It was such a fun opportunity to share a brief snapshot of the life I've created for myself - a life full of passions and communities; a life full of laughter and shared stories. The Cool Job column of the Jobs Section focuses on folks in the greater Seattle area who have interesting and unique positions in the workforce. The Seattle Times kindly highlighted both online and in the Sunday paper the trade I've built for myself as a unique leader in Polynesian Dance. It's refreshing and enlightening to see this particular dance community recognized in a section of our society as something more than the token "cultural," "ethnic," or "diversity" piece. In addition to being itself a cultural work, a position as a Polynesian dance advocate and ha'api'i is recognized as a full-fledged career in this weekly Job section. With this article, I hope others realize that their artistic, cultural work, can be shared in a way to create a sustainable career, a career they truly love. That's fulfilling stuff!
Vicky Holt Tokamine, renowned Kumu Hula of Hālau Hula Pua Ali'i 'Ilima, in this short video inspires her students and communities to use their knowledge and skills of their culture to create their careers. She is a professor, a Kumu Hula, and a Hawaiian cultural advocate, sharing her mana'o or knowledge through many different avenues. She has inspired me to use my creativity and perseverance and continue as a cultural ambassador for my people. For so many generations, Hula and Ori Tahiti have been through turmoil: forbidden and taken from ancestors, then appropriated and bastardized by colonizing cultures, and now demanded for entertainment. But now, we reclaim it, and in reclaiming our dance and its heritage, use it for the benefit of our livelihood and connecting with those around us.
I am proud to serve the communities of which I am a part. And this is just the beginning. I will continue to find more ways to connect with the Polynesian and Pacific Islander communities of Seattle through dance, discussion, workshops, performances, and more. Imua e nā pōki'i!