Wipijiwi, Wipiwi, Wipiwe, Huupiwi, Guipiwi
“The ancestors did not have such established people; they lived walking from one place to another. The place from where we left […] is called Yamotinajato, which means, Yamú river. We practically came out from under the ground. We were guided by a giant armadillo, who was digging and making the way; behind it was an eel that went with the water and, followed by the eel, was a huge yamú (fish). And we were following those two characters”
Our people, which some call Wipiwi, Huupiwi or Guipiwi, are closely related to other members of the Guahibo language family, especially the Tsiripu and the Wámonae. Before the existence of the reserve, we were accustomed to moving through the Tuparro and El Tomo region, especially in the municipality of La Primavera, in Vichada, where the Easter Mission is located. The violence of the 1980s forced us to cross the Meta River when the Caño Mochuelo structuring process was already underway. Upon arrival, we settled in the community of El Merey where 178 people from 48 families continue to live to this day. * Although we are a nomadic community like other groups in the reserve, farming has become part of our lives since arriving in Caño Mochuelo.
Our language is a mix between Sikuani and Cuiba. Those who study linguistics have classified it as the Yomatimomowi dialect, a high-pitched variant of the Guahibo linguistic family. ** Similar to other Indigenous communities in the reserve, we have adjusted our lifestyle to become cultivators. These practices are new for us, since we were a mobile community.
* Mauricio, Ordenamiento territorial tradicional (El Merey, 20 de julio de 2007).
** Queixalós, F., Lenguas aborígenes de Colomba. Diccionarios. Diccionario sikuani-español (Universidad de los Andes, Centro Colombiano de Estudios en Lenguas Aborígenes, 1988): ii.