Integrated TRADITIONAL Medicines
Peace Education for Better Health
Towards an integrated world health system, on the physical, mental and spiritual levels




Querubin Queta Alvarado - Colombia

Querubin Queta Alvarado (Taita Querubin) was born in the Colombian Amazon in 1932 in San Antonio de Guamez, in Putumayo. (Taita is the name given to the spiritual leader of the Colombian Amazon spiritual leader and doctors).

He has served as the spiritual guide of his community for many years and founded the Foundation Zio-A’I and has been the president from 2002-2004. He has extensive international experience. In 1997, he traveled to Verona, Italy to share his knowledge of Amazon Medicinal Plants at the Congress Hervora. The same year, he traveled to Seattle to participate in an International Conference on Human Rights. In 1999, he traveled to Bolivia to advise the Indigenous Aimara Communities on organizational strengthening and traveled to Nairobi to participate in the CBD meeting. He also attended the UN Meeting in Sevilla, Spain on Article 8-J of the Convention on Biological Diversity. He has participated several consultation workshop in Geneva one on Health Policies organized by the World Health Organization in 1999 and was a special guest of an Expert Meeting on Traditional Knowledge UNCTAD in 2000. He also participated in an International Conference on Peace, Human Rights, and International Humanitarian Right for Colombia in San Jose, Costa Rica. In 2001 he participated in the seminar on intelectual property rights and biological and genetic resources in Latin America in Cusco, Peru. He is the main contributor of the book presenting the Life Plan of the Cofanes. Taita Querubin and Taita Sebastian, Fundacion Zio-Ai, Wisdom Union, Colombia.

Taita Querubin is the principal indigenous leader and doctor of the Cofan Indigenous Community of the Colombian Amazon. Taita Sebastian is also an indigenous leader and director of the Foundation. Both, are traveling from far away in the middle of the Amazon rain forest of South America to share their knowledge and experience with traditional medicine and spiritual development. In 1996, all the Cofan "Elders" or "Taitas" had a historical gathering around their sacred ceremonies and they had a vision that their traditional knowledge needed to be known by western. They created a foundation whose Board of Directors are all the wise and elders of the communities. Through arduous work, they developed with each community member what they call a "Life Plan" for the Cofanes indigenous ethnic group. They got their territory demarcated and the life plan describes the plan they want for themselves and at least seven other generations. This is a plan that is founded on concepts of peace, human rights, equality and harmony and on rescuing of nature, spiritual and cultural values. Taita Querubin and Taita Sebastian bring an ancestral knowledge from the Amazon that very few people can dream to be exposed to. This is a great opportunity to have them at the congress on Alternative Medicine and Non Formal Education for Peace.

Title: The vision of the Life Plan of the "COFANES" helps create
a New Future for Alternative Medicine

The Indigenous People COFAN are working on a plan to develop their territories and to support the well being of their people and those that come in contact with them.

This plan is called “Life Plan”. The Life Plans are based on four key elements that are bringing a strong direction, continuity, sustainability and progress to their nation. These elements are interdependent of each other but are centered around one single axis which is Culture and their Own Wisdom. The four elements are: Indigenous Vision, Territory, Organization and Participation. The first element, the Indigenous Vision ensures that Life Plans are guided by their traditional authorities (“Elders” or spiritual leaders) who hold ancestral values and knowledge rooted in their own culture, in a deep respect to Mother Earth, in the spiritual strengthening of their people, in the search for autonomy, access to territories and unity among themselves. The second element, the Territory is based on the fact that the Cofanes have lived for millennia in their original territories and they have learned to co-evolve through a deep understanding and respect of Mother Earth. The Elders hold a live knowledge of medicinal plants from the forests that can be very useful to humanity and that is used in their Life Plants. Their medicine is not only based on curing the human body but it is on taking care of the individual and collective Body and Soul. They pass this knowledge to their students through their sacred rituals. Their most sacred plant is the “Yage” that they use for ceremonies and spiritual rituals. The Life Plans have already set aside an ancestral sacred territory where the ancient Spiritual Beings live, where the source of plant wisdom and other wisdom is, and where they can exchange their wisdom and knowledge. This sacred territory ensures a physical space for them to survive. The third element of the Life Plan is Organization. Being organized is key to carrying out the Life Plans. This is where the analysis and decisions related to up-coming events that affect their future is done. The Organization is cemented in unity, indigenous wisdom, spirituality, permanence, commitment and participation. The foundation of this organization is a value system that very often lost in our modern societies. The final element of the Life Plan is Participation. Life Plans have been successful because they are based on a proposal for Peace Building and Development. For the Elders, participation is a process of building, harmony and respect for themselves and for others, just like Nature teaches us. This is why the Life Plans of the Cofanes inter-connect to its own process, five other ethnic groups that share their territories with them, emphasizing the common spaces and respecting the cultural differences. Participation is the collective construction of the desired future, where the identity, the ancestral vision (cosmovision) and the intercultural expression reflect the views of the communities and people.