Dr. Samuel Lawrence Kamuela Ka`ahanui, Jr.
He is by no means a “country boy” but the old adage “you can take the boy out of the country but you can’t take the country out of the boy” is one apt way to describe my Profile person this month. He lives in the Pacific Northwest now, far removed from Hawai`i, e ku`u one hanau e (the land of his birth, his “country”) but he will always be renowned as a proud kanaka maoli (native Hawaiian). He is a man of many talents but is not a typical “jack of all trades/master of none” as he is a master of his many talents. He has a Doctorate degree in education and can speak several languages but he can “speak da kine Pidgin” as fluently as he does Hawaiian, English or Spanish. He can be dressed with all the polish and decorum expected of a College Dean (which he was) but he’s totally comfortable walking around town in shorts and slippahs! He can be very stern, serious and business like as he was in requesting funding for educational programs from State of Washington legislators but he is one of the most jovial, fun loving, humorous guys you could hope to meet when he is “off duty”. He can dance an elegant waltz at a formal reception or just as easily do a kolohe Hawaiian hula. He is a very talented ukulele player with a beautiful singing voice! He is a proponent of getting things done pono (the right way) and is an activist for social rights who has walked in many peaceful protest marches! He has “been there/done that” in the field of education, having started “in the trenches” as an elementary school teacher in Hau`ula and progressing to school principal in Pauoa and Waimea to teaching at UH/ Hilo to being a college Dean in Seattle!
Meet Dr Samuel Lawrence Kamuela Ka`ahanui Jr whose credentials speak volumes about a man who has dedicated himself to a philosophy that educating and imparting knowledge to others is a key to making the world we live in a better, safer place.
Kamuela Ka`ahanui grew up on Pa`ani Street in the Mo`ili`ili area of Honolulu. His Mother Esther Ke`ola Ka`ahanui (Sacred Hearts Academy ’48) was a beautiful hula dancer with the world renowned Kent Girard Hula studio. Kamuela’s Dad (Samuel Ka`ahanui Sr, Farrington ‘46) was a career US Army soldier. Kamuela has two surviving siblings; Laurene Lo`e Ka`ahanui lives in Nanakuli and Lee Leilani Kalamau lives in Wai`anae. To ensure that Kamuela grew up in a Hawaiian environment, he was hanai to his grandparents (Lo`e Ka`aihue and Oswald T. Keola) so he could go to school in Honolulu. Kamuela graduated in 1967 from the Kamehameha Schools (among his classmates were current day Hawai`i luminaries entertainer Robert Uluwehi Cazimero, Kumu Hula Leslie Mapuana DeSilva and U of Hawaii Professor/Activist for Hawaiian Rights Haunani Trask). In his junior year at Kamehameha, Kamuela was selected to go to Spain on a student exchange program. Kamuela was enamored with Spain, its people and the language. His love affair with Spain continues to this day as he is an expert Spanish linguist (fascinates Spanish-speaking people he meets because Kamuela was taught and speaks the “King’s” version of Spanish which is a little more eloquent/fancier than the everyday “people’s” version). Even though he had a full ride scholarship offer from the U of Hawaii, he chose to attend the University of Northern Colorado on a partial scholarship because they had an outstanding teacher’s college. Besides Northern Colorado, Dr Ka`ahanui has graduate degrees from Columbia University, the University of Hawaii/Manoa and Simon Fraser University in Canada.
Dr Kamuela Ka`ahanui is a past Dean of Faculty at Antioch University in Seattle; he has been a member of the United Nations Education for Indigenous People Commission; he has been involved in the Gates Foundation Program for the Education of Minorities!
Because of his continually outstanding academic performances, he was awarded a Simon Fraser Fellowship Grant to study and teach indigenous people in Australia/New Zealand in 2000. Dr Ka`ahanui was fascinated with the Maori of New Zealand, a people who call Hawaiians their forefathers. Their language is so similar to Hawaiian that Dr Ka`ahanui had no problem understanding his Maori students and they had no problem understanding him even though each spoke their own native tongues. Dr Ka`ahanui was awarded a United Nations Fellowship Grant in 2002, this time to Switzerland to establish ethical and moral protocols for initiating research in the world’s indigenous Native populations. Currently, this Native Hawaiian scholar is a “teacher of teachers” at Antioch University in Seattle! He stresses the importance of the dynamics of teaching (consideration for the multitude of influences such as gender, ethnicity, socio-economic status, et al that can hinder the learning process for children). Dr Ka`ahanui is one of the foremost experts in Hawaiian language and culture in the Pacific Northwest and has voluntarily taught many classes on Hawaiian language (‘olelo) and culture in Hawaiian community activities in the Pacific Northwest!
In very basic terms, who we are as a people can be correlated directly to what we are taught and what we learn! `A `ohe I pau `ike I ka halau ho`okahi (not all knowledge comes from one school) is one of Dr Ka`ahanui’s favorite wise sayings as he believes that the art of learning is one that is with each of us every day of our lives! Dr Ka`ahanui’s parting words to me were E ola mau Hawai`i (long live Hawaii)!
Mahalo Dr Samuel Lawrence KamuelaKa`ahanui Jr for all you do for all people! You da man!!!!!
Until next time, be kind to each other……me ke Aloha pumehana…..Danny