UNESCO added the indigenous culture of Colombia’s Yurupari shamans to the Intangible Cultural Heritage List on Sunday.
After meeting in Bali, Indonesia, experts from UNESCO’s intergovernmental committee, comprising 24 different countries, recognized the “exemplary nature” of the indigenous group’s culture after evaluating the Yurupari’s spiritual characteristics and physical knowledge.
Juan Luis Isaza, director of heritage at Colombia’s Ministry of Culture, told media this recognition was a big “illusion” for the Yurupari jaguar shamans, who have “a world view associated with their sacred land, a knowledge that allows them to believe that the world can be in balance.”
The Yurupari jaguar shamans live in the area surrounding the Pira Parana River in the department of Vaupes, and believe in a wisdom called “Hee Yaia Keti Oka” that teaches them to take care of life and their land.
“This traditional knowledge of the universe and the Amazon makes them guardians of nature involved in all sorts of subjects: planting, bodily health, animal breeding, and laws,” Isaza explained.
UNESCO also declared the culture of Peru’s Quechua Qoyllurit’i shrine, Portuguese “fado” music, and the mariachi music of Mexico as part of the World Heritage List.
UNESCO has already recognized six instances of Colombia’s intangible cultural heritage, including; marimba music and traditional songs of Colombia’s south Pacific, Pasto’s Carnival of Blacks and Whites, All Saint’s Week in Popayan, the Carnival in Barranquilla, the cultural space of San Basilio de Palenque, and Wayuu indigenous culture.