To restore, to emphasize and to revalue the ancestral traditions and knowledge to insert them in the educative programs

· Culture

By Blanca Teresa Alvarado and Pablo Julio Castro Ladino, scholars of UNAD, members of the Kuwei Research Team, picture “Futuro guambiano” by Adriofg, translation by Al Rodas.

Eight indigenous communities settled in the territory of Puerto Gaitán Municipality, Department of Meta, belonging to the Sikuni ethnic group of the Ethno-education Degree, are doing a research with the coordination of the Universidad Nacional, Abierta y a Distancia (UNAD), on the subject of how restore, emphasize and revalue the ancestral traditions and knowledge to insert them in the educative programs of the Unuma Plan of Education (UPE or PEU in Spanish)[1].

Nowadays the indegenous of this locality are locked up in small territories called in Spanish “resguardos” (Shelters) and losing cultural influence on their ancestral territories, due to the acelerated process of colonization of the last 50 years in the Department of Meta. For the indegenous people “the native land, that belongs to them by tradition or because it was received by their ancestors, is important because it is the source of sustenance and the principle of their knowledge and their spiritual and cultural traditions as indegenous people[2]. Knowledge and territory are unity and this unity is the one that allows them to defend their rights to the free determination in oposition to social oppressions, the denying of their own knowledge and the ancestral wisdom that is the principle of their living and survival.

Other factors like the development of big projects and the presence of illegal cultivated fields in the area, are putting at risk the identity, the ancestral knowledge, the role of their own authorities and traditions and are making that their young people start to lose their cultural values that have been transmitted by generations through the years in the Orinoquía Region of Colombia.

Picture “Sikuni woman with child” of Blanca Teresa Alvarado.

The strength of the research begins in the recognition of the process of cultural interchange and the sustanaible development, concepts that summon if they facilitate and promote dialogue, gathering and development of an active thinking, analysis and proposals. The cultural interchange must be understood as something wished, as a perspective in which one it is recognized the diference among peoples and cultures and where the possibility of building a project of a country, if this one is inclusive and dynamic.

The traditional Colombia shows us what have been a culture of separations, indiferences, ignorance of wisdoms and the denying of the ethnic and cultural diversity to conclude that it has been stablished a concept of separation and denying of the other one because different. The research looks for the ways to materialize and asume a reference frame of rules and meanings according to the cultural interchange.[3]. In the other hand, the sociologist Alain Touraine, (see also A. Touraine from, raises the sense of cultural interchange when he asks “Can we live together with dignitiy being different?“, question to what we have to find a due answer.

The metodological references have been agreed and complemented from the main components of the colective construction of the knowledge[4], which results conduct to the reflexion and approval of the school as an internal institution that belongs to the communities, that has come inside the identity of them and in which the communities think to develop their project of life and the generational continuity. In this process is very important the participation of the community as a right and duty of every single member to trace the horizonts of their lives, dreams and expectations to contribute to the fundamental elements to guide the managment, direction, execution, evaluation and following up of the different programs and educative proyects.

In the same way, it is very important the spaces of participation, either in the communities or among the communities as the town halls, meetings, assemblies, congresses, conferences and others. All these spaces of participation are the ones that allow the elaboration of knowledge and wisdom in order to project their own dynamics of construction and cultural reconstruction. They are the spaces to generate the colective reflexion.

The process of deeping in the social and cultural research: Understanding that this is a necessary resource to know the elements of the learning of the indegenous children who have particular characteristics. The familiar context, the relative relations and authority, the role of children, the adolescence, the parents, etc. Knowing the cultural behavior is fundamental to articulate the different knowledges from an outsider context.

A process of an Independent construction: Understood as the capacity of coordinate, direct and take social actions. It supposses the exercise of the Human and Cultural Rights, as persons and groups, with right to their own governance, use and protection of their territories, languages, ways of socialization and a education that comes from their own cultural and organizative dynamic.

[1] Unuma in Sikuani language means “Working together; work of all; we participate together”.

[3] José Ignacio López Soria, Filosofía e Interculturalidad ( “Philosophy and Cultural Interchange”), Lima, n. 41, p. 196-202, oct. 2002.

[4] Methodologic reference proposed by the Indigenous communities of the Department of Cauca, for the reconstruction of their own educative projects and retaken by the linguistic scholar Rosalba Jiménez, Sikuani indegenous, to guide the process of reconstruction of the Educative Communitarian Plan (ECP).

Cite this article:

ALVARADO, Blanca Teresa and Julio CASTRO LADINO, “To restore, to emphasize and to revalue the ancestral traditions and knowledge to insert them in the educative programs“, Kuwei Research Team, Universidad Nacional, Abierta y a Distancia, UNAD. Published by “Colombia Passport: Economics, Society and Culture in Colombia”, virtual magazine, Colombia, June 21, 2007 (

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