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:
This morning the Chairman of the Tairona Heritage Trust, Jean-Paul Mertinez, the Kogi-speaking anthropologist Falk Parra-Witte and I met for a long breakfast in London with the Cabildo of the Organisación Gonawindua Tayrona, José Santos Sauna.
The visit to the Sierra coincided with a follow up meeting arising from the Cross diagnosis in Drôme, southern France last September in which the Trust collaborated with the French NGO Tchendukua. One of the science delegates Patrick Degeorges has been involved with UNESCO and a working party was set up with the aim of establishing a cross-disciplinary coalition (called BRIDGES: Building Resilience in Defense of Global Environments and Societies) to launch projects connecting academic and non-academic authorities that can develop more effective global strategies to combat climate change.
Happy New Year to all our donors and supporters! The start of a new decade seems the ideal time to update you on our current activities.
In October Kogi Mama Shibulata and translator Sylvestre flew to Sweden for the first presentation of projects to the new Unesco BRIDGES commission. The meeting took place in Sigtuna and the Kogi were invited for the occasion as Unesco’s special guests.
We hope you are all keeping well and staying out of harm’s way in these difficult times. With much of our lives put on hold we thought we would just share with you the details of an important event for the Trust and the Kogi which took place between Sunday 23 February and Tuesday 03 March 2020 just before we all went into lockdown and the world stood still.
Thank you so much to all of you who have been donating generously to the Trust over the last few weeks. We hope you are all well and gradually emerging after lockdown into what they are now calling the ‘ new normal’ which seems to mean a gradual resumption of a limited range of activities at whatever recommended distance your country advises. It has been a terrible period in world history but let's hope countries can continue to slowly open up again with a better understanding of how precious our natural resources are.
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.
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.
We are sorry for the long delay in letting you know how the donations you made last year have been spent but it has taken a long while to get a full report back from OGT due to a reorganisation following the death of Santos Sauna and the election of their new Cabildo Arregoces Conchacala.
This newsletter includes the latest updates on:
the Food Campaign, an Emergency Response in 2020;
a series of four meetings proposed across the Kogi Communities and their results;
the acquisition of computers and Internet installation;
the acquisition of materials and utensils for 20 Kogi families in Maldaka affected by fire In March 2021.
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.
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.