The Teyuna Foundation exists to share the teachings and practices of  American Indians with individuals, organizations and networks focused on Earth Stewardship, ecological protection and planetary consciousness.

We specifically endorse indigenous practices that mitigate natural disasters and help Earth sustain or return to a state of balanced health and harmony.


Teyuna, pronounced Tezhuna by the Wiwa, was chosen by the mamos and zagas as the name for the foundation. The Spanish changed the name Teyuna to Tairona during colonization and the mamos and zagas we work with wish to reclaim the original name of Teyuna, a spiritual father of the people of the Heart of the World.

Teyuna mamos and zagas, spiritual leaders of the Arhuaco, Kankuamo, Kogi and Wiwa people of the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta region of Colombia, have become increasingly concerned about the health of the planet. They’ve lived in the Sierra for eons and rarely ventured from the home they consider The Heart of the World, but feel it’s critical for them to do so now.

In September of 2017, at their request, I supported Arhuaco and Kogi representatives of the Teyuna people to perform pagamento, literally payment to Earth Mother for supporting and sustaining all of creation, at Mount Shasta, in California.

The Teyuna Foundation was formed in 2018 to support the Teyuna’s request for 16 mamos and zagas to travel from Colombia to North America to perform sacred service, pagamento. They didn’t wish to see the Grand Canyon or visit Times Square, they wished to answer a plea from Earth Mother they’d received on their first visit. We traveled over 10,000 miles during the summer and fall of 2018 accompanied by North and South Amerindian Elders to mitigate natural disaster offering pagamento to calm and nourish Mother Earth. 

People who understood the importance of the selfless service the Teyuna provide helped make it possible for the Teyuna to offer pagamento and share spiritual teachings and practices focused on ecological protection and healing.

As Teyuna mamos and zagas perform pagamento they activated segwa, divine seeds that are present and lying dormant in all beings, elements, and places on the planet. The land responds to the Teyuna as if breathing a sigh of relief. Birds sing and rain falls in the high dessert. When nature is in harmony, we as humans are able to feel that accord, and responded by relaxing and experiencing joy.

The Teyuna have been offering pagamento to The Mother since time immemorial and believe it is their only reason for being. In large majority, the Teyuna escaped or survived colonization by re-locating to high elevations and using their spiritual practice to shroud their existence. They fearlessly faced death rather then abandon their cultural values. As a result, they continually deepen and strengthen the inner balance which is a hallmark of their civilization. The Teyuna exist now as they always have, to care-take the planet. They travel to do what has always been their mission: live in a space of harmony and through this space restore harmony. The Teyuna mamos and zagas exist in deep communion with every living thing. Life on the planet depends on what they know about how to feed, care for, calm and enliven Her.

The harmony with nature that we are gifted to experience in the company of the mamos and zagas connects us to teachings that cleanse us spiritually, mentally, emotionally and physically. We naturally and effortlessly walk away with a profound respect for and connection to, the water, rocks, trees and each other.

When we are with the Teyuna, through the silence of meditation, in stillness, we are given the opportunity connect to something greater than ourselves naturally and effortlessly, we connect to the eternal. Through these teachings we are cleansed physically, emotionally, mentally and spiritually. We grow  respect for water, rocks and trees and are more able to see that we ourselves are nature.

For thousands of years in what is now the United States, an estimated 18 million people in over 600 tribes upheld the same sacred vow the Teyuna do, Earth Mother’s original law: All must protect and nurture the planet, our collective home. As of 2020, 62 tribes remain. Instead of millions, 250,000 people occupy territory in 16 of the 50 United States, the majority of them relocated and forced to live in undesirable territories they were neither born in or sworn to protect. The Mother is starved, abused, agitated, and dying. Sacred sites have been replaced by abandoned gold mines, high rises and state parks. Amerindians are our best hope for balance and peace on Earth. Please honor and support them.

Sincerely,

Mary Gaetjens