Hawaiian Culture

Hawaiian culture stories from Molokai

Lei in Remembrance

Thursday, July 10th, 2014

Lei in Remembrance

With colorful lei draped carefully over each arm, volunteers set out across the gently sloping Papaloa cemetery in Kalaupapa last week with the goal of honoring and remembering each and every kupuna buried on the peninsula.

Pausing briefly at each marker to lay a hand or say a quiet prayer, the group quietly made their way through the acres of headstones, lovingly leaving a lei at each one.

The Makanalua peninsula, commonly known as Kalaupapa, serves as the final resting place for thousands of Hansen’s disease patients who were once banished there.

After more than a century of being exiled to the peninsula, patients were given the freedom to leave Kalaupapa on June 30, 1969, when Hawaii Revised Statute 326 lifted the ban on their isolation.…

Sharing Lomi Aloha

Thursday, July 3rd, 2014

Sharing Lomi Aloha

The Molokai residents who visited the shaded grounds by Keawanui Fishpond last weekend likely left more relaxed than they arrived. That’s because 15 licensed lomi lomi massage therapists and apprentices performed more than 125 hours of Hawaiian massage treatments free of charge to about 100 community members Friday and Saturday.

Under the breezy shade of blooming tress and the soothing sound of buzzing bees, dozens of Molokai community members were treated to 50-minute treatments. The healing massage therapy was made possible by Ho`omana Spa Maui, which facilitated the visit of the therapists.

“We’re all here to aloha everyone and part of the lomi lifestyle is about giving back,” said Jeana Iwalani Naluai, spa owner and international instructor of lomi lomi massage.…

Fishing as a Family

Thursday, July 3rd, 2014

Fishing as a Family

Two weeks ago, more than half a dozen families gathered at Mo`omomi for four days of camping, pono fishing, generational learning and most of all, inspiring `ohana to malama `aina.

In its second year held on Molokai’s north shore coastline, `Ohana Lawai`a camp offered an opportunity for family learning of traditional fishing practices and protocol, along with lessons in history, culture and biology. Under the guidance of traditional resource manager and educator Mac Poepoe and other kupuna, the experience offered a unique learning experience for young and old. To participate, families were asked to bring at least two generations of attendees.…

OHA Trustees Talk Nation Building

Thursday, June 26th, 2014

A standing-room-only crowd gathered at Kulana Oiwi on Wednesday evening, as Trustees from the Office of Hawaiian Affairs (OHA) gathered concerns and highlighted efforts to improve conditions within Hawaiian communities.

During the meeting, the Board of Trustees heard testimony relating to community concerns, beneficiary achievements, Hawaiian Home Lands and issues relating to federal recognition of Native Hawaiians.

Government-to-Government Relationship?

In response to requests from the Native Hawaiian community, the U.S. Department of Interior (DOI) announced last week that it is moving forward on a rule-making process for re-establishing a government-to-government relationship with Native Hawaiians.

“The vision of the OHA is to rebuild and establish a beloved Native Hawaiian nation that is recognized nationally and internationally,” said OHA CEO Kamana`opono Crabbe.…

Summer School Immerses Students in Language and Culture

Wednesday, June 25th, 2014

Summer School Immerses Students in Language and Culture

If you visited Ali`i Fishpond last week, you would have found a group of students twisting ti leaf lei using their toes as anchors, speaking to each other quietly in `Olelo Hawaii under the branches of a hala tree. Meanwhile, another group of students learned lomi massage techniques, while seated beneath the shade of the hale overlooking the fishpond, giving each other treatments.

This was the third annual Kula Kaiapuni Kauwela summer school, a Hawaiian immersion program for one month in June and July. This year, for the first time, students spent one week at Ali`i Fishpond as part of the program.…

OHA Trustees to Hold Meetings On Molokai

Thursday, June 12th, 2014

OHA News Release

Native Hawaiians on Molokai will get an opportunity to provide feedback to the Office of Hawaiian Affairs (OHA) at a community forum as well as a regular meeting scheduled by the Board of Trustees.

The community meeting is designed for OHA officials to listen to concerns and highlight efforts to improve conditions within Hawaiian communities. Both meetings are open to the public. Here are the specifics:

Community Meeting
Wednesday, June 18, 2014
6:30 p.m.
Kulana `Oiwi Halau

OHA Board of Trustees Meeting
Thursday, June 19, 2014
9 a.m.
Kulana `Oiwi Halau

For more information, visit oha.org, or call OHA’s office on Molokai at (808) 560-3611.…

Protecting the Irreplaceable

Wednesday, May 28th, 2014

Hawaii has a rich history, which means the state has a wide range of historic places that should be preserved, conserved and protected. Molokai is leading the way in historic preservation, according to Kiersten Faulkner, executive director of nonprofit Historic Hawaii Foundation (HHF).

“Molokai has set the standard and set the bar high on preserving active cultural sites, such as the fishponds restoration,” said  Faulkner, who came to Molokai May 17 to hold a seminar on historic preservation. “Molokai has been fierce advocates for a sense of place. The rest of the state is way behind Molokai.”

About 15 Molokai residents and HHF representatives met at Kulana `Oiwi to discuss the importance of preserving historic resources on Molokai.…

2014 May Day Highlights

Wednesday, May 21st, 2014

2014 May Day Highlights

Each year, schools around the island celebrate May Day, known as Lei Day in Hawaii. Students at each school are selected for the royal court to represent every island, and perform songs and dances for family and friends. Here, we represent each celebration that’s taken place over the past three weeks.…

Dancing with the Winds: Ka Hula Piko 2014

Wednesday, May 7th, 2014

Dancing with the Winds: Ka Hula Piko 2014

Ancient Hawaiians used winds to recognize and heed messages of warning, blessings and things to come. The 23rd annual Ka Hula Piko festival brought the Molokai community, along with visitors from around the world, together to celebrate hula traditions and how Hawaiians today are connected to kupuna of the past through the elements.

“The wind and the elements are so important in our lives and our ancestors made connections to them…that taught us to mind the protocol and be aware of these elements when they are in action,” said Elsie Ryder, ho`opa`a, or chanter, of Halau Hula O Kukunaokala. “Our ancestors and Ke Akua communicate with us through the elements.”

This year’s theme for the event was “Ku I Ke Kiu,” honoring the northwestern Kiu wind, or scout wind, that welcomed travelers to Pu`u Nana, the birthplace of hula, in the ancient days.…

Kawela Moku: Reviving the Aha Moku System

Thursday, May 1st, 2014

Community Contributed

Opinion by Kawika Duvauchelle, Kanoelani Davis, and Hawaiiloa Mowat

The Kawela Moku lies roughly between Kalamaula to Kamalo.  It is rich in natural resources, from stunning waterfalls in the mountains to countless loko ia along its shoreline and from the many culturally significant sites that are scared to Hawaiians to one of the largest fringing reefs in the state.  The Kawela Moku is the source of water for many families on Molokai and provides us with fish from the ocean and pig and deer from the mountains.  Our hope is that these gifts will last for many, many generations.…