For the first time in history, Kogi Mamos from Colombia visited the United States to perform ancient rituals, accompanied by Otomi-Toltec spiritual elders from Mexico who shared the “Original Instructions” for planet Earth. The Kogi, are indigenous people from Colombia who remained isolated from the rest of the world for nearly 500 years. When the Spaniards arrived in South America to plunder gold, four indigenous groups – the Kogi, Arahuaco, Wiwa and Kankuamo – ascended and hid on their sacred mountain. In order to preserve their traditional way of life, these peoples seldom interact with the modern world and outsiders are rarely allowed inside their ancestral lands.
“In the beginning there was nothing. All was darkness. There was nothing at all – only the Mother. She was Aluna and she was pure thought without form.”
– The Kogi Mamas
The Kogi, Arahuaco, Wiwa and Kankuamo peoples believe they are the “Elder Brother” due to their deep connection to the Earth and her cycles. They believe that the balance of the Earth’s ecology has been suffering due to the devastation of nature by “Younger Brother.”
“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.”
– Kogi 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.
The Aluna Fund will start by raising $3 Million to support and unify indigenous people and our planet. At the end of the day, at the end of our lives, we will ask ourselves whether we could have done more for the health and well-being of Earth, humanity, and all living things. Leverage your charitable giving to create social change with ICV’s Catalytic Philanthropy.
|Original Caretakers Program at Center for Earth Ethics|
|Council of Elders to Reaffirm the Original Instructions|
|Original Caretaker Ceremonial Visits & Sacred Sites Work|
|House of Original Thinking for Intercultural Dialogue|
|Ancestral Land Repurchase & Native Rights|
|Climate Science & Reclamation Projects|
Our strategic partner, Center for Earth Ethics at Union Theological Seminary (“CEE”), manages the Original Caretakers Program. A primary goal of The Aluna Fund is to assist CEE with this Program by sharing and spreading indigenous philosophies, wisdom, and practices with transformative change communities, constituencies and agencies – such as the United Nations. The world needs to remember the “Original Instructions” for planet Earth so that humanity may collectively move into an age of sacred environmentalism and good living (request information).
Today, humanity is experiencing the consequences of a materialistic approach to the environment – implemented during the Industrial Age – that has culminated in a disharmonious, fragmented, and highly destructive way of living within complex ecosystems. Our ignorance and neglect has led to a systemic crisis reflected at all levels of societies and governments, which now imperils a broad variety of ecosystems and landscapes.
Transformative change communities have a key role to play in addressing the systemic crisis, but If they are to succeed, they must be given opportunities to spread their philosophies and practices. The Original Caretakers Program can guide these communities so they can intentionally:
“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, Director of “The Heart of the World: Elder Brother’s Warning”
The following are the major objectives of Original Caretakers Program for the next few years:
1. Council of Elders
Every year, CEE brings together Indigenous Caretakers who are spiritual authorities on bio-cultural Sacred Sites for a week of dialogue that results in the elaboration of the Original Instructions and reinforcement of the ancient and recent proclamations that have been made by indigenous peoples. These Councils include representatives of transformative change communities, both youth and adult.
Additionally, the Council of Elders participate in international forums to deliver their messages of Earth care. They participate at the United Nations Indigenous Peoples Permanent Forum, Climate Change Conference of the Parties, and Convention on Biological Diversity. The Elders also participate at CEE’s Religions for the Earth Conference, World Water Forum, and numerous other environmental events.
A message and proclamation coming from the Council of Elders will be delivered in 2020 at the Religions for the Earth Conference at Union Theological Seminary. Their reflective and active engagement with the Original Instructions will be followed up by CEE during the upcoming decade through a virtual forum and personal visits.
Multi-Traditional Wisdom Council featuring Indigenous Elders from around the World
2. Sacred Sites
A team of indigenous intellectuals, coordinated by the CEE Original Caretakers Program, writes proposals for protection of the Biocultural Sacred Places Initiative in conjunction with UNESCO and allies such as Forum 21 Institute, The Fountain, Unity Earth, and The Convergence. Estimated delivery date of a final proposal: 2020.
A group of Indigenous Elders (female and male), coordinated by the Original Caretakers with the support of The Aluna Fund carry out field visits to ancestral Sacred Sites throughout the planet to contribute directly in the process of balancing and healing Mother Earth. Phase 1 of this work included ancient ritual at Mount Fiji in Japan. Phase 2 focused on sacred sites in the United States (New River and Mt. Rogers in Virginia; Mt. Blanca, Four Corners, and Crestone in Colorado; Los Alamos in New Mexico). Phase 3 will include ceremonies at Mount Etna in Italy and events co-sponsored by the Naples Earth Council.
During the 2018 Original Caretakers Ceremonial Visit, the focus was to restore and rebalance Sacred Sites in North America. First, Kogi Mamos from Colombia and the Otomi Shamans from Mexico performed 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 Elders travelled to Crestone, Colorado for sacred ceremony. The visit culminated in San Francisco, California with the Elders leading the opening processional for the Global Climate Action Summit, which was co-sponsored by the United Nations and many environmental NGOs. Governor Jerry Brown and Mayor Michael Bloomberg chaired the event, which provided confidence to other governments that the U.S. is committed to addressing and remediating global climate change.
Otomi-Toltec and Kogi led ceremony at site of future Indigenous Center (donated by Hanne Strong in Crestone, Colorado)
3. Houses of Original Thinking
The Aluna Fund will assist CEE in establishing and promoting Houses of Original Thinking within indigenous territories, local communities, and educational institutions. These facilities offer conferences, workshops, and field visits. They teach ancestral knowledge such as the Mesoamerican calendars, ritual timetables, weather forecasting practices, astronomical almanacs, healing techniques, and interactive educational materials.
Proposed House of Thinking in Crestone Colorado (design compliments of Hanne Strong)
4. Intercultural Dialogue
Interfaith and intercultural dialogue also provides a platform for sharing the Original Instructions and strengthening Earth Ethics across local, national, and international arenas. For example, CEE engages in education courses for students at Union Theological Seminary and Teachers College at Columbia University. The Aluna Fund assists CEE in planning such conferences, symposiums and other eco-spiritual learning events where the Original Caretakers act as key conveners and participant in academic and UN co-sponsored intercultural and interfaith events.
CEE programs, in cooperation with various religious and spiritual traditions, bring indigenous wisdom to a variety of forums by sharing the Original Instructions, principles of good living (vivir bien), and proclamations to protect Biocultural Sacred Sites and Mother Earth’s Rights. The Aluna Fund supports this eco-ministry, which demands the rescinding of papal bulls affecting Indigenous Peoples and Mother Earth, and which creates safe spaces for truth and conciliation processes in regard to exploited peoples and environmental degradation. And through CEE, we partner with a wide variety of intercultural events, such as the Parliament of the World Religions, International Planned Parenthood Federation at the United Nations, Unity Earth Road to 2020, Circle of Youth and Elders, Crestone Convergence and Religions for the Earth conferences.
Pope Francis and Mindahi Bastida, Director of the Original Caretakers Program at Center for Earth Ethics
The Kogi, along with many indigenous peoples, are seeking assistance in reclaiming their sacred ancestral lands. The Aluna Fund supports this goal and will provide seed capital for this purpose. The Aluna Fund also will assist Original Peoples in asserting their legal rights. Examples of such projects include: legally opposing the Dakota Access Pipeline that passes through Standing Rock, the sacred lands of the Lakota Sioux; supporting the Colorado Rising Movement, a ballot measure to ban oil and gas production within a 2,500 foot safety buffer around homes, schools, bodies of water, and native lands; and working with indigenous attorneys at the forefront of native child welfare and environmental defense.
A positive example of native land repurchase occurred in 2013, when the Kogi were able to regain part of their lands in Colombia. The Colombian Ministry of Culture, Amazon Conservation Team (ACT), and the Kogis themselves raised 1.9 billion pesos ($1.2 million US dollars) to acquire four properties covering 155 hectares (380 acres). A Google Talk summarizes the Kogi story and provides maps of the additional ancestral lands the Kogi wish to reclaim.
The Aluna Fund also supports projects which promote good climate science and implement sustainable farming practices, water and wetlands conservation, reversal of desertification, forestry renewal, and wildlife protection. We are fortunate to have Bill McKibben of 350.org advising our Management Team, all of whom are committed to reversing the effects of global warming for the benefit of future generations.
Examples of environmental projects under consideration for Aluna funding include: renewable energy designs and installations; rewriting carbon offset policy to ensure this seemingly beneficial program does not provide cover for corporations to continue defiling our planet; and working with top environmental groups and policy makers to heighten awareness of our local, national, and international environmental responsibilities.
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