TRIBAL CULTURE IN BRITAIN

an Introduction by Alan Ereira

The television documentary "From the Heart of the World" has been one of the most influential and memorable of all time. Now millions worldwide are aware of the message of the priests of the Kogi Indians in Colombia to us - their "Younger Brother." Their chosen ambassador, the writer/director Alan Ereira, provides an introduction to tribal culture in Britain:

The tribal movement in Britain seems to me to be rooted in a continuing tradition of connecting community, land and anti-authoritarian politics.

From the time of the Peasants' Revolt, through the Diggers, romantic and socialist movements to the happy hippies, there has been a common thread of belief that people should shrug off the State and live in a natural harmony with each other on the land that sustains us all. Common land, common law and common sense make a natural Commonwealth. It has penetrated religious thought in Britain - the Book of Common Prayer - and even politics - the House of Commons - but as those examples show, the idea gets seized and corrupted and needs to be constantly re-born. This time, the re-birth is in the language of indigenous people - tribal language.

When I was filming with the Kogi indians they asked me "Why do you need to come here to learn these things? Don't you have indigenous people of your own?"

I answered "We are the indigenous people of our own. But we have forgotten what you still remember." We need to go through the process of remembering - and being reminded by people like the Kogi of what we should remember.

Is it a sign of hope? Will things get better as a result? I am a pessimist - unlike the Kogi - and when I look at the ancestry of this movement, I see only defeat. But the defeats are never final, and this time it is at least clear that the system of power and authority that dominates the world is leading to breakdown. There is no triumph in that, of course - every living being is threatened by it. But at such a moment it is essential to have voices saying "Look - here is another way, and it works!" Because there is always the possibility - however remote it seems - that people may choose not to continue their journey of mass immolation.

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