"The beautiful performance of the hula that many have been entertained by, isn't just a touristy thing to enjoy, it holds so much meaning to the Hawaiian people. It’s how we tell our stories and pass it down from generation to generation. We tell the tales of our voyages navigating by the stars, to our righteous royalty uniting our islands and saving our traditions, tales of our beautiful lands and the majestic ocean with all its creatures, and of our respected yet feared gods and goddesses. We tell these tales through dance and song, the gentle movements of the beautiful awana hula and the fast paced fun kahiko hula. It begins with a powerful chant that leads to hypnotizing song in our Olelo Hawai’i, or Hawaiian Language. Both the hula and Hawaiian language were banned from being performed or spoken for many years.
As I mentioned the very essence of our people were taken away from us. Was it not for our merry monarch King Kalakaua, you would know nothing of the hula, have never heard the soft, rich, and beautiful language that is Hawaiian. Our traditions, our language, and our lands throughout history with no small efforts have been perpetuated in righteousness through heartache and struggles by our Kānaka Maoli, and still we thrive, and still we are here. I am eternally grateful for my ancestors, for people like my beautiful Princess Bernice Pauahi Bishop who created in her will an education system and school that would ensure the keiki (children) of Hawai’i would always have access to the best of education. Our Queen Liliuokalani who provided a trust to ensure resources are provided for the well-being of the orphan and destitute Native Hawaiian children and their ‘Ohana would always have a way to be taken care of, long after they were gone. This is how I thrived, I was a child who was educated and taken care of through the acts of my beloved Princess and Queen.
We Hawaiian people are rich in tradition and culture, we are a people who love and care abundantly, we live for buildings communities, in creating large Ohana’s where everyone we meet becomes an Aunty, Uncle, or Cousin, yet we are slowly dwindling in our bloodlines. I am a very rare 60% Hawaiian. Our lands are no longer ours, taken by the rich and powerful forcing so many natives to live in tents on beaches or moving away from the islands out of survival for a better life. Through it all we remain a humble loving people, we continue to welcome all with the spirit of aloha, the spirit of love, and we continue to share our traditions and culture in hopes that it will stand the test of time and cultivate in others, the kindness, generosity, love, and welcomeness we share with all who come to know us.
I am Chasity Alexandra Kapono’Onalani Wills, a native Hawaiian, a proud member of our re—inc Ohana. Mahalo Nui Loa for allowing me to share a small amount of the people I come from. The next time you are in Hawai’i or come in contact with anyone or anything Hawaiian-related I hope you allow yourself to immerse yourself in the culture, learn a little more, and share in the essence of what it means to be Hawaiian. A Hui Hou …. until we meet again!"