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Community Bright Spot: Lokelani Intermediate School’s Board and Stone Ceremony

We are thrilled to share a truly momentous occasion that embodies the spirit of Lokelani Intermediate School’s commitment to cultural enrichment, community unity, and education on culturally relevant foods in Hawai‘i Nei. Lokelani Intermediate School is a Department of Education (DOE) school located in Kihei on the island of Maui.

Lokelani Intermediate School is dedicated to enriching the lives of the students and their connection with food. They have a dedicated School Garden Coordinator along with a garden to promote healthy nutritious foods.  

On February 23, 2024, Lokelani Intermediate School had the honor of formally receiving a meaningful gift from the non-profit organization Lo‘iloa. A traditional Hawaiian board and stone, known as papa ku‘i ‘ai and pohaku ku‘i ‘ai.

Honoring Tradition, Strengthening Connections

The nonprofit organization Lo‘iloa gifted the papa ku‘u ‘ai and pohaku ku‘i ‘ai to the students and staff at Lokelani Intermediate School. Lo‘iloa’s mission to revitalize and reinforce the holistic connection between the land, spirit, and body is beautifully exemplified through their craftsmanship and dedication. These cultural tools serve as tangible reminders of heritage and the values deeply rooted in Native Hawaiian practices.

A Celebration of Culture and Community

A selected group of students, teachers, staff, and community members gathered to witness a special ceremony where the papa ku‘i ‘ai and pohaku ku‘i ‘ai were formally presented to the school. The ceremony included a ku‘i kalo demonstration, allowing us to experience firsthand the traditional method of pounding taro. We also got to sample the pa‘i ai (pounded, cooked taro root).

Lokelani Intermediate School’s students, teachers, and staff are now stewards of these invaluable cultural resources. In the ceremony, they have accepted the responsibility to honor and preserve them for future generations. Through guidance and instruction provided during the ceremony, we learned not only how to use the board and stone, but also the significance behind each movement and practice.

Continuing the Journey of Cultural Enrichment

This event marks a significant milestone in their ongoing journey of cultural enrichment and community building. By embracing heritage and traditions, we strengthen the bonds that unite us as a community and deepen our connection to the land and culture that surround us.

Shoutout to Lo‘iloa and heartfelt gratitude for their generosity and dedication to preserving and promoting Native Hawaiian practices. Their commitment to education and cultural revitalization inspires us all to cherish and honor the traditions that shape our identity.

For more information about the Maui Nui HEAL Coalition, please contact the Maui Nui HEAL Coalition Coordinator, RoAnn Viloria at roann@hiphi.org.

RoAnn Viloria, MPH

RoAnn Viloria, MPH

Maui, Molokai and Lānaʻi HEAL Coalition Coordinator
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