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Who are the Wayuu?


You might find yourself wondering a bit about the Wayuu Indigenous Community. Who are the Wayuu?  Why do the Wayuu weave?  Where do the Wayuu live?  Who are the Wayuu Leaders?  

Adela, a Wayuu Artisan, works on a bag.

As Hands of Colombia features handmade goods made by the Wayuu Indigenous Group, these are questions we hear a lot!  

The Wayuu Indigenous Group is a female-led group that lives on reservations scattered about Colombia's La Guajira region.  Central to the Wayuu Identity is the ability to work with thread - to make woven crafts, to crochet, to knit, to be creative with colors and patterns.  Creating is central to the Wayuu Identity.   

A Community Led by Women

Most Wayuu families live on reservations called rancherías.  Wayuu men and women have clear (and some overlapping) roles in their communities.

Ana and Yackeline, two Wayuu Artisans and Women Leaders of the Community

 

In the Wayuu culture, women are raised by their mother and grandmother to be leaders and weavers.  When the time is right, a Wayuu girl spends anywhere between two weeks to one year at home with her mother and grandmother in a traditional time of enclosure.  During this time, girls learn the traditions of weaving as well as the responsibility they carry as a Wayuu Woman.  

Why do the Wayuu weave?

Wayuu Women are the ones who are responsible for providing for their families.  Selling artisan crafts is a major source of income for all Wayuu families; their other sources of income are herding and fishing.  

Wayuu Artisans sell their products at Cabo de la Vela, Colombia

Hands of Colombia is committed to always buying directly from Wayuu artisans, to ensure Fair, Respectful and Ethical Trade.  We do not buy from middle-men or distributors, simply because we cannot know the conditions under which they purchase, or the conditions in which the items are made.  By working directly with artisans, Hands of Colombia and our customers can be more satisfied with the impact we've made.  

 


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