Located in the lush carribean lands of Palenque, Panama, GeoParadises ‘Tribal Gathering’ was a coming together of the tribes, old and new. Exploring the potential of harmonious exchange between cultures, members of Project Nuevo Mundo had the incredible experience of assisting in the facilitation and flow of the global village; a space which saw over 8 tribes living together for the duration of the week…
The global village, otherwise known as an ‘Inter Tribal Symposium’… each day held a cultural ‘encuentro’ ; a space in which a different tribe would share their culture and heritage, their struggles and their hopes with the future of their lands. These ‘meetings’ provided a space for us to share and explore in a culture different to our own, and also to the potential of how we can be in solidarity with these ancient cultures.
We heard from the Terraba tribe, and their struggle against the building of what would have been Central America’s largest hydroelectric plant, in the heart of their jungle lands of Costa Rica. We listened to their stories, and learnt that through solidarity and strength between passionate tribal leaders and young passionate activists, the campaign was successful and their lands were protected.
The majority of the tribes traveling to the festival came from the lands of Costa Rica and Panama, though the gathering also saw representatives of the Shipibo from Ucayali land of Peru, as well as the Kaqchikel Maya from Lago de Atitlan, Guatemala.
Among the Guatemaya representatives, were Tato Pedro and Shuni, elders who held the sacred fire and ceremony throughout the duration of the celebrations; as well as Micaela, representing the traditional weavers and natural dyers from the ‘pueblo’ of San Juan, Lago de Atitlan; and Gregory and Ronnie Lec, permaculturists and ecological educators from IMAP; Instituto Mesoamericano de Permaculture.
Throughout the many days, Gregory and Ronnie bridged the world of permaculture and festival culture, catalysing the growth of regenerative, earth based festivals… where celebration and sustenance are one. There were in depth workshops, held by Gregoria, working with ‘Herb Spirals’, ‘Mandala Gardens’, Compost and ‘Grey Water Filtration Systems…
These workshops, encouraged the festival goers to step outside of the traditional activities and forage materials to create the these informative herb gardens and filtration systems. Mid week, saw enthusiastic kids lugging young coconut trees found on the lush beach location, and planting them out in a traditional ‘banana circle’ pattern. This circle of trees, filled in with dense, organic material will serve to clean and repurpose the grey water from the festival hand washing station.
As well the creations of the garden, Ronnie held incredible interactive talks on the depths of Mayan Cosmology and Agriculture, Permaculture Practice and Seed Sovereignty.
The constant workshops, talks and communal eating practice that surrounded the Global Village, had us, in Project Nuevo Mundo, provoked and inspired to further explore this concept of ‘regenerative festival culture’ and thus an indepth forum and an interactive workshop was held. Clayton Gaar, earth odyssey econaut and event organizer at the Tribal Council Collective, led a visioning space, exploring the ‘Catching and Storing of Festival Energy’ … seeding the collective ideas of how to sustain and regenerate the resources of a ‘transformative festival’ and ‘conscious event’. Individuals talked of permanent garden sites, foraging practices, the brewing of herbal beers and ciders in order to reduce waste, on site habitat regeneration, as well as the weaving of old traditional ways of medicine and celebration into these events.
Coming to the last days of the festival, which begun to feel like a lifestyle for many, we sat through sweat lodges under the bright moon, tended the plants in the herb spiral, and celebrated with the Kuna island style. A celebration chicha was prepared, fermented with maize, cacao y café, and ensured that the fiestas went well into the night!
To gather, the experiences of living communally together in this global village near 10 days, catalyzed a true beacon of solidarity. We struggled together, we smiled together, we celebrated together, regardless of the vast degrees of cultures, lands and roots.
“ In listening humbly to the traditions of these native peoples, we remember who we once were and what we still can be; we can experience once again the naked divine truth of the natural world and can learn from that experience to respect the laws of nature. “ – Andrew Harvey and Anne Baring
Written by Charlie Tide
The Earth Kinnection Kollective
Photos by Ivan Kuxansum