February 2: the Indian Day celebration in Colombia.

indigena de sierra nevada

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Today February 2nd, as every year, is celebrated Day of the Indian in Colombia.

In commemoration of this celebration, in today’s post, we want to tell you all about the indigenous tribes that still exist in Ciudad Perdida.

Celebration of the Day of the Indian in Colombia

The celebration of this holiday has a point in common with other South American countries. And although in each country it is celebrated on a different date, they all commemorate the celebration of the First Inter-American Indian Congress held in Pátzcuaro (Mexico) in 1940.

In this first congress, representatives of aboriginal communities from all over the Americas participated to address problems associated with their social and economic situation.

As a result of this congress, the April 19 was established as the American Indian Day, although in each place it has come to be called in a different way, and on a different date in the calendar.

This is why February 2 is celebrated as Indian Day in Colombia. And to commemorate this holiday, we are going to tell you about the main tribes that still exist and that you can find in the Lost City Tour.

The descendant tribes of the Tayrona

As of today, in Lost City or also known as Teyuna, you can find 4 different tribes, but all with a common history.

day of the indian in lost city

In this area of northern Colombia, it is believed that was populated by the Tayrona, one of the most powerful tribes that lived hundreds of years ago around Sierra Nevada.

Thus, these tribes are all descendants of the ancient Indians who inhabited these lands. The social structure and customs of the present-day Tayrona, have many things in common with their ancestors.

According to the beliefs of these indigenous populations, each of the 4 tribes are the “four legs” of a table, and together, they protect and make possible the stability of the whole table (Sierra Nevada).

So that we understand each other, these four tribes are in charge of protecting their most valuable treasure, Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta, in Colombia. Undoubtedly, one of the must-see places to visit in Colombia.

This indigenous community has around 10,000 people, who speak their own language, “Kogui”.

They are a pacifist tribe, as they never tried to fight intruders and preferred to move to more isolated areas of the mountains, where they could continue to live their lives without too much influence from western civilizations.

They call themselves the “older brothers” who guard the “Heart of the World” (Sierra Nevada) and protect it from the “younger brothers” who are destroying it.

Kogui tribe Indian in Sierra Nevada

As good Colombians, growing best coffee in the world and then selling it is one of the most important economic activities for the people.

The Wiwa tribe, the people who give rise to the heat

As was the case with the Kogui tribe, they also speak their own language. It is “damana”, although both languages come from the same family.

More than 10,000 people live in single-family, rectangular-shaped houses in the foothills and valleys of the Sierra. In addition, these villages are ceremonial and ritual centers, and in their houses, they hold meetings and listen to the stories and advice of the mamos, the representatives of the Sun on Earth.

Like the other natives of the Sierra Nevada, for the Wiwas the music and dance are two aspects of great importance within their culture, as they allow to maintain a balance between man and nature.

If you ever manage to get into these cultures, don’t even think of turning down an invitation to dance with them, you know it’s one of the things you can never do in Colombia.

Tribu Arhuaco, the guardians of life

In the 2005 census, this indigenous community had more than 20,000 people who spoke the “Ika” language, the tribe’s own language.

The arhuacos are a deeply spiritual people. They believe in the existence of a creator, the Sun, from which came the first gods and material beings. In addition, there are other fathers such as the snow-capped mountains and other mothers such as the Earth and the Moon.

They consider Sierra Nevada as the heart of the world, so they themselves are in charge of keeping it alive.

landscape of the sierra nevada mountains in colombia

For the Arhuaca community the production of tobacco and coca leaf are part of their tradition.

These people have cultivated the coca leaf for more than 500 years. Despite the problems with this plant by the local authorities, they justify its cultivation as a medicinal and ceremonial plant.

But don’t try to use this excuse in the rest of the world, it only seems to work in the Sierra Nevada mountain range.

Tribu Kankuamo, the guardians of balance

Finally, we talk about the Kankuamo Tribe. This is the “last leg of the table”, in charge of maintaining the balance of the Sierra Nevada.

It has around 15,000 Kankuamos, but unfortunately, it is only a small part of this ethnic group that speaks “kuaki”, their own language. Despite this, great efforts are currently being made to try to recover the language and cultural identity.

Village in Indian Day in the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta

For them, the Kankuamos are the guardians of the Sierra and the other three peoples: Kogui, Arhuaco and Wiwa represent the guardians of the tradition.

Undoubtedly, these are peoples with a tradition and beliefs deeply rooted in nature and their greatest treasure, the Lost City and the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta.

Would you like to get to know their customs and spend a few days with these indigenous tribes? Would you like to live this festivity of the Day of the Indian in Colombia?

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