Mama Shibulata Zarabata
In the beginning, nothing existed; there was no Earth, no Sun, no Moon. Everything was darkness, everything was water. Water was the mother creator. And when Mother Se created the world, she saw the need for a person of flesh and bone, someone to watch over the land. This is why Mother Se created us, the indigenous peoples, the Kagubba, our traditional name. Because all indigenous peoples like us have a single name that unites us: Kagubba.
From this beginning come the Shikwakala, who are the first ancestral parents. From the Shikwakala the Sezhánkua are born, and from there the first human beings. We come from that Shikwakala–Sezhánkua ancestor. As a mamo, I adhere to the beginning and the guidelines they left us for taking care of everything that exists, not only the trees, but every element in the world, like water, rivers and sacred spaces. I adhere to that counsel, that rule, and I am guided by its wisdom.
We the indigenous are the protectors, since the beginning of the world, of the Sierra [de Santa Marta], of nature. This is why we were the first children the Mother created to care for everything. Thus, life and energy come from the Sierra, from our heart. We are the messengers of the ancestors, of what they left to us; we always transmit this to answer for everyone and thus to fulfill our responsibility as protectors. If we respect the counsel, nature, water, animals, history, gold, we will never disappear.
Water is the most important thing. They named us Kagubba precisely so that we would speak about the importance of the water, so that we would protect the water sources of the world.
We all come from and are born from water. When the creation of the world began, everything was water and darkness. The Mother rose and rose from the depths in a bubble, until she reached the surface. Knowledge and the spirit have come from that bubble since the beginning. And we come from that origin, we come from the water and are born of that bubble.
When the Sun was born, everything materialized, all of the spiritual parents became stones and turned into quartz. The first Kagubba were Shikwakala and Sezhánkua, and they turned into quartz. This is why we always talk about materials, about stones, about Teyuna, which is the spiritual father of the stones. This is why there are different colors: red, black, crystalline, which are the Kagubba, the first indigenous peoples.
With the tumas, or stones, we make different offerings: with white quarts we repay the water and with green stones we repay the forest. Gold figures are different: they are buried under the stones called asinkanas, where the spiritual parents of the trees, the water, the animals and any other natural element reside. Thus, when the mamos come to fulfill their traditional labors, they place the offerings in the asinkana.
What we the mamos do is to feed the spirit of gold to communicate with the ancestors. If the gold is in the shape of a person, we leave our spiritual parents in a cave or bury them under the asinkanas. This is why gold should always stay where they left it from the beginning.
Just like gold or water, animals also have a function within the land; among them, the hummingbird is a symbol for us. In the Kogui language, it is called sindulzhi and it is tasked with watching over and protecting everything. The hummingbird does not eat anything that has blood. It is the one who travels all the land to go where different crops are growing. It is always there where there are pineapples, plantains, tobacco, all of it.
The hummingbird is one of the Mother’s children, and in the beginning, like all of the animals, he was a person like us. The hummingbird has that beautiful outfit and does not eat meat or anything that has blood, because it followed the rules that the Mother gave him. She said to him, “If you are really going to be responsible for everything one day, you have to follow the rules I give you,” and the hummingbird kept the rules. This is why the hummingbird only lives on the water from flowers.
This story was left by the Mother so that we could identify with him. If we want the world to live in peace and to have freedom, we have to be like the hummingbird, we must have that mentality of following and keeping the counsel.
Kogui society is non-literate, so their language does not have its own writing system and is only spoken. Thus, it should be noted that what has been presented here is a transliteration and, as such, an interpretation of the original message in the Kogui language. It remains as faithful as possible to the original, always seeking to maintain the nuances (José García, Anthropologist, SNSM process support). The written translation from Kaggaba to Spanish was done by Kogui indigenous professor Juan Jandigua. The translation into English was done by Camilo Roldán.