Elise Ululani Kahikina
Ke Kula ʻo Samuel Mānaiakalani Kamakau
UHM Degrees acquired and/or being pursued:
Lae Pua ʻIke Hawaiʻi (BA Hawaiian Studies) 2016
Lae Oʻo ʻIke Hawaiʻi (pursuing MA Hawaiian Studies)
Kaʻi Aʻoaʻo no ka Papahana Hoʻonui ʻIke Kulanui ma WCC
(WCC Early College Counselor serving students of Ka Papahana)
1. What inspired/inspires the path for your academic major?
ʻO ke kanaka mua i hoʻoulu mai iaʻu i ka hele kulanui ʻana, ʻo ia hoʻi koʻu makuahine ʻo Ululani Kaʻahanui. ʻAkahi nō ʻo ia a puka mai ka papahana ʻo Social Work me kona kēkelē laeoʻo i ke kau hāʻulelau i hala aku nei. Nāna nō i paepae iā māua ʻo koʻu kaikaina e hele kulanui me ka manaʻo me ke kēkelē, e lawelawe nō māua i kā mākou lāhui Hawaiʻi. E hoʻonaʻauao nō māua i ka ʻike ā pau, o nā kūpuna ʻoe, o ka ʻōlelo Hawaiʻi ʻoe, o ka ʻike mai ka ʻāina ʻē, a pēlā wale aku. E hoʻomaʻū i ka ʻike ā pau i aʻo ʻia a e lawelawe no nā kānaka Hawaiʻi no ka pono o ka lāhui Hawaiʻi.
Nui koʻu mahalo no ka ʻike i aʻo ʻia iaʻu i koʻu wā kamaliʻi ma nā kula kaiapuni ʻōlelo Hawaiʻi. ʻAʻole au i maopopo leʻa i koʻu wā ʻōpio, akā i kēia manawa, i koʻu wā he makua, he kuleana nō hoʻi koʻu hiki ke ʻōlelo a kākau ma ka ʻōlelo Hawaiʻi a me nā kuanaʻike Hawaiʻi i aʻo ʻia mai koʻu mau lā kamaliʻi. He wahi hoʻomanaʻo ia noʻu e holomua i ke ala naʻauao o nā kūpuna, ke ala naʻauao o ke kanaka Hawaiʻi o kēia ao nei a e hoʻomau i ke kūkulu ʻana o ka lāhui no nā hanauna e hiki mai ana.
[The first person that comes to mind that inspires me in my academic journey is my mother, Ululani Kaʻahanui. She just graduated from the school of Social Work with her MSW this past Fall semester. It was my mother that encouraged me and my sister to attend college with the idea that when we receive and achieve our degrees, that we will be of service to our lāhui Hawaiʻi. She encouraged us to learn all that we can from our ancestors, in Hawaiian language, knowledge from foreign lands, and so forth. She encouraged us to soak up as much as we could and that we pay it forward for the righteousness of our lāhui Hawaiʻi.
I am extremely grateful to have been taught in the Hawaiian language immersion schools as a child. I did not understand it then, however, I know now as an adult how privileged I am to be able to speak and write in ʻōlelo Hawaiʻi and to have been taught the knowledge and perspective of Hawaiʻi as a child. It is a reminder for me to continue in the path of education and to contribute to the building of our nation for generations to come.]
2. What are your future goals in your work?
ʻO koʻu mau pahuhopu e hoʻokō ai, ʻo ia hoʻi ka hoʻokō ʻana i kaʻu kēkelē laeoʻo ʻIke Hawaiʻi, e holomua me ka lawelawe ʻana no ka lāhui Hawaiʻi me nā hana ā pau e hiki mai ana, a me ka paepae ʻana i nā haumāna ʻo ka papahana kaiapuni ʻōlelo Hawaiʻi e paio mau ma nā hanana like ʻole a i ka lanakila. He ʻiʻini nui koʻu e kōkua a kākoʻo i ka ʻike ʻana a me ka hoʻohana ʻana i ka ʻōlelo makuahine ma nā hana maʻamau ma ke kaiāulu, e like hoʻi ma nā ʻoihana, ma ka hale kūʻai, ka panakō, iā ʻoe e kāki ʻia ana e ka mākaʻi ma ka ʻaoʻao o ke ala nui. ‘O ka ʻōlelo Hawaiʻi, he ʻōlelo maʻamau nō ia a makemake nui au e ʻike i ka hoʻohana ʻana ʻo ka ʻōlelo Hawaiʻi ma ke kaiāulu.
[My goals are to fulfill my Master’s degree in Hawaiian Studies, continue to be of service to my community in whatever facets that I am able to pursue and to encourage students of the Hawaiian Language Immersion program to persevere in all things that should interest them until they succeed. I have a large desire to be a part of a movement to help and support the mainstream use of our Mother tongue in our communities, such as in the work field, at the grocery stores, the banks, while you are ticketed by a policeman on the side of the road. The Hawaiian language is an active language and I truly wish to see our language being used within the greater community.]
3. We believe that at the heart of a Hawaiian place of learning is aloha ʻāina: the constant care for and reciprocation with Hawaiʻi’s people, places and practices.” How do you see your time at UH shaping the way you aloha ʻāina?
I koʻu wā hele kula ʻana ma ke kulanui ʻo Hawaiʻi ma Mānoa no koʻu kēkelē laepua, ua aʻo mua ʻia ke oli ʻo “Welina Mānoa.” Ua mahalo nui au i ke aʻo ʻana i kēia oli no ka mea ua ulu ka mahalo i loko oʻu no kēia wahi i kamaʻāina ʻole ʻia iaʻu ma mua ʻo koʻu hele kulanui ʻana i laila. A mai kēlā wā a hiki i kēia wā, iaʻu ma ke kahua kula, ke hiki mai ka ua, maopopo iaʻu ʻo ka ua Tuahine nō hoʻi ia. He mau loina liʻiliʻi kēia, akā mahalo nui au i kēia ʻike no ka mea he haumāna au no ia kula a me ia wahi. ʻAʻole nō he ʻāina o koʻu piko, akā he ʻāina lupalupa nō ho‘i me nā haliʻa aloha ʻo koʻu wā ʻōpio a i koʻu wā makuahine, koʻu wā haumāna laepua a i koʻu wā laeoʻo. Noʻu, he laʻana kēlā o ke aloha ʻāina ma ke kulanui ʻo Hawaiʻi.
[When I was attending UH Mānoa during my undergrad, I was first taught the oli “Welina Mānoa.” I was incredibly grateful to have been taught this oli because I grew a sense of appreciation for this area that was pretty foreign to me prior to my attending the campus. From that period unitl now, while I am on campus and it begins to rain, I know that the name of the rain is Tuahine. These are very small details but I am grateful for this sense of knowing because I am a student of this campus in this area. It is not the area of my birth or upbringing, but it is a thriving area with memories of my time as a young new student to my time of motherhood; my time as an undergraduate student to my time as a current graduate student. For me, that is an example of aloha ʻāina at the University of Hawaiʻi.]
4. What does UHM as a Hawaiian place of learning mean to you?
Noʻu, he wahi e mālama ʻia ana ka mauli ola o ka lāhui Hawaiʻi. ʻO ka ʻōlelo Hawaiʻi, ke kuanaʻike Hawaiʻi, nā loina a me nā ʻike ʻo nā kūpuna o kēia ʻāina nei he makakoho ma mua o nā ʻike ʻē aʻe. ʻAʻole nō naʻe he kuanaʻike e kū hoʻokahi, akā he kuanaʻike e noʻonoʻo pono inā e hoʻolaha kākou ʻo ke kulanui ʻo Hawaiʻi he kula e aʻo i ka ʻike Hawaiʻi. Manaʻolana au o ka ʻike Hawaiʻi ke kuanaʻike e kūmau ma kēia kahua kula nei. Inā he wahi kula kēia e aʻo i ke kuanaʻike Hawaiʻi, ke lana nei ka manaʻo e aʻo i kēia mau ʻike Hawaiʻi ma nā kahua hana ā pau o kēia kulanui nei, ʻaʻole kaupalena ʻia ma nā papahana ʻōlelo Hawaiʻi a me ka ʻike Hawaiʻi wale nō. Me kēia mau manaʻo e kūlike paha ʻana ke kulanui ʻo Hawaiʻi ma ke ʻano he wahi e aʻo i ke kuanaʻike Hawaiʻi.
[For me, it is a place that fosters the indigeneity of the Hawaiian people. Hawaiian language, Hawaiian perspective, values, and ancestral knowledge of this land is made priority above all other expertise. This is not to say that Hawaiian knowledge is the only source, however, it is a source of knowledge that we might want to consider if we are to claim that the University of Hawaiʻi is a Hawaiian place of learning. I believe that Hawaiian knowledge is the ideal structure within the university function. If the university is a Hawaiian place of learning, it would be humbling to see aspects of Hawaiian knowledge in all departments on campus rather than just limited to the Hawaiian Language and Hawaiian Studies departments. With this understanding, we could possibly anticipate a normalization of Hawaiian learning in the University of Hawaiʻi.]