General > Frauds

Huna, Ho'oponopono, and other fake "Hawaiian" teachings

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Pono Aloha:
According to an article in the peer-reviewed Hawaiian Journal of History, Huna is a Hawaiian word adopted in 1935 by an American named Max Freedom Long to describe his esoteric, metaphysical self-help philosophy. Though he said he was revealing the secrets of ancient kahuna (experts), he admitted he never met one. Long wrote that he obtained many of his case studies and his ideas about what to look for in kahuna magic from the Director of the Bishop Museum in Honolulu, William Brigham. There is no credible evidence that the two men met. Even if they did, Brigham was not an expert on kahunas and did not document in his own writings any of the incidents Long ascribed to him. In his letters and manuscripts, Brigham stated that Hawaiians were "an inferior race," and implied they were lazy. He referred to Queen Lili'uokalani as a "she devil," "squaw," and "nigger.” (Chai, Makana Risser. "Huna, Max Freedom Long, and the Idealization of William Brigham," The Hawaiian Journal of History, Vol. 45 (2011) pp. 101-121)

Native Hawaiian scholar Charles Kenn, a Living Treasure of Hawai'i recognized in the Hawaiian community as a kahuna and expert in Hawaiian history and traditions, (Stone, Scott S.C. (2000). Living Treasures of Hawaii, pp. 24) was friendly with Max Freedom Long but said, “While this Huna study is an interesting study, … it is not, and never was Hawaiian.” (Lee, Pali Jae (1999). Ho`opono. p. 56)

Hawaiian author Pali Jae Lee, a research librarian at the Bishop Museum, and author of the classic, Tales from the Night Rainbow, conducted extensive research on Max Freedom Long and Huna. She concluded, based on her interviews with Hawaiian elders, "Huna is not Hawaiian." Lee cites Theodore Kelsey, a Living Treasure of Hawai'i renowned for his work as a Hawaiian translator who wrote a letter to Long in 1936 (now in the Hawai'i State Archives) criticizing his use of the terms "unihipili" and "aumakua.” (Lee, Pali Jae (2007). Ho`opono - Revised Edition: The Hawaiian Way to Put Things Back in Balance. pp. 89–93)

Professor Lisa Kahaleole Hall, Ph.D., writes in a peer-reviewed journal that Huna "bears absolutely no resemblance to any Hawaiian worldview or spiritual practice" and calls it part of the "New Age spiritual industry.” ("'Hawaiian at Heart' and Other Fictions," The Contemporary Pacific, Volume 17, Number 2, 404-413, 2005 by University of Hawai'i Press, http://scholarspace.manoa.hawaii.edu/bitstream/handle0125/13881/v17n2-404-413-dialogue2.pdf?sequence=1 )

Huna books are "examples of cultural appropriation." (Chai, p. 102)

Pono Aloha:
Besides Max Freedom Long, authors whose books include at least some Huna concepts include: Serge King, Ihaleakala Hew Len - Joe Vitale, Pila ("of Hawaii") Chiles, Hank Wesselman – Hale Makua, Rima Morrell, Enid Hoffman, Harry Uhane Jim, Charlotte Berney, Tad James, Matthew James, Laura Kealoha Yardley, James Vinson Wingo, Clark Wilkerson, Sergio Serrano, and more.

Pono Aloha:
For books on authentic Hawaiian tradition, see the resources here http://www.newagefraud.org/smf/index.php?topic=773.0

Defend the Sacred:
In 1984 there was a man who led "Huna" things at a Medicine Wheel Gathering (Vincent LaDuke / "Sun Bear"s thing) in New York State. I can't recall his name. He was brown, and very charming, and claimed to be Native Hawaiian. There was nothing to flag him as obviously *not* Hawaiian but, like the other non-Hawaiians there, I didn't know enough about Hawaiians at that time to know.  Like many other frauds and sellouts at the "Bear Tribe" events, he gave the non-Native consumers the illusion they were buying access to "authentic teachings".  I'm certain some of the misinformation about Huna that spread through those pretendian and neopagan communities came from him. Victor Anderson's "Feri Tradition" (basically Wiccan) contains some things from Huna (the "three selves" and such). Anderson claimed his tradition was older than Wicca (as so many do), but I think he took a lot of material from Max Freedom Long's books.  Then again, maybe that claim is true, as Long published in the 1930s and Wicca was founded in the 1940s ;)

Pono Aloha:
Yes, Anderson did "teach" Huna. Unfortunately, due to the loss of culture through Western imperialism including Huna, some native Hawaiians believe Huna is Hawaiian. Sad.

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