Posts Tagged ‘KUʻU ʻĀINA ALOHA’

One of the dominant threads I pay attention to is the role of the unseen in the realm of the physical.  Somehow, when I am with other Hawaiians that kicks into turbo.  After Meleanna Meyer’s invitation to an art installation event last Thursday arrived, part of the KUʻU ʻĀINA ALOHA project at Mark’s Garage, I lost no time inviting her to speak about it the following Friday on Think Tech Hawaii.


It was the perfect follow-up to the previous week’s talk with Jon Osorio about the Department of the Interior’s announcement.

The talk with Osorio was distressing in many ways.   The current flurry of activity in labyrinthine processes facing Native Hawaiians seeking restitution, in some as-yet-amorphous dominion, for the loss of Kingdom, kin and culture seem devilishly calculated to distraction from the primary work of personal healing.  How can we work effectively together on political solutions when so many of us are in abject pain, poverty and disease?

The most potent message from Meyer was that holistic healing needs to happen on a personal level, as a first priority. Meyer’s multidimensional project, with David H. Kalama Jr. as Co-creator,  has been a vehicle for her transition.  Suddenly it all made much more sense.

I left the Think Tech Hawaii studio and drove out to Camp Mokule’ia, where Mary and Jon Osorio and 65 other members of Calvary by the Sea Lutheran (ELCA) gathered for our annual weekend-long retreat. The same group of artists– Al Lagunero, Meleanna Meyer, Harinani Orme, Kahi Ching, Carl Pao & Solomon Enos  – who made the mural exhibited at Mark’s Garage, also painted  a couple of them on the campgrounds.  As the weekend unfolded, the presence of Meyer and her collaborators, through the murals, provided a vivid backdrop for our community strengthening programs of yoga, dance, history, art, worship, etc.  As I mentioned in the conversation with Meleanna, Where is the place for Native Hawaiians to gather and learn about our culture, history, without passing entrance exams based on foreign systems of education?  Where is our place as a community to grieve the horrific 90% depopulation of Hawaiian people through the unintended (smallpox, syphilis, measles, etc) genocide of the 19th century? Why not build a puʻuhonua  where we can bury the iwi with proper respect, teach ourselves and the children Hawaiian culture?

Like the Kuʻu ʻĀina Aloha Project, some of this is already happening, especially in the Hawaiian immersion schools, civic clubs, hālau for arts like hula, canoe clubs.  Perhaps the best example of healing through learning about culture is the work of the Polynesian Voyaging Society.  It’s not surprising one of its founders, Myron “Pinky” Thompson had a Masters in Social Work, and dedicated his life to healing what he called the Hawaiian Sickness, but today we would call generational trauma. PVS’s work is certainly not limited to the Hawaiian community, and has become a powerful model globally.


The Beauty of Mauna Kea by Keola Beamer, performed by J. Osorio, B. Kau, T. Sprowls at Camp Mokulēia from Kaui Lucas on Vimeo.

Between Jon and Meleanna, a cohesive picture is emerging, which I endeavor to share. In the meantime,  take the time to participate in the life of your community, whatever it is.  And if that isnʻt your cup of tea, you can always be on the support team for projects like Kuʻu ʻĀina Aloha and PVS’s Mālama Honua Worldwide Voyage, making it possible for this critical work to be done.


In process, the AHA ALOHA AINA MURAL


David H. Kalama, Jr. Managing Partner, Kuʻu ʻĀina Aloha


The artist team included, including Solomon Enos, standing left, Al Lagunero, Kahi Ching, Harinani Orme, (not in picture) Carl F.K. Pao, seated left, Meleanna Meyer seated right.


Meleanna Meyer and Joe McGinn at the Aloha ‘Āina Unity March. Some times healing means taking the issues to the streets.


Sketch for the mural.


Refection and discussion were vital parts of the collaborative process.

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