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The oldest of Hawaiian chants describe the Hawaiian Islands, the spirits that inhabit them, the forces of nature that shaped them and all the living things upon them as inextricably connected. This sense of connection is the foundation of Hawaiian culture: understanding that we all have a mandate to malama, to care for our environment and for one another.
Today, Hawaiian culture may hold many of the answers sought in a rapidly changing world. The spirit of aloha – being in the presence of and sharing the essence of life – teaches us lessons of peace, kindness, compassion and responsibility to future generations. These lessons are expressed through chant, music, hula, arts and cultural practices, and through the warm, genuine greetings that are a hallmark of Hawaiian hospitality.
Ea Mai Hawaiinuiakea
Hear a Hawaiian Chant
Retrieved from Fornander Collection of Hawaiian Antiquities and Folk-lore, Vol. IV, Ea Mai Hawaiinuiakea speaks of the genealogy of our Hawaiian Islands and our royalty beginning with Haloa, the first man of Hawaii. Genealogy chants are important in Hawaii because they’re a reflection of one’s background. Identity allows one to better understand their kuleana (responsibility) to their place and people because they understand that they have a role to play in the continuing of this genealogy, this story of Hawaii.
The first Hawaiians came to these islands on sailing canoes, with no instruments other than the stars, the wind, the seas and the signs of nature around them. But those instruments can guide a skilled wayfinder like Kala Tanaka to pinpoint her canoe’s exact location and navigate to its destination.More
Keoni Kaholoaa traces his family roots to the volcano goddess Pele, which adds a layer of cultural and familial responsibility to his job as an interpretive ranger at Hawaii Volcanoes National Park.More