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Pech people: Map

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The Pech are an indigenous people in northeastern Hondurasmarker, whose population, as of early 2005, had been reduced to 3,800. The Pech language is a member of the Chibchan family of languages, and, although it is still spoken by older people, it is in danger of extinction in the relatively near future.

The region where the Pech live was originally densely forested, principally with the pitch-pine (Spanish ocote), as well as with mahogany & other tree-species. However, the forest has been heavily logged in all but one Pech location. Pech traditional religion included ceremonies to the spirit of the mountains, the spiritual owners of animals, and to the mermaid who cares for the fish. The Pech have traditionally hunted rainforest animals, such as peccaries, monkeys, and so on. However, near most of their villages these animals are now extinct or near extinction due to habitat-loss and overhunting. In addition, the government has sponsored the moving of thousands of Honduran Spanish-speakers into the Pech area as part of its agrarian reform program, activity which is almost certain to lead to further erosion of Pech language & culture.

Prior to about 1980, the Pech were known as Payas.


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