Makuahine (Mother)

In memory of my mother, Kanoelani Abbiegail McMillen OʻConnor There is an ʻOlelo Noʻeau that describes how one learns best: Nana ka maka, ho’olohe ka pepeiao, pa’a ka waha. Observe with the eyes, listen with the ears, don’t talk. When I was in elementary school, in Maryland, maybe 3rd grade, the teacher assigned a social studies activity that involved making dwelling places from different cultures. I was assigned to make a model of an old Hawaiian home. The first thing that came to my mind was the collection of coconut cups my mom used for parties – usually to hold … Continue reading Makuahine (Mother)

Mauna Kea – July 2019

Or why this mountain means so much to a daughter of the Hawaiian diaspora. While my family was camping in the Adirondacks this week, I spent my vacation time weathering the heat wave by sharing the air-conditioned space of my kitchen with our three dogs. I had two goals for my quiet time: finish the 2018 taxes and Nathaniel Philbrick’s “Valiant Ambition – George Washington, Benedict Arnold, and the Fate of the American Revolution”. I did neither. A quick visit to my Facebook account told me that things were happening on Mauna Kea and it demanded my attention. For several days … Continue reading Mauna Kea – July 2019

Tūtū and the Hopi Earrings

 I ulu no ka lālā i ke kumu.* The branches grow because of the trunk. As a teenager, one of my favorite hangouts was Georgetown. There was a new age bookstore/restaurant there called “Yes” where you could peruse titles on world religion and the occult while munching on brown rice and vegetables. I bought my first books on Islam, Buddhism and Thomas Merton in that book store. It was a hope filled place. My friends and I would jump into the back of anotherʻs Volkswagen van and head for DC. Weʻd check out the books and then share a meal … Continue reading Tūtū and the Hopi Earrings