Captain (traditional authority) of the Unuma community (Yaruro people). ©

British Council

The Yaruro people who live in the Resguardo Caño Mochuelo are not from that territory, they come from the department of Vichada, from an ancestral place called Akane-jundo.

The current Yaruro settlement that is located in the Resguardo Caño Mochuelo (El Calvario or Unuma Community) was established in 2001, after families from the Quintos Patios community of the Yamarero people, who considered themselves as an independent people. There are no records of such separation, given that most historical documents consider the Yaruro and Yamarero one and the same people.

Because this community was forced to settle (taking into account that they were hunters - nomadic gatherers) today many of the young people do not make great walks through the territory in search of food. Instead, they have adopted a subsistence diet based on products such as sweet and sour yucca, banana, yam, pineapple, and sweet potato, as well as basic livestock.

Native language

All the Yaruro's speak and understand their native language, which is part of the Chibcha language family and with respect to Spanish, only some people understand and speak it fluently.

Number of members

In 2012, the Unuma community was made up of 17 families with a total of 72 people and it is located 500 meters from the Aguas Claras River in a territory of 6,060 hectares of which a large percentage is flooded which makes the maintenance of cultivation or livestock very difficult.

Nowadays, the number has risen to 107, including children, adults, and young adults.

Location People
Unuma Comunity 106

What is our main goal?

The programme “Sowing Our Knowledge” (Cultural Heritage for Inclusive Growth or CH4IG) has focused on the recovery and intergenerational transmission of knowledge on crafts. To this end, local research processes have been promoted.

For the first time, the Yaruro people had the opportunity to work with an international cooperation entity like the British Council, which has strengthened their commitment towards safeguarding their cultural heritage.

The work components were defined as follows:

  • Foster the transmission of weaving techniques through the exchange of expertise, stories, and related tales.
  • Promote the recovery of ancestral knowledge, for instance, creation myths or knowledge on the use of natural dyes.
  • Work with a participative approach to strengthen the production of crafts such as hammocks, woven bags and hats, made with raw materials extracted from Moriche and Macanilla palm trees.
  • Stimulate local research for the recovery and protection of the ancestral knowledge of the Yaruro people.

Yaruro grandmothers are in charge of passing on their knowledge, stories, tales, and cultural wisdom. Similarly, mothers hold the responsibility of teaching everything related to craftsmanship and household tasks, which gives women an active role in the community. In general, women have an active role in the community. As for handicrafts, women weave chinchorros, backpacks, hats, traditional costumes, boots, among others in fibres extracted from the Palm of Moriche. As for men, they also make crafts making canoes, bows, arrows, among others.