Monday, July 20, 2009

From Whence I Come

My niece, who is a Kumuhula (teacher of dance) has become one of my followers…Welcome Mo’ikeha. She posted this comment in response to the latest posting of “Make A Joyful Noise.” She is an exceptional hula dancer and teacher…who was born and raised in California and now resides on the Big Island of Hawaii. Not being raised in Hawai’i has not lessened her “Hawaiianess;” the love for her people and their history…her mother kept that alive for her and her siblings. On this subject she is very passionate. That explanation aside, I want to post her comment here as my blog entry for today.

Aloha Auntie Loke…I love your blog site and your paintings. Especially, the ones depicting your sisters. When i started reading your bio i was offended and i will tell you why. First off I don't know if you wrote the bio or someone for you, since it is written that way, but here goes: Yes, we are related to Ali'i of Hawaii, which there are many, but the famous Navigating King Mo'ikeha is not a name that is "meaningless today", ask any Kumuhula or historian of Hawaii and they all know very well who you are speaking of. I don't want any of your readers thinking this way, because our Kupuna Mo'ikeha had a son named La'amaikahiki and who brought to Hawaii the 'temple drums'. Never before in Hawaii. This is very significant to hula and hula is not just another dance. It is the most stunning and meaningful of all of Polynesian dances. Hula documents the history of Hawaii, its environment and its people. It is poetry in motion. So La'a brought the temple drums to Hawaii and taught the hulas that go with them. Some believe that Laka, who is an important god of the hula was really, La'a, but that over the years names were changed as dialects change. I know Auntie you understand how important this is to Hawaii. There is a chant that is known by every Kumuhula (hula teacher). It is 'Eia Hawaii', also known as 'the Mo'ikeha' chant. Kamahualele, Mo'ikeha's astrologer/seerer, chanted this upon their arrival for the first time to Hawaii. A very significant chant that is still used today.
THE NAME MO'IKEHA CAN BE DESCRIBED AS ONE WHO FOLLOWS A COURSE OF ACTION, TO MASTER SPIRITUAL KNOWLEDGE, TO ATTAIN GREAT HEIGHTS, TO OVERCOME OBSTICLES AND SUFFERING..Ka Heke O Na Pua...the greatest of his descendents. I carry this name with great pride and for the reader who doesn't know Hawaii, a name is never forgotten.....God Bless you, Auntie Loke and all who took the time to read this long comment!

(Translations: Ali'i = royalty; kupuna = ancestors; La'a = dedicated, set apart for special purposes; La'amaikahiki = saying La'a was from Tahiti.)

To Kumu Mo’ikeha…I do know all you state above, but thank you so much for saying it with so much passion so that those who visit my blog will know that it is this passion I strive to show in my paintings. I know I come through the line of Mo’ikeha, the mighty Polynesian navigating king, a fact that I am so very proud of. I am extremely proud of the fact that my maiden name is Mo'ikeha and even if I don't use that name in everyday, I KNOW it's importance in my culture.

In this blog and in my bio I am speaking to people from all cultures who may or may not know their roots, but have pride in who they are and where they come from. Those of my culture hopefully know, through my paintings, what speaks to my heart.

Private Collection
Son’s portrait showing his ethnicity

This article has given me the opportunity to show another of my paintings…it goes right along with the topic. A painting idea I carried with me since my son was very young. I’m not totally happy with it, so plan to either rework it or do another. I'm sure an explanation is not necessary here, but just in case, the Indian image is Cherokee.

I have been looking for other topics besides painting to add interest to my blog and I think the history of my culture would be very interesting. Maybe even some childhood stories, legends from my Tutu (grandmother), and maybe adding a painting or sketch along with the story. Let me know what you think about this?

Aloha until next time…


  1. I'd love to read the stories of your childhood and culture and think it would add a lot to your blog. I'm glad your niece addressed the issue of the word, meaningless, in your profile. When I first read it, that word hit me and my first thought was that nothing in our backgrounds is ever meaningless, so I smiled when I read her posting. Thanks for including it here. Love your painting of your son!

  2. Deb..."meaningless" in context here is to mean that I don't consider myself royalty in the sense that I am better than, nor less than anyone else. There are no crowns to wear, no great monetary advantages and although it may be of interest to those outside my culture, a question which would probably arise would be...So? I have changed my bio somewhat to explain the "meaningless."

  3. Thank you for sharing this , I really enjoyed reading it, your painting is superb.

  4. Thank you so much Julie, I appreciate you leaving a comment.