miércoles, 17 de junio de 2009

the wayuu part 2

The people are Wayúu sand, sun and wind, bring in the moral desert, have stood for centuries in the Guajira Peninsula, are great craftsmen, and merchants, for their tireless fighters historical rights that were violated by the very discrimination and racism


from the Wayúu people, the debate on biodiversity and traditional knowledge implies the rupture of some stereotypes. The first is the widespread tendency to assume the importance and significance of the biodiversity associated almost exclusively with tropical moist forest ecosystems. The second is evident in the perspective of addressing the issue of traditional knowledge associated primarily with the practices of farmers and rural people. The territory of the village Wayúu not part of the ecosystems of tropical rainforest and is not a people who base their economic and productive activities in agriculture. In contrast, the Wayúu territory is located in desert ecosystems, dry and arid grazing, fishing and trade are part of the survival of the most important people Wayúu. Within the vast territory Wayúu makes this a great biodiversity, but does not buy it reaches the proportions in other regions like the Amazon or the Choco Biogeographic must be considered and studied properly. Moreover Wayúu people from their grazing activity, gathering and fishing, used in many ways the biodiversity within its territory. That is why we can say that the discussions have been taking place, driven considerably by the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), not only affect the peoples of the Amazon or the Pacific, the peoples and peasant farmers, but they have much to do with a village of pastoralists living in arid and desert ecosystems. II With regard to people Wayúu one of the main concerns that arise when thinking about traditional knowledge and biodiversity in our country has to do with the tragic fact that the pace of cultural erosion that is resulting in the disappearance of traditional knowledge is much larger than the extinction of flora and fauna. This leads to think that any strategy for conservation and recovery of flora and fauna must necessarily rely on the recovery and revitalization of traditional knowledge is an obvious urgency. When you read the text of Article 8 (j) of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), although that is not the only one that has the closest relationship with indigenous peoples, there are some interrogantes1. The first has to do with the enormous difficulties that exist, from the worldview of the people Wayúu to draw boundaries between the traditional knowledge associated with sustainable use of biodiversity and other traditional knowledge that are not apparently related to biodiversity. What is the boundary between this kind of knowledge, "Who defines those limits, what can be understood by sustainable uses ... are questions that break and require deep thinking. The second has to do with the great difficulties that exist, from the cultural tradition Wayúu to define boundaries between what is called traditional knowledge associated with sustainable use of biodiversity and other aspects of cultural and intellectual heritage of the people Wayúu. How far something can be taken as a TK?, How far other aspects of cultural and intellectual heritage of the people are also Wayúu TK. Undoubtedly any categorization that is always going to be controversial. The third has to do with the fact that according to the worldview of the people Wayúu all components of nature are endowed with life, and in that sense, a very precise distinction between living beings and inert elements of nature is not possible. Hence, rocks, streams, winds, rains ... and spirit are also considered to be alive, ie as components of biodiversity. The fourth has to do with the peremptory terms "communities embodying traditional lifestyles" and "use" that appear several times in the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), since they can practice to exclude indigenous peoples living in areas urban areas, such as the Wayúu people, or has developed practices that do not fit within the narrow definition of "customary use" as it is configured with input from diverse cultural traditions. Who defines what they are or are not "traditional lifestyles", "Who defines what is a" use "? ... Are questions that have not yet been answered. III Behind the seemingly homogeneous desert landscape, dry and very dry in the Upper and Middle Guajira, hides a floristic biodiversity negligible. Wayúu territory, particularly in regard to the dry forests, there is a significant biodiversity of flora which has not yet sufficiently known interest of researchers. A lot of the flora in Wayúu territory is widely used by specialists and knowing Finnish native medicinal and therapeutic uses. It raised the number of plants has a high impact on the prevention and cure of various diseases. Thus about the dry forests Wayúu have developed a complex system of medical knowledge. The management and use of plants for therapeutic purposes has a long tradition among Wayúu. This is reflected in the use of these plants is carried out in various ways, among which are: direct application, juice or juice, bathrooms, powder, friction, cataplasm, pasta, steam inhalation, cleaned, ash, chewing , harp, and smoke inhalation plague. A study identified reciente2 percent twenty-five (125) diseases that affect the daily Wayúu, which are treated with one hundred (100) species, some are wild and are cultivated. Among the plants that are mostly used to treat diseases include, for example, the siguientes3: aloe, malambo, tua tua, pringamosa and trupillo, dividivi. Among the diseases that are treated with traditional herbal medicine, the study said, are the most frequent colds or flu, colds, constipation, wound healing, diarrhea, fevers, skin diseases, respiratory diseases, body aches, arthritis, rheumatism etc ... . The plants are not only used for medicinal purposes, as some are used as a means of subsistence, ahuyama and corn, while others in the past had a commercial dispute, as the stick dividivi and Brazil. Furthermore, the aloe and cacti are a large number of representatives that have a promising future for industrial and pharmaceutical use. Some plants are very abundant and are easily and immediately available to Wayúu, enabling innovations from the various tests and various mixtures. Among these plants abundant and easy achievement are: tua tua, brush house, Chinese cotton, olive female trupillo, Cardona and Guayabito guajiro. For its part malambo plant, palo amargo, sin and wonder, despite being frequently used in a wide range of treatments are difficult to locate and reach some high prices in local and regional markets. The existence of some plants associated with the seasons has led the Wayúu to develop procedures for drying and preserving plants for long periods or portions thereof to be used in times of scarcity. What was previously mentioned is only one aspect among many others, the management of biodiversity that is making people Wayúu. Reference was made only xerophytic forest biodiversity, but it is clear that in this forest does not exhaust all of the biodiversity present within the territory Wayúu because we must not forget that there are the National Park of La Macuira and the Sanctuary Animals of the Flamingos. Likewise we should not ignore the biodiversity in coastal and marine ecosystems that are part of the territory Wayúu. IV In relation to the subject of this reflection, ie biodiversity and traditional knowledge from the people Wayúu can make the following recommendations: 1. It is essential to advance training and education programs on this subject, taking the geographical, ecological and cultural aspects of La Guajira. Definitively address these issues must not be done solely from the perspective of the peoples of tropical rain forest or agricultural villages. 2. Should encourage the creation, in situ, nurseries, botanical gardens, orchards ... where they can keep the plants that exist in the traditional territory Wayúu. 3. It must articulate the people's involvement Wayúu to the discussions of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) in other discussions that are taking place on the international agenda, on desert ecosystems and marine ecosystems. 4. Efforts should be made to organize regular meetings of knowing, piaches, traditional doctors to Wayúu Wayúu empower the people in national and international discussions that are occurring around the biodiversity and traditional knowledge. 5. It must create spaces for reflection and gathering to address the issue of traditional knowledge and biodiversity from the perspective of the herders and fishermen.


Some describe the Wayuu of the Guajira (Wajirra) as a society where the men do nothing and the women do all the work. From the viewpoint of someone raised in a patriarchal culture, it may seem valid. In truth, these traditionally nomadic people are matrilineal, meaning name, place in society and property pass through the mother. The desert shapes their beliefs, just as the wind shapes the sands: the Wajirra is the land of dreams and death.

Wayuu society is divided into 12 clans, each with its own name, symbol and animal. Not only is this identification passed through the mother, but also the definition of who is Wayuu. In the case of marriages with alijuna (non-Wayuu), the child is only Wayuu if the mother is.

martes, 16 de junio de 2009

Wayúu Culture Festival: An Expression of a Native Indian People

The most important cultural event in the department of La Guajira, in the northern part of Colombia, is celebrated every year sometime between the months of May and June. It is known as the Wayúu Culture Festival and lasts a weekend. The site of this important festival is the municipality of Uribia, the largest Wayúu settlement in Colombia.
The Wayúu show the world their enormous cultural wealth through a mix of traditional music, rituals, customs, handicrafts, forums, expeditions, and games, all of which have fostered the preservation of ancestral customs, traditions, and folklore.
Origin of the Festival
The history of the festival began in 1984 with the election of the first Wayúu woman (a Majayut). She decided to make public the essence of their culture through dances, food, games, and traditional medicine and music.
The first festival was held in 1985 on the occasion of the fiftieth anniversary of the foundation of Uribia. In 2006 the festival was proclaimed cultural heritage of our nation.
Festival Activities
The Wayúu Culture Festival offers a wide range of activities to suit any preference:
Handicraft Exhibits
The Uribia central park becomes more then a simple display of typical handicrafts; visitors are able to watch exactly how hammocks and mochila bags are woven.
Gastronomic sampling
Wayúu women prepare and offer the typical dishes of their cuisine: friche (a dish prepared with chopped sheep entrails that are cooked with salt in a small amount of water and are then fried in sheep grease), mazamorra (a corn-based beverage), and roast sheep.
Theater Plays
Wayúu children and young people act out the traditions of the culture:
the dance of the little goat, or Kaulayaa a carnival in gratitude for good harvests and rain.
the Yonna, a special celebration related to material and spiritual matters of the Wayúu, such as offerings, revelations, illness, healing, cheers for horse races, etc.

what the wayuu do?

the Wayuu make their own clothes also make their own bags and hammocks

domingo, 7 de junio de 2009

wayuu music and dances

The Wayuu has contributed with their own traditional music and instrument. Their culture directly associates economy and social life with music; such as in the case of raising cattle, in which the indigenous sang to their animals. They also used music for meetings and celebrations, as well as mourning in funerals. The Yonna is the traditional dance of the Wayuu and is used to honor guests.
The Wayuus created many rustic musical instruments called Kashi, Sawawa (type of flute), ma'asi, totoy and the taliraai (tubular flute), wootoroyoi (type of clarinet), among others. The Majayura or ritual of the "young wayuu virgin" in which the female dances towards the male for marriage, while other males perform rhythms with their traditional instruments until the male tumbles onto the ground.

wayuu lifestyle

A traditional Wayuu settlement is made up of five or six houses that made up caserios or rancherias. Each rancheria has a name after a plant, animal or geographic place. A territory that contains many rancherias is named after the mother's last name, because of the matriarchal structure of the Wayuu culture. The Wayuus never group into towns and rancherias are usually isolated and far from each other, to control and prevent mixing of their goat herds.The typical house is a small structure called piichi or miichi, generally divided into two rooms where they hang hamocs to sleep and to keep personal belongings such as cotton made purses and ceramics to keep water. Living quarters can be either rectangular or semi-circular and the rooftop is made up of dried cactus hearts. Traditionally, the walls are made out of yotojoro[4] - a wattle and daub of mud, hay and dried canes -, but some of them have shifted towards a more modern construction style, like using cement and other materials.
Close to the main house they erect a common area, similar to a living room named luma or enramada, but almost in the open. It's made out of six pillars and a flat roof and serves as a common area for everyday duties and where visitors are attended, business activities are handled and where relatives hang their hammocks for the noon power nap.
The Dagger Cactus (Stenocereus griseus) which the Wayuu call yosú is the preferred source of roof and yotojoro wood. This plant is used for many other purposes - it can be planted to produce living fences around pastureland, and when young the shoots are fed to goats. The fruit (iguaraya) are edible and pitahaya-like and are a popular food among the Wayuu. Because the demand for yosú as food or for wood can be seasonally high, the plant population at times declines to a point where little fruit or cuttings for fences are available. It has thus been proposed to develop techniques by which the Wayuu can cultivate or tend for the cactus as a proper crop.