Defenders of the Colombian Amazon sacred hills: knowledge at risk

Through prayers, dances and songs, the indigenous people are fighting against mining. A coltan mining contract threatens the knowledge of ethnic Amazonian groups.

In Timbó de Betania, grandfather Reimundo Montalvo, is one of the sapient men who takes care of the hills through prayers. He is 74 years old and belongs to the Desano ethnic group. He is located in the maloca, which has a wide roof that has fallen to the ground and is built from wood and dry palm leaves. He is thin and black-eyed and his wrinkled face maps out his long life.

The elder smokes tobacco while praying for those who come to visit the community, to heal pains and illnesses, and to keep away those who want to take their wealth.

“I make sure they don’t enter the territory,” he says, referring to the miners. He only speaks the native language, which is somewhat foreign, so Wilmer Andrés Ardila Montalvo, one of his relatives, helps with the translation. Both explain that gold and minerals are elements they use for healing and that there is even a prayer alluding to the precious yellow metal.

He also prays for the indigenous people to go to work, at the beginning and end of each harvest, when there is birth and death, and to seek harmony from the beings of nature.

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Edilma Prada | Radio Free (2021-06-13T17:26:39+00:00) » Defenders of the Colombian Amazon sacred hills: knowledge at risk. Retrieved from https://www.radiofree.org/2020/01/30/defenders-of-the-colombian-amazon-sacred-hills-knowledge-at-risk/.
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" » Defenders of the Colombian Amazon sacred hills: knowledge at risk." Edilma Prada | Radio Free [Online]. Available: https://www.radiofree.org/2020/01/30/defenders-of-the-colombian-amazon-sacred-hills-knowledge-at-risk/. [Accessed: 2021-06-13T17:26:39+00:00]
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» Defenders of the Colombian Amazon sacred hills: knowledge at risk | Edilma Prada | Radio Free | https://www.radiofree.org/2020/01/30/defenders-of-the-colombian-amazon-sacred-hills-knowledge-at-risk/ | 2021-06-13T17:26:39+00:00
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