The Sáliba people first arrived to the Caño Mochuelo Reservation the 11th of April 1967, and established themselves in the Morichito community. These first settlers came from Orocué, a municipality where our ancestors initially lived * and where many Sáliba communities are still found today - in the reserves of El Consejo, El Duya, Paravare, San Juanito, El Saladillo, El Suspiro, El Médano, and Macucuana. ** The Saliba was one of the first communities, along with the Achaguas and Piapocos, to encounter Western cultures through the old religious missions that settled in our region in the 17th and 18th centuries, as well as in the villages and towns.
The Sáliba language is a linguistic family of its own that is not share with any other indigenous people in the region except, perhaps, the Piaroa.*** Our tradition is sedentary and peaceful. We practice wood carving, pottery, and farming, planting traditional or adopted species such as cassava, sago, sweet potato, tabena, mapoy, plantain, sugar cane, corn, and rice in communal fields. However, like many other indigenous peoples of the Orinoquia, we also adopt nomadic practices, as a way of responding to the pressures and threats on our territory that came with colonization. In fact, after leaving Orocué, our elders possibly lived in a place called Tapaojo (Santa Rosalía), in the Vichada department, where Sáliba communities also persist today. They then went to Venezuela, through the Orinoco, before returning to Colombia to settle down in Morichito,**** a community that today is made up of 443 individuals from 111 families.
* Plan de vida del pueblo Sáliba (Departamento de Casanare, s.f.): 14; Romero Moreno, M. E., Castro Agudelo, L. M., y Muriel Bejarano, A. Geografía humana de Colombia. Región Orinoquia, vol. 1, tomo III (Bogotá: Instituto Colombiano de Cultura Hispánica, 1993): 55.
** Plan de vida del pueblo Sáliba (Departamento de Casanare, s.f.): 10.
*** Romero Moreno, M. E., Castro Agudelo, L. M., y Muriel Bejarano, A. Geografía humana de Colombia. Región Orinoquia, vol. 1, tomo III (Bogotá: Instituto Colombiano de Cultura Hispánica, 1993): 10.