The U’wa nation is mobilizing to ensure the environmental protection of their ancestral territory, Zizuma. Zizuma is located inside the borders of El Cocuy National Park in the Andes mountains in Colombia. Read the U’wa’s statement below:
The National Natural Parks of Colombia have failed to manage and exercise control over El Cocuy National Park, and in their role in managing tourist operations, they have ignored their responsibility to ensure the protection and conservation of protected areas. As the U’wa Nation and as defenders of our Mother Earth we want to state publicly to the national and international community that:
- ZIZUMA is sacred territory for the U’wa, a place where divine beings of our nation, and the ancestral and cultural knowledge of our traditional authorities (werjayás) materialize.
- Mismanagement of Colombia’s National Parks affect the U’wa people physically, culturally and cosmologically. It also affects the natural and spiritual balance of our Mother Earth.
- The people of the U’wa nation have decided to mobilize in defense of our ancestral territory ZIZUMA. Therefore, from this date onwards tourism will not be allowed in our sacred place.
- We invite the national and international communities, environmental rights defense organizations to be in solidarity with our struggle to defend the Kera Chikara.
- We reaffirm our position to defend and protect Mother Earth, respect for our sacred places, for life and our ancestors and ancient peoples. The closure of tourism in the area of Cocuy National Park is just one step toward guaranteeing the protection of life, our culture and Mother Earth.
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