Crafting peace and building a safer world

Kiwe Thegnas: Guardians of the territory

Asociación de Cabildos Indígenas del Norte del Cauca
South America

The Kiwe Thegnas, represent the movement of Indigenous men, women and children who, traditionally and historically, constitute a mechanism of care and protection of the organizational process of the Indigenous movement, under the tenets of Indigenous autonomy and self-government. We, Nasa, count on 500 years of experience in protecting our ancestral territory from outside threats. When paramilitary violence surged across Colombia, including in Cauca, around the turn of the century, we chose a path of non-violent resistance, creating the Indigenous Guard or Guardia Indígena, called Kiwe Thegnas (literal translation: caretakers of the land) in the Nasa language. The Kiwe Thegnas have the mandate to protect Indigenous territories and their inhabitants, by constantly searching for harmony and offering peaceful resistance to the war and conflict affecting their people and territories.