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Project October 7, 2015

Costa Rica: Bribri Culture Under Threat

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Media file: finalyorkin6.jpg
Graby, 13, who started high school this year, says his friends use technology more than he does. Still, he admits he “gets distracted” while using it. Image by Diana Crandall. Costa Rica, 2015.

The Bribri are an indigenous group in Costa Rica, with an estimated population of 11,500. They are called Costa Rica's "hidden people"—their isolation from society allows them to retain Bribri culture, ethnicity and religion.

Yorkin, a Bribri village of about 280, is secluded in the mountainous Talamanca region. The innovative women of Yorkin, a matriarchal society, started Stribrawpa, an organization that promotes economic and cultural growth through ecotourism, sustainable development, cacao harvesting and cultural education.

But Bribri culture is under threat.

There has not been a graduating high school class in Yorkín since 2010. The older generation attributes this to the influx of technology, which is slowly infiltrating most homes in the community. Many people say the younger generation is more interested in discovering the outside world they can find on their phone rather than learning about their own culture that now faces an uncertain future.

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