(BIVN) – More than 300 students from three Hawaiʻi Island schools gathered together ahead of Saturday’s community celebration of Edith Kanakaʻole at the University of Hawaiʻi at Hilo.
On Friday, the University of Hawai’i shared video from the workshop at Ka ʻUmeke Kāʻeo Hawaiian Language Immersion Public Charter School. Students from Ka ʻUmeke, Keaukaha Elementary, and Ke Ana Laʻahana Public Charter Schools participated.
“Just me being able to get out there and to hula for my grandmother to honor her in the ways of hula that are meant for her that really impacted me pretty hard today,” said Keao Killion, a student at Ka ʻUmeke Kāʻeo and a grandson of Edith Kanakaʻole. “Because of the fact that she left all these hulas, all of these dances, all of these songs, meles, not only for us to know but to pass on to our next generation and for us to teach, not for us to hold on to it or to let it die out.”
“Remembering Aunty Edith is something very important to our community of Keaukaha, because she’s done so much, not only for the whole world but especially for us individually,” commented Kaniaulono Hāpai, another Ka ʻUmeke Kāʻeo student. “And ‘E hō mai ka ʻike’ is a famous line of hers that means, ‘to instill all the knowledge into us,’ and that is something that should be spread to everyone, to always seek knowledge.”
The Saturday event at UH-Hilo compliments the release of a U.S. Mint American Women Quarters featuring Kanakaʻole, an iconic Hawaiian composer and kumu. Doors open to the public at 10 a.m., and the celebration runs through 12:30 p.m.
Kanakaʻole worked as a teacher at Hawaiʻi Community College from 1971 to 1974 and at UH Hilo from 1974 to 1979, where she “created courses and seminars on subjects including Hawaiian language, ethnobotany, Polynesian history, genealogy and Hawaiian chant and mythology,” the University says.
The University also says Kanakaʻole’s family recently established the Hale Kanakaʻole Fund with the UH Foundation. “The fund recognizes Kanakaʻole’s numerous contributions toward the promotion of Native Hawaiians’ educational pursuits, and provides support to students enrolled at any campus within the UH System with a preference for students of Native Hawaiian ancestry. Donations to the Hale Kanakaʻole Fund can be made via the UH Foundation.”