Received: April 16, 2018
Acceptance: May 22, 2018
The purpose of this document is to show the historical framework in which, on the one hand, the audiovisual product produced by Aica Colectivo on the rescue of the indigenous marriage is developed and, on the other, to trace the route of consolidation of the knowledge that is generated from the indigenous Nasa, in an exercise that allows to limit the cultural distances that today are present in the rest of the cultures of the country. This work aims to sketch the story of the Nasa Paez indigenous people, a native people of the ancestral territory of Tierradentro, Cauca-Colombia and whose mother tongue is Nasaywe, a community in constant resistance and in a struggle to forge its own history following in the footsteps of their ancestors.
Nasa Phtamnxûu. Nasa indigenous-nation casorio
The document's object is to make plain the historical framework in which, for one, the Aica Colectivo's audiovisual production for preserving Casorio Indígena indigenous wedding customs developed, at the same time it traces the path of knowledge-consolidation that emerged from indigenous Nasa culture, in an exercise that allows us to hem in cultural distances that currently can be found between Colombia's other cultures. The work presents an outline-story of the indigenous Nasa Paez nation — a people from an ancient homeland in Tierradentro, Cauca-Colombia, whose native language is Nasaywe. It is community of ongoing resistance that fights to forge its own history by following its ancestors' footsteps.
Key words: Wedding (symbolic marriage), indigenous family unity, rituals, customs.
Council of Lima of 1551
All strictly religious cults and rites, particularly those consecrated to the ancestors, but also initiation rites, most parties and dances, unions of couples not consecrated by Catholic canons […] The constitutions list a series of obligations that they amounted to cultural prohibitions: obligation to attend mass, receive religious instruction, sleep on mats […], eat as a family and not collectively, have modest customs, and so on. (Rengifo Bernardo, 2007: 277).
The union of traditionally consecrated indigenous couples implies the remembrance of the commitment of life with the ancestors and the spiritual authorities as a constitutive part of an opaque wisdom, becoming reconciliation with the NASA worldview. Therefore, it is necessary to tell the process in which this knowledge and these practices were transgressed, sowing in the new generations a great purpose of resistance woven into the life plan of the Nasa indigenous movement, in charge of the daily struggle to overcome ethnocide. western, by reconstructing the original settings. These valuable practices are now a vindicated memory.
The account of this historical journey is part of the process of repairing the wound caused to the Nasas ancestors. Lazio Regione (2010), based on the fact that:
The conquest and colonization began in 1535 and almost simultaneously the Cacica Gaitana organized its own army to defend its people, thus avoiding the dispossession of our wealth. This confrontation was spiritual and also material, but in any case uneven, due to the firearms that the Spaniards brought; sometimes we win, other times we lose; The important thing is that, through the joint struggle and the clarity of the objectives, the right to exist as peoples was achieved, in the midst of ethnic and natural diversity (p. 262).
In this way, the worldview and source of life of NASA has since been transgressed by the acculturation plan of the conquerors directed towards the nominative imposition of the New World. Thus, heavily armed invaded their lands, imposing the message of Good News with their wielded cross, one of their main weapons of oppression and domination so capable of pushing the indigenous to separate from their own origins, thus gestating the process that it weakened the millennial unity built on the identity and spirituality of an entire people. In the literal words of the invader:
We have a great embassy of that great Lord who has spiritual jurisdiction over all who live in the world, who is called the Holy Father, who is heartbroken and careful for the health of your souls ... who lives in the great city of Rome, Give us your power and authority. And we also bring the Sacred Scripture where the words of the only true God are written… And for this we are sent, so that we can help you save and so that you receive the mercy that God gives you. The great Lord who sent us does not want gold, silver or precious stones, he only wants and desires your salvation ... This great Lord is God's vicar on earth and has the times of God and his power (Durán, 1984: 330).
This commission sent from Rome was brought to the Amerindian communities by religious orders made up of missionaries who claimed to be superior beings worthy of obedience. They forcibly introduced their religious doctrines, and assumed that by the ritual act of the indigenous thanking and reciprocally rewarding their greater spirits of nature, they became before them, before their God, their Gospel and all their expansionist kingdom, in pagan, primitive, savage and idolatrous beings that urgently had to be removed from that biocentric vision.
The repudiation of sacred rituals was the main cause of this clash of unknown and opposing cultures, and the cause of the conflict would be to begin with the ethnocentrism of the white man who in his cultural expansion denied the freedoms of all that he considered unknown to his Eurocentric and materialistic vision.
The actions of colonizing cultural expansionism used to be directed towards dominance through deterritorialization, that is, an authoritarian control strategy based on the reorganization of the “mode of existence in close union with the forces of the natural world […]” (Rengifo Bernardo, 2017: 277). In this way, they forced the indigenous to abandon their knowledge linked to Mother Earth in order to break it from its spirituality and origin.
It is worth emphasizing that, naturally, for the indigenous people there is an important relationship - that keeps them alive - between the territory, its spirit and its customs, and to ensure the breakdown of this relationship, the fundamental role of the missionary consisted in putting in A cultural change is underway directed with the help of the Gospel, that is, an intentional modification based on the imposition of the sacramental studies of Catholicism, which would be the key to begin to fragment identity and “reset” the original ancestral memory.
However, this process of acculturation was not pleasant or easy for the invader; communication was the greatest impediment to evangelical preaching. The encounter between Castilian and the plurality of native languages made understanding difficult, which led as a first step to the imposition of Castilian as the new and only language in the territory; this fact meant the denial of the indigenous identity by substituting their mother tongue.
At the same time, the large number of villages and communities spread throughout the entire territory also made it difficult for the colonizing advance towards the eradication of customs and traditions, since by not having constant contact and vigilance with each of the people in the communities, the manipulation with the Gospel was limited.
Therefore, the first cases of displacement of indigenous communities occurred with the purpose of redistributing the life of the indigenous to fulfill the purposes of colonization. Therefore:
It is here where the reducing space decisively intervenes for the fulfillment of the transformation of the indigenous: if this is immersed in a bios, it will then be necessary to move it towards the polis, and especially, towards its sacramental center: La Parroquia (Rengifo Bernardo, 2017 : 278).
The reason why a reduction became key at that time is because when an indigenous person leaves their territory they die, and that is precisely what that plan to centralize the population was about. It consisted of an uprooting action caused by forced territorial displacement, with the aim of weakening the strong millennial ties of the collective fabric by dividing the large communities into small and controlled groups far from their own ceremonial center, neutralized by a new religious order.
Thus, urbanizations composed of streets, houses and schools were established in which it was easier to manipulate and subject the inhabitants under new laws governed by the military-theology of the parishes and churches. These were built to be a central axis in the established societies that would now fight for "a future liberation of man and his soul" within the framework of paganism and life in sin. Liberation that, according to the Church, would come only through the adoption of a Catholic faith far from the practices of harmonization with nature.
Since that time, the construction of these western temples, saturated with scopic symbolism integrated by cultural memories alien to those of the indigenous, was also the fundamental factor that started the deformation of the original identity. The churches would serve to disharmonize the lives of the people by assuming the task of "civilizing" them, a Western concept whose etymology refers to the tearing of a cultural model of life as a vestige of the struggle for territory. As Rengifo Bernardo (2017) explains: “[…] civilis (citizenship) refers among its meanings to 'a victory over the enemy' and also to the 'spoils of war' obtained ”(p. 27).
This claim to civilize or "raise the cultural level to improve training and behavior in little advanced societies", an idea conceived within a deep Eurocentrism, revealed the economic interests to prioritize populations, considering themselves superior in different ways. scenarios, thought partly reinforced by their technological "progress" based on the possession of weapons and the idea of being ambassadors of a supposed supreme being on Earth.
In this sense, the true essence of this civilization became the exploitation of natural resources and ancestral knowledge as a trophy to strengthen a trade in Europe, imposing a mode of production that ran between slavery and feudalism and that has survived until the current affairs throughout the entire Latin American territory.
Recapitulating, the idea of reaching that "higher level of culture" was exclusively linked to the establishment of sacramental knowledge that concealed the sole purpose of blinding the minds of the inhabitants of the reductions to promote the forgetfulness of the autochthonous knowledge immersed in nature .
Thus, the Church established a type of teaching based on catechesis (religious knowledge) through repetition as a manipulation technique that would facilitate this indoctrination. In their desire to teach the indigenous to speak Spanish and thus make them understand the Gospel, the missionaries created a methodology composed of different texts, engravings, songs and illustrations, which should be part of daily life. One of the main ones was the Castilian primer, a text that the natives were forced to read, write and repeat until all its content was memorized; prayers such as the Lord's Prayer, the Hail Mary, the Creed, the Hail, a general confession, articles of faith, the commandments and the capital sins, all of them unproductive individual foundations for the development and survival of the natural collective behavior.
Another tactic to catechize the natives were the engravings of the missionary Fray Diego Valadés, which communicated the arrival of the sacraments: “In an engraving we are made to see how the blood of Christ falls in the form of seven threads (the seven sacraments) in a fountain… ”(Velázquez, 1899: 113). The message transmitted to the natives was the idea of how the Church conceived the unique sacrifice of the cross, as the only ritual and way to achieve the salvation of being through pain and suffering, represented in the image of Christ and his crucifixion. .
These representations of life, death, birth, baptism, marriage, etc., are the whole framework of the Catholic story that he wanted to impose. Death and bloodshed, from the indigenous worldview, has an enormous distance from the beliefs of Catholicism, because while for the native warrior it symbolizes an offering to share with the spirits and the community, or a ritual of honor that results in a new beginning, for the Catholic Church, death is perceived as a fact full of disgust and fear for the end of the existence of being, and of uncertainty about the destiny and salvation of their individual soul, which according to them, only it would be achieved through acceptance of the Gospel and the sacraments.
This acceptance of the Gospel was installed in the raised places around the parish, together with the diverse mechanical learning practices that ensured the internalization of the new beliefs in the mind of the indigenous.
Every morning at dawn they gathered in the corners of the towns, where images or crosses had been placed, and there they recited and sang what they had learned in the catechism, conveniently translated into their languages; Furthermore, on Sundays all the people gathered in the atrium, and for two hours before the parish mass they remembered or instructed themselves in their prayers. At nightfall, the men again went to the street corners where they sang the salve and four prayers for the souls in purgatory (Jaramillo, 1899: 207).
From this indelible stain on the memory of the peoples, the prohibition and stigma of their own rituals was born.
Once the Catholic identity was accustomed from the catechesis already memorized, the practice of sacramental life began, beginning with the reception of baptism as the indispensable door towards the path of evangelization. In theory, the act of baptizing represents a cleansing of the stain of original sin, however, the true meaning of this implied the rebirth of a new being through the change of its identity, by taking the native names that were given by a force spiritual, according to the relationship of the individual with nature, and replace it with the name of some holy protagonist of the Bible.
This modification was not only exercised to create a new religious being but to extinguish the flame of the tulpa's hearth1 that protected native traditions and customs, and that when it was forcibly extinguished by means of the “divine water” of baptism, it would make the indigenous community's way of life ashes. To be clearer, the fire installed in the center of every indigenous house represents the heart where orality is practiced, and where one being is also taught to relate to the other, creating a collective space of harmony to share, learn and maintain. long live the flame of unity in families.
Destroying this unit loses all cohesion. Family groups are atomized into small divisions that are neither self-sufficient, nor can they collaborate as before, with their relatives ... The sacred space of the family enclosure is destroyed; the system of relationships of mutual aid, services, trust and respect is destroyed. In this way an Indian is reduced to a state of poverty where then everything petty and selfish in a civilization can germinate (Reichel Dolmatoff, 1972: 105).
With the passage of time, some subjects began to reject their own traditions, believing that by accepting the new way of life imposed by the Spanish they would reach a level of equality in living conditions. Thus, sharing the communal word around the fire grandfather was replaced with the sacrament of confession. Through it, the priests forced the indigenous people to give them all their daily experiences, making them believe in this Catholic ritual as the salvation of their guilty clandestine souls. In this ritual of confession, the indigenous were judged by an examination of conscience.
The indigenous people who were ignorant of Spanish or did not master it ... confessed, bearing their sins painted in certain characters with which they could be understood, and declared them [...], and others who had learned to write, brought their sins written (Rengifo Bernardo, 2017: 77).
Upon ratifying the advance of evangelization with the sacrament of confession, a confessional was prepared translated into the Chibcha language with more detailed questions in relation to their daily lives:
… Have you feared for God and worshiped the sanctuaries? Have you offered small blankets, cotton nuggets, emeralds, gold, moque, beads or something else, and how? Have you put silver in the mouth of the dead or something else in their graves? When you lose something or it has been stolen, have you gone to a sorcerer to ask about it? Have you drank tobacco or commanded to drink it to find it? When you see birds, owls, foxes, turtledoves, vicharos, sparrows, mice, snouts, or other animals that cry or cry out in front of you, have you believed that good or bad will happen to you? (Rengifo Bernardo, 2017: 76).
In this way, the indigenous were also forced to betray their own by denouncing those who kept the old original customs in practice, which generated conflicts within the community.
Finally, to finish fulfilling its disorienting objective, the new spiritual authorities governed under European royal and canon law considered the ritual of the indigenous union (casorio) as the most threatening ancestral celebration for their purpose of control.
Despite the fact that this ritual of union between a man and a woman was practiced in both cultures, for the Church, in its act of evangelizing, it was convenient to reject the ancestral right of free union practiced by men throughout their wisdom. millennial. In some original cultures, caciques were characterized by having more than one woman as a wife, which made them sinners in the eyes of the Church. Polygamy was the perfect excuse to establish the sacrament of marriage through the Catholic rite. Based on new Spanish laws of territorial and spiritual domain, the indigenous were forbidden to marry more than one woman, and even more so without having been baptized first. Consequently, a written marriage contract was created in which the union would be valid only if it was entered into by the mediators representing the Catholic Church (the priests).
Priests must ensure that the bride and groom and godparents come "adorned and bring their candles and offerings to the priest, and that on the day of the marriage the church is adorned with flowers and other things." Before marrying them, he will try to make them go to confession, and once they are married he will explain the sanctity of marriage and its obligations (Velázquez, 1899: 170).
In the end, this last protective law of the Evangelical Church was the last weapon of ethnocide in favor of the Spanish. The Catholic marriage was created to punish the indigenous grandparents of those times for resorting to their traditional doctors (Thê Wala) to practice their own rituals such as the union of a couple, not before God but before nature.
It has been intended to keep a history in memory, recreate cultural values and practices, awaken the roots for the territory, the appreciation of traditional medicine, respect for the authorities and own organizational structures, recover the appreciation of the NasaYuwe language and strengthen the capacity for dialogue with other peoples and the conscious appropriation of external cultural elements that strengthen the Life Plan (Lazio Regione, 2010: 147)
Since the establishment of the laws that dictated the consecration of the union of couples under the Catholic canons, the Nasa people have not done it in any other way, a custom that has never really been typical of their roots. That is why today, within the process of resistance, we want to return the spiritual meaning to this marriage ritual, reintegrating the value and respect for the spiritual authorities within the political organization, and thus eradicate all kinds of domination strategy from the culture western in its hegemonic project.
Naturally, the Law of Origin is the main element of the life of nasa, which teaches how essential is the integration between all beings, and our relationship with nature.
When we sustain the origin of the Nasa People we walk to the past, to the memory kept in the heart of our Thê Walas (elders (s), to our myths, and we see that our origin is similar to that of other indigenous peoples and other cultures that we have as matriarchy is the foundation, the same equality and respect with the beings that surround us (spirits, plants, animals, minerals): in addition, we have an integral way of seeing the world, where everything is collective and where life is generated by the integration of two beings: woman and man (Lazio Regione, 2010: 220).
Thus, within the nature of life, the main basis of community balance is the complement between feminine and masculine energy. For this reason, for Nasa, in the indigenous marriage, the role of women and men have the same importance. However, for the Catholic Church the origin of creation is based solely on a clearly masculine and individual effort, giving a patriarchal orientation not only to its origin but to all its beliefs.
Through its teachings, the Catholic faith has impregnated society with a macho feeling, causing women throughout history to be excluded from all kinds of meaningful participation in life, and considers that the union of two beings (woman and man) constitutes a company with a commercial spirit.
Marriage is a reflection of the Trinitarian life, the father, the son and the holy spirit, and this represents the basis in society ... marriage is the covenant that is made at the wedding of Christ with the church, the husband is the representative of the Church and the wife is the same church in such a way that it is an alliance where the spouses promise each other love, fidelity and respect (Velázquez, 1899: 173).
So in the Catholic religion women are never taken into account as the indispensable element that is for creation, and they consider God in all his representations as the only example of community in life.
The teachings that a priest imparts to couples who wish to unite through the rite of Catholic marriage, despite having as their main task to train them in certain values through catechesis, have no spiritual value as they are a preparation of months imposed as an obligation. by the Church, based on empty contracts and promises that prevent us from perceiving spiritual union as a natural flow of the heart. As a consequence of these implanted obligations, an unconsciousness is generated in the acts that ends up breaking all promise of eternal alliance, originating disrespect, infidelity and lack of community values.
It should be noted that an indigenous Nasa who cedes the role of guide to a priest, abandons his spiritual principles and excludes his true traditional authorities, the Thê Wala. As a result of the above, it ends up adopting several of the components of Western marriage based on consumerism, individualism, hypocrisy, etc., issues that go against the worldview and are an obstacle to the development of the life plan.
In the search for this rescue, it is important to mention all our essential elements to exercise autonomy in the midst of the laws of the alleged justice crystallized in the laws that ignore them as a people. For this, it must be taken into account that the laws that govern the right to survival are completely unrelated to any other norm or law established by external agents, in this case religion. On May 24, 2013, the indigenous council of Tumbichucue (Inza- cauca), by means of act 001 consecrated the guidelines of indigenous marriage, in such a way that indigenous unions are practiced under these new rituals in remembrance of the entire spirit of the Nasa people in the consecration of the union of the family in a traditional way. This process represents an advance towards autonomy as a people that promotes the national constitution and that the Nasa people practice without the need for any mediation.
Thus, the collective work in Minga is the one that organizes the wedding preparations in a distancing from the individuality that permeates the entire Catholic marriage. In this case, it is the community that prepares for the new union and not exclusively the two protagonists of this event. In addition, the rings and the earnest money are replaced by the fabrics (chumbes, backpacks, anacos and hats), and are, for this celebration, what fortifies the community in a gratifying task of customs and new stories that direct its steps towards the consolidation of your life plan in accordance with the law of origin.
The law of origin of the Nasa indigenous worldview teaches that two currents of air — one male and one female — flutter through the cosmos colliding with each other, and manage to show the complementarity that man and woman offer each other.
In this way, with different characteristics in their forms and capacities, they complement each other to live as a family, and the nature and harmony of this clash is what allows the sacred union.
The representation of the myth of the origin of the grandparents (UMA and TAY) is specified in the celebration of the wedding that is practiced with the guidance of a Thê Wala or traditional doctor, and chewing the coca leaf at night becomes the scene in the one that the sacred spirits of NASA converge to clear the path that this union will travel.
At dawn, the new news does not take long, the spiritual permission that authorizes the couple to unite is manifested in nature, and simultaneously the wedding preparations have raised food for the entire community. On the one hand, the house of the nasa thought (nasa yat) is the site of celebration and strength, and on the other, the fire of the Tulpa in embers, the witness that welcomes the couple and their people for the rescue of this indigenous marriage. .
Ebert and Nancy are the protagonists of this event that marks the history of the Nasa indigenous people, and their godparents Noe and Esnea, as a fighting couple and leaders of the indigenous resistance process of the last decades, are the guides in this new process.
The new sense of unification that is formalized by the union of the couple's batons and their own government, is no longer just an unpublished chapter in the history of the indigenous Nasa, but a reality supported by an act emanating from the political authority and spiritual, the council.
Finally, doing from the heart, beyond the task from the head is part of NASA's worldview. It is the foundation of doing more than thinking, of knowing that each act is born from the feeling and the rituality of refreshing and harmonization, and not from an orthodox discourse that ignores the true feeling.
It is pertinent to highlight that contact, however subtle, with modernity and globalization within and outside the populations, has led to the phenomenon of acculturation for all indigenous communities, and the Nasa Paez are no exception. Despite the fact that orality is kept alive in indigenous families, intact memory is always altered when the practice of uses and customs is abandoned.
With the lack of practice of their traditions, they become an element subject to changes over time; For this reason, the tradition of marriage as a ritual of union ends up being a form of bonding between two people that also presents modifications, and then visual anthropology becomes a key study in these processes of refreshing knowledge, memory and resistance.
That is why it is important to bear in mind that in order to strengthen a restoration of memory and of the spiritual fabric, it is convenient to embrace certain external cultural elements, such as the visual arts, as long as they function as a tool to continue building spaces for self-education.
The visual record has the function of showing all the cultural wealth that has been forgotten, keeping the objective of rescuing the collective memory, not only within the Nasa community, but for the benefit of the entire country.
Photography supports and sustains research, education, dissemination and defense projects for indigenous people inside and outside the institutions… It is about investigating new issues and opening new views and consciences. The unpublished refers to a facet of the national identity (Ramírez Castañeda, 2001: 122).
This document will fulfill the purpose of visually teaching the new generations of indigenous Nasa how wedding ceremonies should be in accordance with the worldview, analyzing the true spiritual value of the union of two people for their well-being and growth, in addition to the real importance of taking this responsibility of walking together with a family, contributing to the survival of the indigenous people.
Taking into account that for Nasa the union and the family represent an indispensable element for the construction and community resistance, the main objective when rescuing this tradition is to think from the heart to return to spirituality, and as a result, start the path towards the complete separation of what for the Catholic religion and the Colombian State constitutes the ritual of the union of a man and a woman.
Directors: Mateo Leguizamón and Alejandra Muñoz
Production: Colectivo Aica Films in collaboration with the Cabildo de Tumbichucue Inza Cauca
Years of production: 2013-2014.
Format: Film QuickTime (mov)
Dimension: 1.34 GB
Duration: 14.54 minutes
General coordination: Mateo Leguizamón
General organization of production: Mateo Leguizamón
Production: Alejandra Muñoz
Post-production coordination: John Cruz
Assembly coordination: Juan Gómez
Animation: Carreta animation studio
Visual Effects: John Cruz
Camera: Mateo Leguizamón Russi and Alejandra Muñoz
Phonics: Mateo Leguizamón
Music: Banda Nasa Uxs (Heart of coca)
Research: Mateo Leguizamón and Alejandra Muñoz
Durán, Juan Guillermo (1984). Monumenta Catechetica Hispanoamericana: Siglos XVI-XVII Buenos Aires. Buenos Aires: Facultad de Teología de la Pontificia Universidad Católica, pp. 330-333.
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Lazio, Regione (2010). Autonomía y dignidad en las comunidades indígenas del norte del Cauca-Colombia. Cali: G&G editores.
Ramírez Castañeda, Elisa (2001). “Fotografía indígena e indigenista”. Revista Ciencias, núm. 60, octubre-marzo.
Reichel Dolmatoff, Gerardo (1972). “El misionero ante las culturas indígenas”. Clásicos y Contemporáneos en Antropología. México: CIESAS/UAM/UIA América Indígena, vol. XXXII, núm. 4.
Rengifo Lozano, Bernardo (2007). Naturaleza y Etnocidio. Bogotá: Tercer Mundo Editores.
Velázquez, E. Rafael (1899). Estructura y acción evangelizadora de la orden franciscana en hispanoamérica. Paraguay.