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The Arhuacos


The Arhuaco people are descendants of the Tairona, who like the Inca and the Aztec, had a highly developed civilization. Some aspects of Tairona civilization included development of advanced irrigation systems, impressive architectural knowledge, and commerce with other native peoples over great distances. Their culture also had a strong connection to the earth and nature which was an integral component of their beliefs, customs and traditions. The Tairona inhabited what is today northern Colombia well before the arri- val of the Spanish conquistadors. They resisted and fought against the Spanish conquest, but in the end the few remaining survivors had to retreat to the mountains, where they lived in isolation and developed what is known today as the Arhuaco cul- ture. Ever since then, the Arhuaco have continued to resist an outside world that demands they integrate themselves into modern Colombian society at the cost of their own culture and beliefs. This presentation will describe the culture, beliefs, and traditions that the Arhuaco people are fighting to preserve. It will also detail their struggle to protect and foment their culture among their youth, who are more susceptible to the influence of the outside world.