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Kealaokekoa, A Cultural Journey of Rediscovery and Self-Reliance for SUD Treatment

February 20 @ 1:00 pm - 2:00 pm HST

Event flier for Kealaokekoa

The ongoing project of colonial imperialism is dependent upon renouncing individual cultural and ethnic identity in favor of a monolithic belief in the US republic. As a nation with a history of violence and oppression against people of color, and the displacement and removal of Native peoples, it remains imperative for the US to retain control through forced assimilation to American cultural beliefs and norms of behavior. From laws banning Native languages in the 19th and 20th centuries, to race-based policies of citizenship exclusion, to forced medical sterilization of incarcerated populations, America continues to demonstrate its attitude towards these marginalized groups. This attitude permeates much of the US social welfare programming, including substance abuse treatment options. In this model of recovery, the only cultures that matter are the prevailing practices of American and Christian culture.

In this Presentation, you will be introduced to a Native Hawaiian approach to SUD treatment and recovery. Through this presentation you will learn the concepts, practices, and methods used in treating and possibly preventing SUD and addiction. You will learn the importance of utilizing a patient’s native culture and ethnicity along with utilizing certain western methods and concepts in addiction therapy. You will also learn how the Ke Ala O Kekoa curriculum can also be used in cross-cultural approaches.

What will you learn?

  • Understand the Native Hawaiian view on substance use and misuse.
  • Identify Hawaiian Healing practices utilized in substance abuse therapy.
  • Recognize when Traditional Healing practices are indicated and contraindicated.
  • Be able to implement simple Native Hawaiian practices into their own personal lives, no matter their culture or

Who should attend?

  • Addiction therapy professionals
  • Counselors
  • Medical providers
  • Cultural practitioners in healing

This event is brought to you in partnership with AANHPI ‘Ohana Center of Excellence and Papa Ola Lōkahi.

Completing this workshop LIVE offers social worker continuing education credits. Papa Ola Lokahi (NASWHI-CEP-13) has been designated an approved provider of social work continuing education contact hours by the National Association of Social Workers Hawai’i Chapter. The Papa Ola Lokahi maintains responsibility for the program.This program is also approved by the State of Hawaii Department of Health’s Alcohol and Drug Abuse Division (Approval# ADAD-24-060) for up to 1 contact hour(s). NOTE: Participants are responsible for submitting proof of attendance to their respective certification or licensing board. ʻOhana CoE & Papa Ola Lōkahi do not submit this information on behalf of training participants.

This event has passed. You can watch the replay on our YouTube, or here on the website.

Workshop Presenters

Makani Tabura was raised with three brothers by his mother and grandparents on their tiny family farm on the island of Lana‘i. From a young age, he was instilled with a deep understanding of the importance of culture, connection to higher power (Akua), the land (‘aina), and the people (Na Po‘e Kanaka).

During high school and college, Makani mentored and worked with at-risk youth at his mother’s youth center on Lana‘i, as well as with local and national organizations such as Na Pua No‘eau, Pacific American Foundation, and the Native Hawaiian Education Association. He shared his cultural knowledge and taught concepts of traditional cultural beliefs of health, wellness, and fitness.

Combining his grandmother’s teachings as a nurse and cultural practitioner, Makani’s studies in exercise science, hula, and health and wellness from Hawai‘i College of Health Sciences, Makani created cultural activities, programs, and curriculum for various hotels and resorts throughout Hawai‘i. He developed the first Hawaiian-based health and fitness programs for the Hilton Hawaiian Village, Hale Koa Hotel, and Sheraton Resorts.

Currently, Makani is the Director of Cultural Education and Activities and cultural practitioner at the Waianae Coast Comprehensive Health Center, specifically within Ho‘okūola Hale and Mālama Recovery Services. He is also the Po‘o (director) of the Kako‘o Council at the Kalaniho‘okaha Traditional Hawaiian Healing Center. Makani has developed a successful, culturally-based addiction recovery curriculum, and he prides himself on ensuring that everything he does personally and professionally is culturally-based and balanced with traditional knowledge and Western practices.

Makani’s primary responsibility, gifted to him by his Kupuna (ancestors), is to preserve, perpetuate, and practice traditional Native health, wellness, and healing to improve the lives of his family and community.

Niki Wright, PsyD, CSAC, ICADC, CCS, CPS, CSOTP is a Director at the Waianae Coast Comprehensive Health Center, overseeing both the Mālama Recovery Services’ intensive outpatient substance use disorder treatment program and the Ho ̔okūola Hale’s integrated chronic pain management department. She is licensed as a clinical psychologist and certified as a substance abuse counselor in the State of Hawai ̔i and has made it her mission to reduce the negative social stigma surrounding mental illness, particularly SUD, and to break down the barriers that prevent individuals from accessing the care they need, particularly in medically underserved communities.

Dr. Wright’s professional interests are focused on health psychology and working with diverse and marginalized populations, including chronic pain management, trauma, systems, and women’s health. She is also the Chief Behavioral Health O cer at the Wahiawā Center for Community Health, co-founder of IMUA Health Group, and clinical psychologist for the State of Hawai‘i’s Department of Education. Dr. Wright has previously taught in the Rehabilitation Counseling Master’s degree program at the University of Hawai ̔i at Mānoa under the Department of Kinesiology.

In her personal life, Dr. Wright is a National Health Service Corps Ambassador, committed to improving access to primary care in under-served areas of the United States. Through her impressive work andvunwavering commitment to improving mental health and well-being, Dr. Wright has made a significant impact on the mental health and well-being of her patients and communities, and continues to be a leading voice in her field.


February 20
1:00 pm - 2:00 pm HST
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