From Publishers Weekly
The Kogi, survivors of a pre-Columbian civilization who live in the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta mountains of Colombia, call themselves the "Elder Brothers" of humanity: they believe they are the guardians of all life on earth. In 1988, the leaders of this isolated and secretive tribe, whose main purpose is to live in harmony with nature, decided the time had come to warn their "Younger Brothers" that activites like strip mining and oil drilling were killing the earth. They invited British radio and television producer Ereira to convey their message to the world, and the result was a PBS film, From the Heart of the World. In this account of how the movie was made, Ereira vividly portrays the Kogi society and recounts his difficult but often humorous relationship with a mysterious people whose metaphysical, nature-centered view of life is so different from that of modern industrial society. He combines his narrative with long translations in which the Kogi speak for themselves, delivering their urgent message in the hypnotic cadences that characterize their language. Ereira came away from his encounter with the Kogi convinced by their dire warning, which he forcefully reiterates in a moving and compelling book. Photos not seen by PW.
Copyright 1992 Reed Business Information, Inc.
From Kirkus Reviews
Ereira, a London-based TV producer, brings a chilling doomsday message from Colombia's isolated Kogi Tribe in this captivating mix of anthropology and travel writing. It was while filming a documentary about the Spanish Armada that Ereira first heard of the Kogi, a tribe who call themselves the ``Elder Brothers'' of humanity and consider it their mission to care for ``Mother Earth.'' Secluded in the high-altitude jungles of the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta on Colombia's Caribbean coast, flanked by cocaine ranches and the Guajira Desert, the Kogi were once a complex pre-Columbian civilization who managed to outlast the 16th-century conquistadors and preserve their culture through a ruthless code of isolation. To Ereira's surprise, the reclusive tribe accepted his offer to make a documentary about them--but as it turned out, the Kogi had their own agenda, assigned to them by their high priests, or ``Mamas.'' Having divined that Earth and all her people will die unless the civilized world quickly modifies its shortsighted way of life, the Mamas had decided to offer their own culture as an example of a better way to live. Pressed on by an unprecedented sense of urgency, the Kogi opened their homes to illustrate to Ereira and his cameras how, in their culture, each act is considered in its spiritual or moral dimension; how wisdom and sensitivity are so prized that some apprentice priests spend their first 30 years in total darkness to better attune themselves to ``aluna,'' the spiritual world; and how the interrelatedness of nature is so taken for granted that our own recent discoveries in that regard seem almost childlike. In the end, Ereira traveled to the top of the mountain for a terrifying view of melted glaciers and stark, snowless peaks--empirical evidence that the Kogi mystics' urgency, backed by a thousand years of keeping watch, may indeed be justified. A frightening and wondrous journey. (Eight pages of magnificent color photographs.) -- Copyright ©1991, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.