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Mapa de Colombia (población indígena 2005).svg
Map of the percentage of Colombian indigenous people (2005)
The Kankuamo are located in the north of Colombia; the dark brown "J"
Total population
15,000 (2006)[1]
Regions with significant populations
(Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta)
Traditional beliefs
Related ethnic groups
Arhuaco, Wiwa, Kogui[1]

The Kankuamo, kankuaka, kankui or kankuané are an indigenous people of Colombia, living on the southern slopes of the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta up until the north of the César department (corregimientos: Atánquez, Guatapurí, Chemesquemena, Los Haticos, La Minha and Rio Seco).[2] The Kankuamo people, estimated at around 15,000 individuals, speak Sánha, a dialect of the Atanque language of the Chibcha family. Their laws are borne from nature and they consider the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta, the highest mountain range closest to the sea, as sacred. In their native tongue they call this Umunukunu.[1] Many Kankuamo, mostly merchants, do not speak their native language.[3]

Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta
Home of the Kankuamo people

Indigenous group of the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta[edit]

Traditionally the Kankuamo people are of the four indigenous groups of the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta the least contacted by others, having developed strategies to survive away from the outside world.

The Kankuamo people are characterized for their different way of dressing from the other peoples of the Sierra Nevada; the women wear two overlapping cloths and the men short trousers and a hat of reed. Their living space is bordered by the kogui, Wiwa and arhuaco.[4]


The economy of the kankuamo is based on agriculture, main products are yuca, ñame, pigeon peas, corn, bananas, coca leaves, fique, arracacha and starch.


  1. ^ a b c "Kankuamo people" - Minority Rights - accessed 18-04-2016
  2. ^ (in Spanish) Localization of the Kankuamo people and language - Pueblos Originarios - accessed 18-04-2016
  3. ^ (in Spanish) Kankuamo people and their languages - Banco de la República - accessed 18-04-2016
  4. ^ (in Spanish) Dressing style of the Kankuamo people - TodaColombia - accessed 18-04-2016

External links[edit]