A complete celebration

We visited Olacapato, in the Argentine province of Salta, and the El Tigre reservation in Puerto Gaitán, Colombia, to see the actions that Tecpetrol is carrying out in these communities.

The International Day of the World's Indigenous Peoples is observed on August 9 each year to raise awareness around the globe of the need to protect the rights of indigenous populations. This event also recognizes the achievements and contributions that indigenous people make to improve key world issues such as environmental protection.

Respect. Participation and dialogue. In 1994, the United Nations General Assembly established August 9 as the International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples to commemorate the first meeting of the UN Working Group on Indigenous Populations of the Sub-Commission on the Promotion and Protection of Human Rights held in Geneva in 1982. Here, we tell you about the actions we’re carrying out from the Community Relations (CORE) area with the Kolla ethnic group in the heights of Olacapato, Argentina, and in the eastern plains of Colombia, with the Sikuani ethnic group on the El Tigre reservation, Puerto Gaitán, in the Department of Meta.

Prior consultation with everyone is very important.-

Meanwhile, in Olacapato, Salta, the time-honored Andean rituals held to celebrate the Pachamama coincided with the launch of the first part of a project for the Kolla ethnic community, coordinated by Tecpetrol as the initial partner. The project contemplates the construction of a series of buildings which includes contributions from different companies. As always, the traditional ceremony celebrating the bounty of Mother Earth was a moving and colorful occasion, where offerings of food, drinks and household objects were made as a gesture of gratitude.

Clara Acoria, chief of the Kolla Quewar community of Olacapato, was eloquent in her praise of the project and their hopes for the community. “This is a dream come true for us, the construction of our communal meeting house. This is where we can hold our cultural, educational and commercial activities, as we plan to launch a craft fair to sell local products,” she enthused.

Because that is the real purpose of collaboration, a way of ensuring ancient customs remain relevant by putting them in context and respecting them. A similar approach was taken to the vital role played by the Sikuani shaman during the consultation process in El Tigre. “Their knowledge is partly associated with traditional medicine and they are thus key participants in this process, because they are the ones who travel through the territory as repositories of the history and worldview of their people,” Paola points out.

Pablo Martellotta, Community Relations Corporate Manager, agrees as, “I believes it’s really important to take part in these kinds of ceremonies, as they have very deep cultural roots and a strong environmental relevance. At the end of the day, it is Mother Earth who is being thanked, and her permission requested to move forward with works or projects that will have an impact on her in some way.”

The embrace of the Earth.-

"For us, it’s vital to pursue these relationships with these indigenous communities as they form part of our efforts to recognize the diversity of cultures living in the region," concludes Paola. Pablo adds that, “This has been the best beginning of a community project of which I’ve been part (and I have taken part in a great many all through these years!). When the invitation to this type of ceremony comes from the community itself, it has a differential value for the company; it’s like being part of the same value system and going together in the right direction.”

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