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Gentil Cruz, conveyor of Memories

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Through field missions over many years, the Tchendukua organisation has gathered a large bank of images about the Kogi people and the Sierra Nevada of Santa Marta in Colombia. There are 120 hours of footage which represent the memory of many years of work with and for the Kogi.

Description

Through field missions over many years, the Tchendukua organisation has gathered a large bank of images about the Kogi people and the Sierra Nevada of Santa Marta in Colombia. There are 120 hours of footage which represent the memory of many years of work with and for the Kogi.

During all these years, and especially at the beginning, Gentil Cruz was one of the main figures. Gentil, who disappeared already more than 10 years ago in November 2004, was happy to see the Kogi people taking back ownership of their lands, studying and working the land, and living in harmony with nature. His complicity with the Kogi people was astonishing, probably fuelled by his understanding of Kogi spirituality.

Thanks to this documentary database, Philipe Brulois, a videoographer and member of Tchendukua’s Executive Board, is making a documentary film using the archive footage.

Land recovery, nuhés (mountain temples), memory, offerings, maps, time, nature, culture, coca plants, education, work, fumigation — so many topics are covered with one common question: What does all of this mean for the Kogi people?

Gentil Cruz, on the screen and through voice-over, serves as a hyphen, or “bridge” as he liked to say, in sharing his 30 years of experience living with and supporting the Kogi people. Through his complicity, humility, and deep desire to convey, we are able to better understand the meaning of these topics for this pre-Colombian community, as well as his strong involvement in preserving and defending them. At some point he was seen as a nuisance, and was finally kidnapped and murdered in 2005.

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