I’m a 37-year-old father, teacher and community organizer living in Northern California, and I would like to share my firsthand experience with the transformational work and far-reaching impact that the Kana Samurai Foundation is accomplishing.
We crossed paths during a very difficult time in my life, as I struggled to heal and recover from a cancer diagnosis and some pretty brutal treatment. My health and my life were in jeopardy and my future was very uncertain — and the teachings and remedies of the Noke Koi people and other indigenous groups (which the Kana Samurai Foundation helps to protect, preserve and share) played a major role in saving my life.
Over the course of a year, everything changed. I not only healed my body and became cancer-free; I also found a greater-than-ever sense of clarity, empowerment and holistic wellness in all aspects of my life. The ancient wisdom, traditional remedies and ceremonial practices I learned supported me in cultivating more confidence, strength and integrity, and I have been grateful to amplify these blessings by sharing them with my family and community. Thanks to this work, my ten-year-old daughter Satya has a father who is not only alive and well, but also conscious, sober, joyful, and awake to the beauty of every moment.
In my work with the Kana Samurai Foundation, I’ve met dozens of other individuals whose lives have been similarly transformed for the better. The people I’ve met have overcome everything from depression and addiction to chronic pain and cancer. In many ways, our modern culture is sick; we’ve created immeasurable toxicity, fallen out of harmony with the planet that sustains us, and lost our essence. By working with the ancestral wisdom and therapies of our indigenous brothers and sisters, we have the ability to restore this balance,
recover our memory of who we truly are, and create true health and wellness in our lives.
It is especially beautiful how this organization exists, above all, to honor the first peoples and the indigenous communities where so much of this wisdom originates. I was honored to join other members of the foundation for a two-week trip to the South American jungle to serve and learn from some of these tribal peoples, many of whose traditional ways face the threat of extinction as an effect of globalization. I witnessed the strength and resilience of people struggling through extreme poverty and food insecurity — and I witnessed the amazing work the Kana Samurai Foundation is doing on the frontlines in these communities to build lasting solutions.
Instead of blindly throwing money at the problem (or, worse yet, ignoring it), they engage in strategic work, informed by local stakeholders including elders and women, to undertake projects that have a strong, immediate and sustained impact on people’s lives. They provide access to health care, clean water and sanitation; they strengthen local foodsheds that have been disrupted by the modern highways constructed through the tribes’ traditional hunting and foraging territories; they create housing for elders and community gathering spaces; they support livelihoods for local artists, builders and healers; and they do all of this in a way that
empowers and uplifts the indigenous people and improves their long-term self-sufficiency. The foundation has deep credibility in these tribal communities, because they have been building authentic and mutually respectful relationships with them for over a decade, relating to them with reverence and a recognition that we are equals and that our collective liberation and our collective fate is intimately interconnected.
As I continue to heal, grow, and benefit from my time in the jungle and the work I’ve done with this community, my great hope is that the Kana Samurai Foundation will continue to attract support and build capacity — both to share these life-changing wisdom with people like me, and to continue doing powerful work on the ground to honor and support indigenous communities, whose ancient wisdom just might hold the key to our healing and enduring as a species. My wish is to see this foundation receive funding to realize its honorable vision of serving the tribes more powerfully. There is such great need for healing, both in these indigenous communities and in the modern world — and this foundation is working mightily to facilitate a cultural exchange that addresses these needs in both places at once. They help people in modern society heal from the illnesses of modernity and remember who we are — and in the spirit of reciprocity, they provide much-needed resources and support to these ancient people living in the cradle of wisdom who in many cases can’t afford food, clothes and medicine. Best of all, this work brings us all together in a way that is helping us find our common humanity and see new ways for us all to thrive as one big family. How many more lives can we change for the better?
Father, Author, Educator, Community Organizer