UNESCO Recognizes the Jaguar Shamans of Yuruparí, Colombia

by Swift Foundation on December 13, 2011

For the first time in its history, UNESCO identified an entire culture complex as the intangible heritage of humanity and in need of protection. The cultural traditions of the Jaguar Shamans of Yuruparí, Colombia have finally been recognized.

This culture, common to several ethnic groups along the Pira Paraná River in the Colombian Amazon, centers around the holistic management of their sacred land. They combine spiritual elements with a deep knowledge of the rainforest.

Threatened in the 1970s by missionaries’ efforts to westernize them, these communities and their leaders from the Pira Paraná River have invested decades of work in documenting and protecting their culture.

Congratulations are due to the leadership of the people of the Pira Paraná River and Swift grantee Gaia Amazonas (www.gaiaamazonas.org) that has been accompanying the communities on the Pira Paraná for over twenty years to strengthen their governance and see their culture flourish.

According to Andrea Armeni of Gaia Amazonas, despite the UNESCO recognition, grave challenges persist in this region, especially as mining companies attempt to enter their territory to exploit the gold under some of their most sacred sites.

Here is a link to a short video on the culture of Hee Yaia Keti Oka: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ddW3tpC-K28

 

{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

Aidan Aportunse December 27, 2011 at 5:43 am

2 Indigenous peoples have the collective right to live in freedom, peace and SECURITY as distinct peoples.

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Selin February 26, 2012 at 9:34 am

Rather than pnsuihg these people out of their homeland, culture and way of living maybe we should be looking at how we might mirror their lifestyle. Rather than believing that our modernized, compact, expanding life is the advanced way of living we should be focusing on the indigenous way of life and how they live with, not on, the earth. For coming so far in the race of humanity we are very behind in the game of life and living. Focus should be on how we can learn to live on this planet with little impact. We should value not the dollar but the beauty of the people and land we have around us. I hope that the government will work with these people finding ways that we can incorporate their lifestly into our way of living, not forcing them into a life of modernization. Let’s foster this importance of community, culture, bioethics, and love. No one ever died wishing they would have worked more . 1 0

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Liliana June 8, 2012 at 12:34 pm

I don’t think we have really, the man here is just doing his job which is getnitg information out of a reticent suspect of a fairly serious crime. The fact that the way he goes about that is disagreeable to our civil liberties is awful but he’s just doing what police officers have always done — investigating crimes. Stanley Milgram showed the danger of people in moderate authority just doing their job.It is reassuring that an officer was recently fired for beating up a prisoner on CCTV but it still happened and no one seemed to be stopping him.

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