Hopi Meet the Dalai Lama with Colombian Mamos

 In Hopi, Indigenous Issues

In a message from the Mamos of Colombia after a meeting with the Dalai Lama the following statement was released.
This statement is focused on the issues the Mamos now face and the views they have of the meeting that took place in New Jersey, May of 2011. This was a historic meeting.


Two very significant gatherings of Indigenous Peoples took place this past month, one at Menla Mountain Retreat Center in the Catskill Mountains of New York from May 7th – 10th, followed by one at the International Peace Education Summit, held from May 13th – 15th in Newark, New Jersey. The spiritual authorities of Gonawindua (Sierra Madre de Santa Marta, Colombia) from the Kogui, Arhuaco, Wiwa, and Kankuamo tribes, came to meet with spiritual elders from around the world, carrying with them the message that “through living in accordance with natural law, we restore the natural balance of the Earth.”

The four peoples of the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta are recognized worldwide as the “Elder Brothers” because of the ancient wisdom they hold, a wisdom they have kept intact for thousands of years without interference from the modern industrialized world. Their ancestral mission is to sustain the balance of the Earth, which they continue to enact through unbroken spiritual and traditional practices, guided in their communities by their spiritual authorities, the Mama (men) and Saga (women).

At Menla Mountain, delegations of elders from indigenous peoples of North and Central America and elders from the Dogon people of Africa gathered to meet with the Mama to council on the need to regain human accordance with Mother Earth. North American delegations were sent from several indigenous tribes. The Hopi, Mohawk, Dine, Anishinaabe, Algonquin, Lakota, Havasupai, and others were represented, including a member of the International Council of Thirteen Indigenous Grandmothers. The Native American elders joined voices in the meeting circle and recognized the unifying message of the Elders Brothers. The gathering was mutually interpreted as the fulfillment of a prophecy shared by all tribes present that the Elder and Younger Brother (a term used to refer to those of us raised in modern societies) would seek each other out in a time of great planetary imbalance. All present at Menla agreed that the restoration of balance is essential to world peace and to the sustenance of a healthy planet.

At the International Peace Education Summit, the Mama and a delegation of Hopi spiritual elders met with His Holiness the XIV Dalai Lama as foreseen in a divination by the Mama in 2005, which had revealed that this meeting would mark a major turning point. Other Noble Peace Prize Laureates and many others luminaries also attended the Summit to share their visions of how to work together to create world peace. Many present at the Summit were in agreement with the Mama that the greatest threat to humanity today is contemporary global development policy, because mass exploitation of the vital elements (minerals) upsets the balance that sustains life on our planet. Imbalance is clearly visible in the precipitous deepening and increasing frequency of natural disasters and conflicts, as well as in physical, mental, and spiritual illnesses.
The Mama shared their wisdom at the Summit in a workshop entitled The Return of Sacred Elements to Their Place of Origins with one of the Thirteen Indigenous Grandmothers, Hopi Elders from Shungopavi Village, and renowned anthropologist Wade Davis. The participants witnessed an historic event, as this was the first time the Mama addressed a large-scale audience outside of their traditional territory. At both Menla Mountain and the Peace Summit, the Mama spoke of the necessity for their Younger Brothers to attune with the Natural Law which supersedes all man-made laws.

The Mama, together with the other indigenous elders, are now calling out to all of us, particularly those with the power to implement economic, environmental, social and cultural developmental policies, as well as those with the power to end policies that foster and promote armed conflict in the world. They are calling for us to seek and recognize alternatives to the current model of development, ones which are based instead on the care and protection of all peoples, lands, and cultures. In this way, we will bring back into balance our relationship with the sacred elements–water, air, earth, and fire–in essence, everything that nourishes life.

Everywhere roads lead, the tourist industry follows. Tourists threaten the integrity of local communities, as they inevitably leave their mark. Along with the physical impact, an even more pressing threat is the deterioration of these original peoples’ ancestral wisdom of how to maintain the balance of the planet. Tourism brings very different ways of perceiving the world, permeating and influencing the traditional and cultural values of native peoples, inevitably at their expense.

For the peoples of Gonawindua, mining in Colombia threatens the survival of their cultures, since within their territory (as in the territories of other indigenous peoples of the world) lie large deposits of vital elements, viewed by industrial nations as resources to be extracted and exploited for the purposes of industrialization. The pursuit of these elements by modern societies creates all types of infrastructural incursions, from surface and underground mines, to roads and ports and large industrial processing plants that contaminate the soil and drinking water–all developed without respect for the original and natural function of the land and water. The Mama, whose ancestral role is to be the “Keepers of the Waters”, travelled all this way to appeal to people everywhere to deepen their relationship with the waters of Mother Earth.

For the Mama and other indigenous peoples of the world, the balance of the planet originates within their own territories, ensured by proper “nourishment” of their sacred sites. Carefully tended for thousands of years, these sacred sites embody the spiritual forces that sustain the natural world order, and thereby sustain us. Faced with the continued destruction of their sacred sites, native peoples are now unifying to offer their ancestral wisdom in an effort to restore balance between humanity and Mother Earth. This can only be achieved if all human beings recognize our interconnected role in this work and foster an individual and collective sense of commitment to act responsibly.
The elders are thus emphatically asking all citizens of the world, governments, institutions, corporations, and organizations—both national and international—to embrace this idea and with concrete actions contribute to the awakening of humanity’s collective consciousness in order to ensure that this restoration is actually realized. They ask that from this moment on we work to guarantee generations of our children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren a landscape full of promise, peace, and prosperity.
The Mama have a visceral understanding of global climate change, because every micro-climatic possibility on Earth is found in Gonawindua. In fact, they call their ancestral territory the “Heart of the World” and say that what happens in the Heart of the World flows through the entirety of Mother Earth, just as each beat of the human heart sends forth the vital blood needed by the human body to survive.

The agreements and declarations made at Menla and the Peace Summit mark an historic and international precedent before the world and will bring forth an initiative aimed at respecting the Sierra’s ancestral centrality to planetary sustenance. Spokespeople for the Mama succinctly summarized their message:
“From this moment forward, we must join together to stem the onslaught of development projects in Colombia and the rest of the world – such as mining, ports, dams, tourism, and the creation of municipalities and transportation infrastructures. We must recognize the indispensable global importance of our ancient sacred sites and work with unified devotion to revive and utilize ancient traditional practices everywhere in order to recover and sustain natural balance on Earth.”

In fact, it is true that everything we have in our material life that we often take for granted has been taken from Mother Earth. It is only natural that we be reminded to respect and take care of her in return. In essence, the spiritual authorities of traditional peoples from around the world, as represented by the Elder Brothers, are asking each and every one of us to join together in a world-wide effort to restore balance for all life. This restoration is not only possible but necessary in a time when all of the world’s people are re-awakening to our collective responsibility as stewards and children of our Mother Earth.

“We as the Spiritual Authorities of Traditional peoples from around the world, ask you to join our efforts in restoring balance for all life.”

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