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)
The story goes that my dad, Thomas James OʻConnor, was playing cards on a 24-hour pas when the attack on Pearl Harbor began. Continue reading Puʻuloa (Pearl Harbor)
Hokule‘a is in the water now, sailing up the coast from the Capitol in Washington, D.C. to New York City. She is a Hawaiian wa‘a kaulua (ocean canoe), the guiding light of a nation, the Hawaiian nation, called the people of the wa‘a. Continue reading “The King and The Navigator”
My grandmother, Abigail McMillen, “Auntie Abbie” to almost everyone who knew her, was a big woman. Big heart. Big soul. Big body. She came to me from Hawaii the year of Statehood and became a fixture at every gathering of local Hawaiians in the Washington, D.C. area. If there was a meal, she would pray the Benediction. If there was hula, she would strum her guitar or tenor ukulele. If there was a luau – that meant one thing – get out the Black Holoku.