Mokaná 1
Taken from the web site


Mokaná, Mocana. 


The Mokaná people currently inhabit the municipalities of Tubará, Malambo, Galapa, Baranoa, Usiacurí, and Piojó, in the department of Atlántico. Divided into sixteen communities, each with a council, they are under the direction of a Council of Elders composed of two hundred people.


According to the population estimate made by the DANE, it is estimated at 24,825 individuals. They are dispersed in several departments of the country. The largest concentration of this indigenous people is found in the municipality of Solano - Caquetá with a total of 534 indigenous people, followed by the municipality of Turbará - Atlántico with a total of 5,797 people. Turbará – Atlántico con un total de 5797 personas.

However, IN ATLANTICO, according to the Ethnic Affairs Management, there are currently 33,000 indigenous people recognized as Mokaná, settled in seven municipalities: Galapa, Malambo, Baranoa, Tubará, Puerto Colombia, Usiacurí, and Piojó. Each territory is administratively autonomous and has contributed to the strengthening of Mokaná identity in the department, with actions and programs carried out jointly with local authorities, the Government of Atlántico, and the National Government.


LANGUAGE These Amerindians lost their language and much of their customs, but they retain original cultural traits of their ancestors, which do not differ substantially from the customs and beliefs present in the peasant population of the region.

The Mokana language, part of the Malibu language family, is extinct; only 500 words have been preserved. Almost everyone in Colombia speaks Spanish as a native language, and this is the only official language of the country. Spanish is a Romance language also spoken in Spain; it is closely related to other Romance languages, including Portuguese, Italian, French, Romanian, among others. The dialect of Spanish in Colombia is quite distinct from that of Spain, and there are also many minor differences in the language throughout Latin America. (See Article: Artículo: ). 


When the Spanish conquistadors first arrived on the Colombian coasts, they did not realize the linguistic plurality of its inhabitants, as they were accompanied by interpreters educated in Santo Domingo, although natives of the Colombian coasts. These had been taken as slaves by adventurers who, in search of quick fortune, illegally risked themselves on the northern coastal areas, long before the process of permanent colonization began.

The violence exercised to carry out those looting and slave capture activities created an adverse and hostile climate, and very soon Amerindians and Spaniards began to get to know each other and point to each other as enemies. At the time of contact, the current territory occupied by the Department of Atlántico was called Macana and has the following toponymy that does not differ much from the present:

The Tubará Region is related to the Tayrona, who as is known were ethnic groups related to the Muiscas. In this way, Tubará has a pre-Columbian origin; in this regard, it can be said that the area is in the influence area of the great Muisca settlement made up of the Zenúes and the Tayronas. The former lived in the Momposina Depression, and the latter in the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta and the Serranía de Perijá. Read more here: mokana#:~:text=Elpueblomokanhabitaactualmente,Ancianosco nformadopordoscientaspersonas.,Ancianos%20conformado%20por%20doscientas%20personas


The process of the Native American peoples, conquered by Europeans through blood and fire, and then manipulated and betrayed by the criollos, is a historical process of acculturation or cultural contact and union. The Mokana ethnicity experienced a fusion of ethno-cultural elements, giving rise to new proto-ethnic groups that initiated the path towards the formation of the actual Mokana ethnicity.

This contact element is manifested in some form of syncretism or survival of diverse cultural elements. This is particularly true for the descendants of the Zenues, Mokana, and Kankuamo, who currently live in San Andrés de Sotavento (Sucre), Puerto Colombia, Malambo, Usiacurí, Baranoa and Tubará (Atlántico) and Antanquez (Cesar), respectively.

These Native American Mokana lost their language and many of their customs, but they retain the original cultural traits of their ancestors, not differing substantially from the customs and beliefs of the regional peasantry. Currently, the Mokana have been deprived of their land, language, and much of their culture, but with the Colombian Constitution of 1991, new social spaces were opened for various ethnic groups to reclaim their Amerindian identity and some social justice, which had been denied for a long time by dominant ethnic groups. Read more here: 


Although representing only 3.5% of the population, with around 1.5 million people representing 87 different tribes, indigenous peoples in Colombia have had a significant impact on the country's history and cultural evolution.

Known in Spanish as Mokana indigenous peoples, these tribes are widely distributed throughout the Colombian landscape, from the Amazon and Andean highlands to the lowlands of the Caribbean and the Pacific.

Archaeological evidence suggests that Colombia had well-established hunter-gatherer cultures by the end of the Pleistocene, with the earliest human inhabitants concentrated along the Caribbean coast and the Andes.

Culture and rock art Rock art is constituted by "the traces of human activity or images that have been engraved on rock surfaces" (Botiva, 2004: 10). The Mokaná, like other tribes present in the diversity of ethnic groups that inhabited much of the Colombian territory, also left a mythical, magical, and tangible legacy. Their most representative work is located on Morro Hermoso hill. There is the "Painted Stone," a large rock that houses pictography and petroglyphs, with the former understood as the art of painting on stones, and the latter as low reliefs on the same.

 These are ideograms that represent the Mokana people's lifestyle, perception of the world, natural diversity, emerging needs of the ethnicity, routes of displacement, and particularities of their sociocultural organization, giving a symbolic character related to their material and spiritual life (Mendoza, s.f.). In this way, the Mokana left evidence of a legacy that tries to survive over the years. This immense stone is preserved intact and is undoubtedly the most important cultural and historical heritage for the traditional authorities of the indigenous council, especially for the group of elders who still maintain the tradition of making their payments four times a year.


Mokana 17
Taken from the web site

Regarding religion, the Mokaná people believe in Hu, who is their God. He is the Creator of life and is attributed with the prosperity of their crops, as well as animal reproduction and human fertility. Hu, que es su Dios. Creador de la vida al que le atribuían la bienaventuranza de sus cultivos, así como la reproducción animal y la fertilidad del hombre.

The indigenous Mokaná people perform ritual called "pagamento" as a gratitude to their God Hu. This involves offering a portion of their harvest and some animals as a form of thanks.


In terms of clothing, according to anthropologist Escalante (2002), Mokaná women wear a rope tied around their waist with a cotton cloth hanging from it to cover their private parts, which are still exposed because the cloth remains loose on the sides.

As for men, they wear a hollow tube known as the "estuche pénico" to cover their penis and reveal their testicles. They also apply a color made from achiote plant mixed with oil on their bodies for protection against mosquitoes and sunlight.

On the other hand, the male clothing was just a hollow joint which covered only his penis and revealed his testicles; They applied an artisanal product made with an achiote plant mixed with oil to their bodies to protect themselves from the sun's rays and mosquitoes.

Another accessory as part of his clothing was placed on his neck "una chenga". For them it had a significant value of long life, as well as enjoying a good state of health. Read more: 

Mokaná houses are made of bahareque, a type of adobe, and have a Western-style square shape consisting of rooms and a kitchen with palm and bejuco roofs and totumo and wood accessories.


Mokaná houses are made of bahareque, a type of adobe, and have a Western-style square shape consisting of rooms and a kitchen with palm and bejuco roofs and totumo and wood accessories. bohío. Tiene forma de escuadra, compuestas de cuartos y cocina construidas en bahareque. Los techos de palma y bejuco cuyos accesorios están elaborados en totumo y madera. 


The traditional spiritual house is where they perform their cleansing, harmonization, and purification rituals and preserve the ancestral knowledge of their forefathers in the world of spirits.


Mokaná people enjoy cooking "rungo de chivo," a fish soup known as "chivo" with added rice to make it thick. They also make "chicha de maíz," a corn drink. rungo de chivo. Consiste en un caldo de pescado conocido como chivo al que le añaden arroz para que quede espeso. Por otra parte, también elaboran la chicha de maíz.

For their festivals, they prepare their own liquor by fermenting certain foods to maintain their traditions.

La mazorca es nuestro alimento sagrado, dado a nosotros por el Dios HU Corn is considered sacred to the Mokaná people and is a gift from their God Hu as both food and a seed of life that can be used to create many dishes.


They perform a ritual of gratitude to the sea for the food it provides, led by the princess and accompanied by the women of the Mokaná community, as a sign of loyalty, gratitude, and recognition.


Given their geographic location, the primary economic activity of the Mokaná people is horticulture combined with domestic animal husbandry. They cultivate plantain, cassava, beans, yam, cocoa, taro, and other crops. It is also common for indigenous Mokaná people to work as hired laborers on nearby farms, as they possess great horticultural skills.