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Merak - Sakten (Sakteng)
Brokpa or Sagtengpa or Dakpa
Brokpa people
The 65,500 Brokpa (also known as the Sagtengpa or Dakpa) are one of the many tribal groups. It is possible that they are related to the Limbu of Nepal. They live in the eastern part of the country, mainly in the Sakteng Valley. They speak a language called Mira Sagtengpa (or Brokpa).

What Are Their Lives Like Most of the Brokpa (Dakpa) are farmers. Their principal crops include corn, barley, and beets.

They work long hours in the fields in order to produce enough to feed their families. Other important activities include herding yaks and sheep, and spinning and weaving wool.

Most farmers also keep a few pigs and chickens. The yaks are used as beasts of burden. They also supply the families with meat and milk. Since only about 3% of the land in Bhutan is available for agriculture, the fields are often built in terraces up the mountain sides. Cultivation practices have changed little over the centuries, and most of the labor is provided by family members.

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The Brokpa community
Sakteng and Merak The Brokpa (Dakpa) women wear their hair long and dress in traditional styles. They typically wear red and white silk ponchos, red silk jackets decorated with animal designs, and red wool capes. They may also wear braided black wool jackets. The men wear leather or cloth pants under big, white wool trousers; red wool jackets; and sometimes sleeveless outer garments made of leather and felt. Both men and women wear turquoise earrings. The most distinctive part of the Brokpa (Dakpa) outfit, however, is the unique felt hat.

The hats are flat, felt discs made from yak hair. Each hat has five tail-like "spouts" that allow water to drain and the head to stay dry.

Social status among the Brokpa (Dakpa) is based on a family's economic position. There is no caste (rigid social class) system except among the Hindu Nepalese in the southern region. The royal family and a few other noble families are the only people in Bhutan who have surnames. Individuals normally have two names, but neither is considered a family name. Wives keep their maiden names, and children may have names that are not connected to either parent.

The Brokpa (Dakpa) are virtually 100% Buddhist. They follow the "Red Hat" sect of Tibetan Buddhism. In addition, traditional Tibetan shamanism is also practiced by some. The shamanists believe in an unseen world of gods, demons, and ancestral spirits. They depend on a shaman (priest or priestess) to communicate with the spirits on their behalf. Most Buddhist families have shrines for worship inside their homes. A poor family may have only a small Buddhist image or painting rather than a shrine. However, a wealthy family may use an entire room as a shrine, furnishing it with an elaborate altar, lamps, an incense burner, and other religious items.

Contributed by KUENSEL, Bhutan's National Newspaper

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The Brokpa people
Languages
People name:
Brokpa (Dakpa)
Language: Mira Sagtengpa
Population:
(1990) 61,800
(1995) 65,500
(2000) 73,700
Religion: Buddhist 99.9%
Scriptures in their own language: None
BROKKAT
Dur in central Bumthang District
Alternate names: BROKSKAD
Classification: Sino-Tibetan, Tibeto-Burman, Himalayish, Tibeto-Kanauri, Tibetic, Tibetan, Southern

BROKPAKE
5,000 including 2,000 in and around Mera, 3,000 in and around Sagteng Sakteng Valley east of Trashigang District
Alternate names: MIRA SAGTENGPA, DAKPA, BROKPA, DAP, MERA SAGTENGPA, SAGTENGPA, MERAGSAGSTENGKHA.
Classification: Sino-Tibetan, Tibeto-Burman, Himalayish, Tibeto-Kanauri, Tibetic, Tibetan, Southern

DAKPAKHA
1,000
Near Brokpake
Classification: Sino-Tibetan, Tibeto-Burman, Himalayish, Tibeto-Kanauri, Tibetic, Tibetan, Eastern

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