Jorge Henriquez Ashana is considered one of the most prestigious “palabreros” (conciliator / lawyer) of the Wayuu indigenous ethnicity. He is also a traditional musician, instrument maker and educator.
The Wayuu community is one of the largest indigenous groups in Colombia. Its territory is in the La Guajira Peninsula, between Colombia and Venezuela. The Wayuu have never been subjugated by the Spanish colonizer,s and were the only indigenous group who learned to use horses and guns to defend themselves.
Its regulatory system comprises a set of principles, procedures and rituals governing social behavior and community spirit. Inspired by principles of reparation and compensation, this system is implemented by the indigenous moral authority: the pütchipü’üis or “palabreros”- persons experienced in resolving conflicts between the matrilineal clans of the Wayuu.
As a well-respected “palabrero”, Jorge Henriquez has traveled to indigenous gatherings in Europe, Venezuela and other regions in Colombia. He also masterfully plays various musical instruments of the Wayuu as the Sawawa, trompa, maíz and Kassha which he builds in his spare time
*** Our meetings with Jorge Henriquez in the rancheria of Media Luna and in Uribia were unforgettable: We improvised with him as with an old friend, even though these instruments are always played by shepherds in the solitude of the desert.