Honoring the Past

By Melissa Kelsey

At the annual festival to honor the beloved Prince Jonah Kuhio Kalanianaole, Aunty Ku`ulei, Aunty Dora, and DJ Pelekai of the music group Ohana Hoaloha performed in front of his portrait at Kiowea Park last Saturday. The event, sponsored by Ahupua`a O Molokai, was a rich celebration of Hawaiian cultural traditions. Attendees feasted on ono grinds, including lau lau plates and fresh lemonade.

Prince Kuhio is important to the people of Molokai because of his sacrificial act of giving up his Hawaiian citizenship so that he could legally become a delegate to Congress, according to Louise Bush, President of Ahupua`a O Molokai. In this government role, Prince Kuhio advocated for the Hawaiian Homes Commission Act. As a result of his influence, Congress passed the act in 1920, providing homesteads for native Hawaiians.

“It is important for us to gather to honor this great man who did so much for Molokai,” said event attendee and Hawaiian homesteader Opu`ulani Albino. “We take care of our traditions and history, our kupuna.”

Officially, Prince Kuhio Day was last Thursday, March 26, two days before the festival. Many businesses throughout Molokai were closed in observation of the holiday.

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