Tag Archives: Indigenous Science

Nine Distinctions of Indigenous Science (PDF)



Just like western science, indigenous science relies upon direct observation; there are tests to insure validity and data are used for forecasting and generating predictions. Individuals are trained in various forecasting and generating predictions. Individuals are trained in various specializations, for example, herbalism, weather observations, mental health and time keeping. Unlike western science, the data from indigenous science are not used to control the forces of nature, instead, the data tell us ways and means of accommodating nature. Other critical distinctions include the following:

1. The indigenous scientist is an integral part of the research process and there is a defined process for insuring this integrity.

2. All of nature is considered to be intelligent and alive, thus an active research partner.

3. The purpose of indigenous science is to maintain balance.

4. Compared to western time/space notions, indigenous science collapses time and space with the result that our fields of inquiry and participation extend into and overlap with past and present.

5. Indigenous science is concerned with relationships, we try to understand and complete our relationships with all living things.

6. Indigenous science is holistic, drawing on all the Sense including the spiritual and psychic.

7. The end point of an indigenous scientific process is a known and recognized place. This point of balance, referred to by my own tribe as the Great Peace, is both peaceful and electrifyingly alive. In the joy of exact balance, creativity occurs, which is why we can think of our way of knowing as a life science.

8. When we reach the moment/place of balance we do not believe that we have transcended — we say that we are normal! Always we remain embodied in the natural world.

9. Humor is a critical ingredient of all truth seeking, even in the most powerful rituals.

This is true because humor balances gravity.

Colorado, Pamela. -1994. Indigenous science and westem science: a healing convergence.

Presentation at the World Sciences Dialog I, New York City, April 25-27, 1994.


Notes on The Native Science I. Force and Energy Flow. Ver. 06/05/87 (PDF)

Notes on The Native Science I. Force and Energy F1ow. 1. Introduction: The Problems of European Science and the Alternatives by the Native Science. One characteristic of the way the modern men in European cultural background do things is that they try to “force” what they think as the answer. In Native American Culture, however, such a behavior pattern is considered to be extremely rude, equivalent of declaring a war, even if the answer is correct. Natives may suggest things, but do not force anybody, even for the good. This apparently baffles and frustrates the modern men. They might think that the Natives are irrationally resisting the progress. However, one needs to reflect if the modern way is indeed correct. F. Capra in The Turning Point talked of the troubles of the European Science and the need of alternatives. M. Bermann discussed what was lost in the development of the Modern Civilization in The Reenchantment Of The World. And there have been many other thinkers who warned us of the arrogance of the “Science” and its consequences; Destruction of the Environment, Nuclear Holocaust, Dehumanization. The Modern Civilization not only “killed God”, but also is about to annihilate Life. Whether or not one agree with those thinkers, there is a critical need to examine what our “science” is. I shall take up only a small part of the task, and discuss the notion of “Force” in Newtonian Mechanics and contrast it to an alternative in “Flow” which is a counterpart to “Force” in the Native Science. 2. What is “Force”? One might think that the word “Force” is so commonly used that there is nothing to think about it. If we see an obstacle on our way of doing something, we automatically think of a use of Force to remove the obstacle. If we have problems like confronting our opponents, we talk of use of Force to resolve the problem. We have phrases, terms like Police Force, Air Force, etc. 2 We may have trouble answering the question as to what precisely the “Force” is, say in physics exam. But then we have a good excuse. Namely, we can point out that, in precise mathematics, the fundamental terms are formally declared to be “undefined”. The terms like “Line” and “Point” are not defined. And if one press mathematicians, they would say that there exist no such thing in the real world. Those terms are “pure concepts” and do not need any object to identify them. And if that is not enough, logicians would come to rescue us. They assure us that there exist “this horse” and “that horse”, but not “Horse in general”. “Force” as a general concept is not an object which we can point to and say “this is the Force”. To be sure, we may not want to be saved by mathematicians and logicians. For we used to feel/think that our Physics is about “Facts”. The Mathematicians and logicians are converting our “science of facts” to a “Linguistic Construct”, similar to the arts of “Story Telling” and “Poetry”. We would not like to reduce Physics into an “art”. That is, our “pride” (arrogance) in knowing the “Factual” World prevents us from total surrender to the “Subjectism”. [Marxists warned us the danger of the “Bourgeoisie Subjectism” which would seduce the revolutionary workers to powerlessness by denying “Objective knowledge” of the “Historical Material” Wor1d, though they acknowledged that no knowledge can be free from particular interests of the Class to which the thinker belongs. We shall come back to this issue later. Here, it is sufficient to note that even the issue of “Objective Fact” is a political matter. The pretended value neutrality by the European Science represent a Cultural Bias, against which the Native Science has to struggle.] [As to the meaning of “Surrender”, see Kurt H. Wolff Surrender And Catch Boston Studies In The Philosophy of Science vol. LI. (105). D. Reidel Pub. Co. 1976. European Science is preoccupied with the task of exerting controls, and Marxists are fighting to win. They paid insufficient attention to the “surrendered”. We tend to listen to the winners and the Powerful ‘ It is a form of “surrender”. It is about time that we listen to the victims, as Bishop Remi De Roo says in Cries Of Victims – Voice Of God (Novalis 1986). This is one of ways of self liberation.] 3 Rather, we observe that, despite our vague understanding of the term “Force”, we do use the concept almost routinely and we feel we are making a sense, if not claim a “righteous position” to us — i.e. we feel “we are thinking right” —. And in this “culture” nobody challenge us in doing that by asking questions like “what do you mean by Force?”, we rarely reflect what we are saying/thinking. In schools, we are demanded to produce sentences or stories in the form suggestive of the Force metaphor, in order to be certified as knowing something. I cite here a fanatic example from what is going on in the reputed institution of intelligence of Academia. In Psychology and Social Sciences, scholars use Statistics to “prove” what they regard as the “Causa1 Re1ation”. That is a very difficult thing to do, because Statistics cannot “prove” the “Causal Relation”. Anybody who studied elementary Theory of Statistics knows that. It is an impossible miracle that those scientists are trying to achieve. But, I am not concerned with the ignorance as to the Theory of Statistics, but with the social phenomenon. Why they do that? And there we see the enormous Power of the notion of “Force” from Newtonian Mechanics. Newton himself had never equated “Force” with “Cause”. In fact, in a letter, he denied his “Force” had anything to do with “The Cause” (God). Unfortunately, the metaphor of his “Force” and what people had in their mind as “Cause” were identical. The word “Cause” had been in the Bible and the notion that “Some Agent Must Be There To Make Things To Move” was firmly implanted in the culture. And, Newton did use the term “Agent”. His metaphor of Force was not too far from “Ange1s Pushing The Planets In Heaven”. Therefore, the association of Force with Cause was unavoidable. In fact, the association helped the popular acceptance of Newtonian Mechanics. [This point can be discussed in detail in comparisons with other similar theories Proposed by Newton’s contemporaries, notably Liebnitz who sunk into an oblivion in his competition with Newton as far as his mechanics was concerned. We today know of Liebnitz as a “philosopher” (meaning “unscientific” thinker).] In terms of the structure, Newton’s Mechanics had three parts. In the first part, he postulated that it is the proper motion for things to move on a straight line with a constant speed. 4 [This is called The First Law Of Motion. Note, however, that this is not observational fact. Our experiences, observations appear to contradict such an assumption. Newton’s genius was in boldly assuming a principle against what was so obviously factual.] Having denied the “reality”, Newton then introduced an amendment to the first assumption. He, of course knew that things do not move on straight lines with constant speeds. He, thus, had to explain why they do not behave as his Law dictates. That was where “Force” was introduced. He said “Because Force make them do”. That is known as the Second Law of Motion. It is the same rhetoric as that of saying “Because Devil Made me do it”. Of course, “planetary motions” are not crimes. If anything, people might have had “unconscious anxiety” that the planetary motions night be messed up and bring disasters upon the Earth. The “cu1tural wish” was to keep the planetary motions as orderly and as regular as possible. So that the Newton’s “Agents” ware “good angels”, if not the Almighty God himself. Nonetheless, the rhetorical structure of “attributing to God”/”blaming some Agent evil” is the same. [As to the hidden anxiety about astronomical disasters, see Immaniuel Velikovsky Worlds In Collision Dell 1967. and subsequent publications. Velikovsky was a Freudian Psychoanalyst and concerned with the phenomenon of the “Cultural Amnesia”. We shall not deal with Velikovskian thesis here. But, it is important to take a note that European Science stemmed from Fear of the Nature. Native Science is not.] Although we think, or rather are taught to think, that Science emerged against Christianity, Newtonian Mechanics was accepted within the Christian Cosmology — i.e. “God is the Prime Mover, the Cause of all motions and changes —. People had been in the Culture where saying like “God made are respectable statement. The cultural habit, particularly language habit, and hence the habit of thinking could not change quickly. European scientists stop using overtly religious terminology. For any “in group” thing people make up, the first thing they do is to learn the “lingo” of the group. So that they no longer used terms like “The Prime Mover”, “The First Cause”, but used the term “Force”. However, the metaphor was not changed. When they talked and listened, the rhetoric referring to “Cause” (some agent forcing) was 5 “impressive” of knowing something, because of the traditional rhetorical habit of the Culture. The psychologists and social scientists, seeing the success of Newtonian Mechanics, try very hard to emulate the rhetoric. And, if a young researcher wish to be a recognized member to the institution, the ritual of saying things in the established rhetoric is a must. He would not get his paper published, if he does not observe the proper ritual in his knowledge claim. That is the reason why they are looking for “Causal Relations” — find the Agent, if not the God/Devil that is making the phenomena observed —. It is irrelevant, if they are knowledgeable about the Logic of Statistical Inference and aware that it is not capable of saying anything about Causality. Recognition in a social institution is primarily a “political” matter. “Knowledge” recognized in those institutions of “sciences” are social product, to which individual thinkers have to “culturally” adapted into, if they wish to be the members. If anyone does not like the political system of those institutions, one can always work at hamburger joints etc., and do what one likes. There is nothing to stop any one from doing research. However, the recognition by the society of the individual “doing a science” is not an easy matter. One has to play politics, particularly if one wish to have an income from the recognition. That is the reason why the Psychologists and Social Scientists are crazy about “Causal Relations” in their Statistical Rhetoric. 3. The Politics of Recognition that one knows. We note that there is no such thing as “The Native Science” as yet today, precisely because the Natives has no political power to gain recognition to their Science. And the ease or hardness of gaining recognition has a great deal with the Culture in which statement of knowledge is made. One who goes along with the dominant Cultural bias, or even takes advantages of implicit assumption/superstition of the Culture would have an easy access to the recognition. If you propose some idea foreign to the culture, you would meet “deaf ears” or even you would be prosecuted as a “disturber of peace”. People probably would not understand what was said, but nonetheless they do sense that you are bringing in a “cognitive dissonance” which arouses their anxiety and make them uncomfortable. After all, not everybody 6 in a society is “creative thinker”. For the majority, the “science” is a common agreement that they worked hard to achieve. For the sake of maintaining “stability”, they stick to “the Established Truth”. By bringing in something that does not fit in the established order of thinking — even in abstract thinking which may have little immediate political or economic consequences —, you are “disturbing the peace” and you are a Heretic. You are challenging the Legitimacy of the well established intellectual Authority of “Science” in the society. Therefore, you are a Rebel. “Not making wave” is a political act, just as “making wave” is. But the former is “covert”. Whereas, the latter is “overt”. Those who “surrendered” to the Authority would resent anyone who make them aware that they surrendered. They would not welcome the “Liberator”. Rather, they would like to entertain their illusion of being Free thinkers. (If you doubt this, try to convince Americans and Canadians that they are not Free, or that their private property is not sacred under their government who is willing to accept death of a hundred million civilians as the price for the “National Interest”. You would quickly find out that you be lab1ed as a trouble maker. Besides, you would find that they regard you “political”, while they think they are not political at all. They are feeling that they only live in a “Natural Order” which cannot be other than what it is. The psychology is the same with regard to Newtonian Physics, even if they may not know what Newton’s Laws of Motion are. They are believing in the established Authority and anything that sound different is “devil’s work”. ) We remark here about a cultural difference. The God of Judeo-Christian religion gives “Commandments”. “The Great Spirit”, which is the Native equivalent of God, does not issue commands, but gives advice. Native Americans are not Authoritarians like Europeans are, but quite “Democratic” free people. The above religious backgrounds make a difference in the manners of “statement of knowledge claim” and “assertion of facts”. In the European psyche, people tend to assume that they ought to be, and are, “god-like” — in particular, when they try to do what they think good to others —. They say “We are God’s side” and whoever stands on the way deserves to be punished by death. Killing of pagans and heretics are not only justified, but often a moral obligation. 7 When European scientists and scholars are asserting their knowledge, their postures are the same as that in their religious tradition. And Newtonian rhetoric of asserting “Force” (Agent) is very well suited to the ritual of knowledge claim. (To them, there is not much psychological difference between “Claiming Knowledge” and “Asserting Facts”. Both let them feel like “being close to God”. ) Natives have no such “emotion”. The Natives respect each person’s ways. Persons who disagree with one’s ideas and preferences are not “evil”, but just being merely “the way they are”. It is not that Natives did not fight wars on disagreements, but that they did not need to condemn the enemy in the name of God. In a close translation into European language, the Natives were “Pantheistic — i.e. everybody, everything has its own “spirit”, directly sharing a connection to the Great Spirit —. Therefore, they cannot be “Forced”. Each spirit is the primary mover, autonomous and free. The Great Spirit is a Flow in the multi-dimensional Space-Time. It “Goes On”, but does not “cause” anybody to do anything. I shall try to translate the sense of “The Flow” in to the terms understandable to European Science. Fortunately, Relativity and Quantum Field Theory are somewhat similar to the Native Science. And I can use them in my attempt to translate the Native Science of “the Flow”. 3.2. [There is a problem about what we “feel” as knowing. Before Galileo’s time, scholars apparently thought that they knew (understood) planetary motion by reciting what Aristotle wrote. Namely, planets move on circles, “because circle is perfect, and planets as heavenly body (angellike) have to be perfect, the planets must move on circles”. Then came Kepler, who discovered that the orbits of the planets are elliptic, not circle. That represented “knowing” planetary motions for the people then. Newton, after that shown mathematically that “Force” inversely proportional to square of the distances from the Sun reproduce the elliptic orbits of the planets. That satisfied people’s wish to know “why” such motions. Newton did not explain how such Force is generated. Einstein tried to explain the Gravity Force by 8 saying it is a property of Geometry. Evaluations on Einstein’s work are not uniform. But I imagine physicists and astronomers felt, by the theory, that they then knew what Force is. Today, some physicists suspect that Gravity might be an unbalanced electricity. Suppose they are right. Dose that make “knowing” planetary motion or force? Each successive generation of “knowing” was “knowing” to the Culture of the stage. It is like “knowing” of our friend. We have a feeling of “knowing”. But do we really know? Sometimes, in surprise, we say like “I do not know you” to our friend. What that sense of “knowing” is? Is it not just a “state of mind”, indicating there is no anxiety when we say “I know”? Science is a social entity. So that the “state of mind” must refer to the “Collective psyche” of society — we call it “Culture”? Then, “Knowing” is a kind of Psychotherapy for the Culture as a whole. Science is a Part of the therapy. If so, it is not surprising that “Science” is ritualistic. By “science” we are performing ceremony. It is akin to Harvest Dance, Rain Dance etc. We ought then recognize those Dances as “Science” and respect, honor, and perhaps participate if we can. At any rate, the distinction of “knowing” and “science” etc., verses “superstition” etc. is cultural and political. There is another problem in “knowing” concerning “practical” and “intellectual” kinds. As to this see Micheal Polany Personal Knowledge etc.] 4. What is “The Flow”? — an explanation from Newtonian side —. Here, I shall try the language of European Physics to explain what “The F1ow” is. Since the Energy Crisis of 1973-74, “Energy Flow” is familiar concept to us. “The Flow” is similar to “Energy F1ow”. Technically speaking, the “F1ow” which corresponds to “Force” of Newton is “Flow of Momentum”. Perhaps, I shall explain this elementary Physics, as an introduction to 9 the Native Science. For in this case, the translation is perfect. In elementary physics texts, you would find that “Force” is defined, detected and measured by a formula “Mass times Acceleration”. It is equivalent to the “Rate of Change of Momentum”, For “Acceleration” is the “Rate of change of Velocity”, and “Momentum” is “Mass times Velocity”. In mathematical symbols, we can denote the above as: (1) F = m A (Force = Mass times Acceleration) (2) A = dV/at (Acceleration = Rate of Change of Velocity. dV denotes “change in V”. And dt is unit time interval. ) (1) and (2) combined makes (3) F = m dV/dt = d(mV)/dt But “Momentum” P is P = mV. Hence, (4) F = dP/dt. Now, the critical rhetorical trick (hence change in ways of thinking) is to read the express (4) as: “The Rate of Momentum Flow per unit time”. There is nothing in the Mechanics to prohibit this reading. It is just that, for the original metaphor Newton and his followers were entertaining, the “Momentum” was understood to be “belonging to the body/object”. It is like a private property, and stay with the owner. They did not imagine the possibility of “momentum” flowing. One of obstacle to imagine a flow of momentum is that, for it to f1ow, there have to be “somebody/someone” to receive it and give it away. In Newtonian World View, the Space surrounding Objects is absolute “Void”, “Vacuum”, “Nothing”. (Not even “Soul”, “Spirit” or “God” could possibly exist in the Vacuum.) The Space cannot, therefore, act as the “Medium” to mediate any flow. Only flow possible in Newtonian Wor1d View is the flow of matters, such as Water. 10 Apparently, this “Nothingness” of Space was an embarrassment to Newton himself. He was reputed to have been muttering to himself “It is impossible to exert Force through Vacuum”. He was genius enough to sense the problem. But the lesser physicists did not notice the problem at all and worshiped Newton’s Theory of Force as if God-given Truth. (Often, the followers of a Belief system are far stronger believers than the one who created the system. It is perhaps because the creator knows that it is what she or he made up. I wonder what kind of doubts God has as to his creation.) Leibnitz appeared to have had some doubt, but he could not put forth effective counter theory to this respect. It looks some two hundred years, before “F1ow” metaphor of Force came to be recognized. It was the works of M. Faraday and J. Maxwell on Electromagnetism that brought a notion of “Field” in vacuum. The Fields are capable of mediating “Force”. And this is the idea which led Einstein to Relativity. Once Field is permitted as “physical”, there is no problem in thinking of “Momentum Flow”. That makes a kind of “Feynmann Diagram” in Classical Mechanics. In fact, M. Faraday fantasized on such a picture. [For “Feynman Diagram” see Capra Tao Of Physics. Incidentally, in Relativistic format, Energy and Momentum make up an entity, called “4-Vector”. It as a set can flow. The “Mass” of the entity can be calculated from squares of Energy and Momentum. In this sense, one can say that it is the Flow that makes the “existence of matter”.] [However, in one important aspect the Native Flow is not quite identical to Energy-Momentum Flow. That is EnergyMomentum Flow is “conservative” — stays constant, except for Quantum effect in very short time interval —. Whereas, the Native Flow is “creative”. It needs not be a constant, but can Increase or decrease. And, perhaps, the Native Flow may be of a very high dimension, not limited in 4-dlmenslon.] And in this picture (metaphor) one can say that things move or are supported in a place by Flow Of Momentum, instead of saying “Force” acted on them. Both “Force” and “Momentum F1ow” are invisible like ghosts. Or one might say the both are “rhetorical” invention. But without them, we would have trouble in making our sense. Those two metaphors are completely different, but neither can be said “more true” than the other. The both “ghosts” are useful in making sense of what are observed in motions. 11 As a physics, the change in the metaphor from that of “Objects existing in absolute nothingness” to “Space filled with Fields mediating inter-relations” is rather trivial. (Actua11y, it was not trivial, in the historical context. We have the benefit of hindsight. ) Newtonian view is cold and individualistic. It views the Cosmos hostile and fearful. The Field View is sensual, communal, and loveful. The choice seems a matter of psychological tastes. But let us think about implications of the alternative view. In the Field Theoretical View, one would not think of “Forcing” anybody to do anything. That coincides with the Native philosophy. The “Spiritual Field” surround you and you are in the flow of the Spirit. You cannot be arrogant in the view to think that you can force anything. Just as fishes swim in a flow, you may possibly swim in the Flow of Spirit. But you are not anything like the A1mighty God to Cause any motion. If “man” is made after God’s image, in this very important aspect, the “man” is completely different from God. Christians have an admirable ambition to simulate God-like actions. But according the Flow Physics, they can only be “witnesses” to the wonderful flow. Interestingly, Hegelian sense of History, which Marx inherited, talked of History in the Flow sense. And Hegel did have a sense of the Flow in which everybody is a part. That sense of flow shared by the community of the human race is very much like what the Natives say. That is, the “primitive” Natives have been Hegelian Philosophers since the time before Hegel was born. Only trouble I can foresee for a popular acceptance and practices of the Flow View (F1ow Metaphysics) is that it sounds very much “Feminine”. You sort of “go along with the flow of things”, which is not appealing metaphor for the proud male ego. Loss of “Force” is loss of “Power”. They cannot claim “I did this and that”. Instead, they have to learn to talk like Inuits who would never claim any achievement but simply say “It happened while I was there”. But, I remind you that the Flow Of the Spirit goes through you. It is your life that makes up the Flow. ‘You have a great Power of messing the flow up, and become so much of distresses to the community. It is not your own individual misfortune that matters in this view, but the whole community suffering misdirected Flow that is the concern. In contrast to the Flow View, the Force View is individualistic. You can cause Good to others. Yes. But 12 when you fail, it is your individual misfortune. Aside from charity, the other people have nothing to do with your sorrow, your pain, your disaster. And this view is convenient, If you want to justify Inequality among People. You have achieved your enormous wealth and power by your individual talent and merit of your individual force. Nobody shall have any claim to share that, even if that was largely “wind fall profits”. And if you are aiming at fierce competition, that would be good metaphor and rhetoric to use. Since the majority was educated (brainwashed) in the Mechanics — not in understanding, but in worshiping its authority/legitimacy — you would meet very little of resistance, even the majority is unhappy with the system. The reason why our schools do not teach the alternative Mechanics of Flow may have to do with this political effect. However, in terms of Nuclear Arms race, we have a great difficulty. Because we believe in Force, for good and for bad, we cannot give up arming ourselves, despite our wish of Peace. Environment as a Flow is not well understood by us and consequently we cannot effectively deal with Pollution Problems. tie also accumulated Social Problems. Our anxiety, so heightened for the sake of the Market Competition, is literally killing us. Yet we cannot do much, because we deny the Flow. To be sure, to some extent, Flow Thinking has been applied. Keynesian Economy is an example, where circulative Flow of Money is the central concept. But collectively, we are not good at Flow Thinking. There may be ideological reasons for our incompetence. But I do not overlook the fact that our education system is not keen in teaching the alternative physics. There are well developed “System Dynamics” in which one might see Flows, such as “Feed Back”. But except for specialist training, we do not teach the art. That is, we have not come to teach anything beyond the 300 year old mechanics of Newton in general education. Unless this was not from a cultural or ideological bias, physics teachers and educators in general can be accused of incompetence. [We need to write a textbook f or Flow Mechanics. In the meantime, I recommend reading of Capra, and Bermann, mentioned before. In addition, for the Electromagnetic Field notion, I add J. McGuire. “Forces, Powers, Aethers, and Fields” in Methodological And Historical Essay In the Natural And Social Sciences. Ed R. S. Cohen & M. W. Wartofskv Boston Studies In The Philosophy Of Science XIV (60). 1974. 13 J.F.Woodward “Early Attempt at a Unitary Understanding of Nature” in O1d And New Questions In Physics, Cosmology, And Theoretical Biology. (ed) van der Merwe Plenum 1982.] [For the Native sources, I have difficulty specifying one definite text. The Natives do not believe in writing texts, let alone a dogma. One has to decipher from anthropological observations/interpretations. And, even after we get texts, we have troubles of English translation. Translators do import Newtonian metaphysics, because, English language carries it. For an illustration, I quote one extreme example of English translation from The Sky Clears by A. Grove Day. Page 25. (U. of Nebraska press 1951): An Indian poem goes as: Ho-o-o Kakati chiri wakari pirau Tiraa; Kakati chiri wakari pirau Tiraa; Kakari chiri wakari pirau Tiraa; Kakari chiri wakari pirau Tiraa; Kakari chiri wakari pirau Tiraa; Kakari chiri wakari pirau Tiraa; which is translated as: I know not if the voice of man can reach to the sky; I know not if the mighty one will hear as I pray; I know not if the gifts I ask will all granted be; I know not if the word of old we truly can hear; I know not what will come to pass in our future days; I hope that only good will come, my children, to you. The translation was deemed to be authentic. However, one ought to be aware of the difficulties involved. When I said in the above “The Native Cosmology is …”, I was doing an English translation. Readers Beware!!! One needs to check with Native elders with proper and spiritual sensitivity. See also Michael Castro Interpreting The Indian. U of New Mexico press 1983.] 14 In connection to translation/interpretation problems, I must add one apology. I am not authorized to speak for the Native, nor do I pretend that. What I said is no more than what I have so far learned. The readers are recommended to find Native sources. I am only trying to encourage research into Native Science. A few ways to translate European Science into alternative rhetoric are suggested. I hope they are useful as “clues”. [As to the problems of Non-Native to interpret Native Culture, see: H. David Brumble III. “Indian Sacred Materials: Kroeber, Waters, and Kroeber” in Smoothing The Ground (ed.) Brian Swann. U. of California Press 1983.]


Applications of Indigenous Science: Mo`o Kiha Canoe Project (PDF)

Application of Indigenous Science ~ Mo’o Kiha Canoe Project

My husband Keola is a Kahuna Kalai Wa’a or, a Medicine Man of the canoes. In 1975 he built the Mo’olele, the first ocean going, double hulled voyaging canoe made in more than 150 years. The re-creation of the big sailing vessels triggered a cultural renaissance in the islands. The hundred years of colonization, missionization and plantation life destroyed 90 to 95% of the Hawaiian population in less than one hundred years. The rapacity of conquest left scant opportunity for preserving or perpetuating traditional ways. When Keola decided to re-create the voyaging canoe, he had only a sketch by an 19 century French artist to go by. There were no surviving models of the canoes not Elders who had ever built or seen one. Yet without canoes there would be no Hawaiians for the canoe brought them to the islands and shaped both their characters and societies.

The word for canoe is, ‘Wa’a’. ‘Wa’ refers to a segment of time and ‘a’ is the name for the Sirius star system – the origin of Hawaiian people. Interestingly, when Elders Hale Makua of Hawaii and Dr. Erick Gbdossou of Benin met, they discovered that their diverse cultures have the exact same words for the most ancient aspects of the culture. Both refer to the companion star of Sirius by the same name! Yet, western science only identified this star in our generation.

A few years ago, Keola and I visited Bella Bella, an Indian Reserve on the west coast of Canada. There we met a man who had been a Mason and was an expert in sacred geometry. He mentioned a geometric ratio called, the Golden Mean or Phi Ratio and recommended, ‘Serpent in the Sky’ a book on Egyptian culture and mathematics. It took a while but eventually I found a copy (this was pre-internet). I will never forget what happened when I gave the book to my husband. It was about 10:30 at night, we were in bed reading when suddenly he spoke in a very intense voice. “Apela, I got it. Listen to this, if the Phi Ratio is the mathematical formula for how life expresses itself then probably the Ancient Hawaiians who lived on the seas and in nature would think like that too. They wouldn’t have called it Phi, they might not have called it anything at all but they would have thought that way. Just think. This could answer the questions we could not find out about in the design of Polynesian canoes. A fish is made according to Phi principles. If I could design a canoe and apply the Phi ratio in as many design aspects possible then it could be possible to create a canoe that would be a perpetual motion ‘machine’. Once it got under way and was sailing, it would surf its own wave and would require no energy to keep going! Oh, fantastic,’ he said, throwing off the covers and padding downstairs and outside to his shop to put together a scale model to see how the application of Phi would change the design of the canoes he had made twenty years earlier.

Three days later the model was done. It was sleek stunning and did indeed alter the shape of the canoe. We were in love with it but then sad reality hit. There were no trees left big enough to make such a canoe and even making it out of modern materials would cost more than one hundred thousand dollars. Who would fund such a project? In a few weeks, Keola packed up the small model and put it away. Nearly two years passed.

Keola and I went for a ceremony with my Oneida people. During that ceremony, he asked the Ancestors and the Morning Star, permission to help heal his people. Within a few weeks of our return, people started showing up, volunteering their skills, others brought wood one was even a canoe maker from the Coast of Canada. Our dream project – to build a massive double hulled voyaging canoe – one that would incorporate modern features within a completely traditional design allowing the vessel to pass U.S. Coast Guard regulations and which could sail independent of a support vessel (which Hawaiians don’t usually have) had begun!

We started where we were at which is the first principle of Indigenous Science – everything we need is present in the nature around us. We began the construction in the garage – shop outside our house. Keola had made the first canoe, the Mo’olele or flying lizard, there in 1975 but ‘place and spiritual power’ are important aspects of Indigenous Science too and our house is built on a sacred site. My husband’s Hawaiian family has lived adjacent to a pond sacred to the great lizard later known as the Kihawahine – the spirit woman of fresh water, genealogy and conception. As recently as the 1800’s thousands of people witnessed the last appearance of this 36 foot black lizard in the pond. Because fresh water is so crucial for ocean people, the Kihawahine was revered. To even drop a piece of litter near this pond was punishable by death. When the Europeans arrived, the trashing of the site began and the last Holy Guardian of the site conducted the ceremony to call the lizard – probably in an effort to keep Hawaiians strong and to convince the Europeans of the efficacy and power of Hawaiian spirituality. The lizard came and received the traditional offering of awa – a sacred herb drink. The lizard rolled around in the water with delight! But this did not stop the colonizers from diverting the flow of water from the pond to their sugar cane fields. Subsequently, they land filled the pond. Since that time, water shortages have become common, people have forgotten their identity and West Maui, described as the ‘Venice of the Pacific’ became the semi- arid land it is now.

We did not know it when we began but Keola’s shop was the perfect place. Despite no funds and very limited space, we began to build a 62.5 foot long double hulled voyaging canoe that would take the community and future generations of Hawaiians throughout Polynesia and around the world. The people would no longer be isolated from each other or the global community. They would pick up where their Ancestors had left off!

We’re building the Mo’okiha (the doubly powerful Kihawahine) canoe in a totally voluntary way. In the first six weeks, we had 3,000 volunteer hours. Imagine the excitement. Hawaii has the highest cost of living in the U.S. Most local people must work 2 jobs – all in the low paying tourist industry – the only employer on the island. Nothing like this has ever been seen, It isn’t only natives, we have tourists, people from every culture coming by to help, that’s how it’s catching on. Because of the unprecedented support, the State and the County turned over a small park, adjacent to the sacred pond and right on the ocean. The Kihawahine, fresh water spirit, is guiding and protecting us. She surely must. To get 13 acres of oceanfront property – some of the world’s most expensive real estate, would be impossible otherwise. As of today, we have

put 6,000 hours into the canoe- the hulls, one representing the male sun and the other the female moon are just about done. The bottom of the canoe hull is the ‘kua mo’o or backbone of the lizard. It also refers to a body of stars used in open ocean, non instrument navigating. Next we will start on the I’ako (the curvilinear supports that connect the two hulls and serve as a foundation for a central platform which is akin to the planet venus). As you can see, the canoe is not just a boat. The design embodies principles of star navigation, oral history and worldview and Polynesian worldview is very sophisticated.

Francis Warther, Hawaiian Archaeoastronomer, writes:

Where are we? Who are we? for the ancient Hawaiian, to answer the first question was to realize the answer to the second. The Ancient Polynesian considered a very select geographical area of our planet called the ‘Tropic Region’ almost entirely ocean – the largest in the world, a unique marinescape…. This region had a limit, 1600 miles north and 1600 miles south of the equator, called the “Navel of Wakea” and each half, the north called Kane, the south Kanaloa, WERE MIRROR IMAGES OF EACH OTHER IN TIME, SEASONS AND CALENDAR NAMES.

[Hawaiian Identity and the Tropic Skies, p.1 Warther, Francis]

Polynesia islands straddle the equator. The north and south regions are identical and opposite. Water, winds and weather move in opposite directions. Summer in the north is winter in the south. The canoe with it’s two hulls and central platform represent the tropic lines and the equator.

“Only within the Tropic property line limits will the sun climb to the Zenith (Lolopua) directly overhead twice a year for each Tropic island. The sun will be directly underfoot about twice a year at the nadir for each island.

This astronomical fact was the basis for the unity of Polynesian mythology and provided the cosmic connection, the imprinting as it were, of the Heavens to the Sea and its Islands. The belief of Mana, the cosmological generating power of life and renewal capable of infusing a person or thing with immortal sustenance, is I believe, directly connected to the position of place under Heaven and the primordial sea.

[Hawaiian Identity and the Tropic Skies, p.1 Warther, Francis]

These perceptions, singular to the members of the Tropic community have a profound influence on the thought process and values of the society and its regulatory rules….a distinct Polynesian logic has been shaped by this cosmic reality – that position in the world influences and directs ones concept of space and time and even more profoundly the logic of thought processes.

. [Hawaiian Identity and the Tropic Skies, p.4 Warther, Francis]

Roy Wagner shows how the canoe design emulates the inner workings of the ‘tropic philosopher’. “his apprehension of knowledge is dialectical rather than rationalistic.” The Polynesian philosopher creates and uses “ a tension of dialogue, like an alternation between two conceptions of viewpoints that are simultaneously contradictory and supportive of each other. As a way of thinking, a dialectic operates by exploiting contradictions, against a common ground of similarity rather than by appealing to consistency against a common ground of differences after the fashion of rationalistic or linear logic.”

Warther goes on to point out the limits of linear logic to resolve multi-faceted problems and notes that conflict resolution (Ho’oponopono) has been central to Hawaiian culture placing kin, community and leadership in a balanced relationship to cosmic and ecological cycles and who patterned their social, politic organization on what they saw as priorities of order of the astronomical heavens.

Warther concludes with the statement that the survival of humanity depends on our ability to become members of the “Tropic Club”. That is to respond adaptively to the “mental equations contained in the logic of non-linearity passed to us by the Ancient Hawaiian culture.”

As we build the canoe, we are also building identity. Elders like Francis Warther come to the new canoe Hale (house) to teach and to share their wisdom. Hawaiian Elder’s Auntie Mahilani Poepoe and Hale Makua stop by to offer cultural insights, encouragement and love. The more we work the more we are being integrated into the web of life – the Aloha of ancient Hawaii – and the more synchronicities occur. Two striking examples of this come to mind.

When Keola built the first canoes in the 1970’s he was fortunate to find the remains of a partially completed ancient canoe in an a shelter cave. The canoe was falling apart but to his trained eye, the aged pieces of wood were a university that told him how certain cuts were made, what lines to use and even answered critical design questions about ropes and how they were attached but some things could not be answered. Ancestors came to him in dreams. He would fall asleep with a design question and wake up in the morning knowing the answer. But some things could not be solved and he had to make an informed, ‘best guess’ – choices that haunted him. Keola had incorporated all the ancient design features he knew in his canoes. Often he was ridiculed as the features made no apparent sense. The Manu or upright tips at the ends of the hulls were a good example.

Keola and three other adults took a group of eight children out in the Mo’olele. Suddenly a 40 knot wind hit. Ocean swells rose to twenty feet – extremely dangerous. The canoe was moving so fast that she passed the crest of the wave and slid down into the trough. Water began pouring onto the hulls and pushing them down under the next wave. An ordinary canoe would sink in this situation. Suddenly the brilliance of the ancient design shone through. The curved, points of the Manu came slicing up through the waves bringing the rest of the hull along with it! The children and crew made it safe to shore and after that, no one ever again doubted the minds of their Ancestors.

Keola was determined to regain and incorporate even more of the traditional designs into the Mo’okiha and finding out about the Phi ratio provided a key to guide in the construction of elements where the traditional knowledge was absent. But what if this was not accurate? He posed this problem to Kauai archaeo-astronomer, Francis Warther who shocked us with his response. Not only did ancient Hawaiians know about Phi, but had built Malae, an entire pyramid dedicated to the teaching of both pi and phi. Warther then produced a diagram which he happened to have with him!


Incorporates the “cosmic proportion” of:



Six divided by Five equals 1.2
1.2 is Pi over Phi squared
Pi over Phi squared is 3.1416 over 1.618 squared

These two harmonic proportions drive the universe. Both are contained in the data bank of Malae.

Warther and Makua point out that the Malae also integrates astronomical information. In this case the site is oriented to the constellation Pegasus as well as heliacal rising and settings of various stars and planets.

Nearing the completion of the hulls raised the question of spacing. How close or far apart would the hulls have to be to conform to the Golden Ratio? Keola worked at this question in many ways including consulting with Elders. No one knew. We prayed and we worried. One day a young German man and wife stopped by the canoe house. They had lived in Fiji for six years because they were building a canoe and wanted to learn about traditional Polynesian canoe design. The Elders had refused to share their teachings so they built an essentially western canoe with obvious Polynesian design elements incorporated. They were very hurt and discouraged but sympathetic to the historic wounds which stood between themselves and the Fijians.

Keola, master canoe maker of Hawaii, shared openly with this young man as he does with all people but he also had a hunch. Sure enough. The next day, just hours before

departure for Europe, the German man appeared at our door. He confessed to Keola that as he prepared to leave Fiji an Elder took pity on him and passed on one traditional design secret. It was all this young man had and he wanted to keep it to himself. He said that after meeting Keola, and not sharing what he knew, that it kept him awake all night so he knew he had to pass on the information. What he said thrilled us – it was the ancient formula for joining the hulls and… it conformed to the Phi Ratio!

So this is a good example of the way Indigenous Science and the Ancestors work to help us when we dedicate ourselves to remembering who we are. Because colonialism is a global phenomenon, we find ourselves receiving guidance from diverse sources – books, guests from other countries, dreams, oral history – that is because our Ancestors always believed in sharing. This is another reason why gatherings such as Coumba Lamba are so important. As we meet, we begin to put together the pieces of the Great Knowledge that each of us has. In the Great Forgetting the Knowledge was disbursed so that no one tribe would have all of it and so that the only way to restore ourselves would be by coming together as was done in Ancient times.

Tonight at Coumba Lamba there will be a ceremony with water and your ancestors. It’s the same type of Spirit and way that has been guiding and empowering us. It is an African ceremony with it’s own unique cultural aspects but emanates from the same source. I encourage you to join us and to remember our indigenous science of relations, peace and Aloha – the turning of the face to God – our Ancestral Remembrance.

Choctaw Grandmother, Pokni, Mary Jones, will now close this session with a prayer.

Pokni Mary Jones

CONCLUSION; Grandmother’s Blessing

I can feel there’s something here, there’s power here. If it wasn’t the power and the Spirit’s power, we all wouldn’t be here. I am so glad that I know her (Apela). She don’t

know I know her but I do and I’ve been working with her for the last 11 years. It’s somebody I have never seen (before working together) and I didn’t even know who she was. But it was a dream that brought us together, it was a rock1 that brought us together, it was the Spirit.

Kowi anukosha,
A depiction of Marys Rock

I’m glad they did; I worked with her and worked with this indigenous science thing. I don’t know much about the science things, I’m not well-educated to know science, but I know my Choctaw science. So my science and Western science; we can compare and I still believe my science because things are just about the same – white people’s science and Native people’s science are just about the same thing. What I learned, I learned by spirit. I don’t learn from reading or nothing like that. I learn from traditional ways. So,

1 In 1990 I had a dream of a special rock. A few months later I visited Choctaw Chief Jerry Jackson in Louisiana. I related part of my dream to him. He interrupted and said we had to call his Aunt Mary as she was the Elder who knew of these things. When Mary came into the room I felt as if I knew her and she later said that she felt the same with me. I told her my dream and she was shocked. She said, ‘I can’t believe it. You just dreamt my rock’. We have been close ever since. Kowianukosha is a little person, a nature spirit with great powers. He is also a trickster who throws this sacred type of stone at people especially healers to help them in their work.

that’s the Spirit that’s with me and I’m so glad to be here with you all. I don’t know what I can do or what I can say but I hope and pray that the Spirit takes care of you all and bring you all back together and give you all what you want, what you all need to be here together today, this week, all this time that you all spend together. Something good will come out. It might not be next week, or next year, but something good is going to come out of this. And this day you all remember it for your next generation. I’m glad to be here with you all and bless you all. Somehow all this touched me and I know so I’m going to pray for you all, all of us together this evening.

(Prayer in the Choctaw language) This session is officially closed. Thank you.


Personal Correspondence on Economics and Peace Research (PDF)

Dear Prof. P. Colorado

Your session in the CPREA is on June 5th afternoon. I do
 not know the room arrangement. But it is a part of The Lernered
Society Conference. We shall know the details when we get to
McMaster University. There is a good likelihood that you might have whole 3 hours for your presentation and discussion. CPREA considers your presentation very important. As far as I am aware, you are the first one who present the Native Philosophy-Spirituality. I am very much honored to be the introducer for your session. I know how busy you are and very grateful to you for doing a great favor to CPREA. I have picked up Native Children And The Child Welfare by Patrick Johnston. Perhaps, this is one of texts you use. But allow me to comment on it. The small book is focused on one urgent issue, and it is important to talk about the issue.Therefore, I do not complain the book does not mention other
issues. However, I think of the overall situation and worry that
the problem might not be solved within the perspective the book
Of course, I have a few assumptions to say the above. One
of them is that Native Children will not be “isolated” from the
dominant “culture”, even if they are raised in the Native
communities. The “Native Care” by the Native communities is the
first step. But even if all the children are brought up by their
own family, there will still be problems. And for that matter,
the young generation in general, Native or Non-native, is facing
a very difficult situation. I know my students in the University,
who are from relatively “well to do family”, are having
difficulties in finding “meaningful” things to do. The economy
today is bad. And the Future outlook is worse. It pains me to
think about their frustrations.
To be sure, students today have an “affluent” life. They
have never known what it is like to carry “honey bucket” and get
splashed all over. But the affluence puts more psychological
pressure on them. I had it easy, for I was enormously happy by
just having something to eat. I did not need to spend 50 bucks to
take a girl out. I had live with 150 dollars a month and my wife
came to Philadelphia slum, knowing I barely eat. She never once
complained about it, until we start getting a higher income. It
seems that the higher the material standard of living is the harder to be happy.
Not that I favor living in a camp tent, particularly in dripping
wet one. But I do wonder what in a hell we are pushing for
“Growth of Economy”. Why do we have so intense competitions? For
what good? And in the meantime, the “bottom” one third of the
humanity has to suffer.
higher the material standard of living is the harder to be happy.
Not that I favor living in a camp tent, particularly in dripping
wet one. But I do wonder what in a hell we are pushing for
“Growth of Economy”. Why do we have so intense competitions? For
what good? And in the meantime, the “bottom” one third of the
humanity has to suffer.
[The “Production Economy” is different from the “Money
Economy”. The former is a “Materialistic” economy, however,
the “Fetishism of Material Objects” included.
The later is an “Informational/Symbolic” economy. It
operates on illusions/expectations of speculators. This has
been always in the “economy”. But it became overt and
dominant in the late 20th century.
Alvin Toffler’s The Third Wave etc. talked of the “coming
Information Age”. If I extend this historical trend, I
imagine we will come to what you are doing, namely
exploring entrance to the “Age of Value”, beyond the “Age
of Information”. You are a genius!]
Some idiotic economists talks of “Hi Tech”, but they also
know that Hi Tech provides very little jobs to people. It
happened to have a high profit margin, that’s all. So, what all
those people out of work do? They have to live on Welfare?
It is not just the Natives that have troubles. If one is so
sensitive and good-natured that one cannot exploit other people,
then Alcohol may be the one of “pain killers” that one has to
depend on. If kids turn to violence, I cannot blame them. They
are humiliated, frustrated and angry (as they ought to be). The
system is telling them that it does not need them, does not want
them. You can raise your kids with all loving cares, but the
cruel society is waiting for them and claim them at the end. We
know that. Yet we do not do anything about the system. Why?
It might make a better sense to make the kids to be
insensitive, cruel, selfish, greedy, thick-skinned, bullies, so
that they can be “successful” in the society such.
For it does not make a sense to raise “beautiful humans” only to
have them lived in Reservations on Welfare.
People know that the “economy” as such will collapse sooner
or later. You can read it in Wall Street Journal and Financial
Post. Market experts are saying that. (They say they have to make
more money now because of that, before the market collapse.)
There is a slight chance that some Beautiful People survive till
such a catastrophe clears things up. In the meantime, however,
what those people would be doing? Buddhists would say that one
has to learn to live with humility. But, Alcoholics are already
living in humility. What’s more Buddha want them to do? Wait till
the Hell freezes?
I am a “peace researcher” and wish Peace on the Earth, or
at least avoid Nuclear Holocaust. But I am disgusted with the way
humanity live today. Nuclear War System is just a symbol of the
way we live today. Yesterday, I went to Brocket to observe the Native Education Conference, sponsored by The Four World Development Project. It was fine. I was very much impressed by a lady from Alkali Lake. But I noticed that many of “life-living-skills” that those educators discussed are not taught in schools. Schools are for “academic” stuffs and related to industries, for the “economic growth”. The education wants to make “competitive individuals” to be successful in the rat race. It is amazing we do not have many more problems. Humans are surprisingly loyal and cooperative to the wrong system. Or is it because people think they would lose their jobs by radical change in school system? Someone there was talking of misdeeds of some “Band Councilors”. Apparently, there are people who get more benefits from the present system. If the benefits are paid by other people’s suffering, they may not like it much, but they would say “such is the life”. So the moral is “Don’t drink, but be successful in the system”. Besides, the system does not like bad scenes. If one is cynical, one might say “making drunk scene is a form of protest”, just as the vandalism is. Peace does not come unless Justice is there. The “morality” of our political economy is not an independent issue from the issue of Peace. Are the educators willing to teach that? One thing is, however, that, in the history of suffering, many wise men and women taught of the virtue of patience. Peace Keepers of the Six Nations talked of the need of even “Seven layers of Thick Skins”. The Native kids have to be cared for by love now. Hope is in them. I only worry if they get a good education for the future (not education for “success” in the system). They would have to be good “peace researchers”, if they are to survive.




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-




Water-Serpent stories of Puget Sound Natives may refer to the A.D. 900 Seattle Earthquake (PDF)

Native Americans have resided by Puget Sound for thousands of years and must have witnessed many geologic & events. They described these events using their own cultural concepts, and incorporated the stories into their oral tradition.
Traditions about the A.D. 900 Seattle earthquake, handed down by storytellers for 1,100 years may survive in stories about water-serpents near the Seattle fault. A horned water serpent was said to have its home in Seattle by the shore of Lake Washington, near landslides dated to the A.D. 900 earthquake. Another story, about an earthquake- and landslide-causing horned water-serpent on the eastern shore of Puget Sound in the Fauntleroy neighborhood of West Seattle, is close to a large undated landslide visible in LIDAR images but not easily seen on the ground. Finally, on the west side of Puget Sound, a story about the deepening of Agate Pass (located on the downthrown side of the Seattle Fault) tells of an underwater battle between a water-serpent and a mythic bird, resulting in ground shaking, churning of the waters, and permanent ground level change.