Updated: Jul 24, 2020
“She’d only come out at night, She’d knit hammocks, straps, and bags. The moon was her only source of light And she'd always leave before it turned bright”
Wayuu customs and beliefs have survived for millennia thanks to oral tradition.
THE WAYUU WOULD RISE AT DAWN AND FIND THEMSELVES IMPRESSED WITH WALE'KERUs CRAFT
Despite the community's desire to learn, the spider would not give away her secret. One night, a young girl reached out and begged the spider to unveil her tricks. They would meet every night, and Wale’Kerü taught her all she could. And when there wasn’t more to teach, the spider disappeared. The little girl, by then a woman, showed her fellows the knitting techniques, much like Wale´Kerü had done her. The spider’s legacy became a symbol of the Wayuu, now caught between their ethos and the trades of western society.
The dance of La Yonna (or Chichamaya) honours the thin line between dreams and reality.
Their culture and language are well preserved, and their land remained untouched by Spanish colonists who could not fight in the desert. However, recent times are challenging local resistance to acculturation. While the authorities have sat in silence, armed groups have pervaded La Guajira, and corporations have contaminated rivers that are sacred and central to the Wayuu’s wellbeing.
In 2004, the Bahía Portete massacre at the hands of paramilitaries displaced over 400 Wayuu people. To this day, the case of Cerrejón still stands out - a key coal producer whose mining activities reportedly depleted and polluted Río Ranchería. By partnering with NGOs that operate in the area, Müsü seeks to be an example of sustainable enterprise that protects the Wayuu’s identity and autonomy. Our goal is to grow our presence across a network of indigenous communities and local actors in Colombia, Venezuela, and other countries where Amerindian heritage is at risk.
To avoid mixing herds, Wayuu communities live in isolated settlements known as rancherías.
The Wayuu approach to work is based on balance and value creation. They minimize waste and maximize utility. Knitting a mochila can take between one and three weeks, and Wayuu women personally handcraft each bag and strap in a ritualistic manner.
Sitting on the ground of communal areas known as lumas, they weave for days to create different and therefore unique patterns, making these products all the more special and valuable. Müsü’s ultimate goal is to help sustain this beautiful and complex tradition. To raise awareness about the difficulties these hard-working women face on a daily basis, and to help them overcome as many as we can while promoting their art.
Thread by thread, Müsü will stand for the exquisite creations of the Wayuu and other ethnic groups across The Americas.