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The Cofan (Ai) people are an indigenous people native to Napo Province northeast Ecuador and to southern Colombia, between the Guamues River (a tributary of the Putumayo River) and the Aguarico River (a tributary of the Napo River). Their population is only 1,500 people, down from approximately 15,000 in the mid-16th century. They speak the Cofan language or A'ingae a language of the Chibchan family. The ancestral land, community health and social cohesion of Cofan communities in Ecuador has been severely damaged by several decades of oil drilling. However, reorganization, campaigning for land rights, and direct action against encroaching oil installations have provided a modicum of stability. Major settlements include Sinangue, Dovuno, Dureno and Zabalo, the latter of which has retained a much more extensive land base.

At the moment they are doing things in Zabalo to bring back some of the traditional animals of their culture to the tributaries of the Amazon where they live. They are raising turtles and caimans to be released. They are also starting to raise chickens as a source of food. Many animals that live within their domaine are endangered in other regions, including several monkeys, tapir and pink dolphin. All have healthy populations in Cofan territories.

Political representation is through the Federacion Indigena de la Nacionalidad Cofan del Ecuador (FEINCE), translated in English as the Federation of the Indigenous Nation of the Cofan of Ecuador. Until December 22 of 2006, FEINCE was a member of CONFENIAE, the regional indigenous confederation. Membership was withdrawn, however, in protest to the political infighting presently going on in this organization. FEINCE maintains its headquarters in Lago Agrio, in the province of Sucumbios.

Related websites


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Colombia's Cofan still fighting for survival

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This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article Cofan

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