Healing Bridges produces audiovisual products about traditional communities, acts to strengthen traditional communities, and looks to bridge the traditional and the modern. At its founding in 2006, the founder was videotaping the oral history of the elder shamans and their wives, of the Kofan (A’i), Siona, and Inga people of the Colombian Amazon.
When the Kofan shamans, traditional authorities, asked Healing Bridges to help stop the encroachment of their territory, Healing Bridges joined their efforts to protect and restore their territory. The Kofan shamans and their traditional medicine are the center of Kofan culture, are the key to the Kofan renaissance, and have priceless contributions to offer the modern world.
Healing Bridges acts under the consent of the Kofan shamans to put pressure on the Colombian Government so that it will restore Kofan territorial boundaries to those it recognized in the 1970s and ensure that the Kofan can reclaim their cultural sovereignty in their reservations. Healing Bridges also engages in direct aid, both in emergencies, but also in the development of small agricultural projects to support the Kofan’s food security, supporting development with culture and identity. Healing Bridges has increasingly embraced the Sustainable Development Goals and is exploring the mechanisms of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change.
Healing Bridges develops its goals and strategy by gathering the Kofan traditional authorities of five territories (four in Colombia, one in Ecuador), exchanging information in both western and ceremonial settings, and then translating their mandates into targeted petitions to the Colombian Government. Healing Bridges then engages outside actors, including the United Nations system, the Inter American Commission on Human Rights, and/or the U.S. Government to enhance the support for the petitions. All relevant activities count with the free, prior, and informed consent of the project’s participants.