Wisdom from our Elder Brothers

The Mamas of the Kogi people of Colombia are true ancestors of spirit to modern-day Druids. They have a very deep and detailed understanding of the ecological principles that rule the workings of our Living Earth. Anyone interested in defending or protecting Mother Nature should listen, very carefully, to their words.

Having studied ecology for decades, myself, and having engaged in small-scale ecological restoration projects, I used to think that I understood quite a bit about ecology — until I watched this pair of films. Now I realize that my knowledge was still limited, focused on the workings of individual ecosystems, in isolation. The Kogi offer an even deeper level of understanding, tracing all the golden threads that weave the various ecosystems together into a united, magical whole.

The two documentaries here explore first, who the Kogi are, historically and sociologically, and second, the wisdom they have to offer regarding what needs to be done to heal the Earth Mother and save the world.

I hope you enjoy watching them as much as I did!

The Long Road of Exploration

by Estifanos (age 7), of California, U.S.A.

I just finished a history book, “Westward Expansion and Migration.”  The book talked about Lewis and Clark, pioneer wagon trains, and the gold rush. I want to talk to you about the way people interacted with nature, and other people as they traveled west.

Lewis and Clark were two young men who were once both military soldiers. They were skilled at: hunting, fishing, map making, zoology, botany, and language. Their job was to learn about the land west of the Mississippi River. The two men learned about the plants, animals, and traditions of the natives and their environment. They even made friends with a native girl from the Shoshone tribe. She joined them and acted as a translator. Her name was Sacajawea.

The pioneer wagon trains were long “trains” of wagons crossing the prairies of Colorado and Kansas. People lived on roots and berries. But there were hardships too. Stampeding buffalo herds, disease, fierce Native Americans, and blizzards met the settlers on the trail. The pioneers were vicious toward nature and natives: killing bison, cutting down trees, and killing natives. Horrid people!

The men who went west with the gold rush got gold fever. Gold, gold, GOLD!!! Gold fever spread like wildfire! They were mean by stealing cattle, robbing stagecoaches, and murdering. Mean!

I think that the best people were Lewis and Clark because they treated natives and the land carefully.

Dances from Ireland

by Estifanos (age 7), of California, U.S.A.

The first time I saw Irish dancing, it was watching a video of the very first performance of Riverdance, on the Eurovision Song Contest:

I thought that it was a mind-blowing performance because the dancers did the footwork super good, so that it sounded like every one of the dancers were hitting the floor together. To me, it sounded like their feet were making a kind of percussion music along with the drums and the synthesizer music. That made me want to know more about Irish dancing.

Next, I took Irish dance classes, to find out how people did the footwork, to make the different noises with their feet.

The classes were okay, but I didn’t like that it was so loud in the dance studio.

After that, I watched a documentary about kids who were learning Irish dance. The youngest kid was probably about ten years old. The oldest was probably about twenty-one. The documentary was called, “Jig.” Here is the trailer:

I think that Irish dance is interesting because I like the costumes, and the hard-shoe rhythms.

Food in China

by Estifanos (age 7), of California, U.S.A.

This week, mom and I looked for recipes from China, because my grandmother came from China, and I wanted to know more about the foods from there. China has different foods in different areas. The northern, the southern, the eastern, and western parts of China all have different foods because they have different climates, tastes, and cultures.  Some areas have a lot of water, which you need to grow rice. Other areas have dry grasslands, which are good for raising cattle and growing wheat. Some areas have rivers, or are next to the ocean, so they can have a lot of fish and sea food like jellyfish, shrimp, and octopus. We found this map of China, showing different food regions.

The two dishes we made at home were fried mixtures of different meats and vegetables. One had ground chicken meat, chopped spinach, chopped scallions, ginger, soy sauce, sesame oil, salt and pepper. The other one had ground pork meat, whole shrimps, chopped mushrooms, chopped scallions, ginger, garlic, soy sauce, sesame oil, salt and pepper. We didn’t really measure anything; we just kept adding stuff until we like the taste. We served both dishes over white rice. I liked the one with pork and shrimp and mushrooms, best.

My favorite Chinese dish that I like to eat, when we go out with my grandparents and uncle for dim-sum is: rice noodles with jellyfish, in some kind of bean sauce. I don’t really know what is in the sauce, but it is on the border between being sweet and spicy-hot, and I liked it from the very first time I tasted it. But I don’t like to eat jellyfish when they’re alive; they might sting my mouth!


Dollar Street – A Culture Study Resource

I just stumbled upon a wonderful new resource for the study of world cultures, which is every bit as vivid and informative as are the “Families of the World” documentaries we love so well.  In this case, the resource is a web-site, which enables you to search sets of photographs of family life in different countries, for a range of different socio-economic levels within each of those countries, to get a feel “on your skin” of what life might be like to live in each of those places.  The web site can be found here:

Dollar Street

The TED talk, in which its creator, Anna Rosling Rönnlund discusses the project’s creation and its potential uses, can be viewed here: