Ka Wai Ola
Photo: Laulani Teele
Teale is a prolific performing musician. – Photo: Courtesy

Mana, being a spiritual force, is intrinsically tied to pono, and also to ea, that spiritual life force of sovereignty that is internal to each Kanaka. In that respect, true mana is different from other types of power – such as the power that is wielded by government, which may or may not contain mana, because it may or may not contain pono, and ea, that life force of sovereignty.

This is easily confused in the world that we live in right now in which powers, such as money, violent force and administrative maneuverings can appear to have mana, but they don’t. Mana comes from a source within the people.

And that source must be tied to pono, and it must be tied to ea.

This is why our queen, Lili‘uokalani can be said to have had great mana, because it came directly from the people. Not from force that she wielded upon the people, but from the people themselves and their collective sovereign will.

Mana can be used in healing. It is crucial to the sustainability of our life systems – our food, our water; our well-being as a people; and to our culture. — Laulani Teale

This real mana allows us to connect in a pono way to all things: to our place in the ‘āina; our place in the world community; our place as a neutral country under an illegal occupation.

And this mana is a power that is tied to Aloha, which kupuna Pilahi Paki said will help to heal the world.

Therefore our biggest challenge is to find mana within ourselves individually, and as a lāhui, and assert it towards this great healing; and towards our independence, both politically and in our ability to be able to care for ourselves and share with others, throughout this beautiful honua.

Laulani Teale is the Coordinator of Ho‘opae Peace Project. She is an indigenous peacemaker, activist, musician, teacher, artist and writer culturally trained in lā‘au lapa‘au and ho‘oponopono, who specializes in health issues related to activism and colonization. She studied Hawaiian medicine under Papa Auwae, and holds a Masters in Public Health from the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa. She has served in numerous community boards and organizations, including the Kahana Planning Council, the Aha o ‘Iolani Advisory Committee, the HLID Cultural Working Group, and Kāhuli.