Short description

Indianisches Urwissen (Saberes Mayores, for its name in spanish), is an explanatory and informative documentary about the educational reform process enforced by the indigenous communities Sionas, Koreguaje, Kichwas and Muina-Murui in Putumayo in the south of Colombia.

The project propounds two important intercultural spaces: On the first one​, we (the team) aim to explore the pedagogical proposals and methodologies, the indigenous communities Sionas, Koreguaje, Kichwas and Muina-Murui have developed in order to recover and reinforce their ancestral knowledge, from a vision of unity and intercultural respect. We also aim to witness the challenges this process may carry with it.

The second one is a space for an Audiovisual-Workshop for the communities to learn how to generate Audiovisual content that contributes to the own education process, and to keep working with the technologies for the strengthening and the preservation of their ancestral culture.

The need for such a documentary stems from the fact that for the last 80 years, different indigenous communities have been forced to follow other beliefs (religious) and other kind of education systems from the “western culture”,  which has influenced generations of indigenous communities, and has also exterminate some indigenous languages and cultural identity along the Putumayo territory.

The Indigenous education processes have had little recognition in Colombia, and have
experience many difficulties, especially because they have to deal with a Government that
ignores and tries to co-opt the particular educational models of indigenous peoples, and
compels them to adopt the educational system of Colombian society in a homogenizing
manner. The imposed education has left big consequences in the cultural structure, weakening internally the life and organization of the Amazonian communities by their forced immersion in the social, political and administrative contexts.

In the Colombian Amazon, the attempt of cultural homogenization began after the end of the period of the caucherías in 1932 with the installation of educational models from different Catholic missioners for many years. They prohibited the practice of indigenous traditions and the use of indigenous languages. This process of colonization put the cultural traditions of indigenous peoples at risk, as it led to the disappearance of different cultural practices.

After almost eight decades, indigenous groups and very strong indigenous leaders had
begun to develop new methodologies, going back to their traditional practices to strengthen and preserve their ancestral culture.

Working hypothesis

The ancestral knowledge held by the indigenous communities in the south of Colombia, is one of the most important and meaningful immaterial legacy from our culture. Do to the vast biodiversity in the Putumayo region next to the amazon, the territory has been place of different historical, violent events; which had lead to the deterioration of the indigenous cultures.

With this project we want to witness what the indigenous communities consider important for their community and their kids to learn. We want to share their thoughts and feelings in this new education process. All the struggles they’ve been through and what awaits for them in the future. As they say: «Unser Denken ist universal, weil es alles umfasst, das heißt das Sichtbare und das Unsichtbare, es umfasst die großen Geheimnisse, die die Natur enthält und die der Mensch bis jetzt nicht kennt, weil alles nur auf Chemie und Wissenschaft zurückgeführt wird. Aber die Wissenschaft ignoriert alles, was unserer Geist enthält. Pflanzen, Steine, Luft, all dies bildet einen Gedanken, den wir täglich mit unseren Atemzügen in uns aufnehmen und uns verbinden. Dies ist ein Gedanke, den ich nicht erfunden habe, auch nicht meine Großeltern, er ist Tausende von Jahren alt»