Friday, 30 July 2010

Wayuu, an Arawak nation

The Wayuu (a.k.a. Guajiros) are a native American nation living mostly between Colombia and Venezuela in a very harsh area, the Guajira Peninsula. Many of them live on subsistence economy and smuggling. Their language belongs to the Arawak family, like the language of the Warekena and the Baniwa, like the extinct Tainos, but completely different to the Pemón, the Warao or Yanomamö languages. They are the most numerous native American group in Northern South America, accounting for about half a million people distributed in both countries. Their lot has been largely forgotten by the governments of the nations they are in. They have been deeply affected by the FARC/ENL and paramilitary terrorists and all the drug trade in the area.

A future Venezuela, working together with Colombia at least as closely as Germany and France do now, would have to give more attention to the sustainable development of this group while preserving their distinct identity.

I wrote more on the Wayuu here.

Most Wayuu live in complete destitution:

Here (Wayuu language with Spanish sub-titles) a Wayuu woman talking about their textile tradition (second half is just a corny speech by a criollo).

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