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A collective suicide, an evolutionary fact

More than legend, it is one of the most tragic episodes of our Cordobese ancestors. Therefore, in this note we tell you about the collective suicide of Ongamira.


 The Ongamira area is named after the valiant Cacique Comechingón called Onga.  Legend has it, that the community  repeatedly hailed the chieftain:  “Onga, look at what beautiful scenery, look at how quiet”  and   that, from there,   arises the name Ongamira. 

Beyond toponymy

Despite such a beautiful toponymy, it is impossible to refer to Ongamira without  evoking the tragic history of the collective suicide of Aborigines Comechingones,  who  preferred to die throwing themselves from the Colchiqui hill before surrendering to the service of the Spanish oppressor. 

 This place consolidates itself  as a  scenario of prehistoric value  where life developed  before 4,600 BC Ongamira has history for more than 6,600 years ago.   aacute; s,  with Ayampitín culture. And, to remember this tragic episode, it is necessary to  venerate these roots,  which somehow gave rise to the Comechingon people, a culture that  proliferated in the period    from 500 to 1600 A.D.  This town used  agriculture, fruit harvesting, livestock and hunting. 

Stories of blood

In the valley of Ongamira, as in many other places where  the Spaniards plundered and violated our history , the comechingones  wrote the story with indelible blood, which  is not erased over time. 

Clinging to life, but understanding detachment and connected to nature, this village was cured with medicinal herbs and believing in their cults. When they wanted to say goodbye, they  listed to the sound of a branch  breaking at the height of the navel. If this sign established that it was time to leave this plane, they would climb the hill Charalqueta, and they found the jacket, who prepared them a potion that helped them jump into the void.  The term that gave its name to this geological formation,  Charalqueta, meant “happiness.”  If the bodies didn't show up, they were integrated into the whole.  With a holistic conception of life and death, and an encompassing conception of being as part of the Universe, this culture used to say goodbye to Earth to be part of “that other.” 


 Around 1,620 (according to other sources between 1574-1600)  the Comechingones, like thousands of other peoples originating in the time of the conquest, strongly resisted the colonization of the Spaniards.   Defending their life  and culture, they fought to the end  against the atrocities carried out by the conquerors.  

It was a neighboring tribe, which lived at the base of Cerro Charalqueta, which means hill of joy in Comechingón language, which chose to take refuge on top of it. There they were  captured, brutally murdered and then buried with their belongings  (worthless to the Spaniards) at the base of it.

By this time,  deaths no longer had to do with a harmonious, spiritual and voluntary decision. But with the plunder, power and ambition of a group of invading aliens. The conquerors  under Blas de Rosales  broke in search of gold and land,  taking spiritual and material riches to the  “Old World”  and forcing  this step from Earth to the Whole they had in this population. 

 The Ongamira comechingones were the only ones to confront the Spaniards  and after killing Captain Blas de Rosales, who had gone to take possession of the land in 1574 and, again surrounded,  resisted under the command  of the chieftain Onga.They escaped to the hills, but this time the fight was even worse.The invaders went on horseback and the expedition of Captain Antonio Berriú  “went to the punishment of the Indians of Ungamira and Canumbascate who had become strong on a very rough and high rock.” Onga fought a duel against the Spanish conquistadors, along with his people, but his rudimentary weapons lost against the Spanish sword, and  Onga died in combat. 

A death as heroic as it is painful

The village was harshly repressed. Determined to end this genocide, the Spaniards attacked swords and arquebukes strategically, unleashing  the massacre of 1,800 women, men, the elderly and children. Cornered by the Spanish troops,  the last comechingones, along with their women and children, threw themselves into the vacuum  from the  “damned hill” :  they would die free rather than enslaved.  After this episode of horror, the hill was renamed  Colchiquí,   which means in Aboriginal language    hill of sadness,   “mantle de sangre” or “evil god”eacute; fico del valle'. According to the story that is told, today the two names are used, Charalqueta or Colchiquí.

In the words of iconic characters

 “ It is the saddest place on Earth,”   said poet Pablo Neruda  when he visited Ongamira  during his Cordovan exile  . but expressed his pain at  the horrible end of the uprising and demonstrating of the Comechingones against Spanish rule. 

 Atahualpa Yupanqui  recalled it as  “a payment of ranches tight between reddish lumps that copied the forms of a strange fauna.”   Jiddu Krishnamurti  came to search for wind, height and loneliness,  finding them abundantly . Assisi, who was his secretary in 1953, recalls that the man who strugged to free the world insisted on the importance of living here and now.  “ That is eternal life,” he repeated. “ Time doesn't exist.” 

 Some like to believe that the absence of time inspired Albert Einstein to write the Theory of Relativity.  The German physicist arrived in April 1925, on a trip through the mountains that included the Hotel Edén, in La Falda, along with a delegation of Buenos Aires university students.They say he had an approach to the valley, with  the indigenous community that was left of that time   and that it was attracted by the particularities  of how they saw life.

Publication Date: 08/01/2021

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