Performances will be held at the Celebration of Arts.
Maui forum to raise voices of Hawaiians
Hawaiians, long silent on key issues that involved them, such as blood quantum laws and spiritual rights and practices, have found their voice in recent years.
"I began to see through e-mails, television news, newspaper editorials and radio comments that our people were sticking their necks out further in terms of being opinionated," said Clifford Naeole, cultural adviser for the Ritz-Carlton, Kapalua, on Maui, which reopened in January following a six-month, $160 million transformation.
"Hawaiians have been and continue to be divided on many matters that will affect our future. The common ground is that we are now speaking up in greater numbers, regardless of which side of an issue we support."
This realization made it easy for Naeole to select the theme for the resort's 16th annual Celebration of the Arts from March 21 to 23: "Ka Mana Leo, The Power of the Voice."
Activities at the Celebration of the Arts include traditional stone carving.
Naeole was instrumental in launching what has become Hawaii's premier arts and cultural event, and has served as its chairman for the past 11 years. In developing this year's program, which, as usual, showcases a stellar slate of artisans, cultural practitioners, workshops, films, food and music, he wanted to demonstrate that "our people are concerned and that their voices, in whatever manner they choose to utilize them, are important. It is vital that they be heard."
Although Naeole gives credit to those who provide leadership for a cause, he believes "real progress can only be made by ensuring that the voice projected is the voice of knowledge. We must move forward with the wisdom of our ancestors, not with rage and distrust."
Accordingly, John Tomoso, executive on aging for Maui County's Office on Aging; kumu hula Hokulani Holt-Padilla; Matt Kalani Souza, a musician, actor and arbitrator for indigenous peoples; and Stella Burgess, a cultural adviser at the Grand Hyatt Kauai Resort and Spa, will offer suggestions on what can be done to "e malama na kupuna" (take care of the elders). Those were the last words Aunty Lydia Namahana Maioho, Naeole's beloved mentor and friend, uttered to him before she died in 1998.
Awa serving will be among the activities.
"Aunty Lydia meant a lot to me," he said. "It took me all this time to fully understand her statement even though it was so simple. When we are born, we are given love, protection and nurturing. Elders deserve the same quality of care."
Instead, many seniors wind up feeling stressed, depressed and afraid because basic necessities such as food, shelter and medical care are not guaranteed.
"Life should be easy for them, but it's not," said Naeole. "They should be respected and treated as human beings that society owes a great deal to, not the opposite. What if all of our kupuna were gone tomorrow? Our future decisions would be based on guesswork rather than wisdom."
ANOTHER presentation will ponder the question, Can Hawaiians survive by blood alone? Activist Foster Ampong, kumu hula Napua Greig, professor Lilikala Kameeleihiwa from the Center for Hawaiian Studies at the University of Hawaii at Manoa, and kumu hula and songwriter Kelii Taua will discuss the law that defines a Hawaiian as someone who can prove 50 percent blood quantum.
"This archaic law will mean the 'flat-lining' of legal Hawaiians once time and circumstances drop us below the 50 percent quantum," said Naeole. "Basically, the law states that if we do not marry our own kind, we are doomed. That, to me, is racist."
Crafts for all ages will be available.
He pointed out there are Hawaiians who do not have 50 percent blood quantum, yet they chant, heal, speak the language, dance the hula and more. On the other hand, there are those who have at least 50 percent blood quantum but have no involvement in the culture.
In Naeole's opinion, Hawaiians cannot endure by blood quantum alone; it can only be done if all Hawaiians practice and live the traditions in even the simplest ways.
"2008 represents a vital period in terms of politics, financial aspects, awareness and self-determination of the Hawaiian people," he said. "The voices from the past must be considered and studied to shape the present. Voices of the present must be heard to create the future.
"Ka Mana Leo will enable Hawaiians to appreciate, listen, learn, educate and speak out to strengthen our resolve and our culture. That is how we will survive as a people."
If You Go ......
Celebration of the arts
» Place: The Ritz-Carlton, Kapalua, 1 Ritz-Carlton Drive, Kapalua Resort, Maui
» Dates: March 21-23
» Call: (808) 669-6200
» On the Net: www.celebrationofthearts.org
» Stay: Call (800) 241-3333 to book accommodations at the kamaaina rate of $389 per night, with two luau tickets and complimentary valet parking.
» 9:30 a.m.: Wehe I Ka Puka (opening protocol)
» 10:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.: Artist demonstrations, including lau hala and coconut-frond weaving, feather art, Niihau shell leis, scrimshaw, Hawaiian weapons, drum carving, lei making and stone carving
» 11 to 11:45 a.m.: "Ancestral Voices" panel discussion
» Noon to 12:45 p.m.: "The Story of Haloa, The First Hawaiian," drama presented in the Hawaiian language
» Noon to 4 p.m.: Kihei Pili, Hawaiian patchwork quilt display. Classes at 1 and 3 p.m.
» 1 to 1:45 p.m.: Ohe Hano Ihu, Hawaiian nose flute workshop
» 2 to 2:45 p.m.: "Voices of the Future" panel discussion
» 3:15 to 4:15 p.m.: "E Malama Na Kupuna" panel discussion
» 7 to 9 p.m.: "Hawaii: Message in the Waves" BBC documentary exposes the dangers of plastic debris in a marine environment.
» 9 p.m. to midnight: Celebration after hours
» 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.: Kihei Pili display. Classes at 1 and 3 p.m.
» 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.: Artist demonstrations
» 10:30 to 11:15 a.m.: "Journalism: Responsibilities and Consequences" panel discussion
» 11:45 a.m. to 1 p.m.: "Ku Holo Mau: Sail On Forever" film celebrates the latest voyages of the canoes Miasu (Hawaii to Satawal) and Hokulea (Hawaii to Japan).
» 1:15 to 2 p.m.: Leo Kiekie, Hawaiian falsetto singing workshop
» 1:15 to 2:15 p.m.: "Ka Mana O Ka Leo Lealea: The Power of Voice in Joyful Celebration" discussion on the metaphors of "leo kolohe" (traditional risqué jokes), "manao lealea" (ideas of joyful celebration) and "mele kolohe" (modern mischievous songs).
» 2:30 to 3:15 p.m.: "Heart Strings: The Kamaka Ukulele" film chronicles the Kamaka family of renowned ukulele makers.
» 3:30 to 4:30 p.m.: "Can Hawaiians Survive by Blood Alone?" panel discussion
» 6 to 8:30 p.m.: Celebration luau and show
» 9 p.m. to midnight: Celebration after hours
» 7:30 a.m.: Nondenominational sunrise services
» 10 a.m.: Easter egg hunt
» 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.: Easter Sunday brunch
Cheryl Chee Tsutsumi is a Honolulu-based free-lance writer and Society of American Travel Writers award winner.