Entre otra Montaña (Between another mountain)

Alejandra Arévalo

2021 - Ongoing

Since February 2020, indigenous communities from different parts of Colombia have migrated to Bogota and other large cities due to forced displacement by illegal armed actors and multinationals with an interest in natural resources in the areas where these communities live. Since their arrival in Bogota, the communities have gone through different sectors and parks of the city seeking to call the attention of the government and citizens to take measures and solutions to their current situation.

Since September 30, 2020 different indigenous groups including Embera Katio, Embera Dobida and Embera Chamí have settled in the National Park in the city of Bogota. Three months and a week ago, the national park was designated as a new territory for these communities because it offers better access to water, sanitation services and greater visibility within the dynamics of the city, thanks to its central location. However, their current situation is still precarious, with restricted access to health care, public services and job opportunities.

The indigenous people's settlement in the national park is referred to as their struggle for a better life, for a safe return to their ancestral territories and in some cases for a dignified relocation to cities such as Bogotá. In either case, the communities now living in the national park are demanding government assistance to ensure a dignified future outside of the violence they have experienced for more than ten years. However, local mayor's offices, ministries and the government have been reluctant and distant to take action to address this problem.

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  • View of the central square of the national park. It has been a playground for children, a meeting place for the indigenous guard and a collection center for donations.
    35 mm.

  • It has been decided to separate the sleeping area and the kitchen to reduce the fire hazard. Tree branches and plastic sheeting are used for the shelter structure.

  • Nora (22) came with her family to the national park in search of government support to return to her place of origin in Chocó. So far, the government has been distant in proposing solutions and alternatives for the more than 700 families in the national park.

  • Nora's kitchen and lunch for the day; rice, tomatoes and Po flour (Ground corn).
    35mm.

  • A young boy does his homework in the hut designed for his family. The various communities have tried to ensure that their children have access to school education. Volunteers from outside the government fill the role of teachers.

  • An improvised cradle hangs from the trees in the park's central square.

  • Enrico arrived at the park in early November 2021 with his entire family. He is currently looking for a job to provide for his family's needs. Enrico is also part of the indigenous guard that takes care of the protection of the park and the families that now live there.

  • John arrived recently to the National Park with his wife and two children. The option he found to earn an economic income was to build a cart to sell candy and cigarettes inside the park. He says he is doing well and making enough money to provide food for his family.

  • Elivardo is the leader of the Embera Chamí community. He traveled from Risaralda to Bogotá with most of his family to demand a safe return and a dignified relocation. He dreams of making a career in the regaetton world as a singer and author in Bogotá.

  • Alex is 20 year's old from the Embera Katio community. On his neck are tattooed the initials of his girlfriend and family who are still in Alto de Andagueda, Chocó, from where he was displaced and threatened.

  • Luis Fernando, Ofelia and their two children had arrived the day before at the national park (Parque Nacional). They decided to come because their security in their ancestral territory was at risk from illegal armed actors.

  • There are more than 290 children in the national park. Unfortunately, the difficult housing situation has damaged their health, leading to respiratory problems, diarrhea and skin problems. Thus, on November 28, 2020, a child died due to respiratory problems and not receiving timely medical assistance. The indigenous leaders report that the situation of the child was reported to the Secretary of Health on November 8 and yet no medical assistance was provided.

  • Gloria (22) is part of the Embera Chamí community. She and her family decided to leave their ancestral territory because illegal armed actors tried to recruit her and her husband on several occasions.

  • 35mm.

  • The shelters are done with black plastic, sheets and blankets to protect from the cold and the rain. During winter time this is not enough to keep water outside the houses.


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