The Cuiba people (or Wamonae, as they are called in their own language) live in the Mochuelo community, located in the Resguardo Caño Mochuelo, in the Colombian Orinoquia, far east of the Casanare department.
The Cuiba's come from the Mausuney Muthe river, in the Meta department, and their language belongs to the guahibo language family (Universidad Nacional, 2007). Throughout their history, they have moved across different Colombian departments, such as Meta, Vichada and Casanare, which makes it impossible to accurately determine their place of origin.
The Cuiba people have traditionally been hunter-gatherers. Their diet was based on hunted native animals and wild fruits, which became part of their cosmogony. They have nevertheless been forced to settle in smaller territories, insufficient to regularly provide the quantities of food the community requires.
For this reason, they have adapted to the new circumstances and learnt about agriculture and livestock. They also generate income from the trade of their products (crafts, meat, etc.) around the main towns of their area, such as Cravo Norte (Arauca) and other communities in the Reserve. They are still very much dependent on support from the National Government.
At Mochuelo, there still are traditional doctors, as well as a number of midwives, herbalists and witchdoctors. They all play important roles in Cuiba traditional medicine and are essential for the preservation and transmission of the aspects of their culture that regard caring for the environment. The community is aware of the need to support traditional doctors and their allies (midwifes and witchdoctors), as well as their places of work, for instance, accommodating the production of medicinal plants.
Women in the Mochuelo community play an essential role in teaching culture, cuisine, crafts and values to children and youths.