Páez - Settlements

The Páez live in twenty-one settlements with populations ranging from 100 to 4,500 inhabitants. Although most communities are marked by towns, the majority of the population follows a dispersed mode of settlement, building adobe or wattle-and-daub houses with tile or thatch roofs, located near their fields on the mountain slopes. Some towns are composed of only ten to twenty sporadically inhabited houses, a school, a church, and a few tiny stores, whereas others are regional urban centers with large non-Indian populations and a governmental infrastructure. All of these towns are built in the traditional Spanish style, with a central plaza and, if there is more than one street, in a grid pattern. Most settlements are linked by unpaved highways constructed in the 1970s and 1980s; individual households are connected to towns by bridle- and footpaths.

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