Saturday, January 2, 2010

Na Mea Wai Wai Hawaii

"There is life in a kindly reply"
Ua ola no i ka pane a ke aloha

Yesterday I found an email from another Hawaiian native living not far from us . 'The beautiful bird' is living in Portland, Oregon and was searching for an 'olelo no'eau (a Hawaiian proverb). She gave me a brief idea of the reason for her asking, and then the search was on. In times past I carried a library of treasured print resources. Among those books were a basic 'ohana (family) of resources that had been passed to me from teachers, purchased from book stores, and gifted me by friends and family. The decade of travel and wandering as Pete and I simplify and cull and are asked to zen down even more quickly (MCS can do that) means that library of books is minimalized. Multiple chemical sensitivities for me includes being sensitive to and reactive to the chemicals used to print and assemble books, magazines, and other print. The loss has devastated me in the earliest times. Slowly, the loss has turned to acceptance and now it does please me that those books are with my son, my niece and others who were ready for the teaching.

Yesterday's kahea (the call) inspired me and motivated both Pete and me to find the tiny library of Na Mea Hawaii (things of Hawaii) that we do still keep with us. With concentrated effort, Pete found the tiny stack of cards printed with the collection of Hawaiian proverbs assembled and preserved by kupuna Mary Kawena Pukui. The cards fit in Pete's palm, and for many years, and through thousands of wandering miles over oceans, continent and islands those tiny cards have been a daily comfort. Kupuna Kawena, scholar and teacher is among the revered and valued human treasures of culture -- music, language and living practices -- of Na Mea Wai Wai Hawaii. I used to carry and keep close the tome of a book written by Kupuna Kawena, 'Olelo No'eau to do my work with community, used it to add meaning to a project or piece of writing that I was working with, or when I simply needed a bit of wisdom to ground me.

Yesterday's kahea and search led to rediscover the value of those beautifully worn snippets of timeless wisdom. Among them was something the young wahine Hawai`i found fitting for her purpose. So cool! The search also led me to discover that archives and electronic access to Hawaiian language, and archives of Kupuna Kawena's 'Olelo No'eau are available to those who have access to cyberspace. Aue! I have included links to a few of those electronic connections. There is power in the word and to see how a culture and language that teetered on the edge of extinction can now be accessed through electronic libraries, wow, we are indeed not in control of how life will proceed in the hands of generations to come.

Three on-line resources to access NA WAI WAI HAWAI'I:

'OLELO NO'EAU Archives Selected proverbs assembled at Leeward Community College on the island of O'ahu, Hawaii

ULUKAU (Electronic Hawaiian Dictionary) A project created by Aha Punana Leo (the Hawaiian language immersion schools of Hawaii)

The Kumulipo (The Hawaiian Sacred Texts of Creation) This one the translation done by Queen Lili'uokalani, Hawaii's last reigning queen, done during her house arrest when Americans were stealing the 'aina.

The Makua O'o practices using the o'o
"Know that wisdom is found in many places … SOFTEN THE GROUND OF YOUR BEING"

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