Mamas Misak participating for the first time in the XVII Gastronomic Congress of Popayán
Mamas Misak participating for the first time in the XVII Gastronomic Congress of Popayán. ©

British Council

Friday 6 September 2019 16:00 to Sunday 8 September 2019 13:00

During the XVII Popayán Gastronomic Congress, Misak people from the Guambía Indigenous Reserve will give, in conjunction with the British Council and through the “Cultural Heritage for Inclusive Growth” pilot programme, two live presentations of their traditional cuisine at the central stage of the Caldas Park in Popayán.

  • On Friday, September 6th, at 4:00 pm, a Kendú preparation will take place. This is the most important soup in the Misak culinary tradition, a soup that provides high nutritional value and helps fight nutritional deficiencies in children.
  • On Sunday, September 8th, at 1:00 pm, there will be a live preparation of Ye Tsapөreik, smoked trout and ulluco stew. 

The “Cultural Heritage for Inclusive Growth” programme is called in Colombia “Sowing Our Knowledge”, and it is led by the British Council Arts Team, and it works with the Misak people in collaboration with the Guambía Indigenous Council. The main goal of the programme is to foster Cultural Heritage, in order to explore innovative ways to advance in the inclusive growth of the communities involved, while respecting their traditions, customs and worldview.

“Sowing Our Knowledge” works in Cauca with the Misak people of the Guambía Indigenous Reserve. The focus for the work with the Misak people is to foster their culinary heritage, as it represents a cornerstone of the Misak culture. According to anthropologist Luisa Angela Caro, who has provided on-going support to the process, “culinary heritage is a manifestation of a culture that gives an account of that people’s history, and is the expression of their own view and understanding of the natural environment,  a fundamental part of their identity that is reflected in the foods they use.”

The methodology used with the Misak people was based on recognising the importance of installed capacity at a local level for sustainable development and focused on an endogenous self-research process. As an outcome, we were able to establish an inventory of products, preparations and deliveries, with the aim to create and foster local capacities. Special efforts were made towards the recovery, awareness, appropriation and intergenerational transmission of knowledge vis a vis their own cuisine.

This exercise also aimed at establishing collective spaces for dialogue and self-reflection on the Misak people’s cultural values in relation to cuisine. This unveiled the Misaks’ rich culinary heritage, showing that their culinary tradition, aside from being millenary, presents rich tastes and textures that reflect the food sovereignty of these Indigenous people.

Mama Lucy Trochez says:  

“Food sovereignty is a millenary right and duty, a legacy for our generations who will live on in our territory through time and space.”

Participating in fora such as the ones offered by Corporación Gastronómica de Popayán allow participants to learn about the rich culinary heritage of the Indigenous peoples of Colombia, who in turn see their own knowledge strengthened. This creates new relationships between different indigenous peoples and the rest of society in Colombia and worldwide.