- Takes note that Colombia has nominated Ancestral system of knowledge of the four indigenous peoples, Arhuaco, Kankuamo, Kogui and Wiwa of the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta (No. 01886) for inscription on the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity:
The Ancestral System of Knowledge of the Arhuaco, Kankuamo, Kogui and Wiwa peoples of the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta is comprised of sacred mandates that keep the existence of the four peoples in harmony with the physical and spiritual universe. Through many years of dedication, the knowledgeable men (Mamos) and women (Sagas) acquire the necessary skills and sensitivity to communicate with the snow-capped peaks, connect with the knowledge of the rivers and decipher the messages of nature. Based on the Law of Origin, a philosophy that governs human relationships to nature and the universe, the Ancestral System of Knowledge entails caring for sacred sites and partaking in baptism rituals, marriage rites, traditional dances and songs, and retributions or offerings to spiritual powers. This ancestral wisdom is believed to play a fundamental role in protecting the Sierra Nevada ecosystem and avoiding the loss of the cultural identity of the four peoples of the region. The Ancestral System of Knowledge is transmitted from generation to generation through cultural practice, community activities, the use of the indigenous language and the implementation of the sacred mandates. The transmission process includes the understanding of physical and spiritual relationships with Mother Nature and sacred sites.
- Considers that, from the information included in the file, the nomination satisfies the following criteria for inscription on the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity:
R.1: The Ancestral System of Knowledge of the four peoples of the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta is composed of the sacred mandates that keep the existence of the four peoples in harmony with both the physical and the spiritual universe. The bearers are the four indigenous peoples of the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta, and include spiritual leaders, elders, and family groups who lead the offerings, baptisms, community councils and other rituals. The knowledge and skills are transmitted through practice, the use of the mother tongue, and the implementation of the mandates of origin, respect and appreciation of vital spaces. The element is also transmitted through participation in community activities. As the pillar of the cultural identity of the four peoples, it promotes the relationship with the territory as a sacred unit as well as spiritual and historical relationships.
R.2: At the local level, inscription is expected to spark interest in safeguarding other elements of the four peoples such as their traditional cuisine, craftsmanship and oral traditions. At the national level, inscription will provide the population of Colombia with a deeper understanding of the role of intangible cultural heritage in the sustainable future of the country. At the international level, inscription will lead to greater awareness of the importance of recognizing intangible cultural heritage as a fundamental tool for harmonious and sustainable relationships with the environment. Inscription will also contribute to greater visibility of how social groups around the world construct norms and principles of coexistence, values, and cultural memory.
R.3: The nomination file provides information about the communities' efforts in training apprentices, problem-solving, maintaining order, ensuring balance in line with cultural principles and precepts, and promoting the safeguarding of the element. The State Party supports the safeguarding of the element by carrying out fifteen working groups with the four peoples to adopt the Management Plan of the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta National Park, in addition to capacity-building initiatives for stakeholders and an awareness-raising campaign for intangible cultural heritage. The proposed safeguarding measures include strategic planning, inter-institutional coordination, awareness-raising on the importance of the element, capacity-building for the bearers, traditional knowledge transmission programmes, and assessment of the ethnographic research about the four peoples and the ancestral territory. The State Party will also support the implementation of the proposed measures by adopting the safeguarding plan and providing technical and financial support. The safeguarding plan was developed and will be implemented with the participation of the communities from the Arhuaco, Kankuamo, Kogui and Wiwa peoples. The proposed safeguarding measures are comprehensive and creatively designed, such as the National Consumption Tax on mobile phone services, where part of the resources received from the tax are allocated to the safeguarding plans of elements inscribed in the Lists of the 2003 Convention.
R.4: The nomination was initiated by the four peoples, who requested support from the national government to nominate the element for the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity. In response to the request, the authorities designated a local working group made up of indigenous researchers to carry out participatory activities for preparing the file. A series of meetings were held with indigenous authorities, spiritual and community leaders, local governments, and national entities, in which support and consent for the nomination file were expressed. Consent letters from the four peoples of the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta were provided as part of the nomination file. A set of customary practices regulate the access to the traditional activities of each people, and respect for these customary practices has been highlighted in the safeguarding plan.
R.5: The element was included on the National Representative List of Intangible Cultural Heritage of Colombia on 22 December 2017. The inventory is maintained by the Intangible Cultural Heritage Group of the Division of Heritage and Memory in the Ministry of Culture. The inventorying of the element was carried out with the support of the Gonawindúa Tayrona Organization (OGT), an NGO of the indigenous communities of the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta, and with the endorsement of the Territorial Council of Cabildos, the highest authority of the four peoples. Developing a Special Safeguarding Plan is an obligatory condition for inscription of an element in the National Representative List of Intangible Cultural Heritage. The Special Safeguarding Plans are reviewed and updated every five years.
- Decides to inscribe Ancestral system of knowledge of the four indigenous peoples, Arhuaco, Kankuamo, Kogui and Wiwa of the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta on the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity.