Tag Archives: hale makua

Message from Hale Makua (PDF)

Greetings in the love and in the light of the ancestors, the Source of Life.

There is nothing better than a good cry to help restore your ability to think clearly.

Purification is needed when progress is blocked. Protection and purification are


Physical purification requires a healthy diet, adequate exercise and rest. If there is a block

from achieving physical purity, then it is time to make a change.

Emotional purity requires words and deeds to be genuine. This involves simplicity and

honesty. Grudges and resentments, time to release them. Mental purity is of clear

intentions. Spiritual purity is the focusing of the highest good. Release anything that

keeps you from shining.

Stay on track and shine brightly. The emphasis is on the importance of balance. Celebrate

the material world without clinging to it.

Develop spirituality without losing touch with the physical and natural world. This will

facilitate a state of balance. Pay close attention to all things, ideas, or persons that seem to

pull you off balance or trap you in emotional states. Approach all obstacles with an open

heart and be victorious.

You are the navigator of your canoe. Therefore, the only thing that is permanent is

change. Travel through changing conditions and chart your course carefully.

Sometimes strong winds and currents cause you to detour. You don’t need to worry.

Detours are also part of the journey. You may seem to go off course; you are still on your

way. Detours may even be necessary to ensure survival and success. You can only go as

fast as the wind will take you requiring timing and patience.

Notice where you are and who is on the journey with you and focus on the direction you

wish to go. Allow the wind to carry you.

Before we can harvest our crops, we must care for them with diligence, patience, and

persistence. Lono, the healer, breaks through and so do the spurts of energy needed to

complete a cycle. He appears when abundance is about to be harvested and to remind you

to share the fruits of your efforts.

Hawaiian Elder, Hale Makua

Remembering Who We Are: Recovering Indigenous Mind (PDF)

Traditional Greeting

It’s good to be here. My name is Apela Colorado; I will open this talk in a traditional Native way with a chant — a prayer. Foster Ampong, a Ka ko’o, or helper, is going to do that for us.

(Hawaiian chant, “E ho ‘i Mai,” a request to enter and to merge with the sacred wisdom.)

Can you feel that good, strong feeling in the room? It seems like Foster’s been doing this all his life, right? In reality, Foster just came back to his culture in January. I’m acknowledging this because the most powerful thing I can share with you is the belief in ourselves as native people and the proof that anything is possible when we’re in our indigenous minds. We can remember our power. We have an hour and a half to spend together and when I’m done with my presentation, I will ask Choctaw Elder, Pokni, Mary Jones, who has worked with me, taught me,and helped me for so many years, to listen, to reflect, and to close off our session prayerfully. We’ll also have a question-and-answer time at the conclusion.

I was excited to hear about Coumba Lamba; in fact, I’ve waited for more than 20 years for this day to happen. In the 1970s, I was doing my doctoral research on native alcoholism. I believed, and was trying to prove, that the answer to healing Native American addiction, which is the leading cause of death, was the return of true culture and spirituality. At the time it was a very radical claim to make. But I faced a difficult personal reality, one that ultimately brought me to this gathering. I wanted to find out why almost everybody in my family that I loved was either actively alcoholic or had died of addiction, and I didn’t want it to happen to me or to my children. So I started researching everything I could get my hands on. I read every study I could find, not easy in the pre-internet age, and besides I was living in a remote Native community without library or bookstore. After reading more than 250 scientific studies of Native alcoholism, I found out there were 247 differing opinions on what caused Native addiction. It seemed more like personal opinions than rigorous research. My sense of this was heightened by the fact that all of the research was conducted by non-Natives. None of the millions of dollars for the studies ever went to Native people, and certainly, none of it went to treatment for our suffering. The context of cultural control and domination evident in the research process drove home the point that addiction among American Indians had to do with being an invaded, oppressed people. Before contact we didn’t have addiction, after contact we did have addiction. Not hard to figure out, but none of the studies addressed it.

When I began my doctoral dissertation research, experts were telling us, “It’s your biology. You

lack the proper genes to metabolize alcohol – you are weaker, that’s why you become addicted.”

The subtext being that drinking alcohol is normal (at the time the Harvard University had

received a multi-million dollar grant, the largest ever to look at the genetic causes of alcoholism.

The donor was Seagram’s whiskey company.) I wanted to find evidence to support the view that

Native addictions resulted from invasion and expropriation – loss of culture, spirituality and life.

I succeeded, but what happened to me in the search, and how it happened, opened up the mystery

of the ”Great Knowledge.”1


I grew up in Wisconsin, and the one cultural person left in my family was my grandfather, who

chose me from his grandchildren and taught me Native values and ways. I wasn’t aware that was

what he was doing. I just knew that I loved him and wanted to be with him. Out of all of his

grandchildren, somehow, I was the only one that was born with a cultural leaning, with that kind

of calling and role in life. He saw it.

My grandfather died when I was just a young teenager, but before he died he relapsed and went

back to drinking. So, I actually lost him much earlier in a terrible way. The one person, in our

huge extended family, I could connect with emotionally was taken from me by alcohol. And then

I was alone. But because of that, I became totally committed to doing something about addiction.

But my grandfather was cultural and knew he should pass on what he knew of the Great

Knowledge. Just before he died, he made my grandma drive him three hours through a

dangerous snowstorm – to come talk with me. I was about twelve years old and really angry with

him for drinking. I did not want to be with him and he knew it. He sat in the easy chair, looked

hard at me (this made me madder) and leaned forward on his cane, and began to speak. What he

said scared the wits out of me. He described my life, naming things he could not possibly know,

and then laid out my future. He wanted my attention and he got it! Then he said, “Remember the

Pipe, Remember the Pipe, Remember the Pipe,” the Pipe being a central way to American Indian

Great Knowledge.

I didn’t even know what he was talking about. I had never seen an Indian pipe in my life. Until

1978, it was illegal in North America for Indians to practice our spiritual ways. It was made

illegal through the Bureau of Indian Affairs, Administrative Codes and Practices. You could get

penalized, be imprisoned, or have food rations withheld for practicing indigenous ceremonies.

The ceremonies went underground and missionaries made certain that we grew to fear our own

ways. They justified this to stop the “reckless giving away of things.” A Blackfoot woman once

said, “the worse thing the white man ever did was to kill the buffalo and put us on welfare. They

only give us enough to live and we can’t share with each other.”

As I matured, I felt such loneliness. I kept looking for my reality, for the unconditional love that

underpins Native culture and that I felt with my grandfather. I recalled that he had wanted me to

go to university. So I did. Even though I was not conscious of it, I kept pursuing advanced

education trying to find him and to realize that love in my life. At age 27, I was accepted into and

entered a doctoral program at an Eastern Ivy League school. The wealth and privilege of the

place was beyond any experience I had had. I wondered why I had been accepted and learned

that the personal statement to my application is what did the trick.

1 Private conversations with Credo Mutwa, Great Sanusi of the Zulu, he refers to the ancient

indigenous wisdom as the Great Knowledge.

I had been afraid to apply, thinking I was not smart enough or good enough. The fear was so

great that I procrastinated until the night before the deadline when I picked up a pen (I didn’t

even type it) and wrote about my grandfather and I, and how he wanted me to go to university.

This was a completely unexpected thing and paradoxical. I was sitting in a busy airport, using

my lap as my desk, but was in a liminal state—a light, energetic, feeling came over me. I felt

alive again, and I had a hunch that I would be accepted. I was.

Getting in the door was one thing. Surviving was another. I didn’t know much about being

American Indian. There were no other Indians and few people of color. My identity and values

were challenged in every way. I did not fit and became more and more angry. This was a Jewish

university filled with brilliantly educated people, who were also intellectually competitive. In

class discussions, I never said a thing. I kept waiting for my chance, but was in a culture that

operated by different ways. People argued, asserted, cut each other off, and never, ever, left a

space open for someone like me to speak.

So, I started to fight. When the professor lectured, up went my hand, the only way to get the



Ideas That Matter: The Fetzer Dialogues on Cultural Diversity (PDF)



It is difficult to live in these times and not feel a sense of impending transformation. In light of
thg vast upheavals ofthe century, this statement may segm a bit trite ofthe obvious. Nonetheless
a momentous shift seems to be in the olfing, one quite unlike anlthing that has happened before.
in it. Join us
It has to do with the way we look at things, the way we see the world, and our plac€
for the next hour as we explore the yr’isdom aod healing powers oftraditional medicins ard
indigenous science. My name is Mark Walstlom, I’ll be you. host. You’re listening to Ideas
That Matter The Fetzer Dialogues. Ginger Floyd:

Moderalor: There is worldwide expanding interest in the area oftraditional and altemative

medicine, More and more people axe seeking first the services of traditional
health care providers. Our panel today is composed of experts ftom fwo
contirents who are working in this important field. They are Mr. Hale Makua,
who is the elde! ofthe Spiritual Wariors, the first seat, the big island Hawaii, a
native Hawaiian Kahuna “the guardia[ ofthe s€c!ets.” Dr. Pamela Apela
Colorado is a member of the United Nations, Dircctor of the Tiaditional
Knowledge Program, Califomia Institute of Integral Studies – San Francisco and
Maui. Dr. Erick Cbodossou is the Director ofthe Afiican-based Association for
the Promotion ofTraditional Medicine – PROMETRA. A modem hained
physician and an iniliated taditional healer, he is from Dakax, Senegal, West
A&ica. Welcome, Today’s topic is traditional medicine and indigenous science.
We would like to begin in the way oftmditional people by asking our Elder, Mr.
Hale Makua to olfer a pByer.


Moderalor: Hale Makua we thank you for that blessing in your native language. We begin

our discussion today by asking the important question. Dr. Colorado what is
indigenous science?

Answer: IDdigenous science is a way ofknowing, it’s away oflife. Indigenous science

means being electri$ing alive in the moment. Indigenous science is carried
through the generations, and it’s a science that is concemed with grounding. In
other words, all of naturc the entire universe is alive and because it’s alive we do
not study it from afar, but we engage in dialogue with it, we communicate with it.
And because we are a part ofthe whole, we can hear what nature is saying to us,
we cal! talk with natue, we car be intimate with natue. And fiom this comes
passion, dre passio[ ofthe indigenous mind, and it’s the frecdom ofthe eagle, it’s
the meaning ofthe word ”
Turtle Island.

“, land of the wind, the home we call


Elder Makua in your native tradition ofHawaii, what is indigenous science?


lndigenous science has to do \ rith beiry intimate with all elements. It has to do
with you being sovereign. A sovereign spirit is free, versus the illusions that we
Iive in. To be intimate with all things, one must undelstand compassion, and feel
compassion, for compassion creates allialtce. Alliance, therefore, will move you
to a level of rcciprccating, giving back to &e bowl oflife, to the water of life,
therefore, appreciating where you’re at, appreciating all things surrounding you,
becaus€ you are the center of all things. Therefore, understarding that all is one.
Therefore, becoming altruistic in yourself, and serve your other selves, your
fellow man. Therefore, completing yourselfwith love.


Dr. Gbodossou, our guest from Senegal, West Afiica. Indigenous science,
traditional medicine in Afiica is what?




Indigenous science in West Africa is the way ofknowledge. Knowledge is
different fiom leaming. Leaming is what we what we leam in school. Leaming
is what we read, what we leam in books. So without the knowledge is the way to
know what is all and what is a continuation ofa particular way and what isn’t that
way into the circle, the circle of life.
h 1990, over one-third of all the visits to medicine in this country were to
altemative healers, 425 million visits. Why are people doing this? And why is
this important now in the 2 I st century Dr. Colorqdo?

People arc tuming to traditional indigenous science in medicine because the
healing that we’re getting ftom medicine is not complete. It doesn’t address the
spirit or the psychologr, or the family, or the life we retum to when we leave the
doctor’s omce. And although we can get a partial cure from westem science, we
may not be able to get a cure at all beasuse the price of westem science and
medical care is beyond the reach ofmost the world’s population.


Elder Makua, you are a Elder and a healer. Patients come to you seeking what?

They come to fmd themselves. By finding themselves, they heal themselves
because they bring themselves together, the positives and the negatives of
themselves. They make choices. Choices that they lever thought they had, and
thes€ choices is all that you have.


Do you b€lieve
medicine is in fact the answer to the problems of the 2lst century Dr. Colorado?

that this altcmative mediaine, indigenous science, traditional

Well I believe it is an answer. There may be olher alswers. But the answer that
indigenous science offers is the answer that can heal the earth and can heal the

family. For example, in Alaska in the Exxon oil spill area, scientists have asked
me to help them in their researchs. What they’ve asked for is something very
interesting. They’ve asked for help in leaming how to do inter-species
commuication. Why? Because if the communication with the species that are
being studied could be facilitated thrcugh dialogue and communication with that
species, the science would be less expensive and more efective. Furthermore,
traditional knowledge, which is whole, offers a way in techlological disasier sites
which brings together many many different disciplines of science studying the
prcblem area. lndiSenous science offers a process for integrating often disparate
researches. So on the level ofenvironment, indigenous science has a great deal to
offer. In addition to that we’re talking about medicine. And finally, in the area
ofconsciousness, indigenous science offers humanity the possibility ofrcgaining
the ability to think and use their whole mind. In using this whole mind, solutions
become imminent. Solutions that, in an exclusively linear way, we may not be
able to conceive of. What do I mean by that? ODe of the things about indigenous
mind is that when we are in the whole, we are not working alone. Through the
love that ]r,ft. Makua was talking about, we have a tremendous ercrgy that is
available working to us and through us, and with that we can do things which are
called extraordinary, such as psychic phenomenan, movilg things with our minds,
healing other people, healing our own lives wilh our minds. Speaking in a way
that words cause things to happen. These abilities are not extraordinary in the
indigenous world, in fact, they are normal. It’s normal for all humanity to be able
to do these things. But the excess ofrationalization and linear thought that’s a
part ofneutoniatr cartisian science has constrained and limited the humar mind,
which camot be limited.


Dr. Gbodossou, in Senegal 85% ofthe population rceived thei. health care fiom
traditional healers, not ftom modem medicine. What is the role oftraditional
medicine in the future ofSenegal?


The role ofhaditional medicine in the future ofSenegal is assured, because we
notiry that in ou. country. On our continent the modem science gets a little
weakness. For example, we need to eat for our life, but we can live 50 days
without eating. We need waler to live, but we can live 12 days without water.
We need oxygen to live, but we can liye seven minutes without oxygen. But we
cannot live a fraction of a second without energy. So in modern science, we
notiry that we need to
a whole. In tradilional medicine, we try to
nodry, promote in Senegal, and we organized a Traditional Association which
contains 450 healers, and we also built a traditional experimental center where we
learn the traditional way to promote this science.


Lasr August, we joined 650 people in the Sea Island of St. Helena, South
Carolina, dancing around trees to the beat ofAftican drums, having a spiritual
ceremony called Coumba Lamba USA. How did we get there? How did we all

end upthere? Who are we
joumey that took us there?

and why were we there? What’s the


Apela Colorado

Well for me thejoumey b€gan as a child when I was four and five-years-old. My
grandfather, who was the only traditional indigenous practitione! in our family,
told me that he wanted me to go to a Univelsity, although no one in my family
lo one. If my grandfarher asked me rhat, in the love that he shared
had ever be€n
with me, I knew I was going ro do it. Theo before my grandfather passed away
when I was a young girl about 12 or 13, he came to visit me in a sDow storm one
day, my grandmother drcve him. He ammened his earlier inshuctio[ to me.
What he told me that day was, remember the pipe, remember the pipe, remember
tlrc pipe. For me those words werc my path, and that path carded me all tbe way
through Universities, through my Ph.D. program, and while I was studying and
getting my doctorate, I began to research the relationships between human beings
all over the world, because I wanted to understand what had happened to my
people, to Native people, American Indian people, and, as well, I wanted to
understand the interplay between my own American Indian people and also my
French ancestors, because there had been a war between my skin that was raging
for a long time. And when I began my research what I found out is that tribal
people, including European tribal people in the very eady days, used to remember
that we were related, altd it was remembered throught migrations and through
gatherings, and one ofthe points lhat we used to gather at was near Mexico City.
When I found this out in my rcsearch, both by talking with elders, ard by
University library type researches, I had this amazing feeling come over me.
What if, I wondered, what ifthe peoples ofthe world that know how to live with
the earth, and know how to keep families together through this love and intimacy.
What ifwe could comc together with each olher. What might happen then?
Could it be that the lost knowledge of our peopies for the last 500 years would be
restored? Could it b€
that some spirit would go out across the land and that a
great healing could occur? I wondered that, and when I got to Coumba Lamba
this last August I saw my drcam ufold b€fore my eyes. It was so beautiful to
hear the sounds ofthe drums, lo hear the different voices, to hear the dances. And
the most part for me was a conversatio[ I had with Mary Jones, a Chocia\,/ elder,
was that she rcmembffed her people, the Choctaw p€ople, used to do ceremodes
with Aftican people who were enslaved in the south several generations ago, and
Mary carried this oral history through three or four generations of her family,
despite inc.edible piessures and cultural disorganization ard disintegation, she
remembered when she head the drum and she shared that story. What she told us
is that her people saw African people and joined in wirh Afiican p€ople
in doing
vadous things to keep our minds whole and intact under enormous stresses. She
said that back then people would walk across buming coals and press their faces
to sharp rocks or stones or glass to keep their minds whole and complete so that




they wouldn’t break. I feel in a sense that Coumba Lamba was remembering that.
We reinact€d what we used to do, and thrcugh that our minds are strong and

There were people there ftom 26 states and six countries at Coumba Lamb4
South Carolina, this past year. Dr. Gbodoussou you led the Senegalese group that
rcally came to Coumba Larnba, because Coumba Lamba is a Senegalese ritual.
Tell us about thatjoumey for you.

Thank you. To understald this joumey for me, you must understand a liule about
myself. At birth in a small village into a caooe, and my family is also a family of
knowledge. Eaxly, since my infancy, I know a lot ofinitiation, and when I went
to medical school, I think that the best walk for human being must be healing to
help suffering. When I went to medical school, I knew that medical school was
very short, aod one year before I frnished my M.D., I wanted to stop my studies.
said don’t be foolish. Ifyou
One ofmy teachers. his name is
stop your studies tomorow, in the fuhrre if Mr. Cbodossou were to speak lobody
would come. And ifyou say Dr. Gbodossou want to speak, a lot ofp€Nons cafl
understand you. So don’t be foolish. I continued to study for my M.D. and also a
lot of knowledge in _,
physician, and I can say that fo! 20 years I have neve. taken a modem drug
because I know why. And when I finished my studies, I think it is time lo
organize traditional healers in Senegal. What I did was to go to each village, one
the healers. The time to go to Amedca for Coumba Lamba USA
by one, to s€lect
is for me like dream come reality, and what I saw at Coumba Lamba ard what is
unique and rcmindful for me is no cultwe, no civilization has the truth. The truth
is like a cake spilled through the world, each culhfe, each civilization gets a little
part, and to bring together all cultures at this site on the Atlantic Ocean is for me a
beginning ofthe way that call help us to know the wey. The way to go to the
tuth, because we meet therc, indigenous people, Amercian people, Aztec, Maya,
a lot of civilizations, ard we move all together in the rhythem, in the danciry, all
so necessary to go in the spiritual way.

psychic, and so on. And so I am a doctor, a


At Coumba Lamba there was music and dancing and teaching and drumming.
There was a yowrg Native Hawaiian student ofthe ancient ways, Mr. Makua, who
knelt before Madame Fatou Seck, a Senegalese Fiestess, and prcsented her with a
lai, and gifts ftom Hawaii, and sang a song in his native language. Tell us, is this
the answer?

It’s part ofthe answer, but it’s sharing himself, sharing all ofHawaii. The Aloha
begins with this compassion and this is what he is sharing Madame Fatou Seck,
his Aloha, his compassion, We are all coming together now, because in Polynesia
the wo.d has gone out that we are on the sixth level, and being on the sixth level,
it has to do with integrating, reconnecting all things. Therefore, being intimate


with all things. Yes, I would say he’s coolecting.

we missed you at that healing ceremony Mr. Makua” but we’1l be sule that you’re
at the next one. You know we talk about indigenous science, and we talk about
modem medicine and they’re oftentimes compared. Now, there apparently is a
difference in this concept from what we’ve described here today, and what we see
everyday in modem medicine. Can you give an example ofthe difference
between modem medicine and indigenous science and traditional medicine? One
ofthe things that we’ve offen talked about is that difference as it relates to how
we react to man, the description ofman. Dr. Gbodossou, I’ve head you talk
about the five levels of malr in a traditional sense. How does that compare to how
we look al man in modem medicine?

, we see in the small parts ofa human being five

Thank you Dr. Floyd, Ginger. We klow Aftican science has its own reality, its
own rationale, and its own truth. So when we consider this modem science, this
taditional scierce. what is the meaning ofhuman beiag. In modem science,
human beings are made with oryan tissue cells. So when we speak about the
meaning of human being in taditional knowledge, African mind, African thought,
we consider a human being as an all, always in contact with traditional things,
extraterrestdal things, and cosmic things. When we want to put the man in the
simplest form of
elements, The first element is the physical element, the seaond is the psychic
element, the third is the moral element, the fourth is the soul, and the fifth is the
spirit. So the physicai element himself contains two elements, the physical
biologicat way known by modern medicine, and an energetical element, which is
not well known by modem medicine. The second element, the psychic element’
is the moral. Human beings arc the crcation which is able to do bad things
without rcason. So we need something to coDtain thess agglessions, which is why
we need religion. It is also our difference between animals. Th€ fou(h element is
traditional healers to be t\ryo places at the same
the soul. The soul is
time. The fifth element spilit cortains the top level of spirit. The first level is the
spidt of our gandparents that is not there in Aftica. The second level is those
who go around the world. The first level is like the universal knowledge, no
scienie is able to prove that in ow world ofman. Itis the center ofknowledge, so
our knowledge is outside of our body and in the top ue notiry 256 spirits well
knoun in Afiican science, we call FA. It is also the reason why my Aiends say
that there is a 1ot ofdifference between healing and curing.

for it’s size more than science. The third element

Moderator: Two ofyoq Mr. Makua and Apela Colorado, are involved in the recreation of
authentic double-hulled Polynesian canoes, and all ofus have had the blessirg
and the privilege and the honor of actually riding in this canoe as it caressed the

sea. What is the role ofcanoes in ancient Hawaiian/Polynesian culture, and why
was this so imponant for us to do?


Hale Makua

First ofall I’d like to stad this way. The canoe is part ofour spiritual essence of
where we come ftom. It is our vehicle, and in the days of old, we would take our
newbom babies and they would grow up in the canoe. By growing up in a canoe,
they would acquire the rhythm ofthe ocean, it would rock them to sleep, and
when they went into & diIIelent ses, they would recognize the different rhythms.
Therefore, acquiring this rhythm in their own sea, they would know when they
have arrived home. Therc were navigatiotr _
The navigation
leam about the stars. Now, it’s important for us to rctum to the canoe for the
simple reason that it is our life, and the canoe has connected us as a vehicle with
our family membeN that are scattered tkoughout Polyaesian, over 2,000 miles.
We have kept this communication with the canoe up until 800 yea$ ago, and it
stopped. There were reunions every four years. Now we are retrieving this one
more time, and we started this in 1995, when there was the meeting ofall ofthe
canoes m

are coming back into folm once more on the big island ofHawaii.
is wbere all navigators that were selected went to

built. These navigation

at the Temple of


. The caqoe itself is maoled by people that serve all seven

different rcles. These seven diferent roles follow the navigation, the

They will follow the

because he is the
senior on the canoe, and no one questions that. So, thercfore, it c.eated discipline,
or self discipline among each crew member. The key to the whole thing is about
tust. It generated the trust, not only with the navigation, but it generated a t ust
iII the intimacy that you were having with the sea, with the sky, with the wind,
wirh the stars, sailing on the breast of mothet, the oldest mother we ever had, the
ocean. And looking up at the sky aDd looking at the backbone of Sky Fatha, and
following the ribs of Sky Father, the stars. One day soon, Maui will lower his
fishhook to connect all of us.


Dr. Gbodossou 8nd I had the opportunity to visit oo Maui the rcstoration project
ofthe double-hulled Polynesian canoes. How is this project litked to traditional
medicine and indigenous science.


Ap€la Colomdo
On Maui, we’re building (By we, I mean a group ofpeople, a multi-cultual gloup
or the medicine man of
ofpeople, and my husbaad is the
canoes.) a 62 foot double-hulled voyaging canoe. This c8roe, elthough in a
westem way! we would lhink ofit as a boal has all of the teachings of
cosmology, of spirituality, of history, mathematics, astronomy and logic i, it. As
this canoe is being built, the ertire community is partioipaiing. It witl be 62 feet 2

inches long when complete and at this moment, in one year’s time, we have more
than 8,000 hours ofvolunteer time into it. Where we’re building the canoe is also
imponant. We’rc building it on one ofthe most ancient spiritual sites oo the
island of Maui, and it’s a site that has an old pond that has now been fi1led in, and
formerly had a 40 foot black lizard rhat would appear in this pond from time to
time. Now what does that mean, and what does that have to do with spirituality?
Metaphorically one could think ofthe pond and the lizard as the womb, the bag of
wate$ and the fetus. But h reality, that lizard rccalls to our minds the genealogy,
like the vertebrate oIr the spine, the generations. For me, I went to a ceremony in
Navajo land in 1985, and in that ceremony I saw this lizard. I was given a story
about how the lizard came to be important in Navajo teachings because there was
a sacred woman who had twin sons, and this Mcred woman,
looked at the d€vastation of the earth, ofcourse we don’t know when that time
was, if it’s now or back then, or in the futue, or all times, but this sacred woman
looked at the eaah and saw the damage, the destruction, that was caused by too
much sun enelgy, maybe too much male energy, and she went on ajoumey west
to the ocean, and her two sons traveled with her, but they had strict rules about
how they had to behave on this spirituatjoumey. Ofcouse, orc boy broke a
taboo and he ate so&ething along the way. By the time they got to the ocean he
was changing and he asked to be put into the water. This boy turned into a lizard
and this woman accompanied by her son, the lizard, traveled in a canoe, they say
to the farthest west island. By the way, because I went thrcugh this ceremony, the
Navajo people said that I could say this much ofthe story. So this woman and the
lizard made it to the fadhest west island, and today when the rains come into the
desert refreshing the parched earth, they say it’s that woman over there, she’s got
that power and she’s serding it back ro us. That life. When I got to Maui, I found
out that the pond that I had come to, this baseball park today, was the home of this
lizard, and I felt as ifl had truly come home. That experience what’s happened to
me is happening to evcryone working on the canoe. The canoe is causing us to
grow. As the canoe is constructed, so arc our lives alld our spirituality coming
together. This canoe is a time machine, ifyou look into its deeper meanings. It
has a rcpresentation ofthe Tropic of Cancer in Capricom, the Equator, and the
leachings of what it means to live within those boundades within the

or the Breath oflife. What happens to us when we cross that

Equator where thi[gs are identical, yet opposite, Hawaiian people and Hawaiian
culture, the indigenous scielce there, teaches us to move in accord with the
heavens as Hale Makua has said. But more tltan that, it teaches us how to move
in accord with each other, and with the hemispheres of our brains like the double-

hulls ofthe canoe, to work in balance.


The time when I first had the privilege ofbowing my head and kneeling al the site
ofthis double-hulled canoe and e[teriog it and being taken to sea to feel the
warmth of the sun upon my skin and to close my eyes and say my prayers, and to
be wrapped in the spirit oftlE Mother of the OceaD, was also the weekend Mr.

Makua that Dr. Gbodossou and I had the opportunity to meet you, and we are
etemally grateftrl for that opportunity. But you axe the Elder ofthe Spiritual
Waniois, the first chair. In tradilional medicine and indigenous science you are a
leader ofyour people. How did that, yourjoumey, getyouto this place?

Well, I was asked to accept the position ofElder, and I was asked in 1990 to
come. By accepting this position, I had moved up a level. By moving up a level,
I stopped in actuality teaching. I advise now. I thought it woutd be easy,-I fooled
mysetf, it beca-” h””tic, it becarne unending. Everyday is another {1f of1ot”
oarients. Thev come from all over. Some come as far as Scodand. l’ve had
carholic priesls fiom New York. nuns ftom Canad4 you name them and they’ve
come. What they’re seeking is sacred places or spiiitual places that still exist for
themsqlves, because a lot of other places has beeo bulldozed over and removed’
So, hopefirlly hnding these places to rcconnect with themselves. My position in
this first chair just oicurred recently, and we’ve been foltowing this spirituat
whisper so to ipeak, and it’s all about trusting. The prophecies that were given by
the ancestors 2b0 and 300 years ago, are falling into place now, and it takes a full
arm trust to follow it, and that’s atl it is, because tlust belorgs to spirit’
I wish that we could really shaxe with our listening audience the aue feeling of
what ]ve’re trying to describe. Of how one feels when one becomes a part of
nature, when onJ communes with the spirit, when orc is able to be wEpped
withinthe wind and the sea and the sun and the ground ofthe four directions’ It’s
a jomey that all of us take collectively and individually. I trust that we arc all on
the joumey going to the same place. Dr, Gbodossou you rode on this canoe, what
does it mean to You?

, and when wQ go to

The canoe means to me the beginning of life because the way ofthe canoe is the
sea. the water. The water is the source of life, Also, the canoe is made with the
wood. In the African mind, alt ofthe regions think that we corlle ftom the tree’
When we go to the Dogon region, we know that the first human b€ing come ftom
. culture, we se€ also the
like the origin of life. When we go the Serer
the tree is the source. In the Wolof region we speak
so the

.”gion in S”negul, *e
canoe ard the sea is the symbol of life.
Sailing in those canoes was a wonderful experience, and this summer there will be
a launihing ofthe new canoe that is being made in Maui, and we invite all
listene$ to come.


in Benin region, we speak about









We’ve been talking about the importance oftraditional healing and indigenous
medicine. We’ve been talking about the increasing number of people who are





seeking their health care though these allemative means. Who and how are we
actually training traditional healers and people who are knowledgeable in
indigenous science. We are rcal excited because Dr. Apela Colorado is the
director ofthe only Ph.D. granting program in the entire world in indigenous
science. Parn can you tell us about this particular program?

The traditional knowledge program came fiom my grandfather’s dream of
remembering the pipe, and becaus€ ofthat the traditional knowledge program is
open to all people from all mces who want to rememb€r or regain their whole
mind, the ability to think in an indigeflous way. For people who arc actively
living a tribal life, we have a cohort called the Traditional Kaowledge Cohort,
For Euiopean American people, !,e have the recovery ofthe indigenous mind
the African-Americar/Aftican Cohod.
cohort. As ofthis past year, we b€gan
The idea of the traditional krowledge program is that here is a place, a sacred
space, where we can come together and do the healing and the recovery of our
indigenous ways and life. I’m not promoting a return to a distant tim€. What I’m
promoting is two-fold, one the remembrance ofthis whole mind, and two,
creating a synergistic relatioNhip with the westem mind.

I’ve had the opportunity to sit under a Bow-Bow tree in Fatick, Senegal, with
traditional healers, keeper ofthe ancient wisdom. Traditional

healers who serve the majority ofpatients in Senegal, West Africa, and these are
elderly gentlemen and womea who are leamed probably beyond space and time.
Dr. Gbodossou, how does one become a haditional healer in Africa?

To become a traditional healer in Africa, there are a 1ot of way. In our meadng.
we think that it is diffrcult to be good doctor without good pfiest. lt is also
difficult to be good pdest or pdesless without being a good doctor. To be a healer
is to be altogether good doctor and good priestess. The \ray to knowledge, to get
this knowledge, we can be healers aftera lot ofyears ofapprenticeship. We can
only be healer fiom a lot ofinitiation. Like to be able to leam thrcugh the dream,
You can also begin to have the knowledge ofhealers from your father. You can
also be traditional healers during your initiation
– that means before
you are able to cure a foolish mar! you know yourselfa foolish way. You must
be foolish to know the foolish maII and to b€ able to cure a foolish man. Also,
you can be a healer when you are able to learn about the way of life of other
human beings, To know the plants will cure
the _.
So to leam to be a aaditionalist, we oeed the tough way of
knowledge. And this way before leaming, we need also a lot of quality. That
means forget yourself and open for others.



Dr. Obodossou has told me this story of warching a bird fall ftom the nest, and
climbing the tree aad finding another bird in the nest who was not able to fly yet
because the bLd’s eyes were closed with infection. And he watched the mother




and father bird bring the same plant to the nest everyday, and within a few weeks
the bird’s whose eyes were closed with infection had been cured of the infection
and was able to fly away. And this is the plant that he says he uses now for
conjuctivitis in his medical pmatice. So there’s a lot be learned ftom all parts of
mtue. I’m sure this is true in Hawaii Hale Makua

Yes, it is tlue. There arc many plants in our culture that heal. First the healer
must be intimate with all things, and by being intimate, there are a few platts that
would be comeoted to this individual healer. And, ell he has to do is consult with
the plant and the plant would telt him what plant to go to. Ask that plant to allow
you to pick its leaves or whatever it may be so that you may do the healing. ln
my family there are a few pla s that we are connected to and, therefore, these arc
the plants that we go to. By going to these plants, they suggest other plants.

Being young and foolish in one part ofmy life, I thought that I too could learn of
plants and go pick a plant. The elders then told me there is much to be done, one
must offer sacrifice and prayers. One must know enough about the plant to know
what season it is the shoEgesL What time of the day to pick it. So there is much
to be leamed in this traditional knowtedge system, and we can obviously say that
it comes from years and years of haining and initiation. We are quickly runniog
out of time and I would like for each ofyou to give a pa.rting notice to our
listeners out there thrcughout the courtry. What would you like them to know,
the one thing that you would like them to know or think about in terms of
traditional medicine. Ard then we’ll ask Dr. Gbodossou to close with a prayer in
his native Afiican language as we close our program for the day. Dr. Colorado
what would you like our listeners to know altd to think about?


When we Wisconsin Oneida were talking with an elder several yean ago, we
were lanenting the loss of our cultue, the loss of our identity, the loss ofour
spirituality and he told us this. The power’s not lost, you are. We can rcmember
our indigenous mind, and I encourage the listeners in this audience to take steps to
regain this beautifirl way oflife.

Hale Makua:
I would leave with you of loving everything. By loving everything, you would
have to be intimate. And by being intimate, you would have to be humble.


Dr. Gbodossou, what words do you leave to oul listeners?


The time is now for me to walk together. The thing that is here in this world, we
are only in transitioD, only we’ve got a mission to do, aDd we need to forget a
little bit oursetves to help each other.


I close by saying that each ofus are on an individual and a collective j ourney to


to find the spfuit to become with God. I ask each ofus to look and

find ours€lves,
in our individual way because this relationship is possible.
to begin tbatjoum€y
Dr. Gbodossou, wlro is tom Beniu and Senegal, in the way ofancient peoplc we
ask you to close our program today with a praycr.

AlswEr: Ilale Makua, you are the first seat ofthe elder,I beg your pardon aDd I ssk your

pqmissiotr to do this prayor.

Aosw€r: Please-