Tulpa Memory Initiative Helps Boys and Girls Heal

In November 2016, children from the Resguardo Huellas presented the project “Abracitos de los Nasa” (Little Hugs from the Nasa) to the children from Los Chorros school in the Caloto-Cauca municipality, with the objective of initiating a new process of emotional relief that incorporates the tulpa and addresses psychosocial damages experienced by children in the midst of war.

The project highlights the capacity to transform, to dream, to give meaning to the customs and the traditions of the territory and ends with the construction of an initiative of collective memory that dignifies the ancestral memory of their elders.

The children were welcomed at the tulpa Nasa, where they shared the importance of the tulpa for their territory and culture. This tulpa was the result of a memory initiative that Blumont supported in 2015, when the children recalled the ancestral memory of when their grandparents gathered to tell them stories. The following are significant accounts of the importance of the tulpa Nasa for their territory.

One of the children shared: “The tulpa is very important for my Nasa community. There are three stones that represent the father, the mother and the grandmother. They also represent society, territory and culture. The fire is very important because it generates life, strength and fortitude; our grandparents gathered to tell stories, and to advise and direct the ways of our people.  We are learning that tradition.”

Another said: “The tulpa has helped us a lot because here our elderly came to guide their children, and all our elderly have guided us not to take bad paths. That is why when the eldest son is born and his umbilical cord stump has fallen off it is buried under the stone of the eldest son.  If the child is a girl, hers is buried under the stone where the mother is and if it is a boy it is buried under the stone where the father is.  Because we, children, are sometimes very naughty and when we grow we go bad paths. That is why some children grow up and become drug addicts, which us.”

Yet another shared: “For us it was important to learn from our culture, without being ashamed to say we are Nasa. I would like, for example, to rescue this tradition of tulpa with other children and let them learn the meaning of the three stones representing mother, father and son/daughter. The mother always stands looking to where the moon is born (Uma) and the father stands where the sun is born (Sek).  When a child is born, the navel is buried under the mother’s or father’s stone so that the child does not leave their home territory. The tulpa that we dreamed of is to share as a family and so our ancestors teach us what they have lived and we continue united.”

“The fire in the tulpa gives us harmony and strength, it helps us to know if bad people come or if someone comes to visit us. Some when they come to visit us sit around the tulpa and get ash thrown on them, so they bring them something.”

“Thanks to everyone for being here. It was very important because we did many things. I have my imaginary friend and I still talk to him, he always listens to me and I feel safe.”

Children from Los Chorros expressed: “Thanks to the community of La Selva, especially the boys and girls, for telling us the experiences they lived. I hope that soon the children of the school of Los Chorros can live this beautiful experience.”


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