See and hear:

“Tona Ina, the Yoruba ‘sea light’: Community Arcaeomythology in Costa Rica’s Southern Caribbean by María Suárez Toro and guests: MSc Aaniyah Martin from South Africa and Dr. Joan Marley from the United States.

 “Citizenship science” off the Southern coast of Costa Rica

                                                         3pm Eastern Time on June 27, 2023

TONA INA (“Sea Light” in Yoruba), is a contemporary African, matriarchal, archetype, created in 2015, in order to tell stories about connections between the waters of Costa Rica’s Caribbean coast and “the deepest roots of identity, ancestral knowledge, and interactive symbiosis of our species as nature.” As the ancestral storyteller, she brings forth hidden historical facts about slavery and predatory patriarchal practices. Tona Ina also speaks for the women, giving voice to their tenacity as the “vital reserves” of our species; it is the women whose holistic thinking supports alternative paradigms such as the maternal gift economy.

African descendants and Bribri/Cabécar native pobladoras claim to see a light in the darkest nights in Punta Cahuita in the Cahuita National Park. In the sea waters near that Point, Afro-descendant and native scuba diving youth are researching two shipwrecks that may have been slave ships. This underwater archaeology project is recovering the history of the place and its people, as well as encouraging divers researching their own identities. By adding the perspective of archaeomythology, we can reclaim myths that are born through the interaction between ancient knowledge and memory, and also highlight present day responses from community members.

Author Dr. María Suárez Toro is member of Centro Comunitario de Buceo Ambassadors of the Sea, director of Escribana feminist media, member of the Maternal Gift Economy Network, Diverse Women for Diversity, the Association of Women Writers in Costa Rica and now of the Association of Women and Mythology.  Maria is the author of many books, the latest two being “Tona Ina: La Misteriosa Cueva de un Pez León en Cahuita” and “Tona Ina: La Luz en el Mar Caribe”, both published by the University of Costa Rica in 2017 and 2021.

Maria’s discussion included remarks from  MSc Aaniyah Martin from South Africa and Dr. Joan Marley from the United States to explore the significance of creating a present day ancestral storyteller.





Kirsten D’Agostaro– Zoom tech/scheduling

Erin Huey –Zoom tech/recording

Sarah Chandler–FB Live interviewer

Suzanne Roupas–Zoom scheduling

Monice Mody– Moderator