Safeguarding of the traditional knowledge for the protection of sacred natural sites in the territory of the Jaguars of Yuruparí, Vaupés Province, Colombia

  • Financial assistance:
    • US$ 25,000 granted in 2017
  • Dates of implementation:
    • 01/06/2017 - 28/02/2018
  • Documents:

Benefitting country(ies): Colombia


The project is aimed at safeguarding the knowledge associated with the stewardship of sacred sites of the jaguar shamans of Yuruparí settled in the Pirá Paraná River, in south-eastern Colombia. Inscribed on the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity in 2011, their traditional knowledge is an organic system that seeks to maintain the balance between humans and nature. According to this ancestral wisdom, the Pirá Paraná forms the heart of a large area, whose sacred sites contain vital spiritual energy that nurtures all living beings in the world. Factors such as mining policies or the emigration of young people from these cultural spaces have an impact on their lifestyle and constitute serious threats to the viability of this knowledge system, particularly relating to the management of natural resources and sacred sites. A central component of the Special Safeguarding Plan for the traditional knowledge of the jaguar shamans of Yuruparí was an endogenous research programme conducted by the Association of Captains and Traditional Indigenous Authorities of the Pirá Paraná (ACAIPI) in close cooperation with the Colombian non-governmental organization, Gaia Amazonas, and supported by the Ministry of Culture between 2011 and 2013. Implemented by Gaia Amazonas, the present project is a continuation of this initiative, which, due to budgetary constraints, no longer enjoys such support from governmental resources. Specific objectives of the programme are to facilitate the transmission of the traditional knowledge from knowledge-holders to young generations as well as to document sacred sites present in the Yuruparí territory. Planned activities to achieve the project objectives include fieldwork conducted by indigenous youth groups in the most significant sacred sites, the processing and systematization of the information collected, and the publication of six bilingual booklets.

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