Native Village
Youth and Education news
Volume 3 October, 2011

American Indians Learn Native Hawaiian Ancient Healing Practices on Oahu Retreat
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Hawaii: In November, American Indians will visit Oahu to learn about traditional medicines and healing practices. The week-long retreat is called “Personal Wellness in Hidden Hawaii.” Their teachers will be “Kupuna,” (Native Hawaiian elders). These Master Practitioners) will share little known ancient healing methods,

“Personal Wellness in Hidden Hawaii” is organized by AIM (Attitude, Insight, Motivation) Seminars. AIM facilitators are primarily American Indian or Native Hawaiian and will lead the retreat.  AIM's Ann McCommas says there are about 10 - 15 retreat participants. Most are Navajo or Tohono O’odham.

The travelers will tour the island for seven days with Hawaii’s indigenous Elders, Teachers, Storytellers and Healers. Participants will trek to sacred sites—many of them not open to the public. One is a sacred spot where Queens gave birth to the highest Princes or Princesses.

“That’s where we’ll be saying our prayers,” McCommas said. “The purpose is to align us with our natural selves—being by

JoLin Kalimapau  e1315609825243 American Indians Learn Native Hawaiian Ancient Healing Practices on Oahu Retreat
Jo'Lin Kalimapau offers the ocean a blessing with tea leaf, ho'okupu (gift to the ocean).

the ocean and surrounded by amazing people with Mana’ [the spiritual power and energy that Hawaiians believe inhibit all things and creatures].”

Another stop will be the  Waianae Coast Comprehensive Health Center, a traditional healing center specializing in diabetes care.  Participants will learn long-term practices for chronic disease management and healing techniques for many health issues affecting indigenous people.

One technique is lomilomi," a traditional Hawaiian massage that involves an exchange of energy and nurtures the person as a whole.

“In Hawaiian, when you say something more than once, it is more powerful; there is more meaning behind it,” said AIM facilitator Celina Mahinalani Garza (Native Hawaiian). “When someone is sick, we lay our hands on them and massage them.”

Natives enjoy a kapu kai cleansing ceremony. (Courtesy of AIM)
Natives enjoy a kapu kai cleansing ceremony

American Indians will also learn of “Ho’oponopono,” a Hawaiian tradition of engaging in family or group

counseling. Garza translates “Ho’oponopono” as Hawaiian psychology.

"Ho’oponopono is the practice of putting things back together, making it right out in the open, like a counseling session," she said.

Retreat goers will also visit Waimea Falls near Oahu’s North Shore. AIM co-facilitator Jo’lin Kalimapau will explain how Hawaiians use water for spiritual cleansing known as a “kapu kai” cleansing ceremony before diving in. Hawaiian’s believe that the ceremony helps them reconnect to the water, sustaining them and giving them more “mana.”

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