The Siona people is a millenary indigenous tribe located in between the Putumayo river and its tributaries in the amazon region of Colombia and Ecuador. The Siona denominate themselves as -Zio Bain – which means “people that cultivate the land”. Their native language, Mai Co'ca comes from the Tucano language family.
For the Siona, their territory is sacred. It represents existence and it is their mother nature. Their territory provides them with the much-needed elements and conditions for their survival and cultural expression.
The Siona are people of yagé, an ancestral medicine used by the Shamans or Taitas to harmonize their lives and provide wellbeing to their communities. The purity and power of this and all of their ancestral medicines depends on the conservation and wellbeing of their rainforests and natural resources.
Traditionally, they sustained their families through hunting, fishing, small plot farming and the gathering of resources from the rainforest. However, the impacts of globalization and western culture have affected such possibilities drastically.
The Siona strive to resist by conserving their ancestral and sustainable traditions but they also face the need to adapt their expressions to the modern world and its conditions.
At present, the Siona people face severe threats to their survival and self-determination rights in their territories. These threats stem mainly from oil-drilling companies, an armed conflict in the region and the exploitation of natural resources derived from the expansion of cattle raising, extractivism and illegal-crop-farming by Cuya Bain or non-indigenous people.
These factors have led to a diminution of food and medicinal resources that limit traditional livelihood. Parallelly, their native language and cultural expressions face a risk of disappearing because of series of colonization attempts in the past. As of 2009, the Siona tribe and their 2,600 inhabitants are considered in danger of physical and cultural extinction by the Colombian Constitutional Court. Thus far, the “Safeguard´s plan” established by the government on that date has yet been implemented.
Rooted on their traditional medicine and following the spiritual mandate of their ancestors, Buenavista and the Siona Tribe sustain a cultural resistance to protect their rights as ancestral indigenous people.
Los siona en Defensa de su territorio ancestral: https://verdadabierta.com/disputas-de-tierra-ante-la-justicia/los-siona-en-defensa-de-su-territorio-ancestral/?fbclid=IwAR3Lbfl2JZhPOOedIJIj9AVtI20vv6-FJu207J80XaBu8I1abAlUbUZZqkQ
The war goes on: one tribe caught up in Colombia´s armed conflict: