Protection of sacred site for the Kogi People

Protection of sacred site for the Kogi People of the Sierra Nevada.

Information provided by our charity partner Amazon Conservation Team.

Julian, you are part of the ACT family and that bond now extends to the Kogi. You participated in securing the urgent purchase of sacred lands that were in imminent danger of being developed. Together we protected this territory and are making history for reversing aggressive development plans and for that my dear, the Kogi are deeply grateful…

The Kogis and the three other groups that live in La Sierra, the Wiwas, Arhuacos and Kancuamos, are delighted and feel that their prayers have begun to be answered. While the spiritual management of Jaba Taniwashkaka is the Kogi’s responsibility, the benefits and access to it expand to all the groups.

With love and gratitude,

Liliana Madrigal – Director of Program Operations, Amazon Conservation Team

Project Overview:

  • Jaba Tañiwashkaka is a sacred coastal space that lies at the mouth of the Jerez River, which flows from the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta in northern Colombia.
  • On this land, you find marshes, small lakes, wetlands, and mangroves that all feed on rainfall and water from the Jerez River.
  • These natural features are fed by a small lake located in the páramo (an alpine tundra ecosystem) where the Jerez River is born. By caring for Jaba Tañiwashkaka, land from the mountain to the sea is protected.
  • Likewise, management of this area ensures food and protection for the many animals that live in the region.

The maroon tracing at the center-top delineates the Línea Negra of the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta, containing the Jaba Tañiwashkaka purchases, including Las Delicias.



December 2012: Acquired four properties—La Lola, El Chocho, La Maria and part of El Prado (totaling 154 hectares, or 380 acres)—through resources raised by ACT, the Colombian Ministry of Culture, and the Kogi Malayo Arhuaco reserve.

2013: Acquired the remainder of the El Prado property (10 hectares) with funds from the reserve.

2014 – 2015: Acquired the 27-hectare (67-acre) Las Delicias property with resources raised by ACT (pending execution of deeds).

The black line shows the sacred sites of the Línea Negra—a network of ancestral sites identified by the indigenous elders of the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta.


Properties acquired to date for the Kogi along the Línea Negra in the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta, together consolidating Jaba Tañiwashkaka.



  • The Colombian Ministry of Culture, with the blessing of the Colombian National Council on Cultural Heritage, issued resolution #2873 through which the Jaba Tañiwashkaka sacred site—consisting of the properties of La Lola, El Prado, La Maria and El Chocho (located in La Puntica, Dibulla, La Guajira)—was declared a site of national cultural interest.
  • This resolution was issued because of the historical, aesthetic and symbolic value of the property. It was the first title of its kind in the country.
  • This title can now be extended to other sacred sites.


The acquisition of this property was sought because of its strategic location:

  • Because it lies at the mouth of the Jerez River, it provides access to fresh water.
  • It ensures the protection of area wetlands, mangroves and marshes and their connection to the ecosystems on land already acquired.
  • It strengthens the consolidation of Jaba Tañiwashkaka.
  • It prevents damage to nature and traditional culture by commercial development.


ACT and the Kogi people are deeply grateful for your great generosity in funding the purchase of this critically necessary property in the consolidation and protection of Colombia’s first officially declared site of natural cultural interest.

Thank you again!

Help #conservelife, donate to support the protection of indigenous cultures.

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