The Kogi are a Native American ethnic group that lives in the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta in Colombia. They are one of the few surviving indigenous peoples of Pre-Columbian South America. The Kogui language belongs to the Chibcha family.
The Kogui are descendants of the Tairona culture, which flourished at the time of the Spanish conquest, and have been living in isolation for generations.
Their mythology teaches that they are “Elder Brothers” of humanity, living in the “Center of the World” (the Sierra Nevada of Santa Marta). Those not living in the Center of the World (generally people from the west) are called “Younger Brothers.” Their mythology suggests that these Younger Brothers were sent away from the center of the world long ago. In response to infringements on their homeland by westerners, a legend arose claiming the Younger Brothers had now found their way back, and were reaping their destruction on the land.
The Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta (Gonawindua) is an isolated mountain range apart from the Andes chain that runs through Colombia. Reaching an altitude of 5,700 metres above sea level just 42 km from the Caribbean coast, the Sierra Nevada is the world’s highest coastal range. The Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta is home to the remnants of the native American Tairona Culture.
The Sierra Nevada is a small world ideed du to the incredible biodiversity sheltered by the mountain The tropical rainforest is made up of perennial trees, with a canopy reaching between 30 m (98 ft) to 40 m (130 ft). There is a great variety and large populations of epiphytes and lianas, and more than 3,000 species of vascular plants are found in the area. The indigenous peoples the make an alcoholic beverage from fruits of the palm Attalea maripa found at the lower elevations. Of Colombia's 340 endemic species, 44 are found in the park, for example seven species of endemic hummingbirds. Of the 3,057 endangered species, 44 are found here. The area is home to 440 species of birds, including Black-fronted Wood-quail, King Vulture, Andean Condor, Santa Marta Warbler, Santa Marta Parakeet. Mammals found in the park include: tapir, cougar, jaguar, squirrel, otter, and brocket deer.
The Kogi are unique among the world’s indigenous cultures because the Spaniards never conquered them. They are said to have memory of the beginning of time and remember the rampage the conquistadors brought to their region in 1498. The Kogi represent the most complete surviving civilization of pre-Colombian America. They are not hunter-gatherers or a wondering tribe; they are a nation whose fields have been continuously cultivated for more than a thousand years.
If they protect their sacred mountain home, the Koguis believe they will keep the entire planet in balance. They call themselves the Elder Brothers, the guardians of the Earth, and the rest of modern civilization are the Younger Brothers, whose exploitative practices are destroying the mountain’s ecosystem and, by extension, the rest of the planet..