The National Heritage Council Monday voted in favor of a plan to promote peace and preserve Wayuu culture by integrating indigenous values and symbols into education curricula.
The approval of the Special Plan for Management and Protection of Wayuu culture (PES) will enable the Ministry of Culture to support projects that protect and foster indigenous Wayuu customs – most importantly the custom of using words as tools of peace.
“We are happy about the Council’s decision, because it opens up for us the possibility of strengthening our culture and allows us to tell the world that in Colombia there is an ethnic group that solves its conflicts through words,” Sergio Kohen, a Wayuu community leader.
To institute the PES, Wayuu cultural values and symbols associated with using words as tools of peace will be integrated into community education programs.
“The objective of the plan is to strengthen the Wayuu normative system of beliefs… so that they are respected by traditional authorities and protected from being lost or forgotten,” Wayuu representative Guillermo Ojeda said.
Part of the PES will focus on preserving oral traditions through readers, books and audiovisual resources. The plan will also promote intercultural dialogue with public and private bodies in Colombia and Venezuela.
“The gravest problems our culture faces are a lack of knowledge of Wayuu normative system of beliefs by Colombian and Venezuelan State agents, the undermining of traditional authorities, the imposition of foreign socio-economic models on our culture and the deterioration of Wayuu spirituality,” said Ojeda.
The PES will channel resources into the indigenous population and will allow for private investment into Wayuu projects.
The approval of the plan follows more than a year of dialogue and negotiations among indigenous authorities.