The tribe known as the people of the sun, sand, and wind are no stranger to adversity.
The Wayuu indigenous tribe left the Amazon rainforest over 2000 years ago to settle on the northernmost tip of South America in between Venezuela and Colombia. In their new home, they have taken on the Spanish Conquistadores, feuded with the Colombian and Venezuelan governments, and now climate change is threatening their rich traditions.
But while the Wayuu women who run the tribe will continue to fight for their livelihood, they are in search of sustainable solutions to improve their living conditions.
How Climate Change is Affecting the Wayuu Tribe
A few years ago, the Colombian National Indigenous Organisation issued alerts about a famine impacting over 130,000 members of the Wayuu tribe. The situation has worsened as droughts ravage the livestock and overall agriculture of the area.
The Wayuu people also relied heavily on subsidised groceries from the Venezuelan government for essentials such as coffee, sugar, and rice. But due to border shutdowns, migrant issues, and political turmoil, this assistance has not been possible.
These factors have led to malnutrition in the region and other societal issues. For example, depression in the male population has seen a significant increase and led to a rise in alcohol abuse.
How the Wayuu Women are Helping
Thirteen years ago, the male elders of the Wayuu chose to appoint a woman as its leader. After seeing their situation change for the better, the community began exclusively selecting women into leadership roles across the tribe.
The tribe relies heavily on tourism to improve their living situation. Allowing visitors into the region enables them to educate others on their traditions. In addition, it helps spread the word about their culture and showcase their colourful festivals.
It also provides them with an opportunity to sell ceramics, textiles, as well as their world-famous weaved products. From hammocks to blankets to baskets, the Wayuu women have always been expert weavers and highly skilled at creating crafts. The techniques and methods have been handed down from generation to generation. Their brightly coloured products instil the positivity the tribe has sustained since arriving in La Guajira in 150 AD.
How You Can Help Ensure the Survival of the Wayuu Tribe
The indigenous Wayuu tribe have been fighting for their survival since they first formed. However, instead of battling governments and foreign armies, they’re now up against an invisible enemy that is single-handily destroying their livelihood.
You can assist the Wayuu indigenous community by purchasing an AURA MIA yoga mat strap. This accessory has been weaved by members of the Wayuu tribe using their authentic materials and techniques.
Purchasing one of these yoga straps at AURA MIA helps generate income for the community and ensure the survival of the tribe. Head over to our store now to see the entire range.