// The Wayúu people, one of the last matriarchal societies in the world //
- Work in progress -
Located in the most northern area of South America, at the border of Colombia and Venezuela, the Wayúu people is today one of the last matriarchal societies in the world. Living in the desert region of the Guajira, that Native American people is one of the few who has not been conquered by the Spanish. They have maintained a certain independence since and have a dual citizenship between the two countries.
Wayúu Indians do not settle in villages but are organized into matrilineal clans where the woman is at the center of the organization. The legal parental authority is exclusively maternal, connecting people to each other by a strong familial bond.
They continue today to perpetrate their traditions, such as animal sacrifices, funeral ceremonies and other ancestral rites perpetrated by the shaman of the clan, such as the « encierro »* a rite of adulthood passage for women. Living in harmony with nature, they attach great importance to their sacred land, inherited from their ancestors. They rarely leave their territory except to sell their crafts in the village.
Even if they are considered by their Colombian and Venezuelan neighbours as a rather hostile people, I managed to get in touch with a " Piachi ", a shaman from the clan Arpuchana , who agreed to introduce me to her community. In december 2014, I lived for the first time with these indigenous people. By sharing their everyday life, I realized how much they were truly a distinct community, cut off from the outside world and civilization. I came to realize that behind this apparent austerity, they protected their lands, traditions but also their precious independence.