Arhuaco people

Arhuaco People

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Arhuaco people

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The Arhuaco people, also called the Aruacos, Ica, Ijca or Bintuk, names of a Native American ethnic group part of the Chibcha family, descendents of the Tairona Culture concentrated in northern Colombia in the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta.


The Arhuacos live in the upper valleys of the Piedras River, San Sebastian river, Chichicua River, Ariguani River and Guatapuri River, in an Indian Reservation in the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta Mountains. Their traditional territory before the Spanish colonization, was larger than today's boundaries which exclude many of their sacred sites that they continue to visit today, to pay offerings. These lost territories are the lower parts by the steps of the mountains, lost to colonization and farming.


The Arhuacos are distributed into 22 sections.

  • Central Zone: Nabusimake (Capital of the Arhuaco nation), Yechikin and Busin.
  • Western Zone: Serankua, Windiwameina, Singunei.
  • Southern Zone: Zigta, Yeurwa, Gumuke, Yeiwin, Seiarukwingumu, Buyuaguenka, and Simonorwa.
  • Southeast Zone: Wirwa, Yugaka, Karwa.
  • East Zone: Sogrome, Donachwi, Timaka, Aruamake, Seinimin and Izrwa.

The population is dispersed, but gets together in these towns for reunions and ceremonies, with Nabusimake being the most important of them and with an especial significance: it's composed of fifty squared shaped houses and circular temples named Kankura, for men and women.


The Arhuacos' main economic activity is subsistence agriculture, which...
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