- Last Updated on 19 July 2013
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The Ngöbe Buglé consists of two separate ethnic groups (the Ngöbe and the Buglé) with different languages. With a population of about
180.000 Ngöbe and 10.000 Buglé they represent the largest indigenous tribes in Panama. They are living in "Ngöbe Buglé Comarca", a protected area with a political system of its own and can well be compared with a reserve. Most of the Ngöbe Buglé is at home in small communities or villages, mainly in the mountainous areas of Bocas del Toro, Veraguas and Chiriqui. They are living in "chozas" or straw huts with dirt floors. The male Ngöbe make their living from the typical agricultural jobs on their farms including slash and burn and the cultivation of corn, manioc, bananas, peach palms and some other fruits. During the coffee harvest more than 50% are working as migrant workers in the plantations in the western area of the province. The women are responsible for caring for the children and houses. Some of them spend their time with craftwork and fabricate very good-looking products as e.g. the "chacara" – a kind of weaved bags illustrating their numerous very old legends.