Power to the people. Colombia’s Kamsá tribes


I did some work for Colombian jewellery brand Ilumina a few years ago, who create traditional handcrafted jewellery in collaboration with the Kamsá people in Colombia's Sibundoy Valley. It was fascinating to learn about these people and Ilumina's commitment to social entrepreneurship, in the process of putting content together for their website.


ILUMINA represents a unique range of ethical handmade jewelry from Colombia. All pieces are individually made and traditionally serve as sacred amulets, offering protection and guidance through ceremony. We bring them into the contemporary setting to remind us of our unbroken connection to source. Working with the Kamsá tribe from the Sibundoy Valley in Colombia, ILUMINA’S exquisite products showcase with great dignity and respect, the culture and traditions of the Indigenous peoples of this region.

Colombia is known for its stunning natural beauty – from the rainforests to the Caribbean coast, the vast mountain ranges to the coffee plantations – but it’s real treasures lie in its ancient past. Tribal cultures in the region date back more than a thousand years and today Colombia’s people offer unique perspectives on the region’s rich and diverse cultural history.

Of particular interest are the tribal people from the Sibundoy Valley in Colombia’s south west. This fertile valley, with the Andean highlands to its south and the Amazon basin to its east, is home to the Kamsá people – modern day descendants of their Aboriginal, Spanish and Incan forebearers.

A connection to earth and nature is the structural foundation of Kamsá beliefs and daily life is focused on the preservation and protection of life and culture. Spirituality is their guiding force and ancestral wisdom is revered above all else. They exist as one with the cycles of sea and sky, of earth and the cosmos. Tradition is strong with Kamsá people and their creative expression comes from a deeply spiritual place. Mythological Incan and Kamsá symbols are carved into local trees, tribal masks are cut and carved and traditional crafts and decorative items are hand made with the most careful attention to detail and all bursting with symbolism and meaning.

Kamsá people’s mythology began in the early stories of their first peoples as civilization was just awakening. Their ancient stories talk of growth and renewal, of the flourishing of their community. Modern day elders pass down to their children, the teachings from those before them – tales of survival and the bountiful gifts of their ancestral home in the Sibundoy Valley.


This is an edited version of a post previously published for Ilumina.com

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