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Keaukaha Students To Open Indigenous Conference

Posted May 14, 2014, 11:34 AM HST Updated May 15, 2014, 10:50 AM HST
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Students from Ka ʻUmeke Kāʻeo Public Charter School are shown practicing on Molokai last week. Courtesy photo.

The World Indigenous Peoples Conference on Education on Oahu this year will feature a keynote address illustrated with hula performed by Big Island charter school students.

Hawai`i Community College associate professor Taupouri Tangaroa and assistant professor Kekuhi Kealiʻikanaka’oleohaililani will lead the conference with their keynote presentation at 3 p.m., Monday, May 19, at the Waikiki Shell.

“In line with the conference’s theme, ‘E Mau Ana Ka Moʻolelo: Our Narratives Endure,’ the address includes the kaʻao of Pele’s youngest sister, Hiʻiakaikapoliopele, and her journey to retrieve Pele’s lover, Lohiau, the release said.

Taupouri Tangaro, above, is chairman of HCC's Humanities Department and co-kumu hula of the school's hula troupe. HCC image.

Taupouri Tangaro, above, is chairman of HCC’s Humanities Department and co-kumu hula of the school’s hula troupe. HCC image.

About 30 students from the the Ka ʻUmeke Kāʻeo Public Charter School in Keaukaha will be performing hula that tells the story, said a WIPCE release.

The kaʻao, or mythology, is used as a way for students to relate to the current world, the release said, and “through the intersection of ancestors and descendants, the kaʻao helps students with today’s decisions.”

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“This hula teaches many things to our students,” said Ka ‘Umeke Middle School teacher, Carol Ioane. “Hiʻiakaikapoliopele had to establish her goals, overcome considerable obstacles and persevere.

“This hula demonstrates the power of belief in yourself and the rise to your full potential — something we work hard to instill in our students at Ka ʻUmeke,” she said.

The WIPCE is the largest venue for indigenous education in the world and attracted 5,000 delegates when it was held in Hilo in 1999. This year’s conference will be held at Kapiolani Community College on Oahu from May 19-24.

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