Seattle Children's Museum held their first-ever Patchwork Puget Sound event Saturday, Dec. 29 - Sunday, Dec. 30, 2018. Sunday, Huraiti Mana performed with an Ori Tahiti segment featuring our youngest huraiti! We followed our performance with a lei-making activity for the young and their accompanying young-at-heart. We had a fantastic time with our young audience and are so happy to have participated in this event dedicated to showcasing the communities of the Puget Sound area.
Mauruuru roa to Devin and the entire team at the Seattle Children's Museum. We appreciate the hospitality, the warmth, and the fun you all bring to our city's youth!
Nani kou lei!
Huraiti Mana hosted it's first-ever 2.5-hour lei intensive workshop in partnership with the Wing Luke Museum! In honor of Visions of Pasifika which exhibited from December 2017 - November 2018, Kalei'okalani of Huraiti Mana hosted a workshop focusing on the history and significance of lei-making through the Native Hawaiian wili or wrap style.
Mahalo nui loa to all the 'ohana and hoaaloha, family and friends who help spread the word to make this first-ever offering a sold out success! Special mahalo to International Examiner, Arden Fujiwara, Sunshine of Polynesia, Tamali'i Polynesian Dance, Colors of Hawai'i, and more. The room was full of community members spanning across Washington including haumāna from Hālau across Seattle, leaders from the annual Seattle Live Aloha Festival, mamas from Huraiti Mana, staffers from Wing Luke Museum and Arts Corps, and much more 'ohana!
We talked story about the type of lei you give and receive, the meanings of using various flowers both in Hawai'i and in the PNW, and methods of creating lei. Almost all were first-ever lei-weavers, and all were very open, dedicated, and didn't want to leave their work. Each left with smiles, laughs, and stories. Huraiti Mana is so grateful for the opportunity to contribute to and heavily involve the ori and hula 'ohana community of the Pacific Northwest. We look forward to hosting future workshops to further our connection to our past and the future of this growing community.
Chief Seattle Club hosted Native Vote Now at the Impact Hub on October 25, 2018, an event promoting awareness and significance of civic engagement among its community members. Chief Seattle Club seeks to empower everyone from their youth to elders to participate in voting so that the voices of this community and its many members can be heard!
Chief Seattle Club’s mission is to provide a sacred space to nurture, affirm, and renew the spirit of urban Native people. Their leaders and organizers are genuine, kind, and passionate peoples energized by the desire to lift up their community members and fellow native communities. In this non-partisan event, they offered voter resources with voter registration booth and an opportunity to speak with political officials. They provided information in short stories and made a family-friendly party to celebrate the opportunity to vote and be heart!
The good medicine of community gathering was made possible by the hardworking staff, volunteers, and families of Chief Seattle Club as well as sponsorship from partners and like-minded organizations: Off the Rez provided 'ono catering and Families of Color Seattle sponsored Huraiti Mana's lei-making workshop! Mahalo nui to Amy of FOCS for the opportunity to connect more with our fellow Natives. Mahalo nui to Colleen for her hospitality and warmth at the event - Natives for Natives!
Every workshop is different. Every workshop spent in the Armory Court on behalf of Huraiti Mana is a different experience. They're each exciting and each a beautiful moment of community. Today, I returned to participate in the 5th Annual Seattle Children's Festival, Saturday, September 22, 2018. But no matter how many times we return to the Seattle Center with Northwest Folklife, I learn something new and amazing, whether it be the curiosities of children, the insight they have, the understanding they possess for their cultures and cultures not of their own in our storytelling workshops; or whether it be the cultural exchange shared among people of all walks of life in our kahiko and language workshops. I am so grateful to those who organize the many events Northwest Folklife creates year-round - all free, all jam-packed with cultural performances, and all the perfect family outing excursion. Mahalo nui loa for your community work and dedication to building our families in Seattle!
Event: Lei-Making Workshop
Date: Sunday, November 11, 2018
Time: 11:00AM - 1:30PM
Location: Wing Luke Museum 719 S King St, Seattle, WA 98104
Fresh flowers, fragrant greens, and endless results. Join us!
One of the four Pacific Islander artists featured in the Wing Luke Museum’s Visions of Pasifika Light from Another World, artist and lei-weaver Kalei'okalani will direct a 2.5-hour lei-making workshop with fresh lau and pua (leaves and flowers), woven together in the wili or wrap style at the Wing Luke Musuem in Seattle's Chinatown-International District.
Participants will learn about the significance of lei-making and how this Polynesian tradition is integral in the perpetuation of cultural values. This is a challenging exercise and is recommended for 12+. No experience necessary.
Lei are not simply 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. Lei is a cultural, personal, and spiritual exchange of aloha (love), mana (spiritual power), and mana'o (knowledge). Learn about how lei-making strengthens our connections to the land and to each other. Share in company, stories, and laughter in this labor of love.
What to bring:
Northwest Folklife is kindly inviting Huraiti Mana back again to participate in the Our Big Neighborhood summer series to bring hula to the Seattle Center! As an event sponsor, Families of Color Seattle presents Hula Dancing with Huraiti Mana for the 5th Annual Seattle Children's Festival on Saturday, September 22, 2018. Join us for a fun workshop full of Hawaiian story, history, song, and dance! Learn how we can all share in a deep connection with the land and with each other through the values of 'ohana (family), ha'aheo (pride), and aloha (love).
Huraiti Mana will be hosting multiple workshops and performing Ori Tahiti as a part of Rock the Lot - Island Edition. This is the second annual Rock the Lot event put on by The Outlet Collection in Auburn. This year's event is dedicated to raising funds for those affected by Madam Pele's power on Hawai'i island. Join us for a full day of festivities highlighting our Polynesian communities with music, food, and dance here in Auburn, and support our Polynesian communities back at home.
Sunday, July 15, 2018 | 11AM - 6PM
Other performances and vendors include my sister-in-law's Jessie's Fit Club(!), Arden Fujiwara, The Ohana Band, and many more! The full schedule will be coming out, soon!
Northwest Share in partnership with the Vedic Cultural Center held its first annual Festival of Compassion for Seattle's houseless population, providing free food and a line-up of high-energy performances including Huraiti Mana, Northwest Tap Connection, LQ Lion Dance, and many more. Everyone should have access to events such as these where we share in food, music, and dance, connecting with everyone that makes up our home. As someone who has travelled here from the islands and now calls Seattle home, I hope that this home can be shared - equally - by all. Mahalo nui loa to Northwest Share, Vedic Cultural Center, and Latha Sambamurti for your amazing work in our communities. Mahalo and mauruuru roa!
Our day at Northwest Folklife 2018 was so full of life, love, and connectedness, that we didn't have a moment to take a proper group photo! I feel truly blessed to have had the opportunity to meet so many bright (and then sweaty) faces as we danced it out under the sun in the early morning session for children at the outdoor Seattle Center Discovery Zone; and then, again, as we danced indoors at the Armory Loft Room 3 later in the afternoon. At the Discovery Zone, I fortunately welcomed a young Alaka'i (leader) to the stage who joined me for the entire workshop. She asked poignant questions related to Disney's recent Moana. "Are you Moana? You look like Moana."
To this I always answer with a smile. "Moana looks like me."
It's true. Our people, Polynesians, settled in the islands of the Pacific as early as the 3rd Century, over 1,800 years ago. The directors of Moana visited our islands and asked our elders to share our stories. My Alaka'i preceded to ask me then about the legends in Moana - Maui? Teka? And so, I told the legends I learned as a child, the legend of Maui and how he snared the sun atop Haleakalā, the house of the sun. Of Teka, I told her the legend of Pele who sailed from Tahiti with her brother Kamohoali'i leading the way; Pele, whose volcanic powers were in full force on Hawai'i island, today. Mahalo nui loa, e young Alaka'i, for your inspiration and for guiding me back to the stories of my people.
In the second workshop, the Armory room filled with over 60 participants, mostly adults, and many who were a part of our islander and hula-dancing community in Seattle. It was such a pleasure to see so many familiar faces and so many new. We discussed the Hawaiian heart or na'au, of speaking with truth; brief lessons of Hawaiian history and language; and my kuleana or responsibility to continue learning and sharing the practice of my people, an opportunity not afforded to my own Native Hawaiian mother due to the affects of colonization and intolerance. So, today we dance. We also looked over the language and story of Ho'opuka E Ka Lā Ma Ka Hikina, a hula ka'i whose powers summon for the blessings of the gods to connect with us on this land. Mahalo nui loa for all the hula 'olapa and the nā haumāna hou who joined us this day. I hope to dance together again, soon! A hui hou.
We circle back to an entire year of work and dedication culminated in a first anniversary performance of Huraiti Mana at the API Heritage Month Celebration! We were excited to share with our family, friends, and community that we are united in the efforts to perpetuate and celebrate our cultures, our stories, and our spirits. We opened our performance with hula kahiko, a traditional and ancient form of hula, percussion, and chant, honoring our Queen and last reigning monarch of the Hawaiian Kingdom, Ke Ali'i Lili'uokalani. We moved into a hula 'auana number with contemporary musical instruments and melodic tunes with Justin Young's rendition of a hula classic, Ka Manu. And we finished our performance with ori Tahiti or Tahitian dance, including choreography to Moemoea by Sefa. Friends and family in the Seattle Center joined us onstage and rounded out our performance with a fast lesson in Tahitian dance. Our finale always brings smiles and laughs, but for myself, it also brings a joyous empathy and compassion. Joining together in dance is what I strive most for in this life, no matter how briefly. Dance connects us all.
Immediately after leaving the stage, we jumped in to a quick interview with API Heritage Month, and our huraiti so kindly, and with so much aloha, shared their spirits. Huraiti Mana is about empowerment, about self awareness and self expression. It is about 'ohana - our family. It is about us all. I am so very grateful to be a part of this growing, evolving, inspiring, loving, and caring 'ohana.
During our lei-making workshop that followed the performance, Sam Le of the Northwest Asian Weekly circled to our tables and asked, "why is it important to celebrate your heritage?"
"It is important to celebrate our heritage because it breathes life and meaning into our identities and our knowledge of who we are. It is always important to explore the past and see how our heritage is with us today."
This past year has been an amazing year filled with learning, compassion, dedication, and inspiration. Ia vai e Huriati Mana! Ei aha roa to oe hiro'a e ia mo'e e to'u nuna'a! May you always have the consciousness of your origin. I will always remember how we became a family, and how we will continue to be so today and furthermore. Mauruuru roa e nā Huraiti no tou aroha.
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