Local Hula School in Aloha teaches the importance of Kalo: Ka Lei Hali’a O Ka Lokelani school
Hawai’i is often known as the paradise destination for many vacation goers. For Hawai’i natives like Leialoha Ka’ula, it is home. A home that will forever hold a special place in her heart.
Moving to Oregon, almost twenty years ago, in hopes of returning to Hawai’i after a few short years, Ka’ula found herself connecting more and more with community and land.
A proud graduate of Ke Kula ‘O Nawahiokalani’opu’u, one of only a handful of Hawaiian immersion charter schools that educate their students through Olelo Hawai’i (Hawaiian language) and cultural values, Ka’ula brings to the community a very rare opportunity here on Turtle Island, a fluent Hawaiian language speaker and hula practitioner.
In 2008, with the blessing of her ‘ohana in Hawai’i, Ka’ula founded Ka Lei Hali’a O Ka Lokelani, a local hula school with a mission to make a difference through education.
About the School
Growing up in the Hawaiian immersion programs and H’lau (hula school), it is a community unlike any other. Immersed in a culture that less than a century ago was considered close to extinction, today, over two dozen Hawaiian language immersion and cultural schools fill the airways of Hawai’i with our native tongue. Here on Turtle Island, we mahalo the indigenous people of these lands for allowing our community, who live in diaspora, to continue to practice our culture through our language, values and most recently, cultivating the land with our native plants like kalo, or taro.
Throughout the last decade of our H’lau being here in Beaverton, we have been able to share our culture through hula, educate the students throughout the state of our history, connect with our indigenous cousins and build on our pilina (connection), and now bring awareness of food sustainability through a very cultural lens.
Kalo is a staple food throughout the Pacific
As stewards of the lands, our Pacific Islander people have a very kinship with the land, the sea, the valleys, and the list goes on. Cultivation is a practice that has been instilled in us for generations. Being able to cultivate kalo, here in the Pacific Northwest, allows us to stay grounded and connected to our homeland. This allows for our community to be surrounded by the very essence that is our identity.
Living in diaspora our community often finds ourselves challenged by the idea or feeling of lost identity.
Through these cultural practices our community is allowed to heal and grow in hopes that we are able to have a better understanding and sense of place.
These values allow for our community to also connect in a way that we are not able to outside of our natural surroundings. Growing kalo isn’t just about growing kalo. Growing kalo allows for our Pacific Island communities to find a sense of belonging. It is through this practice that we believe true healing will happen.
This spring, Ka Lei Hali’a O Ka Lokelani welcomes our community to join us as we bring the art of farming kalo right here to Aloha, Oregon.
The Ka Lei Hali’a O Ka Lokelani hula school is located at 17877 SW Woodberry Ct, Aloha. For more info call 971-404-1797 or visit them online at www.klhokl.org