Delegation to U’wa territory

August 14, 2010

In August 2010, Mujer U’wa’s Core Organizing Committee of 5 women, organized a Mujer U’wa Women of Color Delegation to visit the U’wa territory. This was the first Delegation with three or more women from the USA since Ingrid, Lahe and Terry were killed by guerrillas in 1999 while visiting the U’wa. Our visit, coordinated between Mujer U’wa and the Cabildo Mayor (tribal government), helped to open a space that focused on women and had internationals, like us, present. This, in of itself, was a huge development for the U’wa community meetings. We supported the Cabildo’s efforts to implement their own Action Plan which includes the official organizing of women’s committees at the tribal government level (Cabildo Mayor) as well as at the village / community level (Cabildo Menor). To that end, we co-organized and participated in a Women’s Congress in the village of Fatima, which was based on a collaborative approach to developing an agenda for the visit. This was the  first ever International U’wa Womens Congress. We were asked to share the organizing experiences of other/our communities, and information on the international human rights system.  We were specifically asked to present on the background, work and legacies of Ingrid Washinawatok and Lahe’ena’e Gay, health rights organizing, documentation and public speaking and the struggles of other indigenous communities. During this delegation we were also able to continue to coordinate and deepen our relationship with a Colombian woman lawyer based in Bogota who came with us and brought her 15-year old daughter to participate in our delegation. She has long supported the women’s organizing efforts and the U’wa struggle against oil extraction and defense of land. Through our presence and presentations at the Women’s Conference, we inspired, encouraged and brought spiritual renewal to the women in knowing that they are not alone in their struggle, and that, as women of color, we give back to our roots by doing this work (as reported by Mujer U’wa’s Colombia-based Co-Director*).