Cultural Exchange

Caribbean and Amazon Colombian

The Channel H2o TV prepare the First Cultural Exchange with a trip to the Colombian Caribbean and Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta, oriented to share with the Indian communities of the region, approach to the ecological damages and to know the diversity and beauty that characterize the region.

Political and social Context of the Region

The Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta is located among the departments of Magdalena, Cesar and Guajira in the Colombian Caribbean coast and has an extension of 338.000 hectares; in addition, 200 archaeological sites as ‘Ciudad Perdida’ (Lost City), sanctuary of grand conservation and restoration; a great geographical and ecological diversity that is characterized as environmental reserve of the humanity and one of the most outstanding of the Americas.

Today is house for more than thirty thousand Indians direct descendents of the Tayrona Civilization where reside the Aruacos, Ikas, Sankas and Koguis. Indigenous prehispanic cultures, each one with its own language, and a system of balance and equilibrium with the natural laws, in a relative autonomy, but an sporadic contact with the western culture that trough the continuing arrive of settler threat the well-being and the survival.

These ancestral habitants, responsible for the survival of the ‘Mother Earth’ as the tradition call to their territory was created to be habituated by the children, living from her and taking care its water fountains, the highlands, and its sacred sites. The tradition says, ‘when the earth was created around the Sierra, a territory delimited in circular form, and the centers are the high mountains, and the perimeter, ‘the black line’ that goes to the sea where is completed the cycle of the waters’. The historical and cultural sites have reached survive in a constant struggle against the crumbling of its cultural, political and social organization since the conquest in 1525, and today more than never are thread as consequence of the Colombian armed conflict.

The cultural and social high cost for the Indians communities is palpable trough the politics by the state that underestimate the values, the beliefs, and the traditions, and therefore shock the Cosmovision. Their physical life is vulnerated, the forms of interaction with the nature, the natural resources, the indelible respect for its traditions, the people and the Mother Earth.

The traditions are from millenniums as the cultivation and use of the coca. For one side is a sacred plant and is used in ancestral practices, and by another side, is a medicinal plant with curative effects as the pain. The ‘hayo’ denominated to the coca leaf in the Aruhaco culture, is the unique feminine plant in the culture. The trees are the men and the woman are the earth, and the leafy of the tree depends in the fertility of the earth. La coca is a symbol that means complement for the men, is a sign of identity for the Indian people, a sign of brotherhood. Each man carry in his bag the coca leaf the poporo, and a form of fraternal greeting is the exchange of coca leaf.

Colombian Amazon

Colombian Amazon - Araracuara and Leticia

Araracuara is a synthesis of the elements that constitute the Amazon region. Araracuara is located at the lowest end of the left side of the Caquetá River, on the southern part of the state bearing the same name. It is characterized by being surrounded by large mountains and, the grandeur of its streams created by the flow from the river. Due to the area’s geographical location, various Indian groups converge there, such as the Huitotos, Boras, Andoques, Tanimucas, Nonuyas, and Muinanes. 

Traditionally, the indigenous populations settled the mid-Caquetá have converted fishing into their source of subsistence; particularly in the area of the Araracuara canyon, it represents a great source of income. Men generally carry out this activity, although children and women also get involved. A great variety of fishing techniques are used, such as harpoons, fishhooks, machetes or traps.

Leticia, is the capital city of the Amazon Department in Colombia, it is located in the southernmost part of the country, in the Amazon Trapeze. The Amazon River is the mightiest river in the world. It contains numerous streams and lakes, where the most exotic flora and fauna varieties are found. The rich biodiversity of Leticia is well known, and therefore it is considered an important eco-tourist destination.  This city borders with Brazil and Peru, and it is the most important geopolitical center shared by the three countries, along with tourism, in the middle of the jungle. Given its geographical position, there is a daily coexistence with Brazil and Peru. These countries have developed a high commercial activity because it is a free trade zone.

The Amacayacu National Park is Located 60 Km from Leticia. It has an extension of 293.500 hectares prone to flooding from the jungle; its ecosystem is characterized by being a humid tropical area, solid ground and swampy forest. In the mainland, the forest is about 40 meters high, and holds about 150 different types of mammal species. There are about 500 different species of birds, representing almost a third of the birds of the country, including macaws and parrots. There are also reptiles and snakes.  

The Park has a visitor center known as Yawe, which means "mother of the waters." There are walking paths with several fauna and flora observation platforms. It can also be reached by a riverboat or motorboat.  

Likewise The Tarapoto Lakes, located 2 hours from Leticia, going upstream along the Amazon River. The Amazon lakes are important because they form a communication network with several other rivers and lakes of extraordinary dimensions. Moreover, the biodiversity is larger than in the main channel of the Amazon River, and they work as refuge for fish banks of unimaginable proportions; these are crystalline spaces of water surrounded by large trees and lianas from the dense forest.

Tarapoto is the cradle of the pink and gray dolphins of the Amazon, provided with a very large area for practicing different outdoor sports. It is an ideal place for observing animals in their natural atmosphere. The peace this lake provides goes beyond description, perhaps due to the fact that very few people live there. 

The rich biodiversity of Leticia is well known, and therefore it is considered an important eco-tourist destination. 


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