Wayuu authority and sanctions in the territory

Within the Wayuu community, it is worth noting that each Clan has its own wayuu authority actively responsible for representing their community and ensuring the well-being of all its members. In addition to that, the pütchipü’üi assumes a vital role in maintaining harmony and resolving conflicts that may potentially arise between the clans.

The norms dictated by the Utta bird

Firstly, the Utta bird held the esteemed position of being the first pütchipü’üi in the Wayuu community. As mandated by the deities, it took on the responsibility of organizing the ei’ruku, assigning them their respective symbols, and providing guidance on the social norms of behavior. It also ensured that compensations were made to the aggrieved families by the aggressor.

These offenses, despite being individual, carry collective responsibility. As according to the Wayuu worldview, the individual is part of a family. Which in turn belongs to an ei’ruku. Blood ties are important and taken into account for life; one belongs to the ei’ruku through the maternal line. Individuals should make restitution for theft by doubling, tripling. Or even quadrupling the value of what was stolen, according to social norms.

Alaüla and pütchipü’üi, two social institutions

In the Wayuu Normative System, the alaüla is the one who makes decisions during meetings held to resolve problems that arise in the everyday life of the Wayuu people. Furthermore, these meetings are held under a thatched roof structure, which holds a central position in the social life of the Wayuu communities.

Moreover, within this context, the alaüla plays a pivotal role as an authoritative figure. Generally, the alaüla is the eldest member of the lineage, commanding respect and reverence within the family structure.

Furthermore, the Wayuu people deeply intertwine their social norms for conflict resolution with nature, relying on the wisdom and expertise of the pütchipü’üi. This esteemed figure establishes an institution within the indigenous society, contributing significantly to the preservation of peace and harmony among the Wayuu ei’ruku.

 Therefore, maintaining peace and harmony among the Wayuu ei’ruku is their crucial responsibility and significance.

Wayuu Market


Alaüla: Maternal uncle and Wayuu family head

Ei’ruku: Matrilineal set of Wayuu families.     

Pütchipü’üi: Wayuu moral authority

Utta: Pájaro, primer pütchipü’üi wayuu. 

Write for: Juan Manuel Gómez Cotes.

To learn more about Wayuu culture, you can click Here

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