THE ELDER BROTHERS by Alan Ereira

THE ELDER BROTHERS

A Lost South American People and their Message about the Fate of the Earth

KIRKUS REVIEW

 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.)

Pub Date: Feb. 6th, 1992
ISBN: 0-679-40618-2
Page count: 256pp
Publisher: Knopf
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15th, 1991