I sit on the board of The SOFIE Foundation. SOFIE (Saving Ourselves From Indigenous Extinction) is a non profit organization based in California.
One of the projects we are currently focused on is a documentary film. THE SPIRIT OF TATÁ is the story of an Amazonian shaman, a tribe’s efforts to learn all they can from their dying elder, and a celebration of the extraordinary life and spirit of Tata.
At 103 years-old, Tatá was one of the oldest shamans in the Amazon and was responsible for safeguarding the tribe’s spiritual legacy through the difficult years of colonization and interference by the rubber tappers and missionaries. Reaching near extinction in the mid-1980s, the Yawanawá decided to expel the missions and it was Tatá who helped to lead a revival of their cultural and spiritual practices, taking on apprentices and students to learn the legends, ceremonies, music, healing ways, and sacred plant knowledge that had been kept secret in the hearts and minds of a small handful of shamans and elders during the mission period.
THE SPIRIT OF TATA follows Tatá’s final days – a historic and challenging moment for the tribe as they face losing their beloved elder and greatest living library of spiritual knowledge and power. Surrounded by the ongoing vigil of his family and students, we witness Tatá continuing to share his teachings from his death bed – hoping to ensure the transfer of traditional knowledge to the next generation. This story is emblematic of a story happening around the world – the story of cultures losing their elders while struggling to recover and revive their ancient languages and traditions before they are lost forever. The film aims to wake up modern audiences to the inherent and vital need to preserve, protect, and support the continuation of indigenous peoples and knowledge for the sake of all life on earth.
Please visit sofiefoundation.org to view the trailer and support the film.