José Sebastián Jansasoy - Colombia
JOSÉ SEBASTIÁN JANSASOY was born in Villagarzón, Putumayo, Colombia on June, 30, 1961. He belongs to the INGA Ethnical group. He carried out his primary studies in the Rural school in Puerto Asís and Bachelor’s degree in “Normal Superior” of Sibundoy (in course). Mr. Jansasoy has been studying Indigenous Traditional Medicine for 25 years with the Cofan, Siona and Inga Indigenous Peoples and for the past 10 years with Taita Querubin Queta Alvarado, Maximum Authority of the Cofan People. He has assisted to the following courses, seminars, workshops and scholarships:
work experience can be summarized as follows:
Co-author of Life Plan of the Cofan People and the Indigenous Town Councils of the Guamuez and San Miguel Valley’s.
Indigenous People – A Wisdom that is Becoming Extinct
Colombia has 82 different indigenous ethnic groups that live in the Amazon rainforests, in the mountains and in the borders of Ecuador, Peru and Brazil. In almost every ethnic group there are traditional authorities that we call our elders. They are the ones that keep a vast richness of knowledge about nature and the environment. Most of them have received from their elders these gifts and wisdom about the world and the relationship with the spiritual beings that sustain this planet. The work of these elders in our communities is to be the stewards of these ancient wisdoms, of the spiritual world that is the basis of their culture and that allows them to protect their territories and nature (ie. water, the animals, the medicinal plants, their food and the artcrafts). Their work is also connected to take care of diseases in their communities, especially spiritual diseases, through their ceremonies and rituals, where they are able to harmonize and bring back to balance the spirit of the sick person with the environment that surrounds them.
Today these “elders”, that we also call “taitas”, “curacas”, chiefs, wise-man, depending on each culture, are becoming extinct because their lands are being invaded and their territories are being exploited indiscriminately, also because new cultural and life styles are being imposed on them and because they are loosing their food (wild animals) and their medicinal plants that allows their survival. The educational and social organization models that come from outside are different from their own system and is resulting in leaders, youth and children that lose interest in their culture, in ancient wisdom and in the knowledge held by the elders.
There are sacred territories that are environmental places of great importance, where the rivers start their travel toward the lowlands. Even in these sacred places, where the elders with his family commune with his ancestors and the spiritual beings of the rainforest, that take care and conserve these sacred sites, even there, the white world is arriving and is destroying these “Life Sanctuaries”of the planet and of our cultures.