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Who are the Wayuu?


Many things are rumoured about the Wayuu culture, most of them false, but today we will know Who Are The Wayuu?

It is an indigenous people that lives on the La Guajira peninsula, between Venezuela and Colombia. They consider themselves as children of the earth and the rain.

Where do they come from?

According to anthropological research, the Wayuu are descendants of the Arawak, a people that had a great migratory flow. They moved through the Amazon and the Antilles around 150 BC

Colonisation Process :

During the 16th century it was the arrival of the European conquerors, but the Wayuu refused to be subdued. They created their front of resistance by hiding in the desert. But in the nineteenth century the governments of Venezuela and Colombia, began their plans to subdue them, in 1893 they had been stripped and reduced. Thus they ended up dividing up the territory, while the Wayuu fled further north of the peninsula.

Who are the Wayuu?

The Wayuu are an indigenous people that inhabit the La Guajira peninsula between Colombia and Venezuela. Its structure is matriarchal and has adapted to the inclement weather of a desert with amazing landscapes facing the Caribbean Sea.

In oral tradition their origin is explained: they are born from the union of the rain that fertilises the earth. Before them, the earth was inhabited by plants and trees, then by animals, and finally by human beings. They have a spiritual relationship with nature and dreams.

Today they are best known for their colourful fabrics and for the exotic desert landscapes they inhabit.

More about the Wayuu:

  • Their language is Wayuunaiki , and its etymology underlies the value of the word as an expression of human understanding and comprehension.
  • The traditional dance they practice is called Yonna and not Chicha Maya as it is falsely known. It is done in special moments.
  • They have a regulatory system, it is based on compensation and reparation. UNESCO declared it part of the List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity in 2010.
  • Its own economy is based on Wayuu herding, trade, fishing and crafts.
  • It is matrilineal, it means that they inherit their clan from the mother line.
  • They are divided into clans and there are currently 32.
  • Wayuu means "We people-person": WA (us) + YUU (attribute of spiritual character)
  • Jepira is one of the most sacred sites, it is known as Cabo de la Vela.
  • They have dual nationality by living in the border area.
  • They still practice traditional medicine with medicinal plants.
  • Jayeechi is called their song where they narrate their daily life.
  • There are a great variety of musical instruments among them; Sawawa, maasi and wotoroyoy.