In 1984, Nugkuag took his organizing principles a step further and formed COICA, a federation of Indian organizations representing the national Indian organizations of the five Amazon Basin countries: Peru, Bolivia, Ecuador, Brazil, and Colombia. In decades past, there was little communication among the tribes of the same nation. Today, the COICA network represents over a million people from 219 different indigenous groups pressing for Indian land rights in each of the five Amazon basin countries. As COICA’s president, Nugkuag was able to build an important alliance between indigenous people and the international environmental community.
After Nugkuag’s term as COICA’s president expired in 1992, the organization relocated to Ecuador. Nugkuag continued to forge alliances, becoming president of the Alliance of European Cities and the Indigenous People of the Amazon for the Protection of Tropical Rainforests, Climate and Human Life. Peru’s indigenous people continue to face threats from oil and mineral exploration on their land.