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February 2009

Hawai`i News


Only 1,200 slots available;
last conference was on Maui in 2005


Ka`Aha Hula `O Hālauaola 2009 Hula Conference will be an extraordinary gathering. More than 100 Kumu Hula, cultural practitioners, artisans, and hula enthusiasts will share their knowledge, experience and artistry with hundreds of participants. Each day will be filled with dawn-to-dark activities for anyone interested in hula and Hawaiian culture. We are so pleased to be able to welcome all of you to O`ahu and the beauties of this island.

Lālākea Foundation is proud to host the third gathering along with Edith Kanaka`ole Foundation and Kauahea Inc. Overall Chairperson Kumu Hula Leinā`ala Kalama Heine has assembled a remarkable group of individuals who will assist in providing an exploration of Hawaiian cultural knowledge that is unequalled.

Ka`Aha Hula `O Hālauaola 2009 will provide an opportunity to explore the comprehensive insights held by the kūpuna and bring them into a daily practice. We will be filled to overflowing with those insights, understandings, and artistries which have been maintained and continued by Hawaiian cultural practitioners for hundreds of years. It is here that it is continued.

Conference Basics:

The Conference will be held July 26-31, 2009 at the Kamehameha Schools Kapālama Campus, Honolulu, O`ahu, Hawai`i. You may register now! (The Hālauaola 2009 registration module is LIVE! Classes will not be able to be selected yet but you can register for the Conference. We will only be able to register 1,200 people so be sure you register early.)

More information about classes being offered will be posted at the website as they become available.

Prepare to be welcomed onto the sands of Kakuhihewa. May Mālama’s sea provide peace and beauty, may the panorama of the Ko`olau strengthen you, and may the majesty of Ka`ala inspire you. E ola!

~from Ka `Aha Hula `O Hālauaola. For more information: www.hulaconference.org


NOTE: Opening Ceremonies Workshop for Kumu Hula and advanced students to learn oli and chants for the opening ceremonies will be held in Seattle on Feb. 14th from 8am – 4pm. More information at hulamoods@comcast.net


A First-Hand View of the Inauguration

By Steve Kajihiro


Steve Kajihiro of Seattle went to Washington DC for the inauguration of Barack Obama. He stayed in New York City and took a flight to DC on the Big Day. Here is what he wrote on his blog:

The day started with an early morning flight from New York to Washington DC. I was re-checked by TSA at the gate due to their enhanced security to Washington for the inauguration.  I arrived in DC about 7 am.  As soon as the plane landed, I went straight to the Metro Station in the airport.  To my surprise, the train station was empty. I hopped on the train and made it to my stop just north of the Capitol building at the Judiciary Square metro station in about 20 minutes. 

From there, it got interesting. There were thousands of people on the streets.  I made my way to the purple gate line to get in or so we thought. From then on, it was crazy.  Thousands of people crowded the streets. We could not move or go anywhere.  The people were just stopped in the middle of the intersection. For several hours, we stood squished together like fish in a sardine can.  I called 911 twice for people collapsing due probably to exhaustion or anxiety.  I also made a call to 911 requesting someone to do crowd control, people were getting agitated as it got closer and closer to noon.   People did not care if you were young, old, or in a wheel chair. They just pushed and pushed.   It was surprising that there were no police or crowd control on the streets.  It was not well marked for those with or without tickets.  It seemed to be poor planning.  It would have a lot easier if there were some communication; someone with a bullhorn would have helped with the crowd.

Most in the crowd did not have tickets and some had wrong color tickets. Myself and other people decided to just make our own way through. We ended breaking through the crowd, only to find out that the street was free and clear past the intersection. Once through, I got within 30 feet of the gate. This was the longest 30 feet of the day.  I watched the flow of the crowd moving into the gate and hopped in line.  It was a slow flow but it was moving. The crowd to the west seemed to be stopped because everyone from the east was moving in.   While making our way through this line, I noticed a man was upset that a lady in a wheelchair kept bumping into him.  Another person and I decided to help the man pushing the wheelchair-bound lady who was in tears. I told him I was going to put my foot in front of the wheelchair so he would not hit the man in front.  At one point, I plowed a hole like an offensive lineman in football but that worked so well that some inconsiderate people just jumped in front of the wheelchair. I then lost sight of them in the crowd.

At about 11am, I got through the purple gates and took a position on the Capitol grounds on the Northwest side.  I realized that if I walked a few more yards to the south, I might get a better view but I did not want to push my luck and took the first empty spot on the lawn.

An estimated two million people crowded the National Mall for the Obama Inauguration.
Photo by Steve Kajihiro

The feeling to be that close and to be there at this history-making event was simply awesome. To tell you the truth, I really don't think that the significance of this event had really hit me yet.  I looked around and saw millions of people everywhere. I could see people in the distance all the way to the Washington Monument, about a mile and a half away. People were standing on the statues, bushes, and walls to get a view of the President.   It was an amazing site to see.  As far as the actual ceremony, it was like being in the last row of a football game without binoculars. But, it really did not matter.  I was there witnessing history: the first African American and Hawaii-born President getting sworn in!

During the ceremony, I could feel the incredible energy Obama brought to the people. It was a night and day response to former President Bush and President Obama.  When Bush was introduced, the crowd booed and started singing "Na Na Na Na Hey Hey Good Bye" song.  But when Obama was introduced the crowd erupted in cheers and chants of "Obama Obama Obama!"

Obama was like a rock star.  It was simple unbelievable.  He ignited the crowd with his speech and at that moment, there was a sense of hope and restored belief glowing among the crowd.  It felt like this was the beginning of a new America, a start of a better economy, an America that will bring peace to this world.  The TV or radio broadcast of this event will never project the energy, all of us there at the Capital or the National Mall felt.  Witnessing history in person was simply priceless.

This was an exciting trip which allowed me only about ten hours of sleep in four days but it was well worth it.

Steve Kajihiro is a graduate of Aiea High School and the University of Hawai`i. He now lives in Seattle and is owner/photographer of JAMK Photography and Island Sports Media


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