Wayuu people

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"Wayuu" redirects here. Wayuu people_sentence_0

For other uses, see Wayuu (disambiguation). Wayuu people_sentence_1

Wayuu people_table_infobox_0

WayúuWayuu people_table_caption_0
Total populationWayuu people_header_cell_0_0_0
Regions with significant populationsWayuu people_header_cell_0_1_0
LanguagesWayuu people_header_cell_0_2_0
ReligionWayuu people_header_cell_0_3_0
Related ethnic groupsWayuu people_header_cell_0_4_0

Wayuu (also Wayu, Wayúu, Guajiro, Wahiro) is an Indigenous American ethnic group of the Guajira Peninsula in northernmost part of Colombia and northwest Venezuela. Wayuu people_sentence_2

The Wayuu language is part of the Maipuran (Arawak) language family. Wayuu people_sentence_3

Geography Wayuu people_section_0

The Wayúu inhabit the arid Guajira Peninsula straddling the Venezuela-Colombia border, on the Caribbean Sea coast. Wayuu people_sentence_4

Two major rivers flow through this mostly harsh environment: the Rancheria River in Colombia and the El Limón River in Venezuela representing the main source of water, along with artificial ponds designed to hold rain water during the rain season. Wayuu people_sentence_5

The territory has equatorial weather seasons: a rainy season from September to December, which they call Juyapu; a dry season, known by them as Jemial, from December to April; a second rainy season called Iwa from April to May; and a long second dry season from May to September. Wayuu people_sentence_6

History Wayuu people_section_1

Guajira rebellion Wayuu people_section_2

Although the Wayuu were never subjugated by the Spanish, the two groups were in a more or less permanent state of war. Wayuu people_sentence_7

There were rebellions in 1701 (when they destroyed a Capuchin mission), 1727 (when more than 2,000 natives attacked the Spanish), 1741, 1757, 1761 and 1768. Wayuu people_sentence_8

In 1718, Governor Soto de Herrera called them "barbarians, horse thieves, worthy of death, without God, without law and without a king". Wayuu people_sentence_9

Of all the Indigenous peoples in the territory of Colombia, they were unique in having learned the use of firearms and horses. Wayuu people_sentence_10

In 1769, the Spanish captured 22 Wayuus in order to put them to work building the fortifications of Cartagena. Wayuu people_sentence_11

The reaction of the natives was unexpected. Wayuu people_sentence_12

On May 2, 1769, at El Rincón, near Río de la Hacha, they set their village afire, burning the church and two Spaniards who had taken refuge in it. Wayuu people_sentence_13

They also captured the priest. Wayuu people_sentence_14

The Spanish immediately dispatched an expedition from El Rincón to capture the Wayuu. Wayuu people_sentence_15

This force was led by José Antonio de Sierra, a mestizo who had also headed the party that captured the 22 Guajiro. Wayuu people_sentence_16

They recognized him and forced his party to take refuge in the house of the curate, which they then set afire. Wayuu people_sentence_17

Sierra and eight of his men were killed. Wayuu people_sentence_18

This success was soon known in other Guajiro areas, and more men joined the revolt. Wayuu people_sentence_19

According to Messía, at the peak there were 20,000 Wayuu under arms. Wayuu people_sentence_20

Many had firearms acquired from English and Dutch smugglers, sometimes even from the Spanish. Wayuu people_sentence_21

These enabled the rebels to take nearly all the settlements of the region, which they burned. Wayuu people_sentence_22

According to the authorities, more than 100 Spaniards were killed and many others taken prisoner. Wayuu people_sentence_23

Many cattle were also taken by the rebels. Wayuu people_sentence_24

The Spaniards who could took refuge in Río de la Hacha and sent urgent messages to Maracaibo, Valle de Upar, Santa Marta and Cartagena. Wayuu people_sentence_25

Cartagena sent 100 troops. Wayuu people_sentence_26

The rebels themselves were not unified. Wayuu people_sentence_27

Sierra's relatives among the Wayuu took up arms against the rebels to avenge his death. Wayuu people_sentence_28

The two groups of natives fought at La Soledad. Wayuu people_sentence_29

That and the arrival of Spanish reinforcements caused the rebellion to fade, but not before the Guajiro had regained much territory. Wayuu people_sentence_30

Evangelization process Wayuu people_section_3

The process of evangelization of the Wayuu people restarted in 1887 with the return of the Capuchin friars under reverend friar José María de Valdeviejas. Wayuu people_sentence_31

In 1905, Pope Pius X created the Vicariate of La Guajira with friar Atanasio Vicente Soler y Royo as first Vicar, in an attempt to "civilize" the Wayuu people. Wayuu people_sentence_32

The friars then created the orphanages for Wayuu children beginning with the La Sierrita orphanage, built in the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta mountains in 1903, followed by the San Antonio orphanage, located by the Calancala River, in 1910, and the Nazareth orphanage in the Serrania de Macuira mountains in 1913, creating a direct influence over the Rancherias of Guarrachal, El Pájaro, Carazúa, Guaraguao, Murumana, Garra patamana and Karraipía, with Nazareth exerting some control over the rancherias of Taroa, Maguaipa, Guaseipá and Alpanapause. Wayuu people_sentence_33

The friars constantly visited the settlements inviting the Wayuu to attend mass. Wayuu people_sentence_34

Wayuu children in the orphanage were educated with traditional European customs. Wayuu people_sentence_35

Conflicts between the Wayuu people and the Colombian government decreased since then. Wayuu people_sentence_36

In 1942 Uribia celebrated Christmas and New Year's Eve for the first time. Wayuu people_sentence_37

Demographics Wayuu people_section_4

According to a 1997 census in Colombia, the Wayuu population numbered approximately 144,003 – representing 20% of Colombia's total Amerindian population and 48% of the population of the Department of La Guajira. Wayuu people_sentence_38

The Wayuu occupy a total area of 4,171 square miles (10,800 km) within approximately ten Indian reservations, eight of which are located south of the Department (including a major one called Carraipia). Wayuu people_sentence_39

In Venezuela, the Wayuu population is estimated at 293,777, according to the 2001 census, with some 60,000 living in the city of Maracaibo. Wayuu people_sentence_40

This makes the Wayuu the largest indigenous group in Venezuela, representing 57.5% of the Amerindian population. Wayuu people_sentence_41

Wayuu communities are not uniformly distributed within these territories, as their population is concentrated primarily in the outskirts of such settlements as Nazareth and Jala'ala, on the plains of Wopu'muin and Uribia, and within the municipalities of Maicao and Manaure, where population densities are some of the highest in the peninsula. Wayuu people_sentence_42

This irregular distribution is intimately related to seasonal changes in weather – during the dry season, a significant proportion of the population crosses the border into Venezuela to work in the city of Maracaibo and its nearby settlements; once the rainy season begins, these Wayuu tend to return to their homes on the Colombian side. Wayuu people_sentence_43

The Wayuu people refer to themselves simply as "Wayuu" and do not acknowledge the term "Indian", preferring instead the term "people". Wayuu people_sentence_44

They use the terms Kusina or "Indian" to refer to other ethnic indigenous groups, while using the term Alijuna (essentially meaning "the one who damages") to refer to outsiders or persons of European ancestry. Wayuu people_sentence_45

Clans Wayuu people_section_5

Families in the Wayuu culture are divided into clans, some of which are: Wayuu people_sentence_46

Wayuu people_table_general_1

CLANWayuu people_header_cell_1_0_0 TERRITORYWayuu people_header_cell_1_0_1 TRANSLATIONWayuu people_header_cell_1_0_2
AapushanaWayuu people_cell_1_1_0 Eirakajaule
Shooliyuu-kanejeruuWayuu people_cell_1_1_1
Sour with something
Land of the beach 
Land of si´iya 
Land of pans 
Away from the pulp 
round object 
Inside the heart of the Wolunka house 
Axe on the ground 
HideoutsWayuu people_cell_1_1_2
EpieyuWayuu people_cell_1_2_0 Lumoulein
PuuroulepuWayuu people_cell_1_2_1
where sleepiness is feltWayuu people_cell_1_2_2
IguanaWayuu people_cell_1_3_0 Wo'upanalu'u
PuuroulepuWayuu people_cell_1_3_1
Close to the eyes
For the birdsWayuu people_cell_1_3_2
JayaliyuuWayuu people_cell_1_4_0 Kalimiru´u
MekijanaoWayuu people_cell_1_4_1
Animal teeth
to herd 
Little "curarire" 
Eyes without headWayuu people_cell_1_4_2
JusayuuWayuu people_cell_1_5_0 Polujalii
Maraalu'uWayuu people_cell_1_5_1
Beware of the Axe
On top of the landWayuu people_cell_1_5_2
PausayuuWayuu people_cell_1_6_0 Patsuarui
Paluwo'uWayuu people_cell_1_6_1
Arrive at the seaWayuu people_cell_1_6_2
SapuanaWayuu people_cell_1_7_0 Tuikii
WaaleruWayuu people_cell_1_7_1
Inside youWayuu people_cell_1_7_2
TijuanaWayuu people_cell_1_8_0 Uchali´i
Oulemeru´uWayuu people_cell_1_8_1
A lotWayuu people_cell_1_8_2
UlianaWayuu people_cell_1_9_0 Alainmapu
Soulawo´uWayuu people_cell_1_9_1
All come together
One on top of the other 
When it turns into a boat 
When it turns into a bat 
The teeth of our eyes 
Coming here 
Going there 
I have more power than you 
The one that sawsWayuu people_cell_1_9_2
UliyuuWayuu people_cell_1_10_0 Iisho´uWayuu people_cell_1_10_1 Of CardinalWayuu people_cell_1_10_2
UraliyuuWayuu people_cell_1_11_0 Aalasu
Paluuto´uWayuu people_cell_1_11_1
Passing by
My eyes are of sticksWayuu people_cell_1_11_2
UlewanaWayuu people_cell_1_12_0 Iruwo´uWayuu people_cell_1_12_1 Olive faceWayuu people_cell_1_12_2
WalepushanaWayuu people_cell_1_13_0 Ishajiwo ´u
Alapuolu ´uWayuu people_cell_1_13_1
Burned eyes
Lying eyesWayuu people_cell_1_13_2
WalapuanaWayuu people_cell_1_14_0 AtuairukuWayuu people_cell_1_14_1 NurturingWayuu people_cell_1_14_2

Language Wayuu people_section_6

The Wayuu language, called wayuunaiki, is part of the Arawak language family predominant in different parts of the Caribbean. Wayuu people_sentence_47

There are small differences in dialect within the region of La Guajira: the northern, central or southern zones. Wayuu people_sentence_48

Most of the younger generation speak Spanish fluently but understand the importance of preserving their traditional language. Wayuu people_sentence_49

To promote cultural integration and bilingual education among Wayuus and other Colombians, the Kamusuchiwo'u Ethno-educative Center, or Centro Etnoeducativo Kamusuchiwo'u, started an initiative to create the first illustrated Wayuunaiki-Spanish, Spanish-Wayuunaiki dictionary. Wayuu people_sentence_50

Religion and society Wayuu people_section_7

Music and dances Wayuu people_section_8

Traditional Wayuu music is closely tied to economy and social life. Wayuu people_sentence_51

For example, they sing to their cattle. Wayuu people_sentence_52

They also use music for meetings and celebrations, as well as mourning rituals during funerals. Wayuu people_sentence_53

La Yonna is a traditional dance use to honor guests. Wayuu people_sentence_54

Girls are taught a dance that is at the heart of the Majayura, the ritual passage of the "young Wayuu virgin." Wayuu people_sentence_55

She must dance in a courtship dance (baile de cortejo) with prospective suitors. Wayuu people_sentence_56

With her head covered and wearing a fabric shawl and dress, the girl dances forward with small steps and arms outstretched, swooping like a bird, within a circle made up of people from the village. Wayuu people_sentence_57

The male dances backward before her, coming close and yielding as they circle around, until he finally falls to the ground. Wayuu people_sentence_58

The adult men play traditional drums and musical instruments in their ring around the dancers. Wayuu people_sentence_59

If a male is respected in his clan and accepted, he must pay a dowry to the girl's mother and male relatives. Wayuu people_sentence_60

This used to be in the form of goats and sheep for the support of the clan. Wayuu people_sentence_61

Traditional musical instruments include kashi, sawawa (a type of flute), ma'asi, totoy and the taliraai (tubular flute), wootoroyoi (a type of clarinet), among others. Wayuu people_sentence_62

Wayuu artisan industry Wayuu people_section_9

Wayuu women learn how to weave at a very early age. Wayuu people_sentence_63

The Wayuu are descendants of the Caribs and Arawak peoples, largely known for their strong weaving tradition. Wayuu people_sentence_64

The Wayuu carry on this traditional weaving. Wayuu people_sentence_65

It is said the Wayuu learned to weave thanks to . Wayuu people_sentence_66

This spider would create magical pieces using thread from her mouth. Wayuu people_sentence_67

She is the one that taught all Wayuu women to crochet, crocheting hammocks to sleep in, belts for men, shoes, bracelets and Wayuu bags of all different sizes and crochet methods to be used for different purposes. Wayuu people_sentence_68

Today, the skill of crocheting has become the main source of income for the Wayuu community. Wayuu people_sentence_69

Traditionally, Wayuu bags were not as bright and colorful as they are now. Wayuu people_sentence_70

Cotton used to be able to grow in the region of La Guajira . Wayuu people_sentence_71

They were dyed using plants and elements of the natural surrounding, thus took on shades of brown, red and other natural hues. Wayuu people_sentence_72

Today, there is a common misconception that Wayuu bags are made of cotton. Wayuu people_sentence_73

But all crochet pieces from the Wayuu community are made of acrylic threads from companies like Miratex, providing bright hues that won't wash out easily with time as opposed to natural fibers. Wayuu people_sentence_74

Weaving and crocheting make up a large part of their daily life, especially for women. Wayuu people_sentence_75

Most of the women presently weave or will do it at some point through their lives. Wayuu people_sentence_76

The men participate in the industry as well; they make the straps, provide the materials, and transport the goods to the city centers. Wayuu people_sentence_77

The tribe produces millions of high-quality artisan products every year. Wayuu people_sentence_78

This artisan weaving industry plays a vital role in the local economy, and the people are known most for the mochila Wayuu or Wayuu Bag. Wayuu people_sentence_79

Today, Wayuu bags are the most exported handicraft in all of Colombia. Wayuu people_sentence_80

The Wayuu have resented the way that foreigners have profited more from their work than do the artisans. Wayuu people_sentence_81

Representation in other media Wayuu people_section_10

Wayuu people_unordered_list_0

  • The feature film Pájaros de verano (Birds of Passage, 2019) is set on the Guajira peninsula and among the Wayuu in the 1970s. Directed by Cristina Gallegos and Ciro Guerra, it stars José Acosta and Carmiña Martínez. In addition, many non-actor Wayuu are included in the film, which is primarily in the Wayuu language. It explores the disruption of traditional clan culture after members of the tribe enter the drug trade, and are affected by great wealth and violence.Wayuu people_item_0_0
  • The film "la Buena Vida []" by the German filmmaker Jens Schanze [] is about the forced displacement of Wayuu people from the town of Tamaquito. The Swiss-based company Glencore with its Colombian subsidiary el Cerrejon needs their land for coal-mining.Wayuu people_item_0_1

Notable Wayúu people Wayuu people_section_11

Wayuu people_unordered_list_1

  • Noeli Pocaterra Indigenous leader and social - political activist. Coordinator of National Council of Indigenous Peoples of Venezuela (CONIVE)Wayuu people_item_1_2
  • Patricia Velásquez (b. 1971), actress/model and founder of the Wayúu Tayá FoundationWayuu people_item_1_3
  • Lido Pimienta, musician/artist and winner of the 2017 Polaris Music Prize. Pimienta is of mixed Afro-Colombian and Wayúu descentWayuu people_item_1_4

See also Wayuu people_section_12

Credits to the contents of this page go to the authors of the corresponding Wikipedia page: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wayuu people.