The Tairona
Heritage Trust

Latest Updates

June 2021 Newsletter

June 2021 Newsletter

 Dear Friends,

It has taken a long time, but the Trust is now able to report that our long-prepared plan for a land restoration project with the Kogi is able to move ahead.  After two years of planning, the project has been enthusiastically endorsed as a pilot by a new UNESCO initiative called BRIDGES, and a joint committee has been established by the Trust and the Kogis’ Organización Gonawindúa Tayrona (OGT) to run it.

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November 2020 Newsletter

November 2020 Newsletter

We would like to offer you the latest news from Colombia and the work of the Trust over the last few months. To say the least, it has been a rather tumultuous time.

New Cabildo for Gonawindua Tairona

Following the death of Santos Sauna, the Cabildo (Governor) of Gonawinduúa Tayrona, from Covid-19  in August, the Mamas have selected a new Cabildo, Arregoces Conchacala.  Arregoces has been known to the Trust since 1989 when Alan Ereira and Felicity Nock first visited the Sierra to make 'From the Heart of the World' for the BBC.  Here he is pictured with Alan who is showing him a handicam and explaining the filming process.  At that time he was a rather rebellious young man who had been instructed by the Mamas to take care of the BBC visitors. He wore a watch to symbolise his interest in connecting with Younger Brother and he spoke some Spanish. Subsequently Arregoces became a political leader engaged with all the people of the Sierra. The modern picture below shows him last year at an important meeting.


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Obituary José de los Santos Sauna Limaco

Obituary José de los Santos Sauna Limaco

It is with deep sadness that we announce the death of José de los Santos Sauna Limaco, fourth Cabildo of the Organización Gondawindúa Tayrona, which acts for indigenous rights in the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta and represents Kogi interests in particular before the Colombian state.

Santos Sauna contracted COVID 19 in August and died within a few days of being admitted to hospital in Santa Marta on 6th August 2020. He was only 44. Following detailed consultation with his wife, extended family and officials at the highest level of administration in Magdalena, transport was granted for the protected body to be flown back to the Sierra so that the Kogi can observe traditional funeral rites in the place of his birth. 

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Illegal Construction Work

Illegal Construction Work

Update on the Construction work on the Black line.


We are pleased to report that since drawing this violation of indigenous rights to the attention of the authorities, action has now been taken to suspend the construction work taking place as the builder was found not to have an appropriate licence. So this is great news and means that government protection for the Kogis ancestral lands is actually working!  Thanks is due to support from the German Ambassador in Colombia, half a million protests on social media and pressure from various prominent journalists and organisations like our own working together to support the OGT. So well done everyone - we must keep up the good work!

For further information you can read the full update below.


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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

The Great Mother taught and taught.  The Great Mother is what we needed to live and her teaching has not been forgotten right up to this day.  We all still live by it. 

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.