Foster Kona Kalama

Foster Kona Kalama grew up and lives on the Warm Springs Reservation.  His lineage on his father’s side is Wasco, Pitt River, Nisqually (Chief Kalama) and Hawaiian.   On his mother’s side his lineage is Wasco (Chief Ka-cup), Nez Perce, and Yakama.  Kona shares of his lineage,

“Our people, the Wasco, on my dad’s side, I’m Wasco, Pitt River, Nisqually and Hawaiian, and so basically the Hawaiian side is out of King Kamame (??) and Queen Kalama, and his mom’s side was Wasco out of Chief Ka-cup, and back to my dad again he is Chief Kalama, Chief Kalama is married into the Nisqually side. And basically, well take that one back: John Kalama was Peter’s father and he and married into the (??) Nisqually side and married a chief’s granddaughter, Chief Leshy’s (??) granddaughter, so that’s on my dad’s side.  And also Albert Ka-cup, who was my grandmother, Rose Ka-cup’s, grandfather, her father was Perry Ka-cup, so it comes right down to bloodline to my dad’s side, but my mom’s side is really interesting because before my uncle passed on, Pierson Mitchell, was sharing with me that we are Nez Perce on my mom’s side and Yakama; it has on my mom’s card at school Yakama, but it’s not.

Basically, mom talked a lot about Klickitat, I don’t know if it was upper Klickitat or lower Klickitat tribe she came from, but she spoke very highly of the Hanie (??) side her mother, Suzy Hanie, her father was Mackalin Albert, who was apparently Sally, the daughter of Chief Joseph’s son. So that’s my mom’s side.  She shared several stories about the Columbia river about how they crossed the river back before the dams were made and how they would go across the river- the river would freeze over so thick with ice that they could ride over the river with their horses and they would go from Rockport to John Day, they spent a lot of their places all the way down to Maryhill and Celilo and they would travel all over the place back up and down the rivers. And they would do their Indian trade over in Yakama and all different places where my mom brought me later on where they did their trading.” Kona Kalama

Kona Kalama’s journey of life has been on the lands in which he grew up and in the rivers that he fished.  His life roots in the land hunting and in the rivers fishing offered him a strong foundation in the culture of his people.  Being around the Washat Religion and the ceremonies of his people offered him some understandings of an old and rich culture.  All of this was born with and in him, yet the face of anger, abuse, and addictions overshadowed his life.  As he grew into a young man he used his ability to fight and his use of alcohol to protect himself from the pain and suffering of emotional, physical, and sexual abuse.

With courage and strength he chose to find the way to speak the truth about what had happened to him.  With these words, he empowered himself to cry.  This act of bravery changed his life to one of honesty and openness creating opportunity to reconnect with his family and people.  Kona Kalama offers the people of Warm Springs and the youth he works with great gifts.   He is a spiritual teacher, a counselor, and brings healing to the people through his beliefs and practices.

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