Las 2 Orillas – 21st October 2016
- ¡Fuera Testigos de Jehova y Pentecostales de nuestro territorio! Fue la decisión de los indígenas Wiwa
Out Jehovah and Pentecostal Witnesses from our territory! It was the decision of the Wiwa Indians
Two churches led by evangelical pastors were dismantled for attempting against the culture of an ancestral tribe based in Magdalena, Cesar and La Guajira.
The Wiwas got tired of the preaching ignited that contributed to the physical, cultural and spiritual extermination of their ethnic group, of being called pagans, infidels and worshipers of Satan. That is why they are determined to remove from their lands the pastors who have recently built a church for Jehovah’s Witnesses and another for Pentecostals in the Ranchería river basin in the town of La Laguna. It was not the first time that an indigenous people dared to throw out of their sacred territory religious who do not share their beliefs.
In 1998 the arhuacos, their cousins, expelled a group of evangelicals who had arrived in the fifties with a woman of their own ethnic group, María Eugenia Solis accompanied by her husband, a Protestant pastor. They let them set up their church and there, little by little, the community stopped listening to the Mamos, supreme arhuaco priests, to let themselves be carried away by the incendiary preaching of the preachers. About ten years later the United Pentecostal Church of Colombia arrived in the territory and the alarms went off: in less than five years there were already more than 300 Indians willing to abandon their pagan gods to worship a crucified man. The Mamos were blunt with the decision to expel them for endangering their culture, their beliefs. Today in Nabusimake, the center of the Arhuaco universe, no one disputes the supremacy of Kakü Serankua,
The Wiwa territory is vast and includes two departments: El Cesar and La Guajira. Since 1985 the presence of wiwa in Magdalena has also been reported thanks to the struggle of Mamo Ramón Gil Barros who managed to recover that part of the territory lost at the beginning of the 20th century. The spiritual leaders of the ethnic group, as happens with the Arhuacos, are the Mamos, an expression that alludes to the wisest old man in each town. They were the ones who decided to take the initiative to get the evangelizers out of their lands. They belong
Leaders like Yeismith Armenta began to notice that the young Wiwas no longer respected their worldview or the Mamos themselves. They do not follow traditions such as poporear, which is to stir, in a small calabash called jayo, the coca leaf to so wield it. The Mamos advise this practice because it purifies the blood and gives enough energy for a strenuous day of work and also serves as a communicating vessel with the Wiwas gods. For the evangelizers this practice is aberrant and, in recent years, they have even given it the nickname of satanic.
There was a time when the Wiwas authorities did not care that they built churches in the Ranchería River basin in the La Laguna community and would wave their Bibles in the wind. They were allowed to be included in the censuses of the communities and have benefited from the programs that protect the ethnic group. Now all that is over and the Mamos already put the evangelizers in the same place at the same level of evils that have threatened their culture as colonization, the marimbera bonanza, guerrilla and paramilitary violence.
Pastors will have no choice but to abide by the ancestral laws of Mamos Wiwas and after this precedent other churches, located in indigenous territories, must rethink their stay in those places.
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