Learning To Remember with Apela Colorado:
Apela Colorado, PhD, Director of Wisdom U's MA in Indigenous Mind Program.
Where are you from? Where are your ancestors from?" A number of years ago, I learned this is a way for one indigenous person to greet another. The day I met Apela Colorado, director of the Indigenous Mind MA program, this is how she first spoke to me. Where was I from? It wasn't a question about ethnicity or geography. No, her voice had a beautiful practical tone, and the question was offered with such deep wonder, such wise openness, I was in awe that anyone could be so humbly curious. As I struggled with, "Oh, I'm from central Pennsylvania," I was shocked by my own lack of this basic knowledge. Where was I from? How many of us truly know our ancestors intimately? How many of us have run away from them? Is it possible for modern people to find their way through the depths of ancient ancestral knowledge, find our family stories and legends, step into our truer self, the "big self," within the roots of these stories and customs. And how do we do it once we memorize all their names, and become intimate with their faces? Is it even possible for those of us who think we are of "european" ancestry?
Apela simply calls this "remembering," and colleagues say it is a groundbreaking approach for modern people to recover the forgotten, or suppressed wisdom, of prehistory. The amazing part is that Colorado has developed a system that works both as ceremony and academically. No matter what your ancestry all are welcome to earn a Masters Degree, applying Colorado's Indigenous Science. Brian Bates, writer and psychology professor at University of Sussex, who met Colorado when he was teaching "shamanic consciousness" has said, " Apela is the original and world leader in trying to bring together indigenous and modern western perspectives."
Her vast worldwide network of indigenous elders, her friends, who preserve their own native ways of living, serve as a guest faculty, of experienced healers and "shamans" (although Apela does not use this word ) Sulonda Smith, MA , a recent graduate, found her heritage traveling to Afrik, training under the guidance of great Zulu priest, Mr. Credo Mutwa, while in the program. "Now I know why my grandmother chewed on sticks and used to gather us children around old shade trees. Her ancestors taught her the healing power of plants and herbs, and the importance of gathering together for family and business. Indigenous Mind taught me how to access this jewel of information to help my community overcome the effects of colonization."
Regardless of culture, everyone is required to examine the "colonizer" side, a family "shadow" history that may have caused war or suffering in one's own family line. Most of us don't have to look very far.
Colorado, who grew up in a farming family among her Oneida tribe, She always wanted to preserve and return to simple ways, even after attending Harvard and Brandeis. Now working with her WISN of elders, they have been proving how tsunamis, for example, have been predicted by subtle signs in nature since prehistory.
Indigenous Science has many practical applications. "If I asked you to prepare a set of facts that was going to be crucial to your children 10,000 years from now, how would you do it?" Colorado asked. "The old people thought about that."
Always practical, scientific, and ceremonial, one can feel the depth in Apela's clear phrases of hope for how remembering this ancient knowledge may help us all again. With modern applications of this wisdom, we may discover again, how to heal our environment and each other.
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