Today I tutored two Kindergarteners. Two hours to complete work just for one child. It amazed me what they were expected to complete online for homework.
"It takes 5 pillows for Brandon to reach the cookie jar. He got one pillow from his room, how many more pillows does he need to stand on?"
"Christine and Elle jumped on the couch 10 times. The couch broke. Christine jumped 4 times. How many times did Elle jump?" After I read this paragraph, the child said, "Oh Elle's in big trouble." I said, "Yes, they both are."
It got me upset. We expect children to know this at such a young age, but we don't expect them to relate to the world they live in everyday at the same level? My future PhD topic still hasn't changed... to develop curriculum that relates to this place. Word problems should be talking about mangoes and fishponds.*** Healthier lifestyles with actions and events that happens here at home.
We read a book about a bear who got sick and all his friends took care of him while he slept in a den. My student asked, "What's a den?" I explained what a den was and thought, if kids don't understand what these settings are anyway, why don't we make settings that are here in Hawaiʻi so that the question changes to, "What is an ʻōhiʻa lehua forest?" We don't even have half of the characters in Hawaiʻi: bear, mole, badger, etc. If kids read everyday about animals that were characters in stories they love starting from four years old, maybe then they would care when they get older and learn that these animals are struggling, flighting to stay alive. That some of these animals can only be found on their island or in the ocean or forest right by their house.
We always miss the sunset. They miss about one to two hours of play or anything else they could do as young children because they are expected to fill out a worksheet.
How will I be as a parent? How will I react when they bring homework like this back to me? I'll be expected to help them finish it... but will I when I don't believe that's what they should be learning? I could homeschool... but what about the other kids in Hawaiʻi? I hope to change a little part of education before my children start school.
***Can you create a word problem related specifically to where you're from?
i.e. "Brandon's grandma asked him to pick 7 mangoes. He picked 3 mangoes. How many more mangoes does he need?"
i.e. "Leilani was at Heʻeia fishpond. There were 10 little and big fish. 6 little fish went out of the fishpond. How many big fish are still in the fishpond?"
Inspired by Kū'ike & Kānehūnāmoku voyaging farm
Click on this link:
It is our kuleana (responsibility) as kumu, makua and kanaka maoli to give students the opportunity to "consider their own values and think about what they are willing to stand up for."
It depends on how you look at it
Pros & Cons
Why We Must Build DAPL Now https://www.google.com/amp/thehill.com/blogs/pundits-blog/energy-environment/295216-why-we-must-build-the-dakota-access-pipeline-now%3Famp?client=safari
Dakota Acess Pipeline (main website)
Fuel leaks on O'ahu - Will it affect our drinking water?
Hawaii Public Radio:
The second group that was sent to visit the Goodsell Ridge Geologic Preserve were happy to once again meet with our brothers from Kanahwake; seeing one another again much sooner than we expected. Together, we stood at the Fisk Quarry Preserve on the oldest reef in the world that was formed by organisms long ago.
I was surprised to see a large open field with durable signs scattered along the way for visitors to do self-guided tours. Each sign, from beginning to end, talked about how the reef was formed and how life evolved over time.
As we walked the path, Kanentokon started to gather plants along the way with his cousin. It’s funny how plans change. We came to look at the rock fossils, however being with kamaʻāina, people of this land, I was excited to learn about the plants and their uses.
I learned that the root of the milkweed can be used for tea.
These brown leaves look very rigid, but in contrast are extremely soft. Kahnawiio mentioned that it could be mixed into cookie batter and is a good source of iron for women - that’s my kind of medicine, I’ll take a few.
This reddish brown flower can be used as a tea and helps with diabetes. The red leaves can also be used for tea, but ironically inhaling its smoke treats asthma.
Although the leaves are green and its flowers are pink, the red clover can be made into a tea and is a blood purifier. We pinched a few petals and ate them. I like gathering from the wild (also known as wildcraft) and getting to eat things right from the land.
The leaves of this purple flower can be eaten. Kanentokon explained that the best way to eat the flower was to pick the petals off with your teeth without breaking the stem. It was fun to eat and the taste is subtle, but definitely had a hint of sweetness.
Fascinated by all of this information, I asked Kanentokon if his parents taught him how to know what to pick. Quickly he replied, “My grandmother did.” Kanentokon’s and Kahnawiio’s grandmothers came up in conversation - I wouldn’t be surprised if they were walking and gathering with us today.
I might’ve missed the wine berries hanging beautifully if Kanentokon didn’t point them out. He was surprised that this area was abundant, mentioning that he didn’t see many wine berries as much back at home. They were small grapes with a deep purple color. The berries had a much stronger taste than I expected, somewhat bitter but still delicious. I agreed with Uncle Kalau when he mentioned that these little berries had way more seeds than you’d think would be in them. I ate a whole bunch, spitting out the small seeds as we walked.
There’s a mushroom... but we threw it back because mushrooms can sometimes be tricky.
If we came to visit this place on our own, I would’ve looked at this area simply as an open field with fossils here and there. Now I’ve built a connection, being able to recognize a few plants with a little help. This place is special because of the people and interactions that occurred here. Another cultural exchange that was unplanned yet meaningful. Where both cultures were interacting and strengthening bonds that will definitely continue in the future.
"The wa'a teaches you to be creative, that you can do a lot of different things with food."
Step 1: Add oil to the pan
Step 2: Add flour and water.
Step 3: Combine oil and flour, then add water. Press the dough with a spoon to make the crust.
Step 4: Add sauce - you can use what you have; old spaghetti sauce or tomato sauce with onions and seasonings. Whatever you prefer!
Step 5: Add cheese
Step 6: Add your toppings. We used ham and grapes today!
Step 7: Cover the pan to help the pizza cook.
Step 8: Enjoy!
"Hope you have fun making your own wa'a pizza! No foget! Mālama Honua!"
Hōkūleʻa WWV - Newport, RI
Vocabulary I learned:
Wildcraft: gather herbs, plants and fungi from the wild
Stand: a concentrated area of resources in wildcrafting
Organoleptic: acting on or involving the use of the sense organs
~Almost all marine (salt water) seaweed are edible, so it probably won’t kill you if you nimble on one from clean area.
By coincidence I learned about a seaweed tour in Newport, RI from Nancy - a woman I met at our canoe tours who has been following the worldwide voyage. I was curious to see if I’d find similarities with gathering here and home. Shout out to Michelle Kapana-Baird, a waʻa sister and STEMS^2 masters cohort 1 member (https://coe.hawaii.edu/academics/curriculum-studies/med-cs-stems2), who has gotten me more interested in limu. She has encouraged me to take pictures of the different seaweed I find in every port we stop in (kumukaai.weebly.com & kaaiohelo_berries instagram).
It’s funny because the owner of Gather (www.gatherherbs.com). Sarah Berkman (www.gatherherbs.com/about), and student professionally trained in the culinary arts, Sam Radov, talked about how asking permission might sound funny; how it might feel silly to ask a plant, “Can I pick you?” Some people in Hawaiʻi believe this is an integral part of gathering, but ask in different ways like chanting. Some also thank the plant or talk to them. E ola ʻoe, i ola mākou nei.
There are many lessons that come with gathering. These sayings are found in Hawaiian ʻōlelo noʻeau; e ʻai i kekahi, e kāpī i kekahi. Eat some, salt some; it’s also one of my favorite children’s book (photo). Only pick what you are going to use. Gather what’s in abundance, ‘ai ka mea loa’a. Sarah reminded us to, “Be ok coming home with an empty basket.” I was reminded of one of the first ʻōlelo noʻeau I ever learned, mai huli kua i ke kai or never turn your back to the ocean. I’ve learned to always face the ocean in order to know what’s coming up next. You wouldn’t want a big wave to take you by surprise.
As we walked to collect different types of limu I learned that both of Sarah’s Italian grandmothers taught her this knowledge of gathering from the wild because they were both interested in gathering. Even Sam was exposed to wildcraft from a very young age. In two hours I heard interesting names like sugar kelp, feather boa, and sea lettuce. I didn’t know that there are twice as many seaweed in the Pacific Ocean because it’s older than the Atlantic Ocean. Seaweed can be used as a bandange, chewed for a sore throat and can treat hypothyroidism. They mentioned that seaweed can be used for farming, which I recently learned from the Reppun ‘ohana, a family that I adore back at home in Waiahole (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aslbaWr7bC0). Seaweed; eat them, bathe with them, garden with them.
Every person in the class received a small glass jar of local homemade organic furikake picked from the East Coast. I was happy to return to the waʻa with something for the crew. I learned that people in Rhode Island don’t use furikake as much as people in Hawaiʻi. At home, we use it like like ketchup, putting it all over our rice and even popcorn. The crew used it for lunch and made pan spam musubi (photo).
Although gathering limu on the East Coast was a first experience for me, it felt unusually familiar. It made me miss home. I came thinking I’d learn more about seaweed, when it was clearly a reminder to take care of our kūpuna. As we were gathering I helped Nancy, a woman who I just met yesterday, walk along the shore to ensure she wouldn’t slip on the rocks. To care for people even when we barely know them is a way to mālama honua.
We also need to acknowledge, honor and seek out the knowledge of our kūpuna before their ‘ike (knowledge) is gone; to make mistakes when they’re still around; to ask questions because they’ll probably know the answers. When I return home, I’m going to my Aunty who has been wanting to show me the spot where our family picks limu. I’m going to tell her, I’m sorry I took so long, but I’m ready now. Go learn something new from a kūpuna today or ask a question you’ve been wanting to ask for a long time; you won’t know until you show the desire to learn and gain that knowledge.
Mahalo for following me and Leg 22 on this journey. We thank you for continuing to follow us on hokulea.com.
Written by Nakua & Kaʻai
These past 2 days Hōkūle'a stands out at the Newport Yacht Clup and Marina for some odd reason. I don't know if it's because she's docked in the middle of so many high rises. There are her usual differences; her sails are brown, she has a crab claw rig, she has yards of rope, and most of the crew are volunteers, like how Naʻalehu mentioned before, the waʻa doesn't belong to only one person (possible link to his blog). The difference I find most interesting is her openness.
She has no windows to tint and no doors to shut people out. She has no space to leave anyone out of a group. Everyone around us, probably from the 20th floor in the building next to us can see when we're taking a nap, cooking dinner, or washing dishes. Activities that complete strangers don’t normally get to see in a home on land. Maybe it gives a glimpse, or even forces people to see how to live like a family, even though we come from far away. Hōkūleʻa is a honua, a place that encourages community.
Why is it that we don't know our neighbors anymore? That we don't interact with people who we probably pass on our way to work everyday? If we all just knew our neighbors, this world would be a better place. This sense of community has changed since my parents childhood days. However, when we sail there are also many people who know, who have been in our shoes. In every port they come offering rides to get groceries or directions to the nearest laundromat and coffee; simple pleasures that make a huge difference.
The beautiful thing about this canoe is the feeling you get when you’re blessed with her presence. To our people Hōkūle’a is a living being, a mother figure to many. The canoe has a way of grabbing the attention of mariners and yachting communities everywhere who stop in awe because they have no idea that voyaging on a traditional double-hulled canoe still exists. Although she is just a boat to many people from the outside looking in; she has a spiritual kind of mana which lures people in to stare and admire her majestic beauty.
If you see Hōkūle'a, don't be ashamed that you're staring at the canoe; she tends to do that to people, she stands out in a crowd. We're sailing around the world so that people can ask questions; so that others can see how living on the canoe can apply to living on the Earth. He wa’a he moku, he moku he wa’a; A canoe is an island and an island is a canoe. Don’t be afraid to say aloha or smile back. You're part of this voyage even if you've only met Hōkūle'a for the first time.
Hope to see you around the waʻa soon! Check out the live tracking map on hokulea.com and mahalo again for following our journey.
One of the best parts of being on the wa'a is when the crew has time to hang out together and talk story. Whether it's after dinner or during a watch, being on the wa'a or maybe on the ocean, brings these mo'olelo, these stories to life. At our last night in Salem, eating delicious ice cream bought by Niko's grandfather who lives in Boston, Kalā Thomas begins to share Papa Mau's story.
Kalā Thomas, whose foundation comes from training with Makali'i, has had the fortunate experience to have learned first-hand from Papa Mau; gaining knowledge from the source (talk about the Hawaiian word kumu. Find the definition at wehewehe.org). Not only is he a skilled crew member and seasoned voyager, but also great at teaching others about wa'a. I can't tell his story of Papa Mau, but here's what I've learned and the story I like to share.
‘O Hōkūleʻa ka wahine, ʻO Mau ke kāne. Hōkūleʻa is the woman and Papa Mau is the man.
Mau Pias Pialug is the master navigator from Micronesia who is from a small island called Satawal. In Papa Mau’s culture, a navigator is chosen before he is born. When the mother is hāpai, she sings navigation songs to her son so that he can get maʻa to wayfinding knowledge. Once he is born, they hold the baby in the tide for hours so that feeling the movement of the water is like breathing, it’s second nature. Uʻi Malakaua, a waʻa sister says, “as if he came from the sea.”
Papa Mau attained an exceptional level where he knew his location based on the feeling the waʻa on the water. He could be inside of a room and point to the exact position of all the stars without needing to see them. I heard one story where it was an extremely sunny day and everyone was wondering why Papa Mau came out of his bunk wearing his foul weather gear. Shortly after it started to storm. He is the Michael Jordan of navigation.
Sometimes people forget that being the navigator, the father of the crew, Papa Mau was expected to do more than just find the direction using the environment. He made lures from the live chicken that was taken on board of Hōkūleʻa’s maiden voyage to Tahiti. When the mast broke, Papa Mau knew how to fix it in the middle of the ocean. If someone was sick he knew how to heal them. He knew the entire process of how to make a canoe, mai uka a i kai, from beginning to end.
Papa Mau, and the culture of wayfinders which included Hawaiians long ago saw the world in an entirely different perspective. Our kūpuna never thought that the world was flat, unlike the famed explorers children in schools learn about from their textbooks. When scientists asked Papa Mau, how did your kūpuna know that the earth was round? He looked at them with a confused face, They looked up. The sun is round, the moon is round - the earth must be round (in Hawaiian the word for round is poepoe. Find the definition atwehewehe.org). The first time I heard this story, I thought why didn’t I think of that?! Simple and full of profound wisdom. Kūpunaology, the knowledge of our ancestors is equivalent to or what I sometimes believe, even exceeds what modern technology is only finding today.
That is why I like the word kilo so much. I think of kilo hōkū, observer of stars. It can refer to someone who is a seer, a kahuna, a person who looks at stars, or reader of omens. I found it particularly interesting that kilo is not only for waʻa or navigation. Kilo aupuni means to be a political expert and kilo ʻuala is to know when sweet potatoes are ready to harvest. Kilo can be used in any context because if you take the time, you can observe anything around you. By practicing kilo our kūpuna knew that the earth was round, that the the sun travelled a specific path that marks the equator, the Tropic of Capricorn and the Tropic of Cancer at certain times of the year, that animals can be used to help show direction. The list can go on and on. Without any modern technology they had this knowledge, using what they had; their eyes, their minds, and their naʻau.
I’ve asked students to look at the world around them for one minute, just one minute. They laugh because it is uncomfortable- it is no longer common practice to ask oneself what the world trying to say. It is an example of how many have become completely disconnected from the world. This practice need not happen outside, you can observe how your children are behaving, how your classmates or coworkers are feeling, if things in your life are starting to come together or not. Take it in and write it down. So you don’t forget, so that you can teach your children. Being more aware of the world around you is a way to mālama honua.
Papa Mau started to notice that children in his village were becoming less interested in navigation, preferring and depending on modern technology like motors. He saw that if this continued, the people of Satawal would be in the same situation as Hawaiʻi, a potential lost of this traditional practice. I hear others commonly say that Papa Mau came to Hawaiʻi and started to teach Hawaiʻi how to navigate again. It wasn’t as simple as it sounds. He was a part of a long line of navigators where the knowledge they passed on from generation to generation was sacred, for the few, for the chosen ones. People in his culture looked down upon him, shunned him, and did not support his decision until many years later. Independently, he went against tradition to pass this knowledge to us, and that’s why there is an enormous kuleana to tell his story and perpetuate the legacy he left us. Pomai Bertelmann explained his gift like this: Papa Mau deposited his knowledge to us and we have a kuleana to not only perpetuate it, but also care for it until the time comes for it to be withdrawn in the future for the people it was meant for, the Papa Mau's people.
I usually say that without Papa Mau, “This star compass wouldn't exist, many wa'a wouldn’t exist today and Hōkūleʻa probably wouldn’t be sailing around the world.” Future generations are changed because of Papa Mau; the powerful impact that one individual can have on a people, on a community, and on the world. Everyone has the potential to make this kind of positive and lasting impact. I tell my students, if they had to remember one thing from this lesson, it would be to remember Papa Mau and his story.
Kumu Kaʻai previously taught at Kānehūnāmoku Voyaging Academy and Hawaiian Studies at Wilson Elementary School to K-5 students.