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The Role Of Women In Wayuu And Ainu Subcultures

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When talking about subcultures, reference is made to a small group of people who have relationships with others, with whom they share symbols, ideas, thoughts, beliefs, and they have common practices and a similar appearance. In the same way, they become located in specific places where they develop and they survive, how they prepare their food and do crafts, also they wear the same clothes. The above serves to understand the meaning of a subculture and allows a relationship to be established with what will be exposed below, that is, to understand what are the particular characteristics of the Wayuu tribe that is found in the Colombian territory and will be compared with the Ainu tribe, which is present in the Japanese territory. This essay intends to show findings of how, although they have similar beliefs, Wayuu and Ainu share more extreme differences than commonalities.

First, it is important to mark off that there are some similarities between these two tribes, one of them is the importance given to the role of women. On the part of the Wayuu, as Marroquin (2007) mentions, handmade production contributes to the autonomy and independence of women it is also a work that generates more income than others work present in the region, such as, for example, a job in mines that are not well paid. That is to say, the women of this tribe are responsible for creating crafts and textiles to survive in their culture. To which they, in the Ainu, as Shinoda (without date) adds, it is women who have the responsibility of transmitting fancywork techniques to elaborate and to prepare clothes for their children and thus preserve their culture in each community.

In addition, another important point where these tribes converge is the one that refers to their language because each tribe has a specific dialect that allows them to communicate with the other members in ethnicity but also as the clearest expression of the society of a people led by beliefs, stories, myths, legends and knowledge of ethnicity. That is why, as Polo (2015) mentions, the Wayuu uses Wuayunaiki and for its part, Goebel and Fotos (2001) state that the Ainu have been characterized by presenting its proper language away from other words, being considered as an isolated language because it has no relation to Korean and Japanese.

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Although there are some similarities between the two tribes, there are many more disparities. One of them refers to one of the most important activities that these tribes perform. On the part of the Wayuu culture, an emphasis is placed on handicrafts and textiles, and that is why Noguera (2016) mentions that they weave different types of crafts such as handbags, hammocks, male and horse accessories among others. In addition, it should be noted that their weaving techniques are inherited from generation to generation characterized by the colors they use, their designs and ways of manufacturing them. While on the part of the Ainu culture, Okada (2012) mentions that its main activity is fishing salmon and hunting for animals how bears; deer and foxes; among other creatures, also collected plants, so they had their proper land to perform this work.

Another aspect in which the two tribes differ is the one that makes reference to their beliefs because as Noguera (2016) mentions the Wayuu blindly believe in the myths and legends that are around their community they also give great importance to the dreams since these are responsible for explaining their reality both individually and collectively, granting them powers of divination and envisioning what will happen in the future, while the beliefs of the Ainu as added by Dubreuil (2007) are rooted to the gods to the They respect because they are in charge of sending them the elements and phenomenon that are found in nature and these can be adequate or inadequate this will depend on the behavior of humans. They also believe in the spirit of the bear that is a god in charge of providing gifts of food and furs.

Another aspect in which these tribes diverge refers to the way in which they are organized, that is, how is their internal structure, so by the Wayuu as Noguera (2016) alludes they are established in inherited clans through the maternal line and each one is associated with an animal or a totem it is also represented with hieroglyphs and even mark the cattle with an iron that contains its proper familiar symbol. While the Ainu, as Dubreuil (2007) mentions, are also organized by clans but the difference is that they were centered on the land, that is, their groups were structured around small self-organized communities where their members hunted and fished and some sometimes they harvested, settling along the river and in a specific area, what generates that there is more controversy because there are difficulties of organization.

To conclude, it can be seen that both subcultures, both that of Wayuu and that of Ainu highlight the role of women in their context own, in addition to having a unique language that identifies them. However, it should also be added that there are significant differences that are shown, on the one hand in the main activities that each culture one performs, in the same way, respective culture has its own beliefs and they are also organized structurally speaking in different ways. This leads the reader to rethink that, although they are two very distant places, each one has their proper way of thinking, feeling and believing, open their mind and this must allow yourself be carried away by the fascination of knowing and understanding aspects of each culture.

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The Role Of Women In Wayuu And Ainu Subcultures. (2021, September 13). Edubirdie. Retrieved September 22, 2023, from
“The Role Of Women In Wayuu And Ainu Subcultures.” Edubirdie, 13 Sept. 2021,
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