Seeding Hope is a bi-weekly speaker series hosted by Dr. Fuifuilupe Niumeitolu and Nazshonnii Brown.
Art and Production by Inés G. The Seeding Hope Speaker Series features some of the organizers, cultural workers, farmers, activists, matriarchs, scholars, youth, and elders whose work gives us inspiration.
For our first event, we were honored to host, Dr. Kalamaoka’aina Niheu, MD, a Kanaka Maoli/ Native Hawaiin physician, co-founder of the Standing Rock Medic Healer’s Council, and Manua Kea Medics and Dr. Rupa Mayra, MD, Associate Professor of Medicine at UCSF and co-founder of the Do No Harm Coalition in conversation about their front-line, Covid-19 pandemic work with Bay Area and Indigenous communities. In addition, these experts will talk about the importance of environmental, climate and land justice and honoring Indigenous cultural practices for creating health and wellness and they offer directions that can help us to reimagine health and wellness through practices of Indigenous self–determination for our families and communities.
A cultural song offering was made by Aurora Mamea and Kevin Mamea, Mother and son duo, Indigenous (Blackfeet Tribe and Samoan) Community Leaders and Cultural bearers from the Bay Area, CA.
About our Participants:
Dr. Kalamaoka’aina Niheu MD is a Kanaka Maoli physician born on the frontlines of the Hawaiian movement. As a kauka (doctor) for Onipa’a Na Hui Kalo, she has helped support and revitalize traditional kalo farming and ai pono or food Sovereignty for 20 years. She helped coordinate the No Aloha Poke movement and is the co-founder of the Standing Rock Medic Healer’s Council as well as the Mauna Medic Healer’s Hui. Her published works include “Standing Rock Violence and Police Militarization,” “Indigenous Resistance in an Era of Climate Change Crisis,” and “Pu’uhonua: Sanctuary and Struggle at Makua.” She is currently an Associate Medical Director in the Bay Area in California and member of the COVID 19 response team.
Rupa Marya, MD is an Associate Professor of Medicine at UCSF and co-founder of the Do No Harm Coalition, an organization of over 450 health workers committed to structural change to address health problems.
She was invited by Lakota health leaders and elders to help set up a permanent community clinic for the practice of decolonized medicine at Standing Rock—the Mni Wiconi Health Clinic and Farm. Dr. Marya addresses health issues at the nexus of racism and state violence through her medical work and international outreach with her band, Rupa and the April Fishes.
Rupa lives on occupied Ohlone territory with her husband and two sons. She is married to regenerative organic farmer Benjamin Fahrer, and together they are researching the impact of urban regenerative agriculture on the health of historically oppressed people, examining the connection between soil health, human health and inflammation. Together, they are working on a statewide initiative to support farmers transitioning to farming practices that enhance soil biodiversity in order to improve human health, soil health and climate health—the Soil Health is Human Health Initiative.
Rupa is currently working on her first book with co-author Raj Patel, documenting the health impacts of colonialism on our bodies, on the planet and on our societies. She was recently appointed by Governor Newsom to the Healthy California for All Commission where she brings her perspectives on equity to the dialogue around universal healthcare in California.
Aurora Mamea is an enrolled member of the Great Nation of the “Nitsitapiiks” Blackfeet of Montana. She is a cultural preservationist, a teacher and practitioner of cultural/traditional wellness and spirituality, and “wisdom carrier” of the People.
Aurora has worked for the Native American Health Center for the past 20 years, Professionally, Mrs. Mamea’s career is built from an accumulation of various positions and employment functions since 1996, which includes, Program Manager I, Cultural Prevention Specialist, HIV/Mental Health Outreach Worker, Assistant Medical Clinic Supervisor and Medical Assistant. Through her tenure with the NAHC during the past Sixteen years, She has learned and developed critical skills and knowledge in the areas of: client outreach and engagement, client and community needs assessment, community- and cultural-based prevention, clinical case management, culturally-responsive strategies for improving access to services, and integration and implementation of cultural practices and Native tradition healing for urban Native Americans. Additionally, She is most proud of her success in her critical role in the development and integration of cultural wellness and spirituality practices which improved the agency’s cultural competency, and providing a safe and healing pathway for many community members overcoming trauma, cultural displacement, substance abuse, and historical trauma/cultural loss. Finally, during the past ten years, she has taken on the responsibility, bestowed by her elders and community members, to teach and provide cultural learning (regalia making, storytelling, cultural dancing, and facilitating rites of passages) for Native youth. Mrs. Mamea has developed community partnerships with other Native organizations in improving health and wellness for Native youth thru life skills and leadership development, teaching interpersonal skills that promote a sense of native pride & positive self-esteem.
Mrs. Mamea has eloquently demonstrated that the most essential healing element in serving the Native community is developing and fostering positive “Relations,” through community preservation and community building activities: beading classes, cultural art making (regalia, medicine dress, shawl, etc.), traditional and spiritual practices (dance, sweat lodge, community gathering, medicinal sage gathering, etc.)
Kevin Mamea is a young man of Amskapi Pikuni (Blackfeet) and Samoan ancestry. Kevin is a valuable member of the Sogorea Te Land Trust and he has a great love for the earth, plants and the environment. Kevin also honors ancestral knowledges and cultural protocols and these are valuable contributions that Kevin offers to the many Indigenous community organizations that he works with and is a part of throughout the Bay Area.
Fuifuilupe Niumeitolu is a Tongan/Pacific Islander, scholar and community organizer. She received her doctorate from the University of California, Berkeley in 2019. She is working on her book manuscript, The Mana of the Tongan Everyday: Tongan Grief and Mourning, Patriarchal Violence, and Remembering Va. Fui hosts a radio segment titled “From Moana Nui to California; Indigenous Stories of Land” on 94.1 KPFA radio and she is a Lecturer in the Department of Gender and Women’s Studies at the University of California, Berkeley. Fui is a member of Sogorea Te Land Trust.