The natives of Sierra Nevada
are four unique tribes, related to each other, living on the slopes of the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta, in northern Colombia.
But the natural wealth of their land attracts extremely harmful "development" projects.
For the natives, the Sierra Nevada is the heart of the world. It is surrounded by an invisible "black line" that covers the sacred places of its ancestors and demarcates its territory.
For each of the ethnic groups that inhabit the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta, the snowy peaks are considered the center of the world. The first men come from these groups and therefore are the "Elder Brothers", while all who came later are considered as the "Friars Minor". The difference between the two is the knowledge about the nature of the "Big Brothers." From that perspective, the "Big Brothers" are responsible for caring for and preserving the world, trying to ensure that the cosmic cycle has a good development; So that diseases do not destroy the lives of men; So that the crops are good.
The world is conceived as two pyramids supported on the same base. Internally, it is made up of nine worlds, each with its own land and its own inhabitants. The land is located on the fifth floor. Upwardly the worlds are related to the light and downward they are related to the darkness.
The natives of the Sierra call themselves the "older brothers" and believe they have a mystical wisdom and understanding that surpasses those of others.
The older brothers believe that it is their responsibility to maintain the balance of the universe. When there are hurricanes, droughts or famines around the world, they are said to be the cause of a human failure to maintain the harmony of the planet.
The balance is achieved by making offerings to the sacred places to give back to the earth what has been obtained from it.
Spiritual leaders are called mamos. A mamo has the responsibility to maintain the natural order of the world through songs, meditation and ritual offerings.
The sierra is considered as a human body, where the snowy peaks represent the head; The lagoons of the páramos the heart; The rivers and the streams the veins; The layers of earth the muscles; And the pajonales the hair. The entire geography of the sierra is a sacred space.
The Mamo is the central character within the system. He is the intermediary between heavenly forces and men. His wisdom and knowledge allows the balance between forces. For them the end of the world is coming, because the "Friars Minor" are not interested in protecting nature.
The preparation of a breast begins when it is small and lasts about eighteen years. They take the young man to the top of the mountains and there teach him to meditate on the natural and spiritual world.