Saturday, May 24, 2008

The Kogi - From the Heart of the World - The Elder Brothers' Warning

The Kogi are an indigenous people living in the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta mountains of northern Colombia, in South America.

They are the only civilisation to have survived the Spanish conquests and to have kept their individuality. They are perhaps the only indigenous people in the world who, because of the particular nature of their surroundings, have been able to keep themselves apart and sustain their culture inviolate. And not only that.

The one anthropologist who managed to study them in the 1940's and 50's concluded that though they are similar in some ways to the other Indian peoples around the Caribbean, northern Central America and south to the Andes, there are such profound differences that "in the end the Kogi stand alone".



They have survived to this day, keeping their traditions and relying upon, and looking after, the mountain environment. They believe it is their duty to look after the mountain which they call "The Heart of the World". They call themselves the Elder Brother and refer to the new- comers as the Younger Brother, who they believe is destroying the balance of the world.




In 1990 the Kogi decided they must speak out to the rest of the world. They had survived by keeping themselves isolated but they decided that it was time to send a message to the Younger Brother. They could see that something was wrong with their mountain, with the heart of the world. The snows had stopped falling and the rivers were not so full. If their mountain was ill then the whole world was in trouble.

7 comments:

Anonymous said...

Having read the book over 12 years ago, I never forgot the story. Wonderful to see this story's online. And how actual the story is!

Camila

Melanie said...

WOW - I am thrilled to see this documentary available to the masses via the internet. I visited Colombia's La Ciudad Perdida in 1990 and the 5 day trek was an amazing experience. But it was even more incredible to chance upon PBS' screening of this show a year or so later - and to gain a much deeper understanding about this area that we had walked through. I still have it on video - but this is much easier to share. My donation is on its way!!
~melanie

Melanie said...

WOW - I am thrilled to see this documentary available to the masses via the internet. I visited Colombia's La Ciudad Perdida in 1990 and the 5 day trek was an amazing experience. But it was even more incredible to chance upon PBS' screening of this show a year or so later - and to gain a much deeper understanding about this area that we had walked through. I still have it on video (as well as the book) - but this is much easier to share. My donation is on its way!!
~melanie

Anonymous said...

We had to watch this video in my senior seminar in college. When they gave their message I got goosebumps. This is one of the two documentaries I will always remember. This one because it is so serious.

Anonymous said...

This is what multi media were invented for. Sadly
people like Al Gore (part of the problem) will continue to receive the acolades for their 'marketing' of the issue.

Anonymous said...

I feel awed and humbled, thank you for sharing that.

Monique said...

Got to love it. All our scientist are telling us global warming is coming. LOL. These people knew that long before we did. Sad. Nobody is going to listen to a small tribe in Columbia, they don't even listen to scientist.