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The Kogi

We are extremely saddened to hear that a new and violent war between Colombian drug lords threatens the last pre-Colombian civilisation on earth – the Kogi.

The indigenous peoples of the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta, a mountain massif in northern Colombia, have succeeded better than any other native Americans in preserving their ancient culture and way of life. They were able to do this because their lands were so hard to access. They still retain their original understanding of nature, and one group, the Kogi, have just completed a film, “Aluna”, in which they set out to show us how we are disrupting vital connections within the earth and bringing it close to collapse. tpr recently had the privilege of meeting and working with two members of the Kogi tribe while they were promoting their film “Aluna” in the UK. Despite the language barrier, it was immediately obvious that they were a warm and inviting people, and deeply knowledgeable about nature, and what technological development and advancement is doing to the earth.

The coastal lands they call home have now become the battleground on which two groups of paramilitary” forces are fighting a bitter war for control of the whole territory (and, of course, their drug production). One river valley, the Guachaca, is shown in the film as an example of how over-exploited, deforested and devastated land has been restored to well-watered living forest now it is back in indigenous hands. But now at least eleven people in Guachaca have been murdered in the fighting.

The President of Colombia has just announced new peace talks with the FARC guerrillas, and President Obama yesterday praised him for it. But these criminal armies are not part of FARC, not part of the peace process, and have removed this important territory into their own savage control. The Kogi made “Aluna” in an attempt to help us, but now it looks as if they are finally being sucked into the destructive maelstrom that our world has created, and their own chances of survival look poor.