The Kogi are a tribe of the Colombian Sierra Nevada, and descendants of the long lost Tayrona civilization, the remains of which were first discovered in 1973.
The Tayrona were a flourishing civilization that dated back to the first century AD. They were conquered and assimilated by the Spanish Conquistadores in the 1500′s. Those who survived took refuge in the Sierra Nevada mountains, withdrawing from the rest of the world and falling into obscurity.
The survivors’ exile was a blessing in disguise. They weren’t pursued by the European settlers, so they made their new home the mountains and carried on with their lives, living in accordance to their ‘pre-Colombian’ customs and traditions. They kept their language, observed their belief systems, prayed to the spirits of nature for the maintenance of order and harmony, and lived a life in total isolation, content to go unnoticed, eager to stay behind the mirror, under cover of nature and out of reach from all society.
Centuries pass, and their descendants, the Kogi, live their lives high up in the Sierra Nevada, cut off from the world, few of us aware of their existence. It’s an arrangement they’re happy to maintain.
But one day they see for the first time in their history the snow caps on their mountain peaks begin to melt. They mobilize their people to deal with the problem. They consult amongst themselves for months on end, and pray, looking for answers, divining ways to deal with what’s happening. It takes them time to reach a decision, but it’s definite: Mother Earth is dying.
Their next move is astonishing. They break a four-hundred-year long silence and get in touch with the rest of the world to tell us what they know.
This is their story, as shot and told by Alan Ereira, a BBC reporter who came across them in the 1980′s – From the Heart of the World,the story of Elder Brother emerging after centuries of isolation to speak with us, Younger Brother, and help us help ourselves.