Colombia is noted for its geographic, biological and cultural diversity. Vast coastal and Andean regions, tropical rainforests along the Pacific Coast and in the north-west Amazon, the Orinoco plains, extensive desert areas and islands are all home to 115 Indigenous Peoples and Afro-descendant communities. These communities are all recognized as collective rights-holders by the Constitution and the law.
BY DIANA MENDOZA FOR DEBATES INDÍGENAS
Norman Bañol Álvarez is a congressman for the special Indigenous constituency for the 2022- 2026 term in the House of Representatives (Lower House of Colombia). Hailing from the ancestral territory of San Lorenzo, he was Senior Advisor of the Regional Indigenous Council of Caldas -CRIDEC, as well as Indigenous Governor of his territory. He is a nurse by profession, a specialist in Social Security Management, and has worked in various health agencies. He has been spokesman of the southwestern Minga Indigenous movement and founder of the MAIS party, a political group that is part of the Historical Pact headed by current President Gustavo Petro.
Photo: Leonardo Díaz Ramírez
By Diana Mendoza for Debates Indígenas
Asdrúbal Plaza Calvo is a Yanacona teacher who has been involved with the Colombian Indigenous movement for 40 years. After being a teacher for several years, he went on to become a lawyer and later obtained a doctorate in political and social sciences. From the perspective of his long professional and activist career, he highlights the importance of supporting processes of recovery of ancestral knowledge in environmental matters with the Nasa Tewalas of Valle del Cauca.