Mayalero, Playero, Mayanero, Mariposo (connotación negativa)
“That was the land we traveled, and in all those journies, our children were born as little chicks under its wings. That is why we consider all of this our land, as other people in my family may have said it - this is not a lie because I was also born on those journeys”
Our town is also known as Mayalero, Playero, or Mariposo, although we consider the latter a derogatory term. Our people traditionally moved around the area between the Casanare River, to the northeast, and the upper Meta River, to the southwest, via channels like Pauto, Aguaclara, and Ariporo. * However, our elders tell us that our expeditions extended south to El Guaviare and north to Capanaparo where we arrived fleeing from persecution. It was in that region where we initially encountered the Yaruros, which today belong to the Caño Mochuelo Reserve, and with whom we established some kinship ties. Upon returning to the reserve region, we settled in the communities of Quinto Patio and Topochales, where we currently have 95 people from 24 families.
Our language forms a continuum with Sikuani and Cuiba, although it is more closely related to the former than to the latter. In our language, we call the territory Patahira, which involves all the elements of nature, both material and spiritual. Patahira is everything: it is experience and knowledge, life and culture; Patahira is our past and our future. That is why it is worrying for us to see how hunting, fishing, fruit gathering and other resources are increasingly scarce, and how increasingly difficult it is to reach the territories we once traveled, although they are not recognized as part of the reserve.
* Queixalós, F., Lenguas aborígenes de Colomba. Diccionarios. Diccionario sikuani-español (Universidad de los Andes, Centro Colombiano de Estudios en Lenguas Aborígenes, 1988): ii.