WITH WRITING ON SKIN THE YANAKUNA OF THE COLOMBIAN MASSIF ADVANCE FROM CAUCA IN THE MINKA OF RESISTANCE
by: Win~ay Mallki (Fredy Romeiro Chikangana)
Yanakuna writer and poet
We, the Yanakuna Mitmakuna (Yanakona) of the Colombian Massif are on the march with our brothers - the Nasa, the Kokonuko, the Misak Eperara – raising our voices against the many outrages suffered by our people.
We are Kechuas men and women, children of the Tapukus. Of us it is said, “We are the underground beings who collect the water that springs up to Mother Earth”, “We are those who work together in the time of profound night”, “We are those who sing to Father Sun and to Father Kuichi because they shaped our beginnings”. Our situation is a painful one and now it has been sharpened by the war that grips the country.
In these earthen bodies we bear the marks of years of anxiety and desperation, created by policies of impoverishment that have scarred this land of Macizo, a land where political maneuvering and government policies have a mocked the needs of our people.
From the depths of the earth we bring traces of the great ones of our own history: the spirit of the great Lord Kakaoña, whom the the Spaniards called “The Lord of Power”; the spirit the Inca Lord of Salazar, lord of all the Yanakuna land; and the spirit of the Lord of Pancitara, tireless warrior of the Massif.
They speak to us of the wide lands that truly belong to us, lands now reduced by impositions without number until we are confined in places that cannot be cultivated, compelling us to a silent migration in which our problems multiply – problems that are social, political,economic. Now our territory is narrow, mere strips of land where people cannot live or maintain their families in dignity.
Anger and the powerlessnes are etched on our faces, because we know this has been a land of war ever since the Conquest . Since then have come, in all times, armed groups practising violence and committing atrocities. We know that in our own time the armed forces, on the pretext of protecting democracy, occupy part of our ancestral land, the place where are born the main rivers of Colombia and the sacred springs of our lakes. The soldiers have forced us to live in anxiety and anguish. They ill-treat our people. Our youth are condemned by them for their long hair, for using the sacred coca leaf, for defending their land, for their resistance to armed occupation, and for resistance to the pollution of Mother Earth and of our water springs.
By this water we take up the struggle of our ancestors for the defence of Mother Earth in the Massif. For this, we march with our Kechuan steps, with our coloured symbols: of La Wipala, of Kuichiyana and of Tawa Chaka-Hana.
We say to Colombia and to the world that in the heart of the Colombian Massif there are people with dignity - men, women and children, peasants and black and indigenous people – who refuse to be dominated by a new colonial regime. This is a regime that would rule in the interests of multinational companies, companies that would, with Government complicity,seize possession of our ancestral waters and of the resources essential for our existence as a civilisation going back thousand of years.
For this reason, we reject all the plans intended to destroy us. We say no to programmes that communities are not consulted on. We say no to the plan for the waters, no the statute for rural development, and no to the plan for the uplands. We say no to the occupation of indigenous land by armed groups, whoever they are.
We demand respect for our indigenous authorities and for our own police. We demand respect for our young people. We demand compliance and respect for national and international
rules of behaviour.
And thus, with this written on skin, we continue to march, raising our voices and displaying the symbols of resistence that derive from indigenous memory. We do this so that the country and the world can read of our situation, the same unjust situation in which all Colombian people live.
Colombia Support Network
P.O. Box 1505
Madison, WI 53701-1505
phone: (608) 257-8753
fax: (608) 255-6621