Thursday, 26 November 2015

Mamas from the Heart of the World - The Kogi

Who are the Kogi?

Perhaps you have never heard of the Kogi but if what these people say is true, then the future of this planet and our lives on it depends on their help. The Kogi are a mysterious tribe of people who live high on the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta mountain in Columbia, and who believe they are the guardians and caretakers for the whole world. 

 The Kogi leaders are priests known as Mamas. Mama means "enlightened one." They believe that the mountain they live on is the "Heart of the World," and this was why the landmark BBC documentary made by Alan Ereira in 1990 was entitled From the Heart of the World: The Elder Brothers' Warning.

Indigenous Koguis Shaman at Ciudad Perdida (Photo: Uhkabu)

The Kogi are unique in having been able to preserve their culture intact and dating back before the Spanish Conquest 500 years ago. They are a surviving Pre-Colombian culture but they are in turn descendants of the Tairona culture that flourished before this. The Tairona were an advanced civilisation that built cities and pathways of stone in the jungles. These structures were built to last and have survived in good condition long after their builders had gone.

 Statue of the Tayronas in Santa Marta, Colombia (Photo: Public Domain)

The Elder Brother

The term "Elder Brother" is used by the Kogi to refer to themselves, while the rest of the world and the western civilisation they call the "Younger Brother." In their belief system the Younger Brother was sent away long ago, leaving the Kogi Mamas to do their work in caring for the world from the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta. Kogi boys can be selected from birth to be trained for nine years to become Mamas. They are kept in semi-darkness in a cave for this time and attended only by their mothers and Mamas who care for them and teach them about their history and beliefs and about Aluna. Aluna is the "Great Mother" from which all life and all creation sprang. Aluna is the life force behind nature. 

Kogi village huts (Photo: Thomas Dahlberg)

The Kogi Mamas have a complete understanding of the ecosystem and can interpret signs from nature with precision. Their mountain home is like a microcosm of the rest of the world because it really does contain microclimates and varying habitats such as can be found elsewhere on the planet. There are highlands and tundra, there are cloud forests and jungles, there are rivers and lakes, there are desert areas and lowlands, there are coastal regions with mangrove forests and reefs. 

It is possible to predict the health of the planet elsewhere by interpreting how it is on the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta. This is why the Mamas had become very worried. They had seen that all was not well high on the mountain where snow and ice were not forming as they should, presumably due to Climate Change acerbated by how humans are treating the environment and wasting natural resources. No snow and ice high in the mountains and no clouds meant no water for streams and rivers to form from rainfall and meltwater, so no water for down below and without water nothing can live. 

Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta (Photo: Public Domain)

The Kogi Mamas believe that because we are creating dams in the rivers, causing widespread deforestation, mining the land and mountains, polluting the seas, and otherwise destroying the environment and our home, that the world will come to an end, possibly as soon as in the next 50 years, unless we change course.

The Kogi tribe had kept itself away from the rest of the world until 1990 when the Mamas decided to break their silence in talking with Ereira and allowing him and his crew to film their secret homelands.

Kogi Warning

Sadly the Mamas have concluded that their message and warning to the Younger Brother was not heeded. This is why, 20 years later they decided to try another approach and have made a new film working with Ereira again. 


Aluna is the title of the new movie made by the Kogi Mamas working again with Alan Ereira.  The Kogi are very frightened by the way the Younger Brother is continuing to destroy the natural world but know that we do not understand the forces we are unleashing.  They believe that unless we change course and listen to what they have to say then the world will end.

The Kogi could see that the Younger Brother failed to listen to their words and spoken warning in From The Heart of The World so in Aluna they are trying another way to communicate to us. They want to visually show us what they are talking about.

Julian Lennon

Julian Lennon in a Recent Picture (Photo: Julian Lennon)

Singer-songwriter, musician and photographer +Julian Lennon, who is a son of the former Beatle John Lennon, has been actively involved in supporting the Kogi and the campaign to get their message in Aluna widely heard. 

Julian Lennon's ALUNA Support Message

Julian says: "They have the answers. This is a warning that should not be ignored."

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