Santa Fe Living Treasures – Elder Stories

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Anthony and Gita Brooke

Anthony &
Gita Brooke


Honored November, 1984

Anthony & Gita Brooke

It's a story out of Kipling, or Joseph Conrad. In 1841 English adventurer James Brooke helped the Sultan of Brunei pacify rebellious Dayak tribes. The Sultan rewarded Brooke by ceding him the adjoining state of Sarawak. For a hundred years, the Brookes ruled Sarawak, on the island of Borneo, as their private fiefdom, under British protection. Theirs was the only European dynasty in Asia.

In 1946 Anthony Brooke was next in line to rule. He sided with Sarawak nationalists fighting for independence from colonial rule. His uncle, then in power, chose to cede the state to Britain at that time. Anthony was banished from the country. He was allowed to return only seventeen years later, when Sarawak became part of the Federation of Malaysia.

In India Anthony met Gita Keiller, a member of the Swedish royal family. The couple entered into a lifelong partnership as peace activists and campaigners on behalf of indigenous peoples. Unabashed idealists in a cynical time, in 1975 they founded Operation Peace Through Unity, convinced that "The future lies in the hands of the people of the world." Their quarterly newsletter, Many to Many, is a sort of international bulletin board, an anticipation of the World Wide Web, compiling news items, strategies, poems and letters from around the world, for use in the cause of peace, environmental protection and the rights of indigenous peoples.

While the Brookes now reside in New Zealand, where they "rest" between their personal world peace tours, they have in the past lived in Santa Fe. Their work involves gathering together people, ideas, and inspiration on behalf of peace. They are among the rare people who are so moved by their cause that they have taken matters into their own hands, evolving their own means of working as they go. They are motivated, as Anthony says, by "internal fire, enthusiasm, and a positive belief in humanity."

Please see Volume 1 for complete text.
Photo ©1997 by Joanne Rijmes