Healing the Land
Colombia is a country abundant in natural resources, sadly it has a history of exploitation of both its natural bounty and its people, this is a problem that continues to increase and it is now more than ever that the defending the territory and its natural resources is becoming an issue of life and death for the indigenous communities and peasants in Colombia. Indigenous people have a way of life that has been shaped by their environment and has been passed down through ancient lineages of wisdom, however their way of life and their existence is increasingly under threat due to the current and overwhelming influence of the corporations and multinationals in their territory.
The government has issued hundreds of licenses to multinational companies that allows them exploit natural resources; Rivers are being used to power hydroelectric plants, Paramos are becoming open mines and deforestation is rapidly changing the land scape in the region causing a huge crisis for our fauna and flora putting all kinds of species under imminent danger of being extinct. The Putumayo region in the South West of Colombia has been one the most affected regions in the country. The exploitation of the rubber industry during the 1940's caused the indigenous population to be disseminated.
And the exploitation of the land for oil drilling since the 1990's as well as the fumigation of the land and waters, as part of the USA war on drugs strategy: Plan Colombia. The Putumayo region has also been the epicentre of a bloody battle between the left-wing guerrillas FARC-EP and the Right Wing Paramilitaries forces, this has trapped indigenous people in the middle of circumstances and conflicts which were not of their own making. The people of this land are asking for our help and support to protect their territory which is really also ours because whatever happens in the Amazonian region of the Putumayo will have an effect in our planet and our lives.
“La tierra tambien tiene derechos…… The land also has rights ”
Taita Querubin Queta (highest authority of the Cofan Nation)
The "Healing the Land" project originated from a desire to answer the call of the elders from the different indigenous communities` in Colombia. They are asking us to become "Ikwatwndwna Natura-gente Origen" advocates for our planet earth. For centuries indigenous communities have been looking after the land and keeping their way of life in order for us to learn from them and thus thrive in the planet, we have reached a point where they can no longer do it by themselves. Our first and main objective is to buy 80 hectares of land along the Rumiyaco River in order to protect it from oil exploration and colonisation. This land is home to many wild and endangered species from both the plant and animal kingdom. The endangered animals include Dantas and Jaguars, which are of critical importance in the shamanic and indigenous cosmovision of the region. We aim to gradually buy more land from private owners and extend our protected zone.
Private ownership of the land is very common in this part of Colombia, which can be a big issue because private landowners will sell their land to the oil companies or they will sell the wood in it contributing to deforestation and thus destroying the habitat and weakening the rivers. The second aim of the "Healing the Land" projects is the construction of a healing and retreat centre. This centre will function primarily as ceremony and healing centre for people with health problems, addictions or for people that want to experience living in the forest in a respectful and balanced symbiosis with nature.
We will also organise retreats for people from all over the world to come and learn the ancestral knowledge directly from the elders, this will help preserve ancient knowledge and wisdom as well as allowing its very necessary spread to the rest of the planet. Our Healing centre will be built in an eco-friendly way to preserve the harmony of the land, it will also act as a development and education centre for the communities in the region. We will introduce a work dynamic where people can exchange their knowledge and skills while they stay in the land thus bringing new knowledge and technologies into the region.
"Healing the Land" goes beyond looking after the forest, we want to help communities to heal their land by introducing a proper waste management system, at the moment all plastic and rubbish goes to the river. We want to introduce solar energy and support the education process of the communities. The "Healing the Land" project was presented to Taita Querubin Queta, who is the highest authority of the Cofan Nation and we have full support from the other communities in the region. It is paramount for our project to work shoulder to shoulder with communities in a respectful way. We will implement a strategy to start healing the land from the rain forest outwards and therefore create a wave of change.
In order to raise awareness about the current issues or threats in the region we will organise cultural and medicine festivals and prayers for the land with the communities in the region with national and international accompaniment.
What we need:
• £30K to buy the land and start the construction of the centre
What we will do with the money:
• We will buy the land
• Build healing centre