Building pilina, connection to Hawai`i through `ike ku`una, foundational Hawaiian knowledge, has grounded and inspired the Kūpa`a Collective start-up team to navigate a path through these uncharted waters. There are multiple perspectives to the meaning of place-based education. Within this space, we wanted to focus on building an intimate connection to Hawai`i by learning from its rich past. From before SARS-CoV-2 became a worldwide pandemic, we were inspired by the courageous, steadfast, aloha-filled leadership of Princess Lili`uokalani. When faced with the1881 smallpox epidemic, she decisively closed the ports to keep her native people safe and protected. This is just one example of how throughout her life, Lili`uokalani stood `onipa`a, steadfast, rooted in the deep aloha she possessed for her `āina and her people. This aloha drove her kūpono decision making--her people’s lives mattered. She put their lives--protecting her people, putting their health and well being-- at the forefront of the positions she took. Queen Lili`uokalani is a shining light of resilience. The fact that she is still held dear to so many we believe, is a testament to this resilience. It is our hope that just as she inspired us to take a collective call to action, that she will inspire you… Mahalo for joining us on this place-based journey. We honor Lydia Lili‘u Loloku Walania Wewehi Kamaka‘eha--Queen Lili`uokalani and dedicate our work in perpetuating all that she stood for then because it is just as relevant now, and will holomua, continue forward into perpetuity. May the light of her torch burn bright and her motto, “E onipa`a..i ka `imi na`auao, be steadfast in the seeking of knowledge” live on. E ola mau.
Lawe li'ili'i ka make a ka Hawai'i,
lawe nui ka make a ka haole
Death by Hawaiians takes a few at a
time; death by foreigners takes many.
`Ōlelo No`eau #1960, Pūku`i
The eight lessons in this place-based curriculum begin in the past and connect to the present. We hope they provide ways to bring ancestral wisdom and experiences to guide decisions being made in the present that preserve and protect Hawaii’s peoples, with special and heightened care in looking out for its cherished hulu kūpuna.