The Boruca of Costa Rica

The Boruca of Costa Rica

The Boruca of Costa Rica

The Boruca of Costa Rica

Excerpt

The following paper on the present-day Boruca Indians of southeastern Costa Rica is not a complete ethnological study. In fact, it might well be termed an "introductory paper" on these people. It is the result of four short visits into Boruca territory. The first trip was made with the idea of becoming acquainted with these people, and the remaining three visits were made to study the conditions under which the greater portion of autochthonous Costa Ricans exist today. The purpose in mind was to understand the new problems created by the first steps in constructing the Pan-American Highway. The line of the proposed highway goes between Térraba and Cabécar Indian country, and indirectly affects the Bribri and the Boruca. With its start, came the flood of opportunists to claim lands that are actually occupied by indigenous groups, many of whom do not even speak the national tongue, Spanish.

As a result of these field trips, the Costa Rican Government set up, on December 6, 1945, a Junta or Committee to form a longterm educational program and to demarcate various aboriginal zones to be used as reservations.

Little or nothing has been written about the Boruca, who are by far the most Europeanized of the southern Costa Rican tribes, and who, because of this, are fast losing their aboriginal characteristics. The report which follows is a series of facts concerning the life of the actual Boruca Indians; facts which, in a few years, may be obsolete or unknown. For this reason, they are offered here as part of the record of our knowledge of man's cultural changes, and, as stated before, do not pretend to represent a thorough ethnological study.

DORIS STONE

San José, Costa Rica, 1946 . . .

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