Candoshi - Orientation

Identification. The name "Candoshi" has no meaning apart from the name of the Candoshi people and the language spoken by them and by the Chapara people. Both the Candoshi and the Chapara, however, will say of any Indian that "he is Candoshi."

Location. The heart of Candoshi and Chapara territory lies between the Pastaza and the Morona rivers, 4° to 4°30′ S and 76°30/ to 77° W, in the department of Loreto, province of Alto, Amazonas, Peru. The Candoshi live on tributaries of the Río Pastaza, the Chapara on tributaries of the Río Morona.

Demography. At the beginning of the twentieth century the combined Candoshi and Chapara population may have been as high as 10,000, but by 1950 the combined population, decimated by war and disease, had fallen to less than 2,000. In the late 1980s the population stood at approximately 3,000.

Linguistic Affiliation. Candoshi is not closely related to any other language in the area. There is evidence that the now-extinct Chirino and Sacata languages, once spoken in the department of Cajamarca, were related to Candoshi.

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