Colombia has begun construction on its largest Indigenous library in the Sierra Nevada in Santa Marta which will be run by the Arhuaca community.
According to the Ministry of Culture, the US$7 million project will develop over the next ten months and is dedicated to the preservation of the various Indigenous cultures.
"There are many stories that were not documented and now that will be possible. The next generations must know and learn from the traditions of our ancestors,” said Jose Maria Arroyo Izquierdo, governor of the Sierra Nevada and Arhuaca leader.
Indigenous leaders and the Ministry of Culture signed an agreement, finalizing the plans for the construction of the cultural memorial center.
It’s thanks to these cultural centers, said National Library director, Consuelo Gaitan, that centuries-worth of tradition in agriculture, cosmology, and art can be preserved and passed down for future generations.
"On behalf of my community, I appreciate the support of the Ministry of Culture for carrying out this project that will help preserve our traditions," said Arroyo.
Arhuaca Indigenous leader, Reinel Villafanez said coexisting as separate territorial autonomies is one of the most difficult hurdles communities and local authorities face.
"We do not need money or technical things to put on farms, we just need the free function and autonomy of our lands and freely exercise our spirituality," he said.
However, the purpose of the library is to preserve ancestral architecture in relation to their respect for the environment and culture ministers said construction will proceed in observance of the Arhuaca traditions.