Update about blog

Come on over to my other blog, Alchemy of Clay and Living in Black Mountain NC, where the scenery and my ceramic arts life are combined. I've moved some personal blog posts, (as well as those that are about my ancestors) back here.

Thursday, August 1, 2013

What another culture says to ours.

From the Heart of the World, The Elder Brother's Warning

Entire Film Here

I was given a DVD of this film to look at and pass along...and took some time with a friend to watch it yesterday.  I'm so glad I did.

Why?  I could have been doing something else, with that hour and a half.  I could have learned how to knit some pattern I like.  I could have thrown about 6 mugs or bowls (I'm a slow potter actually).  I could have done lots of other things...

But I thought I needed to hear about a culture that has barely been touched by Western Civilization...where only one person was encouraged to learn another language so that he could translate for "outsiders" what needed to be told.  The Elder Brothers, the Mummers, spend a lot of serious time meditating on the conditions of the earth.  They devote their lives to spiritual pursuits, and are trained in ways that are unimaginable to outsiders.  We outsiders are known as Younger Brothers.  We were contacted in order to help save the world, according to their knowledge of it.

I found it intriguing to learn about the myths and stories of the Kigo of Columbia, who live in the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta mountain hinterlands.  They are the surviving indigenous peoples who retreated into mountains when the Spaniards conquered the Americas.  They remind me of the indigenous peoples here in North Carolina who survived the United States government when the Trail of Tears happened not too long ago.  But the Kigo have remained isolated and uncommicative with the conquerors.

The film was produced for BBC TV in 1990.  Amazon has a 1968 VHS version listed.  But the movie I watched came to a close with 1990 as it's date.  There are several other publications about these people.  Why hadn't I run into them sooner?  Have you heard of the Kogi already?  Well, I did hear of a film about South American Indians who hadn't been in communication with "outsiders."  Guess these must be they...and I wasn't ready to watch it before now.

I came away with a few questions that were not answered by the film.  They used to have all these little figures made of gold that honored the spirits.  But the Kogi Elder Brothers confront the Younger Brothers for raping the earth and mining minerals.  Question: how did they make the gold figures?

They don't look like a culture that has mined and done intricate metal craft. I would guess when their culture was larger and was using the well paved roads through the mountains, there was mineral work.  Yes the gold is gone now...apparently by Columbian grave robbers as the film would lead us to think.  Some gold figures were buried in the graves in areas accessible to civilization.  These figures end up in museums or private collections.  The grave robbers are free to do as they wish, without any policing. Nor do they have any training in archeology which is shown by how they mistreat artifacts.

If you can watch the film with an anthropological interest, you may come away knowing how a civilization that has existed for thousands of years survives, has developed it's own world stories, and has decided to contact us to solve a problem we share.  The earth is our mother, and she is dying.

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