Kupihea Lanakilaokalāhui Wilson is earning a degree in Hawaiian Studies at Leeward Community College. He is the author of several Ka ‘Umeke Kā’eo Native Hawaiian Writing and Arts Achievement Award-winning works, including “Trouble in Paradise” and” ‘Āina, the Land We Come From.”
The format of this poem was inspired by the first mele lahui, according to Leilani Basham, written following the overthrow (1893.) The mele is called Ka Pule a Ka Lahui Hawaii, A Prayer for the Nation of Hawaii. Unfortunately the composer is unnamed. The message is my own, inspired by the lost culture and years of oppression under which we suffer.
E Ola E Kakou, E Ku’e I Keia Manawa, A I ‘Ole E Lilo Mau Loa ‘Ana ‘Oe. Wake up! Stand up/Resist now! Or forever be lost.
My poem was also inspired by all those who have lost something, very close to them, because of their race, religion, or for fighting for what is right. I would also like to thank every one of our Kupuna. Everyone single one played their part. We may have never gotten the chance to have met them, yet they hold a place in my heart. Also, I have aloha for the ones who died from disease when the increase of foreigners arrived, the how and why being unknown to them. Finally, mahalo to every Hawaiian activist who fights for Hawaii not because they want the land to themselves, but because it is the right thing to do. We are Na Kako’o Lāhui Hawaii, Supporters of the Nation.
Without the struggles and hardships we go through, we would not be the people we are today. The tribulations of life make us stronger as individuals and as one people. For when people share the same tribulations they become closer. It’s a choice to be grateful. However, unfortunately, it’s not a choice always made.
Mahalo Nui Loa no kau heluhelu ‘ana. Thank you for reading.
Credits: video by Robert Delim and Kat Camit, post feature photo courtesy of Kahoʻolemana Naone