The Awá are children of the union of two barbachas, children of the mountain, that is why we are one, we depend on it to live, It is she who provides us with food when we plant plantain, cassava, chilangua, chiraran, papa cun, among others in the saw or the chagra. It also gives us the fruits that we collect such as the strawberry tree, caimito and the chorcha, it is also where we find the animals that we hunt such as the mongón, the fox and the mouse; It is where we obtain the materials for our house, such as the bijao leaf and the gualte with which we also make the marimba, which is a musical instrument. We are based in the departments of Nariño and Putumayo in Colombia; also in Carchi, Imbabura, Sucumbíos and Esmeraldas in Ecuador.
The word of the jungle is our reason, our identity, our wisdom, our origin (Unipa and Camawari Women and Family Area, 2011).
The Katza Su (territory or big house) is the place where all spiritual beings, plants, animals, the Awá and the seeds of the trees live together in balance; This harmonious relationship is transmitted from generation to generation through oral communication, through the wisdom of origin. When we disrespect these natural mandates we get sick from bad air, chutun, enduendado (a), grass and in those cases the spiritual knowers perform a ritual as a remedy.
In this way, the original Awá people are based on orality, in the wisdom of origin that our elders advise in the different spaces such as rituals, in the saw or the chagra, in the mingas and mainly around the stove, which allow the survival of spirituality in daily life, promoting values cultural and spiritual. Companion Misael Nastacuas shares with us the conceptualization of the wisdom of origin from the perception of the awapit:
ani awabit kuindawindu anga das usagat pamba It means that our elders, elders, grandfathers and ancestral grandmothers lived conversing through stories, there is the essence of our life, because there is our way of living, the culture, the worldview, our tradition, the mountain, fishing, hunting , the fabrics, the rivers, everything is there… our coexistence, our own education (Nastacuas, Wisdom of Awá origin, 2019).
culturally the Awá elders are our verbal libraries most precious to understand the world and respect all beings, the sharing of knowledge and wisdom is communicated in the family and the community, from grandparents to grandchildren, from parents to children; between cousins, friends and the community.
History says that cultures were different from today, since there was no organization, se lived from a millenary culture that started from the four tulpas where myths, stories were told and that was the teaching to the children, and also how to correct society and the family. (Guanga F., 2017)
The cosmovision of the Awá people is shared by our elders from generation to generation around the stove, generally while food is being prepared, allowing us to understand the communication of nature through the wisdom of origin, which are stories like the four worlds, the origin of the Awá, the origin of the food and experiences of our grandparents, parents, brothers, uncles, cousins, friends and the community in the Katza Su and spiritual beings such as the old woman, the goblin, the astarón, among others. These stories harmonize our thinking in acting according to their indications, for example: asking permission when we pass by a sacred site or the house of a spiritual being. Regarding the above, Major Francisco Guanga states: “Conversing around the stove strengthens the spirit of knowledge to connect us with the real life of the world.” (Guanga F., 2017)
In this way it is understood that the stove is a space for harmonization of thought, where knowledge and wisdom are shared, where we receive guidance and advice from our grandparents, fathers and mothers about what should be respected and protected in the territory. It is also the place where all the problems or situations that arise in the family and the community are analyzed, therefore, it is part of our tradition, our own education and our Awá essence.
The Awá people have said our teaching is from the hearth, from there they guided us, they advised us, what should be taken care of, what should be protected, what should be respected, from there they talked about respect and also education, how we should behave towards nature, but also how to behave towards our family in order to live in harmony. (Nastacuas, The Awá stove, 2019)
The wisdoms of origin are the sharing of the feelings and lives of the Awá community, these contribute to the balance to live in harmony, practicing spirituality because through conversation the norms or natural laws are understood, and through the stories the harmony is maintained. territorial harmony, for this reason it is important to revitalize them, cultivate them, stir them up and practice them; because it is the way they are transmitted, and from there how we act in the territory.
Our life is on the mountain because it is there where this close relationship between all spiritual and earthly beings is maintained. It is where we sow, cultivate and harvest as a family and community. It is where we weave the meaning of being Awá, it is there where orality is shared and the reason to respect and live together in joy.
The spirits are totally linked to nature, to large trees, to sacred sites, to water, to animals. They are so united that they are their owners and they take care of them and make them respect them. That is why we cannot make a sharp division between the two because both are part of the mountain that, at the same time, is a being with a spirit, that is, in reality they are all one.which can impose the same natural elements and brave spirits on the Inkal Awá (Gabriel Teodoro Bisbicús, Jose Libardo Paí Nastacuas, Rider Paí Nastacuas, 2010, p. 1)