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Exploring Cultural Identity: Essays

‘Aha Kūpuna 2010
Held in the 3rd week of June 2010, the ‘Aha Kūpuna was formulated to bridge the generation gap between kūpuna and ‘ōpio, create intergenerational learning opportunities, identify cultural sites in Wai‘anae, identify cultural issues, create cultural expression using mele, and develop interest in ahupua‘a research.

‘Āina Ulu ‘o Honokāne
Our efforts to connect our people to these resources in support of their educational development and well-being result in the ‘Āina Ulu programs that have grown at a phenomenal pace since their inception in 2000.

Canonizing the Ko‘ihonua
If anything is to survive as more than a novelty, it must not be learned about, but learned, and practiced, in and for itself.

E Ola Mau nā Kūpuna i Loko o Kākou
The field of archaeology in Hawaiʻi has been a source of turmoil since its inception in the islands.

Echoing Wahi Kūpuna
Wahi kūpuna often make profound statements on their own—echoes from the actions of kūpuna kahiko.

Eddie’s Book of Epiphanies: Hawaiian Son, The Life and Music of Eddie Kamae
Eddie Kamae, however, belongs to a generation for whom talk-story is an art form characterized by the same dignity, delight, and intellectual rigor as that of haku mele, of song writing.

Finding Your Roots
Although genealogy websites are growing at a rapid pace, you may discover that not all the information you need is available on the web.

Game Show
Poetry by Kikolani Martinez, 2006

Haku Mele Nominees, Nā Hōkū Hanohano 2004
First given in 1980 to Dennis Kamakahi for “He Hihiwai” by way of a voting process open to all members of the Hawaiian Academy of Recording Artists, the Hōkū Haku Mele award has since evolved into a committee award. The winner and four finalists are selected by a panel of Hawaiian language savants: teachers, scholars, musicians, and—frequently—past Haku Mele winners.

Hawaiian Railway Society
Every Sunday, the sound of the train horn can be heard through the plains of Kaupe‘a, Kapolei.

He Mele Aloha, A Hawaiian Songbook
He Mele Aloha is a substantial, well-conceived songbook whose mission is nothing less than the return of kanikapila to its grassroots origins.

Ho‘i Hou i ke Ehu
It is all of our kuleana, our responsibility, as Pauahi-embraced native Hawaiians, to give back to the generations that follow us.

Holunape – He ‘Olu
Holunape. It means "swaying, resilient," as in ka holunape o ka lau o ka niu, the gentle swaying of palm fronds. It fits both their music and group identity.

Hui o nā Mākua Ho‘okahi o Kaua‘i
Marilyn Mohler, founder and executive director of Hui o Nā Mākua Ho‘okahi o Kaua‘i – Single Parents of Kaua‘i, has been described as a "one-woman, customized, social-service agency."

Hula Pahu Revisited
Tatar’s research esoterically invites the native Hawaiian scholar to challenge other viewpoints from the Hawaiian perspective.

I Maui Aku Nei Au
The most important aspect of hula is the story that goes with it.

Is This Real?
Poetry by Le‘a Ka‘aha‘aina, 2006

Ka Hana No‘eau Hulu Manu
Although many other Polynesian cultures utilized feathers in their artifacts, Native Hawaiians were unrivaled in our expertise at feather artistry.

Ka‘ili Chun – Nāu ka Wae
This exhibit, Kaʻili Chun’s "Nāu Ka Wae," gives back my words, hope, and hands. Kaʻili has made, in the old way, sacredness out of the ordinary. Sacredness out of rock, wood, water, salt.

Kamehameha Schools Revitalizes one of Waikīkī’s Landmarks
When we celebrate the name and the history of a place and the people who thrived there long before development vastly altered its face, we perform a subtle act of kū‘ē, of standing against a tide of change and loss.

Ke Aloha ‘Āina; He Aha Ia?
ʻO ke aloha ʻāina, ʻo ia ka ʻume māgēneti i loko o ka puʻuwai o ka lāhui, e kāohi ana i ka noho kūʻokoʻa lanakila ʻana o kona one hānau ponoʻī. That which we call aloha ‘āina is the magnetic pull in the heart of the patriot which compels the sovereign existence of the land of his birth.

Keepers of the Flame
Eddie Kamae’s work can be characterized as a subtle but unrelenting counter-revolution of "we need to remember."

Language Builds Identity and Perpetuates Culture
If the mother tongue of a people were to disappear, so too would those people disappear.

Legend of Kaululā‘au
We are no longer an audience in a theater. We are a family in our own parlor, in our own back yard, on tūtū wahine’s own moena lauhala. We have just shared a story of our own kūpuna, and it makes us proud, very proud, of who we are.

Lena Machado, Songbird of Hawai‘i
Lena Machado is, without question, Hawai‘i’s finest female singer-composer of the last century, maybe of all time.

Linda Dela Cruz, Hawai‘i’s Canary
Linda does the same, I suspect, for many of us in-betweener Hawaiians: she brings us home from wherever and whatever.

Lonoikamakahiki: Celebrating the Season
Explore this collection of articles to learn more about how Makahiki was observed in ancient times and why it remains significant in our Hawaiian world today.

Mai Poina: Hawai‘i Honors the Life of Queen Lili‘uokalani
Liliʻu maintained a personal directive of peaceful resistance, believing in God, and trusting that the political process would return the sovereignty of the Hawaiian Kingdom. To this day, Liliʻu remains an enduring symbol of hope for her people.

Makahiki: A Change of Season
Makahiki provided a venue for makaʻāinana to present their best works and perform feats of athleticism before their akua and aliʻi.

Makahiki: A Season of Giving and Growing
During the time of Makahiki, there was great emphasis placed on the importance of ho‘okupu and ‘auhau.

Makahiki: An Overview
The rising of Makaliʻi (the constellation Pleiades) at sunset marks the beginning of the Hawaiian new year, known as Makahiki.

Makahiki: Kōnane - Simple Board Game or Battle Simulator?
Kōnane is about options—to be the only one with a move left, to be the one with options.

Makahiki: Let the Games Begin
Although they may appear to be frivolous fun, "Makahiki games," are well-designed exercises that develop physical, mental, and spiritual strength.

Makahiki: The Rise of Makali‘i Marks a Hawaiian New Year
Makaliʻi is known throughout the world by different names and plays an important role in marking the passage of time for many of the world’s cultures.

Massie/Kahahawai – Native Degeneracy Revisited
Kumu Kahua’s production of Massie/Kahahawai is not at all pleasant to sit through. It shouldn’t be. Its excesses of choreography, posture, delivery, didacticism, and stage business drive home, in often painful fashion, the need for a disconnect between the play and reality, between racism and humanity.

May the Hawaiian Language Live Forever
I realize that in Hawai‘i we have lost a lot, but it is not too late to save our language.

Mele Killers
But even more important in my claim to the depth and power of that ‘ōlelo—language, speech, discussion, writing, storytelling, orating, history-making—is the unbreakable connection between language and identity that words, stories, songs, and histories continually forge and reform.

Mī Nei Considerations
The original is handwritten and unsigned, but the neat script, careful diction, and early mention of "my husband . . . Pukui" identifies it incontrovertibly as belonging to the sharp pencil and subtle wit of Mary Kawena Pukui.

Moloka‘i
The book Molokaʻi takes us on a journey of sadness, love, regret, hope, and despair.

Nā ‘Eha o Kaho‘olawe
Poetry by Kapono Chang

Nā Lei Makamae, The Treasured Lei
The confluence, in Nā Lei Makamae, of lei, text, mele, place, and image is often so powerful that it brings us to tears.

Nā Mele ‘Ohana, Featuring Vickie Ii and her Family
Aunty Vickie’s gift of mele has served as source and inspiration for many of the "classic" recordings of the last half-century.

Nā Wahi Kapu o Maui
Kapulani Landgraf’s photographs are of Maui’s storied places; her poems are inspired by those same places.

Nā Mele ‘Ohana, by Kaha‘i Topolinski
The faithful keeping of family mele or chants, with the accompanying dances, is one significant ancient custom still practiced by a few Hawaiian families.

Nāwahī’s Work Continues To Inspire
Joseph Kahoʻoluhi Nāwahīokalaniʻōpuʻu is a nineteenth century Native Hawaiian educator, lawyer, legislator, and publisher, known for his undying and fierce loyalty to Lili‘uokalani, her people, and the Kingdom of Hawaiʻi.

Noho Pono i ka Ihu – Tips from a Hawaiian Language Judge
What follows below constitutes a top-ten list of tips for ‘ōlelo improvement. These won’t guarantee a victory in the competition, but they should help to raise the integrity and quality of all that is voiced by our po‘e hula.

Oh, You Sweet Thing
"Ho‘ohaehae" belongs to that rare category of song that has the power to evoke my most cherished childhood memories—in my mind, the faint buzz of an AM radio station will forever be associated with what real Hawaiian music sounds like.

‘Ōlelo Hawai‘i Experiences Resurgence and Growth
Sparked by the Hawaiian renaissance of the 1970s and by the Hawaiian language immersion education movement of the 1980s, ʻōlelo Hawaiʻi is slowly being recognized in the wider community as an important part of life here in Hawaiʻi.

Pa‘ahana – Soft Breezes
Those of us who treasure the unamplified Hawaiian music of our nahenahe past will find much to be thankful for in Pa‘ahana’s Soft Breezes.

Pacific Experiences: Finding Justice for the Māori People
Hoturoa Barclay-Kerr plans to lead another generation of Māori into adulthood with a better understanding of their history and future.

Pacific Experiences: Native Acting, and Life in Rotuma, Fiji
Sapeta Taito, a 17-year-old from the island of Rotuma, plays the lead role in one of the most talked about films at the 2004 Sundance Film Festival.

Pacific Experiences: Native Art and Evolution
Lyonel Grant, Māori carver, sculptor, and designer, was an artist in residence for over two months at the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa.

Pacific Experiences: Native Carving, Canoe Making, and Life in Huahine
Marirai "Freddy" Tauotaha, son of Puaniho Tauotaha, is a master canoe carver and paddler of international renown.

Pacific Experiences: Native Dance, Performance, and Education
Ngaria and Tony Walker use kapa haka as an incentive to push their students in school academics.

Pacific Experiences: Native Filmmaking
Rawiri Paratene, a Māori actor acclaimed for his role in the Whale Rider, discusses the movie and various cultural themes featured therein.

Pacific Experiences: Native Playwriting
Hone Kouka, the pōtiki of a large whānau, has ancestral ties to Ngāti Porou, Ngāti Kahungunu, and Ngāti Raukawa.

Pacific Experiences: Tourism, and the Intersection of Native Business & Culture
Andrew Te Whaiti talks about some of his experiences as CEO of Te Puia, an institution dedicated to preserving and fostering Māori culture, crafts, and arts.

Paepae o He‘eia
Formed in 2001, Paepae ‘o He‘eia works to coordinate educational activities at ka loko i‘a ‘o He‘eia through an agreement with ‘Āina ‘Ulu of Kamehameha Schools. Their mission is to implement values and concepts from the model of a traditional loko i‘a to provide physical, intellectual, and spiritual sustenance for the community.

Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument
Hawaiians are genealogically related to the ecosystems, the plants and animals, and the islands themselves.

Pehea nā Maka?
Artwork by Tiana Kuni, 2006

Pō Kāne: When Spirits Haunt the Night
Stories and sayings proclaim that on pō Kāne, “ke māʻau nei nā ʻeʻepa o ka pō,” that the strange and wondrous creatures of the night are out and about.

Ruth Ke‘elikōlani
Keʻelikōlani was a believer in her people and fought for the rights of Hawaiians and our traditional way of life.

Supression of Hawaiian Culture at Kamehameha Schools
One of the first orders William Oleson gave at Kamehameha was to ban the Hawaiian language.

Te Reo Kotahitanga (The Voice of Unity): Cultural Conflict, Native Identity, and Unity in Māori Literature
Colonialism often robs the colonized of valued possessions; political power, social prowess, land, and livelihood are only a few of them.

The Altar of an Expert
"No matter how much we know, we know very little." The true masters were our kūpuna, "fabulous and creative" individuals who made their discipline their life.

The Boy Who Tricked the Ghosts
The visual appeal of Ellie Crowe’s The Boy Who Tricked the Ghosts and the book’s seeming authenticity as a retelling of the legend of Kaululā‘au make for a fine-looking sugar mill, but its machinery, although hardly absent, is that of a confectionery geared to spinning cotton candy out of native sugar cane.

The Hula Dancer as Actor: Characterization, Visualization, and Emotion
A contemporary performance of hula combines dance and chant or song to tell stories, recount histories and provide entertainment for its audience.

The Land Has Eyes
Vilsoni Hereniko’s "film for Rotuma" is every bit as important as Once Were Warriors and Whale Rider. Maybe more so.

The Little Makana
"The Little Makana" is a story about a baby, still in his mother’s womb, who explores the world through the sounds he hears.

Then There Were None
The book was created because of a “lack” of other literary works of the same nature—stories about the heartache and triumph of the Hawaiian people.

WCC Commits to Progress for Hawaiian Cultural Education
By partnering in events such as ʻAha Wāhine, ʻAha Kāne, Lā Kūkahekahe, and offering a new Associate Degree with a focus on Hawaiian Studies, Windward Community College (WCC) is striving to provide access to culture-based education for more of the students they serve.

Wedding Music Police
If we believe that our ‘ōlelo still retains the power of ola and make, then we must also believe that our choice of wedding songs will have an impact on the strength of the bonds that hold a couple together.

Welo ka Hae Hawai‘i
It is late, dark, and cold when our bus finally pulls into the gravel lot at the village of Poindimie, New Caledonia.

Whale Rider – Why Read It
It unfolds in Māori fashion. Time is less lineal. Words are more powerful. There is room for poetry, oratory, and the coming-to-fruition of an ancient prayer.