• wiwa


descendants of the tayrona people, the wiwa, also known as arsarios or malayo, are one of the four indigenous tribes that live native in the mountains of santa marta in sierra nevada (colombia). most of their territories have been taken away from the querilleros FARC, and their land has been bought with the gold that was found from expeditions

owing anything else than few fields, which men have received from their women after their marriage, they feed their families cultivating yucca, corn and bananas

even they live in a natural environment, due to the territorial conflict and the lack of food supplies, the wiwa have been forced to use foreign products, like industrial rise, salt, oil and alcohol. these changes brought along with them consequences, such as diseases

foreign animals, that have been brought to their land, they have polluted their rivers; also chemicals, that they used to wash their clothes and their pots, as their invaders did. only few communities had access to ceramic pots and pure water for cooking in the higher mountains

life at the small community in el canto village is not anymore so joyful, as the mind of the wiwa adults have been corrupted. young, but wise, children feel worry about their future, as their community changes, day by day by the greediness of the local agriculture.

obligated to go to school, where they focus on spanish and english teachings, their wiwa tradition has slowly deteriorated from the daily influences, and television became their new environment and entertainment, at the local storehouse

the elder mamos are frightened, but they keep an eye on the young boys connecting them to their ancestral wisdom through the ritual of hainio, the coca leaves. once a month, they are allowed to enter the ‘casa maria’, their ceremony house, and do a ritual where they sing and have visions. at the age of thirteen, they are wise enough and ready to decide to create their own families. due to sacred ceremonies, they get initiated from the mamo elder men and women into sacred sexuality

women are very quiet, and most of the time occupied at the fields and in the creation of the ‘mochila bags for their husbands and sons. their daughters take care of their babies and all, even the youngest ones assist to daily household; this is how they learn. once a month, by their menstruation, women also gather in casa maria’ to share their cosmo-visions or to talk about intimate family issues

the intention to help the tribe to publish a book with their own wiwa language twelve years ago, it has failed due to the assassination of their leader; he concerned for the future of his people:

nowadays, our culture is loosing ground from its roots for lot of reasons. If we are not going to be able to maintain our Cosmo-vision alive, all the knowledge related to nature and the universal law of creation, which it has been decoded in our language, nothing is going to be left in the memory of the coming generation. And, if something like that is going to happen, a very important part of our wisdom and tradition is going to disappear forever.”, ramon hill, elder mamo of wiwa

today, the wiwa tribe is being protected by the international organization of unesco and the commission of human rights, uno