Although graduation season is over, I'm still creating wili lei at every chance I get. Wili is the traditional Native-Hawaiian style of wrapping flowers and greens with raffia material to create stunning lei. Away from home, I'm unable to use most traditional flower like ohi'a lehua or plumeria, but I learn to carry on tradition with new elements I find here in my second home, Seattle. Making lei is a labor of love, a tradition known across the islands of the Pacific. Lei connects us all. It is a calming, soothing, and creative process, one that strengthens connections between those who create lei and those for whom they are made. Coming soon, Huraiti Mana will be hosting Wili Iti - workshops for creating your very own lei for someone special, as a keepsake, or as a celebratory gift. Stay posted. Aloha no!
Families of Color Seattle put on a great, amazing program and fun-filled day Sunday, June 4, 2017 as a part of their FOCS Art Fest 2017! Educational booths lined the perimeter of the historic Washington Hall space, and the entire center of the room was filled so many families, friends, and young children dancing non-stop as each performer took the stage. It was such an inspiring experience, seeing all of these community members come together to celebrate arts, performers of color, cultural diversity, and each other.
Huraiti Mana proudly performed with such internationally acclaimed and well renowned talent - mahalo nui loa for having us!
Guayaba | Au Collective | FICA Seattle Studio Capoeira Angola | DoNormaal | Daniel Pak | Northwest Tap Connection | Kouyate Arts | Massive Monkees
And mauruuru roa to FOCS for all the work you do to inspire and foster a more just future for our children.
Our first-ever Northwest Folklife Festival appearance! Huraiti Mana held a 45-minute hula cultural workshop, sharing stories, laughing, and working hard together as we discussed briefly about my experiences teaching dance and about the history of Native-Hawaiian traditions, while, of course, dancing hula. It was a hot, sunny day in Seattle, and we were feeling it as we moved through proper form and stance, exercised basic hula step, and touched on contemporary choreography. Following our dance workshop, we moved into the kid's Discovery Zone and hosted lei-making with fresh orchids. Keiki, or children, asked about the ancient traditions behind lei-making while their parents flipped through books about various master lei-making styles and techniques. We had such great conversations and met a lot of folks that day. Mahalo nui loa to everyone who joined us, and we hope you enjoyed yourselves!
API Heritage month continued with the VA Puget Sound HealthCare System's own Asian American Pacific Island Heritage Month Workforce Succession & Cultural Celebration which took place on Thursday, May 26, 2017 in their facilities. Huraiti Mana was kindly invited to perform hula at the Seattle facility along with various community groups. We love to participate in celebrations featuring others who are just as passionate about their culture, heritage, and traditional disciplines. We met so many kind-hearted and open people during the performance. Mahalo nui loa to all the staff who invited us to partake in delicious food and greeted us with warmth, it was so much fun!
Families of Color Seattle (FOCS) is hosting FOCS Arts Fest 2017 on Sunday, June 4th from 205PM at Washington Hall, and they've invited Huraiti Mana to be a part of the festivities!
FOCS is a great non-profit organization that promotes meaningful connections and communities by providing a safe space and opportunities to connect with diverse families and discuss social topics directly affecting our children. FOCS continues to make a strong foundation for our children's futures through various arts programs including Art & Poetry is Power, West African Drum and Dance, Hula and Tahitian Dance led by Huraiti Mana's Kalei'okalani - and so much more. The FOCS mission: that "children are born into a loving community that is racially and economically just."
FOCS Arts Fest is an all-access community art and artists. Tickets are admission by donation of $20 per family, $10 per family, or free for your entire family. No one is turned away for lack of funds.
The day is lined up with great performances, food, and activities. Let's celebrate our community, art, and our children. We hope to see you, there!
Please join Huraiti Mana for a fun cultural hula workshop at the Northwest Folklife Festival on Sunday, May 28 in the Seattle Armory Room from 1:00-1:45PM. Kalei'okalani will be hosting a 45-minute workshop focusing on hula basics and form as well as sharing about Hawaiian history.
Following the workshop, we'll also be hosting a lei-making station from 4:00-6:00PM in the Discovery Zone. We welcome all ages. Participants will learn about the significance of lei-making and how this Polynesian tradition is integral in the perpetuation of heritage and culture, with a focus on styles native to Hawaii. E lei no au I ko aloha. “I will cherish your love as a beautiful adornment.” Lei-making is a gift of love. Lei are not only decorative pieces; they share a spiritual connection with and are representative of the land they come from, the people who create them, and the people for whom they are made.
1:00PM-1:45PM Hula Cultural Workshop | Armory Room
4:00PM-6:00PM Lei-Making Activity | Discovery Zone
A hui hou!
Rainier Yacht Club is a small boating community right off of the marina in the Rainier Valley area. It was the first club in the northwest to change its by-laws and rightfully recognize women as full participating members of the club with the power to vote in 1975. Now there are hundreds of women in yacht clubs around the northwest, and every other year they join together in celebration over food and drinks. This year, Rainier Yacht Club hosted the event and invited Huraiti Mana. 90 women gathered together with Hawaiian food, music, and dance. One guest was celebrating her 95th birthday. It was a fun event, and we hope to see these women boating about in the sound, soon!
We had so much fun at the API Heritage Month Celebration at the Seattle Center on Sunday, May 7, 2017! Festivities began at 11:45AM with non-stop performances representing cultures and traditions of Asians and Pacific Islanders. There was a great turnout of guests, and we're so happy that Huraiti Mana was able to share both Hula of the Hawaiian islands and Ori Tahiti of the islands of Tahiti in the South Pacific. Many thanks to the entire team including Huraiti Mamas, sound team, and of course all our Huraiti! As a Native-Hawaiian, Japanese, Black, and Chinese Huraiti, I am proud of my heritage and love to celebrate - not only through dance, food, and music, but also talking-story, meeting others, and making connections. May we continue to share in the ongoing celebration of who we are as a people and the many cultures we represent.
We also had a super-busy lei-making station for keiki (children) and adults! Great job to those who took on the task of wili lei-making.
Mauruuru roa to the many event planners and volunteers at this event; it was such a welcoming and fun event. A hui hou, see you next year!
May day is lei day in Hawai'i nei! Spent lei day making lei po'o or hei for our upcoming performance with the API Heritage Month Celebration! My hale (house) looks like a forest, and the smells remind me of home. Happy lei day, everyone!
I was honored to be an invited guest and Hawaiian cultural ambassador as a part of the Global Studies program at The Meridian School, an independent K-5 elementary school in Wallingford. For the 2016-2017 school year, Meridian focused on Oceania for their Global Studies program, which featured participation from many teachers from the community to guide a culturally responsible educational program. In my time spent with the students and faculty at Meridian, we discussed the importance of telling stories and understanding oneself. Students engaged in a cultural exchange, and I learned so much from their fantastic, open ideas and curiosity.
As a guest speaker in their Friday Morning Meeting, through using a puzzle on identity and telling my own, personal stories, I introduced questions such as Who am I? (Self), Who do I represent? (Others), Where am I from (Place), and Who will I become? (Journey). When you ask yourself these questions, you better understand who you are and who you represent - why certain people and places are important to you. Knowing more about yourself enables a bridge to be built between yourself and others from all walks of life, a powerful bridge built on a meaningful foundation. Meeting individually with each grade, I shared presentations on topics including ahapua'a (habitat), kapa & quilts (tapestry), and identifying our own, deeper cultural traits, while understanding the affects that colonization has on our practices, our opportunities for growth, and our ability to preserve cultural traditions and personal identities.
This was a very personal experience in my cultural journey. The moment I will always carry with me was when students would kindly and quietly raise their hands over their hearts as I presented about my family and my home; a gesture The Meridian School uses to express connection. I have new memories and connections with many people, and a deeper connection to who I am, where I'm from, and where I'm going, for which I will forever be grateful. Mahalo nui loa.