Bugle - History and Cultural Relations

The closest cultural affiliations of the Bugle are with the Muri (Sabanero) branch of the Ngawbe (Guaymí). Their precise historical relationships are uncertain. Numerous cultural similarities to the Ngawbe, especially to the eastern Murire speakers, suggest ancient historical connections, although some specific practices are explicitly considered by the Bugle to be recent borrowings from the Ngawbe. The Bugle themselves locate their ancestors to the south, on the Pacific slopes of the central cordillera, an area that is still occupied by the remaining Muri. According to legend, the Bugle once had wings like birds and could fly anywhere they liked. One day they crossed the cordillera and arrived at their present location. Soon they engaged in improper behavior, and the consequence was that they lost their ability to fly, so they remained where they are. The area occupied by the Bugle is part of a more extensive area in the provinces of Chiriquí, Bocas del Toro, and Veraguas, one that the Ngawbe have for several years been attempting—without success—to persuade the government of Panama to declare an official reserve for the Ngawbe-Bugle.

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