Indigenous Resistance in Colombia
photo by Jonas Wresch

01

The mountains are illuminated by the large amount of green houses used for marihuana cultivation. Toribio is one of Colombia's most conflictive towns. Its population is frequently caught in the crossfire of government soldiers and the FARC-guerillas. Toribio is also the birth place of the “Guardia Indígena”, an unarmed, volunteer group of over 800 men, woman and children, that defend the civilian population during combats.

02

Over the past 500 years the indigenous “Nasa” tribe developed a strong self defense mechanism that lead to the official foundation of the Indigenous Guard in 2001. The unarmed group of over 700 people, among them many woman and children, has found their own, peaceful way to withstand the constantly changing threats and adjust to political changes.

03

Since December 2014, people of the indigenous Nasa tribe have occupied three sugar cane plantations in the Cauca region of Colombia. They are demanding arable land, which they were promised after the massacre of El Nilo in 1991 when police and paramilitaries killed 21 indigenous. For this desperate battle for land, survival and tradition is about much more than just possession.

04

Around 100 Guards gathered in order to evict a group of Special Forces soldiers after the death of a women during a battle between army and guerilla. The soldiers camp is located very close to the civilian population and therefore presents a high threat to the community. After a successful negotiation, the Special Forces leave the area marked with white flags.

05

Several protesters during a reunion with the United Nations delegate.

06

This self made bazooka is used to shoot firecrackers towards the police.

07

The indigenous try to hit a police helicopter with stones.

08

Family and friends at the funeral of Manuel Tumiña a member of the Indigenous Guard in Toribio, Cauca who was killed together with his collegue Daniel Coicue by a FARC member on Wednesday 5th of November.

09

Cauca who was killed together with his collegue Daniel Coicue by a FARC member on Wednesday 5th of November.

10

As Daniel Coicue‘s body is brought to the cemetery, the Indigenous Guard forms a guard of honor with their “bastones”the wooden sticks they wear as a symbol of authority - not as a weapon. They are decorated with red and green, the colors of the Guard symbolizing blood and earth and therefor the century-long fight for autonomy and peace

11

Lightning hits in the town of Corinto close to Toribío. A large amount of marihuana, cocain and heroin is produced in the mountains trafficked through this area, creating significant social instability and security troubles. Neo-paramilitary groups such as the Rastrojos and Aguilas Negras have a strong influence in Corinto and its surrounding.

12

After killing the two Indigenous Guards Manuel Tumiña and Daniel Coicue on Wednesday, Carlos Ivan Silva was sentenced to 60 years of prison under indigenous law in Sunday‘s public trial.

13

After killing the two Indigenous Guards Manuel Tumiña and Daniel Coicue on Wednesday, Carlos Ivan Silva (extreme right) was sentenced to 60 years of prison under indigenous law in this public trial. Four more guerrillas were sentenced to 40 years, two underage guerrillas were publicly wiped and sentenced to penitentiary until the age of 18 with possible imprisonment afterwards. The punishment in this case was very strong in order to create a precedent. The Colombian constitution gives the indigenous groups the right to hold their own trials and apply their own laws.

14

The weapons that were confiscated after the capturing of seven FARC members involved in the killing of two guards are being public destroyed. The community cheers and takes photos of this historic moment that demonstrated the strength and resistance of the indigenous community in southwest Colombia.

15

Like a metaphor for the end of war in Colombia, these weapons, which were confiscated after the capturing of seven FARC members involved in the killing of two guards, are being publicly destroyed and burned by the civilian population.