Territory and Population

Based within the Amazon Rainforest in the Colombian departments of Caqueta and Putumayo the Koreguaje are a small and vulnerable group estimated to be between 2,000 – 4,000 in current population. The officially recognized territory of the Koreguaje is only accessible by boat.


T he Koreguaje were long dependant on forest services for their survival and economy. Traditional medicines, cultivation of fruits and nuts and hunting, were all essential components of the traditional Koreguaje life.

Their governmental structure was, and continues to be, based on a tribal council of “caciques” and village elders, who individually lead their isolated communities, and get together either in the village of Milan or Solano each year to discuss issues that affect the entire tribe, perform ceremonies and tell stories and myths.


The Koreguaje are a culture based on medicinal plants and agriculture, but have suffered from terrible exploitation of their diverse tropical forest lands for almost 200 years, starting with Quinine for malaria treatments, followed by Rubber, and more recently for the illegal drug trade (cocaine) and gold mining, palm oil and soy monoculture planting, and petroleum extraction (including by traditional drilling and fracking), and much more. Deforestation is a massive problem in Koreguaje territory and in the department of Caqueta.

Traditional Koreguaje belief systems (their “cosmovision”) has also been under attack for many years by missionary activities, which have affected countless other traditional Amazonian communities as well.

Approximately half of the Koreguaje population has been displaced, being forced into slums in Florencia, Caqueta, or to Bogota.

Traditions, Language and Symbolic Products

Despite the many decades of struggle, indoctrination and displacement, a large portion of the remaining Koreguaje still speak their native tongue, which is also typically called Koreguaje. They also practice traditional healing techniques and ceremonies, and maintain their indigenous governmental structures under “Cacique” leadership, even within displaced communities. They are a strong and resilient group.

The Koreguaje also make lovely entirely natural products from a special palm tree, that is woven to make “mochila” bags, and they also use different seeds and nuts for jewelry. All coloring is from leaves, fruits and tree-bark from their territory.