The Tairona
Heritage Trust

Latest Updates

Obituary Mama Jacinto Zarabata

Obituary Mama Jacinto Zarabata

We are very sad to inform you that Mama Jacinto Zarabata died on Sunday, 7 April.  He was the great patriarch of the Sierra, the Jefe Mayor.  The whole Sierra, all its indigenous peoples, are in mourning,  He and his brothers, Mama Valencio and Mama Bernardo, organised and supervised the creation of the Organisación Gonawindua Tairona to speak for the Mamas to the Colombian government, and the making of the television programme “From the Heart of the World: The Elder Brothers’ Warning” which brought the Kogi message to many millions around the world for the first time.  He was the guardian of a profound understanding of nature and the proper behaviour of mankind. 

He was believed to be 100 years old.

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Newsletter March 2019

Newsletter March 2019

Dear Friends,

We’ve been so busy since you last heard from us and have so much to share with you.  So thank you for staying with us. 

The Trust has participated in several international dialogues with the Kogi Mamas to share knowledge and information in an attempt to better understand how we can learn from their indigenous perspectives and to offer them support for new Kogi related projects or respond to their requests. We have outlined an overview of these different activities below:




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Gonavindua Tairona letter

Gonavindua Tairona letter

The following letter was received by the Trust from Gonavindua Tairona in August 1997. It neatly encapsulates the relationship which exists between the two organisations, and details the financial assistance the Trust has been able to make to the Mamas. Its formal language indicates the help of a Colombian lawyer in its drafting. This is the English translation of the original Spanish.


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Mission Statement

The mission of the Trust is to magnify the Kogis’ voice, to help them defend their culture and its territorial integrity and to learn from them how to better protect the planet which we all share.

The Kogi are descendants of the Tairona and are the last surviving civilization from the world of the Inca and Aztec.

They are an indigenous people who consider themselves to be the guardians of the earth and are worried by our attempts to destroy it.

The mountain - in Colombia - is their home, it is quite literally a microcosmos, a mirror of the planet on which every ecological zone is represented. The impact of the modern world is affecting their environment and from their vantage point on the mountain they can see how this is damaging the rest of the planet.

The Trust needs your help to support this mission.

The Films

From The Heart of the World: The Elder Brother's Warning


Watch the first film made by Alan Ereira and the BBC in 1990 about the ancient Kogi civilisation from the Sierra Nevada De Santa Marta, Colombia.

The Movie


The follow up film was made 25 years later at the request of the Kogi Mamas because they said we had not heard them the first time.

In their own words

In the beginning there were no animals, no plants.  Only the Sea.  The sea was the Mother. The Mother was not the people, she was not anything at all.  She was when she was, spirit.  She was memory and possibly, she was aluna. 

Joe Bloggs

Our Objectives


We will offer the Kogi a voice

We will offer the Kogi a way to communicate directly with the wider world.

Our Objectives


We will protect the environment of the Kogi

We will respond to, and publicise, requests by the Kogi for help in protecting their territory and culture.

Our Objectives


We will learn from the Kogi

We will learn from the Kogi about their understanding of environmental management and publicise that knowledge through all media.

Our Objectives


To educate the next generation

We will implement initiatives to educate young people about the principles and way of life of the Kogi in order to protect the planet for future generations.


Support Us

The Kogi message is important for us all.   They consider themselves to be the guardians of the earth and are worried by our attempts to destroy it.  They want their voice and knowledge to be heard around the world and for us to take action to protect the planet that we all share.  The Kogi need your help to do this.