities

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Building and Construction
  • Geotechnical Engineering and Engineering Geology
  • Safety Research
  • Geology


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