(Cauca, Colombia) Collective Wisdom Work: Weaving Together Indigenous Self-Study

(This note comes from the CRIC [Regional Indigenous Council of Cauca]—an Indigenous Council struggling for the defense of Indigenous autonomy, territory and life in Cauca, Colombia. The note speaks to the ongoing organization of Indigenous self-research and education in the CRIC territories. The original note in Spanish was published on the CRIC webpage and can be found here).

Fulfilling the mandates of the Indigenous peoples from the law of origin, we are organizing our own community research, to strengthen the ancestral wisdom that guarantees the cultural survival of our Indigenous peoples of Cauca and Colombia.

The Collective Wisdom Work with Indigenous researchers of our territories, is a political-cultural strategy, to weave together, make visible and value, the different processes and experiences of research being carried out in the territories. Equally, we seek to identify the research interests and necessities to continue walking in the footsteps of the elders.

The proposal of the Collective Wisdom Work is to generate a gathering of Indigenous researchers, to weave together the principle elements from experiences of self and community research, that contribute to the cultural survival of the peoples. It is to share and to weave together the experiences of self and community research, the strengthening of our Own Education. At the same time, to make visible and value the research lead by Indigenous researchers, to identify pathways that allow us to advance in the consolidation of the SEIP (Self Indigenous Education System). With these activities we hope that the participation of traditional authorities, Indigenous researchers and facilitators from different spaces and territories will allow us to share and provide feedback on experiences of this journey. Because in this path, we see the necessity to agree on the main research interests and necessities to plan out how we can move forward with this process. Furthermore, to form connections of regional investigations with the participation of researchers of different peoples and territories. Finally, to plan out the path and dynamic of research in the territories.

The Collective Wisdom Work was carried out July 2-3, 2018, in the territory of Sa’t Tama Kiwe, kwer ki ‘ na Las Mercedes Caldono, Cauca. Nearly three hundred people, among them girls, youth, elders, spiritual and traditional authorities of different peoples participated in this activity through oral and written means. The collective work was set out around the tulpa, accompanied by the traditional chica of corn and coca, in conversations, interchange of knowledges and research experiences, along with the identification of Indigenous researchers of the different peoples of Cauca. The presentations of studies by researchers of different peoples were very important as it allowed us to know different cultural experiences, and at the same time nurture the process of research as a whole. This allowed us to identify the principle pathways, interests and necessities of self and community research based in shared experiences.