After Tragic Lightning Strike, Indians Leave Dead, Flee

11 Wiwa Indians in Colombia killed when ceremonial hut hit
By Polly Davis Doig,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 13, 2014 2:00 PM CDT
After Tragic Lightning Strike, Indians Leave Dead, Flee
A lightning strike killed 11 Wiwa Indians in a ceremonial hut in Colombia.   (Shutterstock)

After a lightning strike last week killed 11 Wiwa Indians and injured another 20 in the Sierra Nevada Mountains of Colombia, members of the small tribe of 60 or so families are physically moving on—and in accordance with tradition, they're not burying the dead before they do. "The bodies will stay in the 'uguma' (ceremonial hut) where they died and the community will leave the site, as their customs and traditions dictate," says an adviser with National Indigenous Organization of Colombia, per the AFP.

It's not clear where the Wiwa, who National Geographic notes have lived high in the Sierra Nevada since the Spanish conquest, are headed. Some in the tribe, which is deeply connected to nature, believe that the strike was punishment for what one survivor terms "man’s turning his back on nature." The dead and injured had been participating in a tribal ceremony. (More Wiwa Indians stories.)

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