La Guajira desert, located in northeastern Colombia and northwestern Venezuela, has been the traditional territory of the Wayuu indigenous group, even since before the arrival of the Europeans to America. The Wayuu are currently the largest indigenous group of these two countries, and one of which preserves and protects its culture the most. According to its oral history, it was Maleiwa who made them, and the first Wayuu and their clans emerged from Wotkasainru, a land in the upper Guajira.
Historically, this indigenous group has been semi-nomadic, reason why its members mobilize through their territory, according to the seasons of rain and drought. Its main economic activities are the grazing of goats, hunting, fishing and horticulture. Weaving, a traditional activity and shaft of the Wayuu social and personal life, has become slowly a form of gaining additional income for families of this indigenous group. Some crafts are made by women while others are handcrafted by men, such as their traditional hat.
The designs of the handcrafts evoke the daily life of the Wayuu society and its artisans get inspired by those cultural and natural elements that surround them. This is why their handcrafts reflect their knowledge of the biodiversity and natural resources available in their environment, such as the animals, the plants and the stars, and they become a means of expression for the members of this indigenous community.
It is our goal to help sustain the cultural heritage of this indigenous group. For many of the Wayuu women that we work with, the crafts they make are a key economic resource, and that is why it is so important to empower these artisans through direct trade. Each purchase contributes to the conservation of ancestral traditions and income generation for this culture and its members.