Boruca Tribe

The indigenous Borucan tribe is located in a remote mountainous area in central Costa Rica.

Boruca have a long tradition of hand-dying yarn of natural dyes from sources including leaves of the sangrilla tree, bark of the carbonero tree, clay, indigo plants and even the ink from a Pacific mollusk. After spinning thread from locally grown cotton, they use a loom to weave the thread into bags, belts, purses and more.

Over time, however, the tradition nearly died.  In 1970 a group of women united with the focus of reclaiming the original traditions that made their people distinct. The group formed as the association La Flor de Boruca. They have financially subsisted primarily from sales of their textiles and handiwork until the pandemic hit.

We wanted to support them by selling to those that cannot visit their town or buy from local shops. Items have been selected from their hand-woven textiles and we hope you enjoy the quality of their work and their distinctive designs.

           

GO TO STORE 

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IDENTITY

Boruca (also called Brunca, Brunka or Borunca) are a proud indigenous people of Costa Rica. Their striking, hand-carved Boruca masks are so popular that imitations are sold throughout the Central American country. But the indigenous culture is more than a mask

PAST INFLUENCES

Though the Boruca have kept their identity intact, the Spanish colonization left an influence — most notably through the presence of the Roman Catholic church and its traditions. Spanish is now the dominant language in Boruca.

However, several of the most ancient Boruca traditions are still remembered and practiced today, and can be seen through crafts, legends, and the pride of the Boruca in identity and tradition.

Boruca’s history hasn’t been easy. Eventually, farming alone was not enough to sustain their tribe and the people were experiencing extreme poverty. As a result, in 1970 a group of women united together to reclaim the original Boruca crafts and traditions that made their people distinct. Over the next 30 years, they had a clear impact on the economy by increasing sales of crafts and focusing on both ecotourism and ethnotourism. 

TODAY

Today, the Boruca continue to use all-natural fibers and dyes to make their yarn and use traditional back-weave looms.

An estimated 80 percent of Boruca sell handmade crafts out of their homes and shops around Costa Rica. However, with the pandemic they have lost their primary means for income, and the government does not provide indigenous groups with any financial support.