The creation of The Unification Fund was inspired by the Four Pillars Ceremonial Visit, where the Kogi Mamos and Otomi Shamans restored and rebalanced Sacred Sites in North America and delivered an urgent message to “Younger Brother” at the Global Action Climate Summit.
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 Unification 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.
|Traditional Council of Elders|
|Protection of Bio-cultural and Ancestral Sites of Indigenous Peoples|
|Creating Original Houses of Thought|
|Intercultural Learning and Resilience Building|
|Climate Science and Traditional Ecological Knowledge|
|Indigenous People’s Rights|
|Rights of Nature and Mother Earth|
A primary goal of The Unification Fund is to assist the Four Pillars 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 Four Pillars can guide these communities so they can intentionally:
“Present needs and present gains was the rule of action—which seems to be a sort of transmitted quality which we in our now enlightened time have not wholly outgrown, for even now a few men can be found who seem willing to destroy the last tree, the last fish and the last game bird and animal, and leave nothing for posterity, if thereby some money can be made.”
– State Fish and Game Commissioner of North Dakota, 1894
The following are the major objectives of the Four Pillars for the next few years:
1. Traditional Council of Elders
Every year, the Four Pillars 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 Traditional 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 the World Water Forum and numerous other environmental events.
A message and proclamation coming from the Traditional Council of Elders will be delivered in 2020 at the Religions for the Earth Conference. Their reflective and active engagement with the Original Instructions will be followed up by the Four Pillars 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 Four Pillars, writes proposals for protection of the Biocultural Sacred Places Initiative in conjunction with UNESCO and allies such as International Council on Environmental Economics and Development, The Fountain, Unity Earth, and The Convergence. Estimated delivery date of a final proposal: 2023.
A group of Indigenous Elders (female and male), coordinated by the Four Pillars with the support of The Unification 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 Mt. Fuji in Japan, Mt. Blanca (Four Corners, Crestone Colorado, USA), and Mt. Etna (Sicily, Italy) and was completed in 2019. Phase 2 will include ceremonies and work at Mt. Shasta (California USA), Mt. Kilimanjaro (Tanzania, Africa), Mt. Kailas (Himalayas, India) and other locations. Phase 2 will be followed by Phase 3.
During the 2018 Four Pillars 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.
3. Houses of Thought
The Unification Fund will assist the Four Pillars in establishing and promoting Houses of Thought 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 Houses of Thought in Crestone Colorado (design compliments of Hanne Strong)
4. Intercultural Learning and Resilience Building
Interfaith and intercultural dialogue also provides a platform for sharing the Original Instructions and strengthening Earth Ethics across local, national, and international arenas. The Unification Fund assists the Four Pillars in planning such conferences, symposiums and other eco-spiritual learning events, where the Four Pillars’ act as key conveners and participant in academic and UN co-sponsored intercultural and interfaith events.
The Four Pillars, 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 Unification 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 the Four Pillars, 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, Original Caretakers Program, Center for Earth Ethics, UTS
The Kogi, along with many indigenous peoples, are seeking assistance in reclaiming their sacred ancestral lands. The Unification Fund supports this goal and will provide seed capital for this purpose. The Unification 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 Unification 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 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.
In partnership with many other organizations, the Pachamama Alliance is developing a plan to secure permanent protection for a critical region of the Amazon rainforest in Ecuador and Peru.
About the Campaign:
In its 20th year, Pachamama Alliance is embarking on a new phase of our work in the Amazon rainforest of central and southern Ecuador and northern Peru where the organization has been working for the past two decades. With its indigenous partners and other non-governmental organizations, Pachamama Alliance is beginning a multi-year project to secure permanent protected status of these areas—which will include indigenous management of the key social, economic, and political aspects of the area and include a complete ban on all industrial-level extractive activities.
Bringing About Permanent Protection:
In the planning phase of this project, Pachamama Alliance will be focusing on building a coalition of key stakeholders (indigenous groups, local governments, international NGOs) and aligning on a common vision for the project. Equally important, Pachamama Alliance will also be focusing on initiatives that build the capacity of the indigenous people to manage this area.
Why This Is Important?
This area is one of immense global importance. It is recognized as containing the highest levels of biodiversity in the entire Amazon basin, perhaps in the whole world, and is a source of deep spiritual connection to Pachamama herself. Located at the headwaters of the Amazon basin, it plays a central role in feeding the hydrological cycles, the circulatory system of the planet and is central to regulating the global climate. This region, becoming known as the Sacred Headwaters of the Amazon, is gaining international attention as one of the global priority areas that must be protected.
Source: Pachamama Alliance
What Will It Take?
The project to protect the Sacred Headwaters of the Amazon will be a long-term project, possibly taking 20 to 25 years to be fully implemented and realized. It will involve numerous stakeholders in Ecuador, Peru, and internationally. It will involve putting in place regional plans for monitoring and guarding the health of the ecosystem, developing sustainable economic alternatives for the indigenous peoples, building local educational and healthcare systems that support human development, developing appropriate transportation systems for the region, and creating international funding mechanisms that both provide financial support for local development within the protected area and also provide resources for regional and national development needs.
How Much Will It Cost?
The long-term costs are just now being assessed. It is clear that it will require many, many millions of dollars a year. The first phase of the project will be a development phase, to gather key stakeholders and develop a master plan with key outcomes and a funding strategy. The Pachamama Alliance team thinks this phase will take two years, and it will involve a collaboration of the indigenous groups, local and national governments, and interested local and international non-governmental organizations. Pachamama Alliance estimates that the development phase will cost between $1.0 to $1.2 million a year for the two years and will be funded by a variety of stakeholders and foundations. Pachamama Alliance would like to be in a position to directly provide at least 10% of that budget as a starting point each year.
Who Will Do it?
Pachamama Alliance, in partnership with Amazon Watch, its close collaborator in this region, is taking on the responsibility for initiating this development phase.
This project is not a Pachamama Alliance project or really any single organization’s project. This is much bigger. At some level, this is the Earth’s project. Because of Pachamama Alliance’s special historical position in this region and because of our relationships and contacts, we have a responsibility to engage. We’re being called to step into this coordinating role at the beginning. And we will see then how things evolve. At some point as this project succeeds it will become many organizations’ project.
Supporting Indigenous People To Defend Their Territories
The most effective way to protect forests is to support indigenous rights. For 20 years Pachamama Alliance has made sure that indigenous communities depending on the Amazon rainforest have the resources they need to make informed decisions about their territories as oil and other extractive industries encroach upon their land. In order to permanently protect this area, Pachamama Alliance will increase our support of indigenous management of the social, economic, and political activities of the area.
Source: Pachamama Alliance
The Unification Fund is proud to support the Revitalization and Strengthening of the Spiritual and Medicinal Practices of the Siona, Cofán, Inga, Coreguaje and Kamentsá Indigenous Peoples.
The Union of Indigenous Yagé Medics of the Colombian Amazon (UMIYAC) is a registered indigenous non-profit organization comprised of spiritual authorities from five ethnic peoples: the Siona, Cofán, Coreguaje, Kamentsá and Inga. In 2009, the Colombian Constitutional Court declared these five ethnicities at “risk of physical and cultural extermination” (Resolution 004/2009)1. UMIYAC’s mission is to halt and revert this process.
The way to accomplish this is through the revitalization of our ancestral medicine, which is at the core of our existence, as spiritual beings in connection with Mother Nature.
This critical process of cultural and community strengthening is UMIYAC’s only hope for collectively withstanding the destructive pressures exerted on its communities by oil and mining companies, cattle ranching, drug cartels, land grabbers and other extractive enterprises, together with the systematic violence directed towards our leaders, towards human defenders and towards defenders of the rights of Mother Nature.
UMIYAC’s projects and programs will benefit the population of rural communities comprised in 22 legalized indigenous territories and belonging to the Siona, Inga, Coreguaje, Cofán and Kamentsá peoples, in the Departments of Putumayo, Caquetá and Cauca.
Key Strategies and Activities
1) Building an Indigenous Amazonian Medicinal Center (2020-2022)
2) Implementing the Itinerant Spiritual Brigades for Community-Health Project
3) Implementing the Trauma Healing for Women Victims of War Project
4) Implementing the Transmission and Conservation of Ancestral Knowledge (elders meet youth) Project
5) Implementing the Revitalization and Strengthening of Women’s Medicinal Knowledge Project
6) Organizing 2 Mingas (general assemblies) per year
7) Organizing 4 Councils of Elders per year
8) Strengthening Organizational Health: Capacity Building in Administration, Fundraising
9) Participating in National and International Advocacy and Networking Activities
Programming, Coursework, Partnerships and Development will address the Sustainable Development Goals, with measurable outcomes of achieving all of the 17 SDGs.
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.
Mindahi Crescencio Bastida Muñoz is the director of the Original Caretakers Program at the Center for Earth Ethics. 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.
Ken Kitatani is the Director General of the International Council on Environmental Economics and Development, 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. 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.
Robert Smith, Founder of ICV, is a fifth generation investment executive who has spent most of his career managing capital for some of the largest financial institutions and identifying traditional and alternative investment opportunities for family offices. Mr. Smith serves as advisor to the Kennedy family’s New Frontier Bio, the United Nations Capital Development Fund (UNCDF), the Permanent Secretariat of the World Summit of Nobel Peace Laureates, and the Mandela family’s Africa Rising Foundation. He also serves on the President’s Leadership Council of Thomas Jefferson University and Jefferson Health. Carrying on the mission of his family to provide “inspirational and tangible help for young people,” Mr. Smith serves as a member of the board of directors of the Chaeli Foundation USA, Childhood Cancer Kids, The Children’s Village, St. Clair Butterfly Foundation, and Tuesday’s Children. He also serves as president and a member of the board of directors of The Harmon Foundation, a private grant-making foundation established in 1922 by his great, great grandfather, William E. Harmon. In 2018, Mr. Smith was recognized as one of The 100 Visionary Leaders by Real Leaders Magazine, alongside Bill Gates, Muhammad Yunus, President Juan Santos, Mikhail Gorbachev, Leonardo DiCaprio and many others who are leading us towards a better world. He was also inducted as a member of Evolutionary Leaders, alongside Deepak Chopra, Jack Canfield, Gary Zukav, Bruce Lipton and other leaders who feel a sense of urgency about the state of our world and are forging a movement for the conscious evolution of humanity.
Susanna Choe is the Executive Director of The Unification Fund and The Regeneration Fund. She is a humanitarian and futurist with an educational background in international affairs and her professional experience ranges across media, education, emerging technology, business and non-profits. Her mission is to evolve the planetary governance system to equitably share resources, empower humanity to collaborate to solve for the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals, and support the transition towards a regenerative economy for life on earth to thrive in harmony with natural ecosystems. She is dedicated to spreading a culture of peace and happiness through her organization and modern day peace movement, Peace Accelerators, and Mo Gawdat’s #OneBillionHappy initiative. She is an advisor to Plant Vision, an augmented operating system for vertical farming using camera vision and machine learning. Previously, she worked with ConsenSys, a blockchain production company, as well as Y2X, an impact investing firm, weaving together a diverse community of leaders, researchers, entrepreneurs, technologists, creatives and investors to efficiently solve global challenge and reach the UN’s 2030 Agenda.
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.
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.
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.
Lynne Twist is a co-founder of The Pachamama Alliance, and founder of The Soul of Money Institute. She has dedicated herself to alleviating poverty and hunger, and supporting social justice and environmental sustainability. where he creates art within a new global context. In 1995, a group of people, including John Perkins, and Bill and Lynne Twist, answered a call from the Amazon rainforest and Mother Earth herself. At the invitation of leaders of the Achuar indigenous people of Ecuador, they traveled to their Amazon home to learn more about this imminent call their hearts yearned for an answer. The Achuar shared with them the urgent threat to their lands and culture, their vision for self-determination, and a request for allies from the North who would “change the dream of the modern world” by shifting its culture of over-consumption to a culture that honors and sustains life. This group committed to a partnership with the Achuar, and, upon their return to the United States, co-founded The Pachamama Alliance to carry this commitment out. To date, Lynne is a Pachamama Alliance board member and fundraiser. She also leads journeys into the Amazon rainforest through the organization’s Pachamama Journeys program. From working with Mother Teresa in Calcutta to the refugee camps in Ethiopia and the threatened rainforests of the Amazon, Lynne’s on-the-ground work has brought her a deep understanding of the social tapestry of the world and the historical landscape of the times we are living in. Her 40+ years of global work are testament to her commitment to alleviating poverty and hunger and supporting social justice and environmental sustainability. Her journey has led to features in over 10 films, including: “The Shift” (Michael Goorjian, 2010), “Crude Impact” (James Jandak Wood, 2006) and “Women of Wisdom and Power” (Lili Fournier, 2000) and “Money & Life” (Katie Teague). In addition, she has been interviewed by dozens of media outlets including The Huffington Post, “Mehmet Oz Radio,” Oprah and Friends Radio, NPR, The Chicago Tribune, The San Francisco Chronicle and PBS.
“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