January 2020 Newsletter
22 January 2020
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.
Alan attended the Sigtuna meeting with Falk Parra Witte, one of our Trustees to make a presentation with the Kogi. The project they discussed had been proposed at the previous Unesco meeting and was mentioned in our autumn newsletter. It’s called ‘Cultivating Water’ and aims to draw on Kogi indigenous knowledge to help regenerate dried up springs and to restore the ecological balance of an area of temperate forest in the Sierra. Some of this work is already under way in association with the Bachaqueros Foundation http://fundacionbachaqueros.org/.
The foundation, also known as FEBB, has worked with the Kogi for many years and is a long term supporter of THT.
Jaguar Del Carrizal Project Notice Kasagui Talado Spring
Mama Shibulata and Sylvestre were in Sigtuna to be considered by UNESCO for this pilot project and wished to make their request in person to underline the urgency. With the Kogi’s permission Falk learned a fair bit of their language for his PhD so he was able to act as second translator. Mama Shibulata made the following presentation:
“The Sierra is a Mother and is in trouble. She needs healing. That is why we are here but how to do it? ‘Zigoneshi’ means ‘co-operation’ and this means ‘understanding each other’. The biggest problem for the Sierra is in the lower regions because of development and illicit crops. The major issue is damage to sacred sites where knowledge was planted at the beginning. These sites contain the spiritual principles and life forces and their erasure brings everything into disarray. I am here to find ways we can help each other as brothers. I learned from nature, from the sites. My role is to transmit that knowledge. Destruction of sites is a loss of humanity's knowledge and the ability to live.
The four peoples live at the Heart of the World. We speak of sustainability with other organisations. We try to open dialogue based on understanding. The body of the Sierra is no longer complete. There is a web of sacred sites and the space has a perimeter - the Black Line. There are many types of site with different functions. The lowest sites are on the Black Line and one of biggest problems is when the interconnections break, for example when the water dries out. There needs to be a change of attitude to understand the regenerative power of nature as long as the correct ‘pagamentos’ are made. 70 % of the land should be left alone - 30% can be used - that is sustainable so small scale agriculture should not be constantly expanding. Collaboration must be with the territory as well as with the people. You need to see the land as a living body. So there must be a return to the inherent principles in nature rather than keep inventing ideas of how nature should be organised. This is universally relevant.”
Members of the Bachaqueros Foundaton in Jaguar del Carrizal
Here’s a link to THT’s presentation of the case study which you can also find on Youtube.
Reserva Jaguar del Carrizal from Google Earth
The project proposal was formally submitted as a Bridges project before Christmas. We were hopeful of a decision by the end of the year so things could move forward and begin to take shape but some additional information is required and targets need to be set for specific time periods. Some of our Trustees have been busy working over the Christmas period to supply this information by the agreed date for resubmission - so fingers crossed!
We are also currently exploring how this project can be managed properly between Colombia and the UK.
Members of the Bachaqueros Foundation working with the Kogi.
In November one of our long-standing supporters arranged a special screening of Aluna in Glasgow. Alan and his wife were there to answer questions from the audience. Although not specifically a fund raising event it nevertheless promoted the Trust and attracted new followers. Don't forget that as both Kogi films are now available online for free you can organise your own public screenings without having to pay a licence fee - we just ask you to encourage participants to visit our website and make a donation to the Trust. If you want some stills and a poster template to advertise your event we can email them to you and don't forget to tell us about it in advance so we can put the details on our social media sites.
Alan has also submitted two papers about Kogi cosmology and environmental knowledge to the university of Wales Trinity St David where he is a Professor of Practice. They are to be included in two separate books to be published later this year. We will let you know when they become available for you to access.
Wishing you all the best for 2020.