The Wayuu normative system in Colombia is applied by the Pütchipü’üi  (‘orator’). They are experts in resolving conflicts and disputes between the local matrilineal clans.
© 2009 by Jayariyu
5 August 2022

This year’s theme for the International Day of the World’s Indigenous People is “The Role of Indigenous Women in the Preservation and Transmission of Traditional Knowledge”.

Indigenous women are indeed at the forefront of safeguarding living heritage practices and traditional knowledge. They contribute to environmental protection, quality education, responsible production and other Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) as part of the Agenda 2030. The Lists of the 2003 Convention show many examples where indigenous women play a crucial role in the safeguarding and the smooth transmission of their intangible cultural heritage (ICH) within their indigenous communities and beyond. Take a glimpse at a few examples below.

Andean cosmovision of the Kallawaya Read more on the element
© Jérôme Tubiana
< Indigenous knowledge, encased in language, is often transmitted and expressed through a myriad of practices and expressions. Indigenous Women are at the forefront of this transmission, such as the Kallawaya women in Bolivia.

Various Tais sold in a local market. It is common for women weavers to sell Tais to gain additional income for the family. Read more on the element
© Secretariat of State for Equality and Inclusion of Timor-Leste, 2017

In Timor-Leste, the production of Tais, a traditional textile, is a role reserved for women, who are also responsible for passing the knowledge and skills on to the next generation. >

Using the melody of Morin Khuur for coaxing the mare-camel and orphan calf -1 (Mandal Ovoo soum, Umnugovi Province) Read more on the element
© Yu.Boldbaatar, 2013
< Mongol herdswomen perform a coaxing ritual to encourage female camels to accept a new-born or to adopt an orphan. Those women engage in techniques and specific methods of coaxing, and transmit those to youth through home tutoring, safeguarding this living heritage practice.

Traditional Mexican cuisine - ancestral, ongoing community culture, the Michoacán paradigm Read more on the element
© 2006 A. Ríos / Secretaría de Turismo del Estado de Míchoacán.

Pictured here is Mrs Genoveva Alejo with her granddaughter, harvesting pomegranates in Carapan, Mexico. Indigenous Women transmits the traditional Mexican cuisine and unique farming methods to younger generations, encouraging sustainable development. >

Hudhud chants of the Ifugao Read more on the element
© J. Uñalivia/NCCA-IHC, 2008
< The Hudhud consists of narrative chants traditionally performed by the Ifugao community, which is well known for its rice terraces in the Philippine Cordilleras, a World Heritage Site. Women transmit this living heritage made of stories and chants to younger generations in this matrilineal society.

The Dukug, awajun wisewomen, are the main bearers of the pottery making tradition. In the picture Ms. Taijin shows the rolling and knead technique Read more on the element
© Ministry of Culture of Peru, 2018

The Awajún people of northern Peru view pottery as an example of their harmonious relationship with nature. The main bearers of the Awajún pottery knowledge, lore and traditions are the Dukúg wisewomen, female elders who pass the practice on to other women in their families. >

Ms Goiemann, a guitalist that performs the Aboxan Musik ǀŌb ǂÂns tsî ǁKhasigu Read more on the element
© Ministry of Education, Arts and Culture, Namibia, 2018
< Aixan/Gana/Ob#ANS TSI //Khasigu, ancestral musical sound knowledge and skills relates to the specific traditional music of the Nama people, one of Namibia’s tribal minority groups. Inscribed on the Urgent Safeguarding List, this musical living heritage practice is transmitted by elders to younger generations.

UNESCO celebrates the role of indigenous women across the world. For more information on 2003 Convention and indigenous peoples, visit our dedicated webpage.

Related themes

  • safeguarding measures sustainable development transmission

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