Cofán's jaguar. Yagé master plant rocker and servant. Grandparents apprentice.
Medicine man. Guardian and musician of sacred ceremony space.
My name is Samith Orange Osorio Cogollom, and I was born on April 23, 1991, in Tierralta (Córdoba, Colombia).
At 17, I left my parent's house for a new world and promising opportunities. Two years later, I discovered the Yagé (Ayahuasca) plant in the mountains of Santa Elena (Antioquia, Colombia). There I had the opportunity to live with Taita Luís Evelio Moreano.
In 2012 I met Grandfather Taita Curaca Guillermo Lucitante Yaiguaje of the Cofán tradition. I traveled with him to the Resguardo de Santa Rosa de Sucumbios in the Colombian Amazon jungle. And since then, my life has changed because I had to let go and flow with a lot of faith and hope.
I accompanied an excellent human being, a great father and a great mother (Beatriz, Guillermo's wife), and great sages in the knowledge of Yagé. I served them and their family with love and devotion. Grandfather Guillermo told me how to start and embark on a path with the plant, and he shared much advice on handling and preparing Yagé and caring for it to deepen it. And I had many life experiences with the grandmother, Ayahuasca. She healed and welcomed me as a son, and I gave myself to service with great responsibility.
In 2015 Grandfather Guillermo left us to rest in the glory of the creator father. And at that moment, the door to the Yagé kitchen opened for me. I used plants for vomiting and baths and thus took care of my body and entered the dieta that the mystery of the science and cooking of Yagé demands. In 2018, Grandmother Beatriz Lucitante Lucitante rested in peace. I thank them for all the beautiful things they sow in me and my walk.
And I continued my path as a yagecero and cook of the Yagé master plant. Alone, I went through the middle of the jungle to where Yagé was planted. Taking into account the advice of my grandparents, I cut it, remembering to leave it delicately on the ground. In the same way, I collected the Chagro, the other plant whose leaves are used for cooking the medicine. They were beautiful times when many people from the community and other communities came to drink Yagé. Among them, Grandfather Wilson, from the Muisca tradition, and Grandfather Renzo, from the Inga tradition. Deep gratitude, fellow travelers.
I never imagined my life serving humanity and carrying the good message. I walk with my partner, Carmen Jessenia Giagrekudo Farekade. She is my strength. She belongs to the Muruy ethnic group from the Colombian Amazon. Their master plants are Coca (Mambe) and Tobacco (Ambil). Thanks to Carmen's parents, Grandfather Rodolfo Giagrekudo Pacaya and Prudenciana Farekade, great connoisseurs of these plants of power and wisdom, we carry them on our way with great responsibility.
We live in Guarne (Antioquia) mountains with our children Evaluna, Rafael, and Guillermo, following the path with faith. We bring harmony where the Great Spirit puts us—sharing and drinking Yagé with love. Together, as children of a single father and mother. Count on me and my family. God bless you.
According to the Cofán story - At first, there was nothing. Only the God Chiga existed; he created the Sun and Moon. From a bright face that has two stars for eyes, he gave birth to plants and animals. And at the end, he said: "It is time to call the people". He called to them with a shout. People adorned with colorful feathers and fragrant flowers came out of nowhere. They said: "We are the Cofán". The Sun and his wife, the Moon, move across the sky in a canoe and cover it once a day, illuminating the universe.
The Cofán indigenous people are 2,100 souls native to Sucumbíos Province, northeast Ecuador, and southern Colombia. The Cofán (also Quijos) are itinerant horticulturists, fishermen, and hunter-gatherers. They grow corn, cassava, bananas, beans, chili peppers, coffee, rice, and fruit trees. Some men work as day laborers on the settlers' farms. In Ecuador, they are dedicated to the construction of fiberglass canoes. They are small-scale farmers. The women are dedicated to elaborating and commercializing seeds, natural fibers, and clay handicrafts.
Their relationship with nature is harmonious. They are its protectors and guardians. They are caretakers of the people, an example of peace and brotherhood. Their language, exclusively oral and in imminent danger of extinction, is called A'ingae, and it could not be classified within any linguistic family. A'ingae is an aboriginal language unique in its lineage and kept alive in most communities in daily communication. Most of the Cofán people also speak Spanish.
Like other indigenous peoples inhabiting the region, they are very close to medicinal and magical plants. The Taita (dad, shaman) or Mayor (elder) is one of the most important figures in the Cofán social organization, they are the highest traditional authority, and the Yagé (Ayahuasca) is fundamental in its system of representation. The Cofán Taitas enjoy great recognition among other indigenous peoples for their extensive knowledge of Yagé. They are considered teachers and great sages, for which they are revered.
Yagé is used in ritual contexts for fortune-telling, decision-making, conflict resolution, and medical treatment. Diseases in Cofán cosmology are divided between those of physical and magical or supernatural origin. The Yagé is also a means for the diagnosis of conditions, the knowledge of pulses, urine, visualization, and the management of the huaira. According to the National Indigenous Organization of Colombia, for the Cofán, education, and culture are founded on four pillars: the thought of the elderly, native languages, sacred plants, and the norms and values of culture.
The Cofán are presently in control of almost 4,000 km² of rainforest. It is only a fraction of the more than 30,000 km² originally belonging to their former nation. In Ecuador, their ancestral lands have been polluted mainly by oil companies. In Colombia, Cofán lands have been invaded by cattle ranchers, coca farmers, and oil companies.
Currently, their organization is based in the community. Their union constituted the Indigenous Organization of the Cofán of Ecuador, OINCE, which reformed its statutes to form the Indigenous Federation of the Cofán Nationality of Ecuador, FEINCE.