Meet the Tairona

The first thing to say about meeting the Tairona is - PLEASE DON’T TRY.

These people are the conscientious guardians of a tradition, philosophy and form of thought that has been pretty effectively destroyed everywhere else in the world by the advance of our own culture.  The most isolated of the Tairona communities, the Kogi, know very well that isolation is their only possibility for survival. 

The original European invaders of America carried death on their breath and their bodies, in the form of invisible infections which wiped out perhaps as many as nine out of every ten inhabitants of the continent.  Even the best-intentioned among them were, however inadvertantly, the carriers of destruction.

We also carry infections.  But more than that, we carry our own way of perceiving and understanding the world, and however well-intentioned we may be, we re-form the consciousness of others.  We teach more than we learn, and so we change the people we meet.  That is why the Kogi demand that we stay away.

For the new film, ALUNA, the Kogi themselves organised everything in the Sierra, and eventually took complete control of the filming.  They also reviewed, discussed and changed the film cut.

The Kogi think in terms of levels of cultural pollution; the lower down the mountain they go, the more of it they encounter.  Whole areas of the Sierra are closed to whole groups of Kogi, because they have become too polluted by outside contact.

The Tairona do not want to be met.  But they do want to be listened to.

And that is not for their sake.  It is for ours.

 
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