The story goes that the Kogi are the last native people of the Western Hemisphere still maintaining a pure Pre-Columbian culture. When Europeans invaded their territory on the Northern coast of South America, the Kogi retreated further and further into the inaccessible Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta mountains in Colombia.
The oral traditions of the Kogi tell of Conquistadors pillaging their gold and enslaving their ancestors, of their abandoning coastal towns and retreating ever higher into the hills, of their forests being hewn into farms and plantations, then the farms eroding into desert. In modern times, the Kogi withdrew further still from murderous cocaine cartels. Today, the Kogi see the snow caps above them shrinking. The weather itself is changing, the life-giving snowmelt diminishes, and finally, there is nowhere to go.
For centuries, the Kogi, a secretive people living high on the rugged slopes of a mountain in Colombia, had remained out of contact until it become clear to the Elders that “Younger Brother’ has created potential existential threats for all: climate change.
Breaking tradition, the Kogi will travel to the United States, from Virginia to Colorado, and then onto California. An ancient people, living ancient ways, but capable of sophisticated and long-range thinking, the Kogi will now travel a long distance on a historic journey to deliver an urgent message to its Younger Brothers: we are killing Mother Earth, and we must change our life-ways or disaster lies ahead for all of us.
“We have always cared for this place but Younger Brother destroyed it. He has been destroying everything. The world is our mother. If we destroy her, where will we live? It’s almost the end of the world. That’s why we need to show you all of this.”
– Mama Shibulata
In 1992, the Kogi broke their silence and allowed a small BBC film crew into their isolated mountaintop villages to hear their message and warning to Younger Brother, as relayed in the documentary, “The Heart of the World: Elder Brother’s Warning.”
In 2012, the Kogi broke their silence again with a second movie – “Aluna” – in which they proved their knowledge of the cosmos.
“Aluna is something that is thinking and has self-knowledge. It’s self-aware and alive. All indigenous people believe this, historically. It’s absolutely universal.”
– Alan Ereira
The focus of the Original Caretakers Ceremonial Visit is to restore and rebalance Sacred Sites in North America. First, the Elders will perform ritual in Independence, Virginia at the New River, which is the oldest river in the Western Hemisphere and possibly the oldest river in the world. Next, the Kogi Mamos from Colombia and the Otomi Shamans from Mexico will travel to the Four Corners and Crestone in Colorado for ceremony. The visit will culminate in San Francisco, California with the Elders’ participation in the Global Climate Action Summit, which is being co-sponsored by the United Nations and many environmental NGOs. Governors Jerry Brown and Michael Bloomberg are chairing the event, which is intended to provide confidence to other governments that the U.S. is committed to addressing and remediating global climate change.
|2018||Original Caretakers Visit Schedule|
New River Ceremonies & Offering
|9/4||Afternoon||Arrive at Charlotte, North Carolina, travel to Independence, Virginia|
|9/5||Morning||Ceremony on the New River|
|Afternoon||Ceremony at Mt. Rogers|
|Evening||Kogi Kiva Opening Ceremony|
|9/6||Morning||Tour of Charlotte Hanes' Farm|
|4:00 p.m.||Ceremony at Peace Pole Medicine Wheel|
|5:00 p.m.||Fundraiser at Peace Pentagon|
|9/7||10:00 a.m.||Depart from Charlotte, NC, travel to Denver, Colorado|
|2018||Original Caretakers Visit Schedule|
Four Corners Ceremonies & Offering
|9/7||2:00 p.m.||Arrive at Denver, Colorado, travel to Loveland, Colorado|
|4:00 p.m.||Tour of Sunrise Ranch and Dinner Reception|
|9/8||8:00 a.m.||Breakfast at Sunrise Ranch|
|9:00 a.m.||Depart from Loveland, Colorado, travel to Crestone, Colorado|
|1:00 p.m.||Ceremony at Mt. Blanca|
|4:00 p.m.||Ceremony at Sand Dunes|
|6:00 p.m.||Sage Restaurant|
|9/9||Morning||Ceremony at Hanne's Indigenous Center|
|Afternoon||Crestone Leadership Conference|
|9/10||All-Day||VIP Meeting at Crestone Leadership Conference|
|9/11||8:00 a.m.||Travel by Automobile from Crestone, Colorado to Santé Fe, New Mexico|
|11:00 a.m.||Manhattan Project Blessing|
|Afternoon||Depart from Santé Fe, New Mexico, travel to San Francisco, California|
|2018||Original Caretakers Visit Schedule|
Global Climate Action Summit
|9/12||Interfaith Processional at Grace Cathedral|
|9/13||Lunch with Bill McKibben|
|9/12||Elders Travel Home|
For this project, ICV is partnering with UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization) and the inspirational team of charities highlighted below.
Forum 21 Institute has a mission to promote a conscious world for all by bringing people together from diverse beliefs and backgrounds, including science, religion, education, and politics, to share their wisdom, discover common goals and co-create solutions for the many challenges society faces. The vision of the Forum 21 Institute is to realize a harmonious, peaceful and environmentally sustainable world based on ethical and spiritual values. The organization’s vision elaborates on what the organization likes to call a “U-turn” in the consciousness of humankind across the myriad elements of society whether that be politics, economics, science, education, agriculture, and other disciplines. This vision also describes the current paradigm shift as a mountain (society) with various paths (the sectors of society) ascending (evolving) toward the summit (Source). In other words, everything is returning and converging to its origin. The Forum 21 Institute is a “Forum of the 21st Century” where leaders of science, spirituality (values and ethics) and other fields can gather and share their expertise and wisdom to help facilitate this U-turn and paradigm shift.
McCollum Foundation for Peace is dedicated to creating a better world. The mission of the organization is to create world peace on a universal scale through promoting a meta-narrative which establishes everyone and everything as equally sacred and essential, all sentient and non-sentient beings as family, and all needs, dreams and desires being met by empowering individuals and organizations to live this narrative. The McCollum Foundation believes this holistic vision can be achieved through fostering interfaith understanding and cooperation, and ending religious discrimination, for all spiritualities offer wisdom. Therefore, all people of the world should be honored as brothers and sisters.
The Oracle Institute is an educational charity dedicated to the conscious evolution of humanity. Oracle operates an award-winning publishing house, a multi-faith spirituality school, a peacebuilding practice, and a micro-community for cultural creatives. Oracle studies the nexus between religion, politics, and civil rights, exposing outdated doctrine so that humanity may collectively progress into the 21st Century. Currently, Oracle is building the “Peace Pentagon,” a retreat and resource center for organizing social justice campaigns and global peacebuilding efforts. Oracle also manages the Peace Pentagon HUB, a regional networking site for social progressives in and around the Nation’s Capital. Oracle Campus is located along the New River – the oldest river in the Western Hemisphere – in the Appalachian Mountains of Virginia.
Center for Earth Ethics (CEE) is a forum for education, public discourse and movement building that draws on faith and wisdom traditions to address our ecological crisis and it’s root causes. CEE regards our climate change as the consequence of a deeper malady: an economic development model that exploits people and nature for short-term financial gain. CEE cultivates the public consciousness necessary to make changes in policy and culture that will establish a new paradigm based on the sustained well-being of all people and our planet. Founded at Union Theological Seminary in 2015, the Center builds on Union’s broad ecumenical base and long-standing commitment to social justice.
Our experienced team has the character, courage, and commitment to solve the world’s greatest challenges. We operate on the ground to facilitate essential research. Conducting large-scale interviews and clarifying risks and opportunities, we create engagement with community leaders to establish sustainable solutions.
Rev. Ken Kitatani is the Executive Director of the Forum 21 Institute, which partners with the Sacred Sites Program and advocates for social and economic policies that support eco-spiritual understandings and practices, especially in the context of the United Nations Agenda 2030. Ken is an ordained minister of Sukyo Mahikari Centers for Spiritual Development and is the Chief Administration Officer of their United Nations NGO. Ken co-chairs the Advisory Board of the Center for Earth Ethics of Union Theological Seminary. He serves as the Executive Director of the United Nations Committee for Spirituality, Values and Global Concerns, and he is on the Executive Council for the UN Committee for Religious NGOs. Ken graduated from Columbia University with a B.A. in East Asian Studies.
Mindahi Crescencio Bastida Muñoz is the director of the Original Caretakers Initiative at the Original Caretakers Program. He is the coordinator of the Otomi-Hñahñu Regional Council in Mexico, a caretaker of the philosophy and traditions of the Otomi people, and an Otomi Ritual Ceremony Officer since 1988. Born in Tultepec, Mexico, Mindahi holds a Doctorate in Rural Development from the Universidad Autónoma Metropolitana, and he is President of the Mexico Council of Sustainable Development. He helps steer the Indigenous Peoples’ Biocultural Climate Change Assessment Initiative, and he has been a delegate to several summits on indigenous rights and the environment. Mindahi has written on topics such as the relationship between the State and Indigenous Peoples and intercultural education.
Rev. Laura M. George, J.D. is the Executive Director of The Oracle Institute, founded after 9/11 to serve as an educational charity and spiritual think-tank. Laura oversees Oracle’s award-winning publishing house, multi-faith spirituality school, and interfaith church. In 2010, she acquired the Oracle Campus in Independence, Virginia, and in 2012, she broke ground on Oracle’s headquarters – the Peace Pentagon – a conference center for progressive programs and a strategic venue for planning regional, national, and global peacebuilding campaigns. In 2015, Laura founded the Valley of Light micro-community for cultural creatives and launched the Peace Pentagon HUB. a networking site dedicated to Sacred Activism. Laura is the author of Oracle’s award-winning foundational trilogy: The Truth: About the Five Primary Religions; The Love: Of the Fifth Spiritual Paradigm; and The Light: And the New Human. She holds a B.S. from the McIntire School of Commerce at the University of Virginia and a juris doctor degree from Boston University School of Law.
Rev. Patrick McCollum is President of The Patrick McCollum Foundation, Vice President of Children of the Earth, Chaplaincy Liaison and also Founder and Co-Chair of the “G” Card program at the American Academy of Religion, and the Minority Faith Chair for the American Correctional Chaplains Association. Rev. McCollum received the Mahatma Gandhi Award in 2010, and the Ralph Bunche International Peace Award in 2016, and is the creator of the World Peace Violin. Rev. McCollum was Knighted in 2017. Rev. McCollum serves on the Boards of Children of the Earth, the Dev Sanskriti Vishwavidyalaya University, and the Peace Service Center/ Shanti Sewa Ashram – Nepal, and was honored in 2017 with the name Unci Maka Wokianka (He Who Speaks With The Mother) at Standing Rock, for his decades of work for Indigenous Peoples, in a ceremony performed by Guy Dullknife JR.
Our advisors provide even more expertise in the fields of climate science, environmental ethics, indigenous rights, and ancestral land and relations. We are honored to be working with this high caliber and dedicated team.
Bill McKibben, is an author and environmentalist who in 2014 was awarded the Right Livelihood Prize, sometimes called the ‘alternative Nobel.’ His 1989 book The End of Nature is regarded as the first book for a general audience about climate change, and has appeared in 24 languages; he’s gone on to write a dozen more books. He is a founder of 350.org, the first planet-wide, grassroots climate change movement, which has organized 20,000 rallies around the world in every country except North Korea. With Bill’s assistance, 350.org spearheaded the resistance to the Keystone Pipeline and launched the fast-growing fossil fuel divestment movement. He is the Schumann Distinguished Scholar in Environmental Studies at Middlebury College, a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Science, and the recipient of honorary degrees from 18 colleges and universities. Author of more than a dozen books, Bill’s 1989 book The End of Nature is regarded as the first book for a general audience about climate change and it has been translated in 24 languages. In 2013, he was awarded the Gandhi Prize and the Thomas Merton Prize. In 2014, he was awarded the Right Livelihood Prize, sometimes called the “alternative Nobel,” and biologists named a new species of woodland gnat (Megophthalmidia mckibbeni) in his honor. Foreign Policy placed him on their inaugural list of the world’s “100 Most Important Global Thinkers,” and the Boston Globe said he is “probably America’s most important environmentalist.” A former staff writer for The New Yorker, Bill writes frequently for a wide variety of publications around the world, including the New York Review of Books, National Geographic, and Rolling Stone. He lives in the mountains above Lake Champlain with his wife, the writer Sue Halpern, where he spends as much time as possible outdoors.
Karenna Gore is Director of the Center for Earth Ethics at Union Theological Seminary, which oversees the Original Caretakers Program. Previously, she worked in the legal center of Sanctuary for Families and as Director of Community Affairs for the Association to Benefit Children. Karenna also worked as a journalist, and she is the author of Lighting the Way: Nine Women Who Changed Modern America. She is a graduate of Harvard College, Columbia Law School, and Union Theological Seminary. She lives in New York City with her three children and serves on the Board of Directors for the Association to Benefit Children (ABC) and Riverkeeper, an environmental organization dedicated to protecting the Hudson River and the drinking water of New York City.
Michael Green is the founder of Michael Green Arts, where he creates art within a new global context. A born intuitive, Michael responds to the spiritual need at the core of the formidable social, economic, and environmental challenges we face today. He graduated from the University of São Paulo in Brazil, then hitchhiked deep into the Amazon jungle to join the legendary Castalia Foundation and work on germinal light shows with Timothy Leary. When Dr. Ralph Metzner suggested that his art might be rooted in the tradition of the shaman-artist, a tradition reaching back to the Paleolithic cave-painters, Michael explored how primeval art of the Sacred is best-expressed by abandoning the Self to Great Mystery. In the 1970s, he moved to Pennsylvania to study with the venerable Sufi Master Bawa Muhaiyaddeen and with that interaction, Michael began creating fine art, books, and designed installations. In the 1990s, he created the best-seller The Illuminated Rumi with poet Coleman Barks, still a phenomenon with over 500,000 copies in print. Today, Michael is a tipi-dwelling artisan, working with wood, stone, and native plants. Over 2,500,000 of his books and calendars are currently in print, including: The Velveteen Rabbit, The Illuminated Rumi, The Tolkien Scrapbook, A Hobbit’s Journal, A Hobbit’s Travels, A Walk through the Shire, Zen & the Art of the Macintosh, Unicornis, Welcome to the Planet Earth, The Book of the Dragonstooth, and The Illuminated Prayer.
“When I was a child all the peaks were covered in snow. Everything was white. Look at it. Just look at it. The lakes up here are drying out as the lagoons below are drying out. The water has been sucked away and now the rivers become dry.”
– Mama Shibulata