Foster Kona Kalama

Lesson 4 – The Warrior: Fight for the Next Generation

Goal:  Learn about how healing from anger and abuse can motivate and create dreams and goals.

Activity: Listen to Kona’s story in Video #2 and review the information and questions presented in this Lesson for self-reflection.  Use these links to access the available resources with this lesson:  Kona Kalama’s Biography, History of the Tribes of Warm Springs, Anger Information Sheet, Feelings Resource Sheet, and the Historical Trauma Resource Sheet.

The Sacred Hoop: We are always connected

All tribal people have Teachings of a Truth that we are all connected.
Many know this as the Medicine Wheel and the Sacred Hoop.
These Teachings share that Life consists of relationships with our families,
with nature, with spirits, and all of creation.

In the Hero’s Journey, the orphan takes a journey and wanders from place to place. During the wandering, the orphan meets various people and begins to develop relationships.  Caring and empathy develops.  It is with this support and in this caring the orphan takes on a cause that is greater than self.  We call it becoming the Warrior.

Kona’s life reflects the Hero’s Journey.  Through his wandering he began to meet people who cared about him and he took the initiative to be honest and begin healing.  Through his healing Kona recognized the importance of supporting and fighting abuse and violence to the children.

“Basically I find myself getting angry about the way kids are being treated by adults, being at work or by their own parents.  Actually, what can I do about another person’s anger and what they have done to hurt a child? Basically, go to somebody that can do something about it. Like if somebody hurt a kid sexually, go to the right people.” Kona Kalama

The Next Generation

“Kids are not dumb.  They know who has a good heart” Kona Kalama

Kona Kalama recognizes anger and abuse.  As a leader in his community and in the school system in which he works, he advocates and teaches youth how to believe in themselves to fight against anger, abuse, addictions, and racism.  As a man that has wandered his own journey discovering his own healing, he brings forth this wisdom for the next generation.

As we learned in earlier lessons, healing depends on the Truth to be spoken.  For the truth to help with the healing, both the feelings and the experience must be shared.  Kona has learned to fight for the next generation through being a good role model, teaching, and supporting each youth in learning.

Racism Exists

“I see the silent prejudice and the racism. I can see right through it and I can feel it.  The things I do, I’ve brought forth so many things to the right person and nothing was done.  But little petty things they have done to each other,  ‘she said this’ or  ‘she said that’ and they are battling, and pretty soon someone is reprimanded. That is just really sad.  This one time, we were up watching a basketball game.  The coach is yelling and screaming at the native kids, the Mexican kids, the black kid.  He’s getting red, getting beet red yelling. The white kid, he pats him on the butt.  He’s made many, many mistakes, way more than all the boys put together. So he gets on his knees, sits in front of him, tells him his mistakes, but doesn’t do it to the other boys, then turns around, walks around, and looks at our boys in disgust.  Then looks over and picks another kid and sends him out there. My uncle said, “That’s showing the people up here its okay to treat Indians like that, it’s okay to treat Mexicans like that, but even more it’s showing these boys on this bench its ok to treat the Indian people like that.” Kona Kalama

Racism contributes to years of historical trauma and is a sickness that infects our culture and the relations we have with all people.  Helping the youth recognize their talents, strengths, and beauty is important.  Teaching the youth to toughen up and get better at everything they do is very important to fight against racism and prejudice.

“So when I talk to kids, I tell them to toughen up. I tell them to get better. That way nobody can deny it. I’ve been doing that for years, toughing it out, getting better and better. So nobody can deny them.” Kona Kalama

At Risk Youth

Historical Trauma creates an “at risk” situation.  The history of anger, abuse, and racism has had significant effect on the well being of the current generation.  In addition to historical trauma, current effects of addictions, poverty, anger, abuses, and racism increases the risks in our youth to repeat these behaviors and patterns.

Kona Kalama fights to help at risk youth believe in themselves.  Teaching and supporting the youth to strive for a goal and accomplish the goal is important.  Challenging behaviors of anger and abuse while supporting and teaching new ways of learning is the fight that he is willing to take on.

“I work with at risk kids, I work with any kids. Years ago when we had the Sky Box at Portland Trailblazers they wanted me to pick all the good kids, kids with good grades (to go to the game). But I didn’t. I picked all the kids that were having a hard time and they believed in themselves and they did what they needed to do (to go to the game).  You wouldn’t imagine what kind of kids I’ve worked with. Kids that have been sexually abused, physically, kids whose parents are gone.” Kona Kalama

The Fighting Tools

Recognizing the wellbeing and potential of the next generation is worth fighting for.  These tools are both tools of fighting for health and wellness and healing the illness, anger, and abuse.

1.     Being an Example - “I’m an example. Taking care of myself is what I do best, and singing, drumming, playing the flute, going to the sweat lodge, and helping these kids get to know the flute, talk about songs, anything to help these kids change because it’s a whole different story now.” Kona Kalama

2.     Hunting and Fishing“My healing has always been there, as I was sharing earlier, fishing is a big part of my life, same with hunting, and being in touch with nature is the most important thing to our people.  Most of our people do heal because of the facts that they go out hunting and fishing and do the things that our ancestors did.” Kona Kalama

3.     Let go of hate and anger“I know how it feels, how pain feels, why would I want anybody else to feel how I felt.  It’s not worth holding onto hate or anger because it’s a waste of time. Waste of energy. There’s no energy in hate, it makes a person old, it makes a person sick, it makes a person somebody they don’t really want to be, they don’t like.  That’s why they are so mean to other people because they don’t like themselves. It’s a waste of time.” Kona Kalama

4.     Art and Nature – “I was taught a long time ago to get close to nature when you do art.  And you can see some of it right there. That’s getting close to nature. Everything you do you get close to nature, wherever you’re at.  That is what life is about. These kids, they feel I, they see it.” Kona Kalama

5.     Flutes and Drums – “Our songs are borne from the heavens, the flutes and the drums. That’s what we truly believe. They don’t belong to us, these songs belong to the heavens, they belong to the creator. There are people out there that are going beyond that. They are into wanting to make money and wanting to make recognition in our flutes. They don’t take any time out to think. There are very few people out there who have the love and gift of the spirit of the flute. That’s what I teach these kids.

It’s anywhere from helping these kids to look for something good. There are flutes all over in the school and it’s not only changed these kids that are walking in hard core lives, it’s helping other kids hear the music that they want to give out.” Kona Kalama

6.     Sports - “I have been working with kids for a long, long time; twenty something years. I’ve put on a lot of basketball tournaments, probably over thirty tournaments for kids, about eleven tournaments for men. I coach basketball. I think I am one of the first Indian basketball coaches in the Madras schools. I coached basketball in middle school.” Kona Kalama

7.     Our Cultural Way of Life – “A lot of people don’t believe our ways of life because they don’t walk our life. Our way of life is a very, very unique way and if everybody knew this way and everybody started walking back this way again then we would have no troubles.  But our kids watch too much TV and they listen to too much rap.  It messes up their minds, on top of the alcoholism and the drugs in their homes or their peers.  Most of our kids are having problems because of peers.  They come from good homes but they still have problems with their peers.” Kona Kalama

Please complete the following exercise to learn about yourself in using these Fighting and Healing Tools. Talk with someone you trust about the results.

Fighting & Healing Tool

Rate yourself on  fighting & healing tools you use  in your life: 0 =never  1 = occasionally   2=sometimes  3=frequently 4=always

Positive outcomes  you experience with this tool

Struggles you experience with this tool

Being an Example
Hunting and Fishing
Letting go of hate & anger
Art and Nature
Flutes and Drums
Our Cultural Way of Life

Conclusion: Do you want to become a warrior?  Seek friendships, ceremonies, treatment, storytellers, Elders, and healthy places to live and be.  Can you do this?  Name one of the fighting tools above that you will make a commitment to use.

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