MEET THE INDIGENOUS COMMUNITY - Eperara Siapidara

 
The indigenous community “Eperara Siapidara'' can be found by the shores of the Guangí river between Puerto Saija and López de Micay, located in the Cauca region in Colombia.
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PHOTO BY COCOCAUCA
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A community that has moved a lot from its original territory, moving along the river’s coast, fleeing what once was an internal war. Nowadays, the “Eperara” are going back to their original territories, back to their roots and back to cultivating and being recognized as specialized weavers of the “Paja Tetera” or Tetera straw fiber, a technique that consists on making basketry and bags. Honoring their culture and passing on their legacy through their craft. 
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Fun fact: this community’s ancestral beliefs are that men come from the Tetera palm tree and women come from the moon. We feel passionate about sharing stories from each of the communities we work with, appreciating their culture and heritage plastered in their crafts.
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PHOTO BY ARTESANIAS DE COLOMBIA 
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 The “Paja Tetera'' is a fiber well known throughout the pacific coastline of Colombia. A fiber used by the “Eperara Siapidara” indigenous community, in a process that allows them to mold the fiber into beautiful artisan pieces. The “Paja Tetera” palm is cut when the plant has two separate leaves, then they cut out the leaves leaving only the stems which are then left to dry but not in direct sunlight since the fibers of the stem could be affected when left to dry under the direct sunlight.
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After the drying process is finished and the fibers are stiff they are flattened, usually with a bottle, and then gently separated lengthwise with the help of a knife to obtain long ribbon-like pieces of fiber that can then be naturally dyed and knitted into beautiful crafts. The magic appears when you discover the process behind each craft.
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