WUASIKAMAS – GUARDIANS OF THE EARTH is a rural enterprise with an intercultural and environmental soul developing in southern Colombia. Its origin goes back to 2003 when Hernando Chindoy initiated decisive measures to overcome the war and drug trafficking that from 1986 to 2002 affected his native community of the Inga in Aponte- Nariño. For more than 15 years the indigenous community of Aponte was hijacked by guerrillas, paramilitaries, criminal gangs, state violence and glyphosate fumigations due to the 2,500 ha of illicit opium poppy crops used for the production of morphine or heroin that generated a local income of 2 million dollars per week. With more than 120 people killed in these times of prosperity and conflict, the Inga of Aponte came to the brink of physical and cultural extermination. In 2003, based on principles of non-violence and ancestral knowledge, Chindoy convinced more than 4,200 indigenous and peasant people to join together to totally eliminate economic dependence on drug production and open the way to revitalizing territorial governance through institutional and cultural strengthening and by obtaining collective ownership of 22,283 ha. Under the status of Indigenous Resguardo, 17,500 ha were immediately designated to a Sacred Area of strict environmental protection. The zone is home to non-human beings such as the Andean condor, tapir, deer, Andean bear, as well as 3 moors and 28 lakes that bear directly on the quality of life of the rivers Caquetá, Putumayo and Patía. The impact of this initiative has transcended to other indigenous peoples as well as Afro and peasant communities of the wider region Caquetá, Cauca, Putumayo and Nariño. In 2015, thanks to social, economic, cultural and environmental progress, Wuasikamas – The Model of the Inga People of Aponte was awarded the Equator Prize by UNDP. Since 2017, Wuasikamas is a registered label for the marketing of products of indigenous origin and local communities with a strong stewardship for the rights of the Earth. A first store was inaugurated in Bogotá D.C. to market special high altitude coffee, panela, art, fruits and community tourism. One of the main objectives of this label is to provide a healthy life for the community and to support the productive infrastructures of Aponte, which after overcoming the armed conflict, also had to overcome losses due to the activation of a geological fault in 2015. By 2027, Wuasikamas is projected to be present in 10 capital cities of countries around the world, extending bonds of friendship through culture, art and coffee for human reconciliation with the “Casa Común”, our common home that no one should violate.
Wuasikamas which in Inga language means “Guardians of the Earth” is a living work, embodying biocultural processes and the political ecology of peace.
Men and women: “Wuasikamas we all are, reconciling for a stable and lasting peace”.