The Kogi, an indigenous ethnic group, have remained isolated from the rest of the world since the Spanish Conquistadors arrived in South America to plunder gold. In order to preserve their traditional way of life, the Kogi rarely interact with the modern world and outsiders are not allowed inside their ancestral lands.
For the first time in history, the Kogi Mamos are visiting North America to spread their message of earth care and spiritual environmentalism.
They also are seeking assistance in reclaiming land at the base of their Sacred Mountain. In 2013, the Kogi were able to regain part of their land. The Colombian Ministry of Culture, the 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).
The Kogi believe that they are the “Elder Brother” due to their deep connection to the planet and its cycles. They believe that the balance of the earth’s ecology has been suffering due to the devastation of natural resources 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.”
– 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
There also is a Google Talk which summarizes the Kogi story and provides maps of the ancestral land they wish to reclaim.
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 (http://globalclimateactionsummit.org/), 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.
Our strategic partner, Center for Earth Ethics (CEE) has created a strategic plan for the Original Caretakers Program (OC). The primary goal of OC for 2020 is to spread and share the philosophy, wisdom and practice of IP among transformative change communities, constituencies and agencies -including those of UN- so they may feel drawn to acknowledge Original Instructions and implement initiatives towards Good Living (request information).
Today, humanity is experiencing the end result of a different kind of knowledge that since its implementation over 5,000 years ago – and for more than 500 years in the Americas – has culminated in a dis-harmonious, fragmented, and highly destructive way of living within complex ecosystems. This has led to a systemic crisis that is reflected at all levels of societies across 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 revisit their philosophies and practices. Original Caretakers can guide these communities so they can intentionally:
The following are the major objectives of Original Caretakers Program for the next few years:
1. Council of Elders
CEE at UTS brings together thirteen spiritual indigenous authorities and caretakers of Biocultural Sacred Sites from the Americas for a week of dialogue that will result in the elaboration of a message and the reinforcement of the proclamations that have been created in this regard by indigenous peoples in the latest years.
Two circles (youth and adults) of representatives of transformative change communities interact with the Circle of Elders. This happens for two days, right after the week of dialogue. The estimated date is the end of 2018.
Representatives of OC and Council of Elders participate in international forums to deliver the messages and proclamations. They are present in and participate at the UN IP Permanent Forum, Religions for the Earth, Climate Change COP’s, CBD COPs, World Water Forum and other related relevant meetings.
A message and proclamation coming from the Council of Elders is 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.
2. Sacred Sites
A team of indigenous intellectuals, coordinated by OC, writes a draft a proposal for the protection of Biocultural Sacred Places Initiative in conjunction with UNESCO, allies and other related organizations such as Forum 21 Institute, The Fountain, Unity Earth and The Convergence. Estimated time of completion of final draft proposal: 2020.
A group of elders (female and male thoughts leaders) from IP, coordinated by OC and with the support of other related organizations such as Forum 21 Institute carry out field visits to ancestral sacred sites throughout the planet to contribute directly in the process of balancing and healing Mother Earth. This also includes the following up on the sacred site work in Italy (with Naples Earth Council) and in the Four Corners (Crestone), which is placed in Phase 1.
“The Mind: lines of thought that connect everything – thought, consciousness, Aluna; the dark stuff on which the universe depends.”
– the Kogi Mamas
3. Houses of Original Thinking
OC promotes the establishment of Houses of Original Thinking within IP territories, local communities and educational institutions through conferences, workshops and field visits. Topics addressed are: ancestral knowledge such as the Mesoamerican calendars, ritual calendars, weather forecasting practices, astronomical almanacs, healing practices and techniques, among others.
OC helps and supports communities to disseminate ancestral wisdom in their biocultural regions through the interactive creation of educational materials.
4. Intercultural Dialogue
OC promotes Interfaith and intercultural dialogue through events such as conferences, meetings, symposiums and other related events, where OC is a key convener and participant.
OC participates in academia, UN, intercultural and interfaith events for the purpose of strengthening Earth Ethics and the Original Instructions in local, national and international arena.
OC and SGA together with support of the other CEE programs bring to a variety of forums indigenous contributions for transformative change: Original
Instructions, principles of Good Living (Vivir Bien), a proclamation to protect Biocultural Sacred Sites and Mother Earth’s Rights. This is done in cooperation with likeminded movements in various religious and spiritual traditions.
OC and SGA together with EcoMinistry join efforts to demand the rescinding of papal bulls affecting IP and Mother Earth; and to create spaces for truth and conciliation processes in regard to exploited peoples and Mother Earth.
OC maintains a follow up of IP side events, like Crestone Convergence Conference, Religions for the Earth, Parliament of World Religions, IPPF-UN, Road 2020, Circle of Youth and Elders and other related events.
OC engages in Field Education courses for students at UTS and co teach courses with CEE at UTS and other institutions such as Teachers College at Columbia University.
There are three kinds of communities that may receive the Original Instructions:
i) Those who, in continuity with their “originating principles/law of origin”, to date still sustain the ancient wisdom and spiritual traditional practices that preserve the sacred balance on the earth. We intend to help them strengthen their work.
ii) Those who were given their “original instructions”, and that may have drifted from them due to their own historical processes. We intend to remind them how to revive their cultural identity as a way back to their ancient ways. This will give them once again a sense of belonging and meaning in the sacred web of life.
iii) Those who have completely lost, or never had, the understanding that they too are an integral part of the natural world. We shall bring awareness of their need to deeply comprehend that they are here to contribute to sustaining it for themselves and for those who are yet to come.
|Original Caretaker Ceremonial Visit & Events|
|House of Original Thinking|
|Kogi Ancestral Land Repurchase|
“The world is sick and dying, and we have to understand that.”
– Mama Shibulata
The Aluna Fund will achieve the Sustainable Development Goals through programming, coursework, partnerships and development, with measurable outcomes.
For this project, ICV is partnering with UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization), the Center for Earth Ethics, Forum 21 Institute, The Oracle Institute, The Patrick McCollum Foundation for Peace, and an inspirational team of co-sponsoring charities highlighted below.
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.
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.
The Oracle Institute is a 501(c)(3) educational charity founded after the tragic events of September 11, 2001. Since its inception, Oracle has been dedicated to building a new world based on Interfaith Unity and a Culture of Peace. Our mission is to advance this global transformation by promoting pluralistic and progressive values. Oracle operates an award-winning publishing house, multi-faith spirituality school, and peacebuilding practice. All our programs foster the twin goals of promoting Spiritual Ascension and Social Activism. Our formal mission statement is Thomas Jefferson’s Act for Religious Freedom (below). Our pentacle icon and the Peace Pentagon are a call for spiritual unity among the five primary religions: Hinduism, Judaism, Buddhism, Christianity, and Islam. “Truth, Love, and Light” is our motto and the titles of the Oracle foundational trilogy. Oracle is a spiritual “think tank,” and our staff studies the nexus between religion, politics, economics, human rights, and culture. We believe humanity is undergoing a major paradigm shift that ultimately will herald a new era of Conscious Evolution. We therefore reject all “End Times” prophecies. Instead, we assert the “Trickle-Down Deity Theory,” which posits that humanity’s view of the Godhead necessarily impacts worldview. Consequently, we educate the public about the divisive nature and outdated doctrine of fundamentalist religion so that we may collectively and peacefully progress in the 21st Century. We also teach the Spectrum of Consciousness, a proven model for mapping and motivating socio-spiritual development.
The Patrick McCollum Foundation for Peace (PMFP) 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. PMFP believes this can be achieved through fostering inter-faith 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.
Michael Green Arts is making art within a new global context — born as an intuitive, archaic response to the spiritual need at the core of the formidable social, economic and environmental challenges we face today. The artist Michael Green completed studies at the University of São Paulo in Brazil and hitchhiked deep into the Amazon jungle. He joined the legendary Castalia Foundation and worked on germinal light shows with Timothy Leary. Dr. Ralph Metzner introduced him to the idea that his creative life could be rooted in the tradition of the nameless shaman-artist, a tradition reaching back to the Paleolithic cave-painters. Living in the Catskills for several years, Green explored how the primeval art of the sacred is characterized by the intention not to express the “self” but by abandoning the self to open a doorway to the Great Mystery. Green gained skills as a tipi-dwelling artisan, working with wood, stone and native plants. In the early 1970’s he moved to Pennsylvania to study with the venerable Sufi master Bawa Muhaiyaddeen and with that interaction, everything changed. As the mystic poet Rumi says, “God opens doors.” He began creating fine art, books and designed installations. In the late 1990’s he created the ground-breaking best seller, The Illuminated Rumi with poet Coleman Barks. Rumi is one of this country’s most-read poets and is a major spokesman for open, boundary-crossing spirituality. The Illuminated Rumi is still a phenomenon with over 500,000 copies in print.
Our experienced team has the character, courage and commitment to solving 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.
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. He has written on topics such as the relationship between the State and Indigenous Peoples and intercultural education.
Rev. Ken Kitatani is the Executive Director of the Forum 21 Institute, which partners with the Sacred Sites Program. Ken is an ordained minister of Sukyo Mahikari Centers for Spiritual Development and is the Chief Administration Officer of their UN 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.
Rev. Laura M. George, J.D. is the Executive Director of The Oracle Institute, an educational charity and spiritual think-tank. Laura oversees Oracle’s award-winning publishing house, spirituality school, interfaith church, and Peace Pentagon programs and retreats. In 2015, she founded the Valley of Light micro-community for cultural creatives and futurists. In 2016, she launch the Peace Pentagon HUB – a networking site and strategic center dedicated to Sacred Activism, located at the Oracle Campus in Independence, Virginia. 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 is a graduate of the University of Virginia and 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.
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 (ABC). She has also worked as a writer and 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 boards of the Association to Benefit Children (ABC) and Riverkeeper.
Michael Green, the founder of Michael Green Arts, is making art within a new global context — born as an intuitive, archaic response to the spiritual need at the core of the formidable social, economic and environmental challenges we face today. With his signature blending of art and text, his books include 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. Over 2,500,000 of his books and calendars are currently in print.
“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