By Sharon Ehia
Na wai ke kama ʻo ʻoe (whose child are you)? No hea mai ʻoe (what place claims you)?
These provocative questions are displayed alongside a powerful mural of trauma and healing by Meleana Meyer. Due to our history of colonial oppression, Hawaiians may have experienced cultural disconnection. Liliʻuokalani Trust’s strategic vision aims to provide transformational programs to our Queen’s beneficiaries that promote cultural connections, ancestral abundance, and nā kamalei lupalupa (thriving children).
Hekili, Alaula, Naupaka (HAN) is one such LT program. Hekili (passion, thunder, rage), Alaula (glow of early dawn or sunset), and Naupaka (two spirits) honor the essence (mana) of kāne, wāhine and māhū. The program kahua (foundation) honors ancestral wisdom that affirms the significance of all roles. Ancestral rituals help Kānaka create a mau a mau continuum (e.g., past, present, future).
Hale Mua is space for male learning of rites of passage and skills mastery through mentoring. Hale mua is a place for kāne to heal, be heard, strengthen resolve, re-experience masculine essence, and lift up Kānaka cultural consciousness. Young males without positive male role models yearn to find a replacement – which may be one from the “streets.” Positive male mentorship fills this void by promoting healthy practices for young kāne to positively contribute to the community.
Hale Peʻa is a space celebrating the sacredness of wāhine and their pivotal role in the community. Inspired by stories about Queen Liliʻuokalani and her leadership, HAN de-stigmatizes feminine power and affirms the vital role of mana wāhine in perpetuation of moʻokūʻauhau through the birth of new generations.
HAN acknowledges and embraces māhū (two spirits). Historically, māhū were the fabric of our society. They were our healers, practitioners, and our kiaʻi (protectors) when the kāne were away. Māhū could traverse both spaces, this is what made them special. Māhū were never segregated, they lived in both spaces. HAN honors māhū for their gifts.
Through LT programs like HAN, our kamaliʻi honor their ancestral lineage with grace and dignity by knowing the answers to “na wai ke kama ʻo ʻoe?” and “no hea mai ʻoe?”
We hold equitable space for the acknowledgement and kuleana to self, family, and community. We promote nohona Hawaiʻi, the value of relationships, and the importance of our Queen’s culture. A recent HAN participant shared, “It’s important to have a group like this that’s full of knowledge and experience that enriches our legacy.”
Email Sehia@onipaa.org if you are interested in learning more about Hekili, Alaula, and Naupaka programs.
Sharon Ehia is guided by three mana wāhine: Lilia Malaea Nawaiekolu Wahapaa Makaiki, Racheal Lahela Kahaamaikai Aana, and Ohiawahineokalani Ahnin. Nā kūpuna with ancestral lineage from Makaweli Kauaʻi and the island of Maui. For the past 20 years, Sharon has committed to the work of our Mōʻī Wahine, Queen Liliʻuokalani. Sharon has a master’s degree in social work from the University of Hawaiʻi. Her passion and commitment are for the wellbeing and self-determination of Native Hawaiian kamaliʻi, ʻohana, and community.