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Preserving Indigenous Culture: The Cofán in Ecuador

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Preserving Indigenous Culture: The Cofán in Ecuador

Cofán Shamen in Ecuador

Like the Zapara, the Cofán are an indigenous group in Ecuador that have been threatened by colonialists and missionaries.  During the 17th century there was 20,000 Cofan.  Today, there are only 1,000 left. They live in scattered communities in the jungles of northeastern Ecuador along the Aguarico River .  You can access some of the villages by road.  But others you need to hike several hours to get to. 

Like the Zapara, the Cofán 's most recent struggle has been with oil companies.  In 1966, Texaco struck oil on their land.  As oil production stepped up, traditional Cofan territory was taken over by the government for oil drilling, and jungle was cut down to make room for oil rigs.

Hugo Lucitante is a student in Ecuador .  He's a member of the Cofan community of Zabolo. 

And Felipe Borman is also from the Cofán community of Zabalo.  He is the son of Randy Borman, a Cofán activist and director of the Cofán Survival Fund based in Quito , Ecuador .

Both Hugo and Felipe are working on the Cofán Historical Mapping Project at the Field Museum in Chicago

In the 1980s, the Cofan began fighting to get their land back from the government and oil companies.

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