Bugle - Orientation

Identification. The Bugle (pronounced "boo-glay") are a small, little-known Native American group who live in the interior of northwestern Panama. The meaning of the term "Bugle" is not known. Better known in the literature as "Bokotá" or "Bogotá" and often considered a subcultural group of the Ngawbe (Guaymí), the "Bugle," as they prefer to call themselves, insist on their cultural distinctiveness from the Ngawbe. It is important to note that the Ngawbe also consider the Bugle to be a culturally distinct (but politically affiliated) group. Their views on their cultural distinctiveness reflect the contemporary political importance of ethnic-identity issues for the indigenous populations in Panama.

Location. The Bugle proper occupy a small area in the easternmost portion of Bocas del Toro Province and the westernmost portion of northern Veraguas Province, between the drainages of the Río Chucará to the west and the Río Calovébora to the east, and between the Caribbean coastal plain to the north and the continental divide to the south. Most of them live within the corregimiento (municipality) of Santa Catalina, district of Bastimento, province of Bocas del Toro.

Demography. There are an estimated 7,000 speakers of Buglere and Murire (Guaymí-Sabanero); however, many fewer—perhaps only 1,200 to 1,500—claim Bugle as their ethnic identity.


Linguistic Affiliation. Buglere is a dialect of Murire (Guaymí-Sabanero), a language of the Chibchan Family and one of several Chibchan languages that are spoken in Panama and elsewhere in Central America.

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