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This project will be a joint series co-sponsored by the Mālama Project, the UH Women’s Center, and the Department of Social Work Graduate Student Organization, the Native Hawaiian Place of Learning Advancement Office, and ʻEkolu Mea Nui.

Moʻolelo Monday’s Series - Registration Links

Moʻolelo Monday’s: Moʻolelo

Our Moʻolelo Monday Series will dive into moʻolelo of resilience, strength, and healing, focusing on moʻolelo passed down by our ancestors. We have invited Kumu to share moʻolelo and kaʻao with our students, followed by discussions on taking a deeper look into the layers of meaning contained within each kaʻao and how we can begin to interpret and understand how these moʻolelo relate to our own journey, what lessons they are trying to impart on us, and how this wisdom can continue to influence and inform us. 

Join us for a series of webinars held from November through April, every other Monday afternoon from 4 pm – 5:30 am on Zoom.  

Format & Registration: All events are free and held virtually on Zoom.  

See individual session registration information below:

Moʻolelo Monday’s: Moʻolelo (6)                                                                                                                     Monday, February 15

Kumu: Malina Kaulukukui

Moʻolelo: Pele & Hiʻiaka


Moʻolelo Monday’s: Moʻolelo (7)

Monday, March 1

Kumu: Tangarō

Moʻolelo: Kaʻao O Manamanakaluea, The Transformation of the Maimed Woman by Hiʻiakaikapoliopele

Manamanakaluaea is an ambiguous character within the kaʻao traditions of Pele and Hiʻiakaikapoliopele.  In the language of kaʻao she is described as a lone woman surviving in utter isolation on a remote shore, a forlorn phantom kept alive by fishing for shoreline shellfish with the clumsy stumps of her elbows, for her limbs were truncated at the elbow and knees. What does this all mean? Relating to such a melancholy character within secular terms is uncomfortable for many; however, when we begin to relate to this story within the sacred terms of kaʻao, and itʻs archetypal language (kaona), another truth emerges, one full of hope, promise, liberation.  Join me as I hakakaʻao (embody the myth) through chant, dance, story telling. You will walk away comforted in the knowledge that even our ancient people were reminded through myth to live in quality.



Moʻolelo Monday’s: Moʻolelo (8)                                                       Monday, March 29

Kumu: Jace Kaholokula Saplan

Moʻolelo: Melodic Tenacity: The Mele of Lena Machado

Dr. Jace Kaholokula Saplan serves as the Director of Choral Activities and Assistant Professor of Music at the University of Hawai’i at Mānoa. Dr. Saplan received his Bachelor of Arts in Music from the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa, his Master of Education in Curriculum and Instruction from Concordia University-Portland, his Master of Music in Choral Conducting from the University of Oregon, and his Doctor of Musical Arts in Choral Conducting with cognates in Music Education and Ethnomusicology from the University of Miami Frost School of Music.

Known for his work in celebrating the intersection between Hawaiian music and choral performance, he is the artistic director of Nā Wai Chamber Choir, a professional vocal ensemble based in Hawaiʻi dedicated to the preservation and propagation of Hawaiian choral music. Under his direction, Nā Wai has commissioned and mentored emerging Native Hawaiian composers and conductors, toured throughout rural Hawaiian communities, and led workshops on the performance of Hawaiian choral music at schools and universities throughout the country.

Prior to his appointment to the University of Hawai’i and Hamilton College, Dr. Saplan served as the chorus master for the Frost Opera Program at the University of Miami where he prepared a number of contemporary works such as Golijov’s Ainadamar, Kuster’s Old Presque Isle (done in collaboration with the John Duffy Composer’s Institute and the Virginia Arts Festival), and a premiere work by Grammy-nominated composer Shawn Crouch. He also served as an instructor of choral music at Florida International University where he directed of the FIU Master Chorale and taught courses in undergraduate and graduate choral conducting.

His work in preparing choruses and as a festival clinician are vast, resulting in performances at Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Hall, The Oregon Bach Festival, Old South Church (Boston), Church of the Holy Trinity (Philadelphia), La Madeline (France), and the Harrogate Music Festival (UK).

Dr. Saplan’s research focuses on the performance practice of Queen Lili’uokalani’s choral compositions; multicultural perspectives in the choral rehearsal; intersections of choral pedagogy, gender, and sexuality in communities of color; and Native Hawaiian agency in music. His scholarship on these topics have also led him to lead clinics at the state, regional, and national level for the American Choral Directors Association, National Association for Music Educators, National Collegiate Choral Organization, and the LGBTQ Studies in Music Education Conference. He is a frequent clinician and adjudicator for state, regional, and national conferences and festivals.


Moʻolelo Monday’s: Moʻolelo (9)                                                                             Monday, April 12

Kumu: Keola Chan

Moʻolelo: Lonopuha

As Ka Pounui of the ‘Aha Kāne Foundation for the Advancement of Native Hawaiian Males, Keola oversees the executive direction of this statewide non-profit organization. He is responsible for ‘Aha Kāne providing wellness conferences, programmatic interventions, and leadership training to empower kāne (males) to connect with culture, traditional practices, and kuleana.

 In 2002 Keola envisioned and founded Hui Mauli Ola a non-profit organization established to address and rebuild the traditional healing arts of the Native Hawaiian people. As Executive Director from 2002 to 2013, his approach was unique and unforeseen in addressing the self-determination of a marginalized people and practices through the means of traditional healing.

 Studying for years under Alva Andrews, Roxanne Bertelmann, Mālia Craver, George Holokai, Alapaʻi Kahuʻena, Ken Kamakea and other experts, Keola has built his knowledge in lomilomi, hoʻoponopono, lāʻau lapaʻau, hula and lua. As a learning practitioner for many years, he was asked by his kumu to begin teaching on his own which started in 2001. He has graduated five cohorts of students (52 graduates total) in the past several years.

 Keola’s career objective is to conduct integrated programs leading to meaningful community contributions with impact for the Native Hawaiian community.



Moʻolelo Monday’s: Moʻolelo (1)

 Monday, November 9

Kumu Pele Kaʻio – HawCC, Kumu Hula

Moʻolelo: Kana & the 4Hʻs framework

Pele Kaio is an ʻūniki ʻailolo (graduate) anchored in the traditions of the hula ʻaihaʻa, ritual volcanic fire dances of Unukupukupu. Pele is the Kumu Hula of Unulau, a hālau hula based in Hilo and Waimea, Hawaiʻi. Pele serves as an instructor at Hawai’i Community College teaching courses in Hula and Hawaiian Studies.


Moʻolelo Monday’s: Moʻolelo (2)

Monday, November 23

Kumu Kuʻulei Kanahele – HawCC

Moʻolelo: Hiʻiaka

Kuulei Kanahele is a 1994 graduate of Kamehameha School – Kapalama and received her Bachelor of Arts in Hawaiian Studies from the University of Hawaii at Hilo in 1998 and her Master of Arts in Education from Central Michigan University in 2001. Kuulei danced hula with Halau o Kekuhi for fifteen years, from which stems her interests in Hawaiian chants and text. She is fortunate to pursue her interests both personally and professionally through her research for Papaku Makawalu under the Edith Kanakaole Foundation, and as a Hawaiian Studies instructor at Hawaii Community College’s Hawaii Lifestyles program. Kuulei’s research focus is Papahulihonua, the study of Hawaiian earth sciences She has presented her research to native Hawaiian practitioners, educators, Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, the County of Hawaiʻi, and Google X.

Kuulei is currently a PhD candidate in Hawaiian and Indigenous Language and Culture Revitalization at Ka Haka Ula O Keelikolani College of Hawaiian Language at the University of Hawaii at Hilo.


Moʻolelo Monday’s: Moʻolelo (3)

Monday, December 7

Kumu Kū Kahakalau

Moʻolelo: Nanaue of Waipiʻo

Dr. Kū Kahakalau is a native Hawaiian educator, researcher, cultural practitioner, grassroots activist, and expert in Hawaiian language, history and culture. Kū promotes the revitalization of Hawaiian language and culture, hands-on learning in the environment, community sustainability and Hawaiian self-determination in education and beyond through a Pedagogy of Aloha. Over the past 25 years, Kū founded and administered multiple innovate Hawaiian-focused programs including EA Ecoversity, a Hawaiian-focused post-secondary program that transitions Hawaiian youth to culturally-grounded, happy, successful, thriving adults and responsible global citizens.


Moʻolelo Monday’s: Moʻolelo (4)

Monday, January 18

Kumu: Manu Aluli Meyer, UHWO

Moʻolelo: Aloha aku, aloha mai: The role of aloha in world evolution

What does simultaneity, the Implicate Order, ʻauamo kuleana, and hoʻopono have in common with aloha? Come and find out!

Manulani Aluli Meyer is the fifth daughter of Emma Aluli and Harry Meyer. Her ʻohana hails from Mokapu, Hilo and Wailuku. Manu has been a scholar-practitioner at UH Hilo, Te Wānanga o Aotearoa, and UH West Oʻahu. She is dedicated to the role Indigenous thinking will play in world-wide awakening.


Moʻolelo Monday’s: Moʻolelo (5)

            Monday, February 1

Kumu: Lilikalā Kameʻeleihiwa

Moʻolelo: Haumea

Lilikalā K. Kameʻeleihiwa is a senior professor and the Gladys Brandt Chair of Comparative Polynesian Studies at the Kamakakūokalani Center for Hawaiian Studies [KCHS], in the Hawaiʻinuiākea School of Hawaiian Knowledge at the University of Hawai'i at Mānoa.  Over the years, since 1993, she has often served as the Director of Kamakakūokalani, most recently from 2014-2017.

Dr. Kameʻeleihiwa is the lead professor in the field of Kumu Kahiki: Comparative Hawaiian and Polynesian Studies, and has travelled extensively in Polynesia, including to Aotearoa, New Zealand, to Borabora, Huahine, Maupiti, Moʻorea,Tahaʻa, Tahiti, an Islands Raʻiatea in the Society Islands, to Hivaʻoa, Nuku Hiva and Ua Pou in the Marquesas, and to Rapa Nui [a.k.a. Easter Island].

Trained as a historian, she is an expert in Hawaiian Ancestral Knowledge and Hawaiian cultural traditions, in the Hawaiian sovereignty movement, and has written over 23 courses never taught anywhere else in the world, including HWST 270: Hawaiian Mythology [and in comparison with Polynesia], HWST 341: Hawaiian Genealogies [including the 100 generations of Hawaiian Aliʻi], and with Nainoa Thompson the first 2 semester course on HWST 281-282: Traditional Hawaiian Navigation. Most recently she has written and taught a new course on HWST 271: Introduction to Papahulilani Hawaiian Astronomy. She has served as a long time board member of the Polynesian Voyaging Society.

She served as executive producer of the 2005 DVD Natives in New York, Seeking Justice at the United Nations, and as co-scriptwriter of the 1993 award winning documentary An Act of War: The Overthrow of the Hawaiian Nation.  She is a founding member of the Kūaliʻi and Pūkoʻa UH Native Hawaiian Advisory Councils who advocate for Native Hawaiians with the UH President.

Her articles and books include “Hawaiʻi-nui-akea Cousins: Ancestral Gods and Bodies of Knowledge are Treasures for the Descendants” [2009], “Kumulipo: A Cosmogonic Guide to Decolonization and Indigenization” [2005],  Nā Wāhine Kapu: Sacred Hawaiian Women [1999], He Moʻolelo Ka'ao o Kamapua'a: A Legendary Traditional of Kamapua'a, the Hawaiian Pig-God [1996], and Native Land and Foreign Desires: Pēhea Lā E Pono Ai? [1992]. Her website on Hawaiian Land research has had 3,770,359 hits. Annually, she takes Hawaiian Studies students to present at the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues.