General Information


The language Secoya belongs to the West Tucanoan language family and is today still spoken by the small group of Secoya, a people of ancestral Amazonian origin living in a region that has its center in the north-east of Ecuador and the upper north of Peru. Presently there are only 478 habitants in Ecuador and around 700 habitants in Peru.

Comprising different local Tucanoan groups, such as the Piaguajes, Payaguajes, Anguteros and others, the Secoya of Ecuador form the nation Siekopa̱ai. This auto-denomination refers to the river Siekoya, a tributary of the river Santa María in Peru, and its people (pa̱ai). TheSiekopa̱ai of the present live along the banks of the Aguarico River, with the two centers San Pablo de Katëtsiaya and Siecoya Remolino, in the Sucumbíos province of Ecuador. The native term for the language Secoya is Pa̱aikoka, literally “the language (koka) of the people”.

While the Siekopa̱ai affiliated with other indigenous neighbours in Ecuador, such as the Siona and the Cofan, and integrated various new aspects into their life, they have managed to maintain the central features of their language and culture until now. Many young people still speak Pa̱aikoka at home and know at least part of the traditional practices and narratives. These days, however, the rapid socio-economic change of their daily life together with the contamination and destruction of the natural resources of the rainforest seriously threaten the language and culture of the Siekopa̱ai.

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