"The Cofán are among the oldest surviving indigenous cultures in the Ecuadorian Amazon.  We share our home with primary forest, wild and pristine rivers, forbidding swamplands, and several thousand species of plants and animals.  Today the approximately 1000 remaining Cofán, who hold irreplaceable and valuable knowledge of the rain forest, live in six communities in the Sucumbíos providence of Ecuador.  Traditionally, we are hunters, fishers, and subsistence agriculturists.  Historically, we have fought hard to protect our territory and preserve our culture.  The communities that thrive today have survived attempts at colonization first by the Spanish, and most recently by oil companies who discovered that stores of petroleum lay under our feet."
-Fundacion para la sobrevivencia del pueblo cofan

In the 1970s. multinational oil companies began to extract crude oil from territory traditionally known as ancestral land.  In 1997, the Cofans were one of the first indigenous people to fight back and gain control of their land.  However, the impact of oil companies has been devastating.  Massive deforestation has led to a loss of food and medicinal plants.  The pollution and toxic waste has contaminated rivers and diminished the biodiversity of the jungle. Along with the settlers, oil companies introduced unusual diseases, incurable by traditional tribal medicine. The Cofans are “river people” going up and down as far as Iquitos (Peru). In the past, the Cofans moved around freely, but now their territory is limited. At present, their territory is surrounded by settlers, who deforest the land. Subsequently, the Cofan people experience a decrease in game.

"We continue to hunt and fish. Our children grow up speaking our ancestral language, A_ingae.  However, we have had to adapt to face the constant presence of outside influence that threaten the survival of our culture and the health of the lands."
-Fundacion para la sobrevivencia del pueblo cofan

The hopes of this project are therefore to offer environmentally sound micro-economy alternatives, that will empower women and and help educate the youngest generations by providing them with a greater capacity to ensure their survival.

Check out this video made in collaboration with the Cofan youth group AJONCE and Friends of the Earth Scotland: http://cofanes.wordpress.com/cofan-film/

Read more about the Cofan:

"Cofán Indians help map rain forest, produce DVDs on disappearing tribal traditions" Chicago Tribune Article 8/4/08

Cofan Foundation Website

Read more about oil exploitation in Ecuador:


Amazon Defense Coalition
Location of Cofan Dureno 
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