Teaching Culture For a Better Tomorrow: How Indigenous Colombians are Shaping Their Future

By: Dustin Petridge | Lifestyle Editor

Photo Courtesy of World History Encyclopedia.

Special Thanks to Dr. Juan Luis Mata for Translation.

On Mar. 11, Dr. Laureen Fregeau hosted a live conversation from both the United States and Colombia with Jay Martin, an indigenous activist from the outskirts of Bogota, the nation’s capital. 

Held as an educational event, the discussion highlighted the importance of maintaining the Muisca culture, a native community originally from Bogota that has been pushed to rural areas surrounding the huge city. 

Fregeau is an associate professor of educational foundations at South and has been teaching about international cultures since the early 1990s. She hosted this event today to raise awareness about the Muisca people and how neocolonialism has threatened their lifestyle. 

Jay Martin, a member of the Muisca community, described the lifestyle and history behind the Muisca, an often forgotten but strong culture that desires the longevity of its people throughout Colombia. 

Since the 19th century, the Muisca people have been disregarded by the Colombian government in favor of capital expansion in the ecotourism and mineral extraction industries. Martin quoted, “History books do not teach about the Muisca people.” 

Once a major population in Bogota, the widespread and rapid increase in Western markets has threatened the lifestyle of the Muisca with the government no longer supporting agriculture as a profitable contribution to society. 

Fregeau guided the conversation and allowed students from her own class to participate, asking questions about the origins of the Muisca and differences in native Colombian cultures. 

The discussion was a great opportunity to learn about forgotten and neglected history that is vital to maintaining the Muisca and other native tribes. To find out more about how you can attend events like this in the future, visit the College of Education and Professional Studies website