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A trip to the interior of the ancient village of Ocloya

We invite you to discover the fascinating history of the People of Ocloya in Jujuy and their struggle to keep their identity alive.

As we are

Jujuy is one of the provinces of  Argentina  with the largest  indigenous population.  According to government data, there are currently 278 communities. Among them is  Tiraxi, an Andean socio-cultural institution that integrates together with other communities integrates the People of Ocloya.  In this note we invite you to discover more about their history, traditions, values and the daily struggle they carry to keep their identity alive.

The Tiraxi Community aims  to promote culture, reaffirm the Ocloya identity, protect natural assets and create conditions for development that guarantee “good living” in the Communities.  They work actively with different agencies at the national and international levels and survive through agriculture, grazing, mammalian husbandry, vegetable harvesting and wild game, among others.

The families that inhabit the territory are located on the foothills, the slopes and tops of the hills and are transported on foot or on horseback. They do not have modern communication services due to the fact that the wiring network has not yet reached the area. Although some of its members have cell phones, in most of the territory there is no signal. This way of life surrounded by  nature, history and community solidarity  make the People of Ocloya a true  heir to ancestral culture. 

Nilda Aisama is a member of the Tiraxi Community, who says that, since children, they are taught to live together in the territory preserving natural goods and to take from nature, only what is necessary.

What are the values of the Community?

At present, the Tiraxi Aboriginal Community and all the Ocloya People Communities, we retain IN.SITU, our forms and cultural patterns.  Our worldview is based on the relationship between man, territory, nature and cosmos , so we conserve and protect our valleys, hills, rocks, rivers, water, forests, pastoral plains as medicine and spiritual enrichment, with the full awareness that the protection of goods natural in balance and harmony with the Pachamama, with deep respect, from the relationship and spiritual bond we have with it, are the guarding of our continuity as a pre-existing people and for all generations to come.

What does it mean to be a member of the Tiraxi Aboriginal community?

 I am indigenous, daughter of an  indigenous woman, proudly Ocloya , my family always lived together in close contact with nature, observing and interpreting their ads to order everyday life. My mother taught me to live in harmony, to heal with plants, to feel... and that sensitivity is what strengthens me, empowers me, to be able to accompany her, to follow her footsteps, in this cycle of time, which calls us to fight, in protection of the territory, of biodiversity.

To be a descendant of the ancient Ocloya People means to be a transmitter, it means to carry the voice of my ancestors and protect their legacy , it means to be strengthened to fight against oppression, injustices, threats, discrimination, it means raising up our emblem, our yesmbolos, means raising awareness, means maintaining my spirituality that will allow me to continue fighting for our rights.

What are the difficulties they face today?

We have a way of understanding development, in balance with Mother Earth, but governments understand development as economic growth, which will allow us to live better, but we are experiencing the consequences of applying that development model aimed at progress, but  there is pollution, overexploitation, fires, global warming and consequently climate change , and even the depletion of natural assets, and basically the imbalance of the planet.

We are not separated from nature; because subordinate it for our benefit, because not practicing reciprocity with it, mastering the laws of nature is a utopia, we cannot attack what sustains us, and it is not a question of responsibility, it is a harmonious order.

What are the debts that the government has to the Native Peoples?

The country was built on the basis of the destruction of Indigenous Peoples, on the basis of eliminating knowledge, knowledge, the elimination of languages, identity... During the independence processes, only the change of hand of power, from European monarchies and bourgeoisies to local elites was achieved. Thus, a country was organized, with subjugation and repression, trying to erase the Indians from history. Argentinity was not encouraging for coexistence, it was quite the opposite. But the subjection, the permanent abuse, dispossession and violation of the rights of Indigenous Communities in Argentina, does not end.  The State has a  historical debt  to the Indigenous Peoples. 

A bill on “Instrumentation of  Indigenous Community Property was presented,  so we asked national legislators (deputies and senators) to deal with and approve as a matter of urgency, as part of the historical reparation, and to be able to achieve the titling the territories of current, traditional and public possession and occupation of the pre - existing Indigenous Communities in the Argentine Republic. Unfortunately, we live in times where identity is taken away and sovereignty is violated, with an unresolved territorial conflict. We must end the culture of privilege that naturalizes inequalities, discrimination...

What is the way to start the change?

It is necessary  to build institutionally multicultural, diverse, inclusive, equitable and non-discriminatory societies . Good Living is a right that all people and nature have, to be reciprocal with nature, but all governments have proposed political offers totally antagonistic to what we are...

Publication Date: 28/10/2020

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