Place shapes many aspects of our identity, including how we embrace the land itself, the language we create, the stories we tell, and the culture we reflect. The interconnected core concepts that make up the heart of ʻāina based education at Kapiʻolani Community College and help shape our sense of place are Mālama ʻĀina, ʻŌlelo Hawaiʻi, Moʻolelo, and Moʻomeheu. They provide a lens for viewing, learning, and teaching about the world from a particular Native Hawaiian cultural foundation. At the same time, these contexts help connect students to their learning and make it relevant for their lives.
Mālama ʻĀina (Land) represents love, respect, and stewardship for Hawaiʻi, for ʻāina -- the land which nourishes and sustains us. Through mālama ʻāina, we make deep, meaningful connections to the world around us, including animals, plants, land, ocean, and sky.
ʻŌlelo Hawaiʻi (Language) represents the rich, historical, and varied meaning of Hawaiian words, language, proverbs, and sayings. ʻŌlelo Noʻeau are wise, often humorous, poetical sayings. It is through ʻŌlelo Hawaiʻi and kaona (hidden meaning) that Hawaiʻi place names and ʻŌlelo Noʻeau come alive and give new meaning and understanding to our experiences.
Moʻolelo (Literature) are the oral histories, traditions, and stories of Native Hawaiians that have been passed down through the generations. Today, moʻolelo also include written histories. By connecting ʻŌlelo Hawaiʻi and Moʻolelo, we learn the deeper, more meaningful histories of place, and allow for greater connection to ʻāina.
Moʻomeheu (Values) are Native Hawaiian cultural values, practices, and skills. Moʻomeheu give meaning to all other core contexts -- Mālama ʻĀina, ʻŌlelo Hawaiʻi, and Moʻolelo; they in turn inform Moʻomeheu. The core contexts are not meant to be standalone pieces for if just one is taken out, the others are not as meaningful. Through education and application of the core contexts, we practice and grow in our understanding of Mālama ʻĀina.
This project was supported by a U.S. D.O.E. Title III Native Hawaiian Serving Grant.