Nānā I Ke Kumu, Helu ʻEkolu: Look to the Source


Liliʻuokalani Trust (LT) believes every Hawaiian child has the inherent right to live an abundant and culturally informed life which is poetically captured in our Strategic Plan’s vision, e nā kamalei lupalupa, or thriving Hawaiian children.

To illuminate the vibrant culture of the Hawaiian people, LT published Nānā I Ke Kumu, Helu ʻEkolu or volume III in October 2020 with Hawaiian authors, Lynette and Likeke Pagalinawan, Dennis Kauahi, and Valli Kalei Kanuha. The book brings forward into modern consciousness the Hawaiian prayers and practices of our kūpuna, “as cultural handles for families to use to deal with Hawaiian problems” a saying of which Aunty Lynette and Uncle Likeke Paglinawan often remind us.

For four years, the authors met monthly with LT staff to discuss the cultural issues and solutions they were experiencing while working with beneficiary ʻohana throughout the pae ʻāina. Over time, the types of cultural issues brought to the authors shaped the focus of the chapters of Nānā I Ke Kumu, Helu ʻEkolu.

ʻEkolu or volume III does not stand alone. It is part of a series first published in the 1970s with authors such as Mary Kawena Pukuʻi, Dr. E.W. Haertig, and Catherine Lee. Intended to bring forward traditional cultural knowledge and practices to help our Hawaiian people, in retrospect ʻEkahi and ʻElua (volumes I and II) achieved much more. They were part of a larger social movement in the Hawaiian community toward ea, or self-determination.

In the 1970s as well as today, many healing therapies offered to ʻohana are based on Euro-American values and principles. While they are helpful to many, the worth and utility of Hawaiian cultural healing practices, such as hoʻoponopono, are of equal, if not more valuable, in dealing with ʻohana issues within a Hawaiian context.

In ʻEkolu, for the first time the volumes contain original artwork. Poet, artist and activist Imaikalani Kalahele created one-of-a-kind images and poetry. Like an art gallery, his pieces are curated from cover to cover.

A Gift to the gods is a gift to man

Illustration: Hawaiian Offering

Nānā I Ke Kumu, Look to the Source. Our kūpuna knew Hawaiian ways of being, doing, and knowing are curative. LT believes this and ensures every LT program and service that touches the lives of our kamaliʻi is culturally resonant to promote nā kamalei lupalupa.

In the next two issues of Ka Wai Ola, LT spotlights Alaula, Hekili, and Naupaka, a cultural group for keikikāne, kaikamahine, and māhū (November) and the practice of Hoʻopono (December).