It is a fact that Indigenous People in the American continent have experienced a variety of colonization situations over the years, particularly in the education field, provoking oppression, segregation, and cultural genocide. However, examples in Colombia and Canada show a resounding call for reconciliation and empowerment from participatory actions that embrace ancestral wisdom, strengthening and preserving their traditional cultural and natural heritage.
Indigenous People move their lives from an ecosophical thought, for which the anthropologist Francois Correa pointed out that this term reflects how different groups work together in complementary reciprocity for the environment’s well-being. For example, Indigenous people from The Amazon in Colombia comprehend it as a relationship between society and nature, where animals have culture and share the same spiritual essence (Correa, 1990). However, this conception of understanding ourselves as part of a whole has been lost as cities grow and globalization, capitalism, and consumption prevail.
To understand why human beings and other beings exist, it is essential to decolonize the mind and habits to open themselves to a reality where what is external is understood from what is our own. For instance, in the Reconciliation and Truth path with Indigenous People, Canada has developed different programs such as Indigenous awareness workshops, listening and healing circles, indigenous mandatory courses in the educational system, educational guide routes in parks, and varied festivals. Most of them, are organized by Indigenous organizations, the government, the church, and educational institutions (Jesuit Forum for Social Faith and Justice, 2021).
On the other hand, in Colombia, despite many indigenous communities still prevailing in their territories with their traditions and customs, there needs to be more support from the government or educational institutes that promote ancestral knowledge. Nevertheless, some non-profit groups work to safeguard this knowledge and find ways of coexisting in a common territory. An example is what the architect Roberto Santos does through Cátedra de la Memoria Mhuysqa, which seeks to expand ancestral wisdom and practices to non-indigenous people through lectures, social activities, and free books. A significant event is Correr la Tierra in Bogota, Colombia, which is a sacred ceremony and pilgrimage in which different people go to some lagoons and sacred points of the territory to seek a spiritual transformation and make the Ata-ta, which is a donation to the Mother Earth (Santos, 2022).
In conclusion, Colombia and Canada demonstrate how varied approaches to ancestral teaching allow society to embrace its own identities that perpetuate in the territory, highlighting and safeguarding a shared cultural heritage. Besides, this text acknowledges how collective work, co-creation, and resistance are necessary to establish better relationships between beings that co-inhabit the Earth.
Bigou, J. (2021, July 09). Listening to indigenous voices. A dialogue guide on justice and right relationships. Forum jésuite pour la foi sociale et la justice. https://crc-canada.org/en/listening-to-indigenous-voices/
Santos, R. (2015, February). Lugares sagrados y arquitectura Mhuysqa. Catedra de la Memoria Mhuysqa. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0WvdzkjOunQ
Santos, R. (2022). Caminata sagrada de las abuelas. Resignificación MHUYSQA de Lugares sagrados del Centro histórico de Bogotá. Catedra de la Memoria Mhuysqa.