Kogui communities in Sierra Nevada, Tayrona Park Area in Colombia
Kogui huts in Sierra Nevada

Kogui still live on areas in Sierra Nevada and Tayrona National Park, Kogui is the name for an ethnic group of colombian indigenous. They are descendents of “Tayronas” who lived centuries ago in Colombian Coast.

When European conquerors arrived in America, I mean, when they discovered, -I correct-, when they saw America for the very first time, they arrived in the area which is nowadays Tayrona National Park. Imagine how impressed they were to see those amazing landscapes of pristine beauty. Besides, to see a culture, a group of people living there. I didn’t know if conquerors noticed they were in front of a civilization, with an invaluable spiritual richness.

 

Tayrona People had Tons of Gold

But, who knows if they still have some in their hidden sacred places.

You must know Tayronas had an impressive golden made jewelry. What was next, the history is well known. Some Tayronas ran to hide in Sierra Nevada and they changed their name to Kogui. Centuries later, Koguis returned to Tayrona Park area and their descendents still live there, Pueblito Chayrama is their home (Check Pueblito Chayrama gallery).

Other Koguis continue living in Sierra Nevada. To visit them, you have to go with people that previously have received a permission to get there from a Kogui authority. I recommend Tierra Nativa Kogui. He has shared with Koguis since his childhood, He got a permission from Mamo, which is the male spiritual authority for Koguis. The female one is Saga.

Tierra Nativa also helps the community by picking up trash. Because, sometimes Koguis received gifts from visitors like candies, cans of cola, food in plastic bags etc. Gifts that came from “our world”, and most of Koguis don’t know what to do with that kind of garbish. Due to most of them do not have contact with the city or the town. If you visit them, pay attention about what you should show them.  On the other hand, there are ones who visit the town and some of them have tried some vicious like alcohol, especifically adults. I don’t blame them. You can see Koguis walking on the streets with their typical white costumes.

According to Koguis, Mamo or Mama is the spiritual guide in each community. He has at least 25 years of training, including meditation in nature and learning all the necessary. Like traditions and nature interpretation. They must have a high level of wisdom. To take a decision women and male guides discuss separatly, therefore they exchange thoughts and Mamo takes a final word about the issue.

How to reach this Kogui communities?

In the mountains, -the trek can take about 2 hours- mostly going up. Koguis live in their houses made on natural resources. They have family houses, a space for meetings and another for visitors who want to spend a night.

Koguis live simply in the mountains with a far view of the Caribbean Sea. Women cook in bonfires, kids play around and take care themselves, men build and work the land. Some Koguis grow up and sell cocoa, others weave typical handbags.

In spite they have received some artifacts of the modern world like solar panels, not everyone uses them and It’s important to know that Koguis maintain their traditions, worldview and language as symbol of their identity.

If you are interested on indigenous people and their traditions, Colombia is a suitable country for that, specifically Tayrona National Park area and surroundings of Sierra Nevada (Mountain Range of Santa Marta)

 

By: @GutiAventurero

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