Local girls and boys from public schools relived the experience of their ancestors in the Tokansipa nature reserve
200 students between the ages of 8 and 12, belonging to 15 indigenous peoples settled in the city, experienced a connection with nature in the Wakatá Biopark (Tocancipá) nature reserve with the authorities of these peoples, knowledgeable people, cultural promoters, teachers and non-indigenous children .natives.
It was a pedagogical outing on October 6 at Jaime Duque Park. It started with a local harmonizing ritual of approximately one hour, in which the experts and authorities of the various indigenous peoples, according to their different spiritual practices, greeted this territory of Kundinamarca, its spirits, memory, water, air, fire and earth. Then, under each one’s ritual, they asked permission from Mother Earth to make the pedagogic visit.
Harmonization means “being good to ourselves to get in touch with the territory that receives us,” said Yvonne Matheus, a teacher and cultural facilitator for the Muisca indigenous people of Bossa, associated with the regional secretary of education.
This ritual is common among indigenous peoples. Some do it with the interpretation of instruments, songs in their own languages, dances, the presence of sacred plants, fire, food, special clothing, among other symbols and cultural elements that characterize them.
The visit allowed the students to strengthen their awareness of the value of ecological biodiversity and its conservation. With the guidance of indigenous leaders, the girls and boys reflected on the values that Mother Earth provides.
“We seek to redefine the territory. On this occasion, we find that this park has a wide variety of flora and fauna; Added to this is the presence of knowledgeable people from different nations who guide the journey from ancestral and spiritual knowledge”, explained the cultural facilitator.
For girls and boys enter the bowels of Wakatá Biopark Nature Reserve It was a unique experience. They have had contact with native plants, birds, amphibians, mammals and reptiles, most of which arrive there due to illegal species trafficking and, as they cannot be returned to their habitat, are welcomed to this place. This encounter made this group connect with their cultural identities.
According to the governor of the Uitoto people, Johnny Jagrekudo Achanga, “these outings are very important because the children connect with the territory and what we want is for them not to lose their essence and to be able to recognize their roots and contribute to the local processes in the context of the city’.
The expedition members enjoyed the pink flamingos that roamed the water bodies; heard the noise of tamarin, squirrel and capuchin monkeys; they watched the boa pythons and vipers, which remained motionless to show the bright sheen of their skins, and listened to the interesting conversations of the macaws and parrots. It was all a plan.
On the other hand, they failed to observe the tigers and lions, as they remained hidden, but they felt their presence; the charm was a little fox and a crocodile who came out to greet and watch them.
“It was interesting because I saw animals that are typical of my department, like monkeys and ducks. It was also great to meet others I hadn’t seen before,” said Sharid Valencia, 6th grade, Cauca Indigenous at Jose Joaquin Castro Martinez School.
Representatives of the councils Wounaan Nonam, Wounaan, Yanacona Bogotá, Nasa, Ambika Pijao, Eperara Siapidara, Tubu Humurimassa, Kamentsa Biya, Uitoto, Los Pastos, Kichwa, Muisca de Bosa, Muysca de Suba, Inga and Misak Misak participated in the tour.
This reunion with the ancestors reveals the importance of natural beings to local communities from different cosmogonies and worldviews to strengthening the educational processes of students from the local population in public schools in Bogotá.
Ainan Jaya Tandioy and Mac Cesar Kindi Ciessa Timaran Tisoy of the Inga indigenous people of Putumayo, who study in the 3rd grade at the Antonio Jose Uribe School in the city of Santa Fe, were among the happiest children. They asked, jumped, laughed, ran and looked at all the animals that passed their eyes, although it was not the first time they had been so close. Their insides magically connected them to their roots. “I won’t forget this place, what I liked most was the tranquility, the variety of animals and the games,” Aynan said with joy on his face.
Yvonne commented that they also had a company of non-local students and that was important. “They already have a prior knowledge and understanding of what it means to be indigenous and this reinforces their awareness, for example, of caring for water and being grateful to the earth for what they have received from it.” It is an exchange of knowledge that is achieved in the daily life of children, which makes us go together, understand and respect each other”.
“This day is wonderful because, being a non-indigenous girl, I am with my friends from the Uitoto and Tubu communities from my school; They taught me their languages and cultures and today I was able to meet other indigenous children from other schools,” said Samantha Ocampo, a 3rd grader at 20 de Julio School.
For Indigenous teachers, it’s not about teaching Indigenous people, it’s about using their knowledge to help girls and boys understand where they’re from and why the environment is important.