A sharing of history and culture: Saint Martin’s Hawaii Club

Prachi Gohil, Roving Editor


The Hui ‘O Hawai‘i Club in Saint Martin’s University is an ode to the culture that represents a fusion of various art forms, folklores, and food. The nature of the native Hawaiian is 1,500 years old and has its origin with the Polynesians, an ethnolinguistic group from the Pacific Ocean who voyaged and settled in Hawaii. These voyagers then developed Hawaiian cuisine, Hawaiian art, and a native Hawaiian religion.

After landing on the island, the voyagers that descend from Polynesia developed the Hula dance. The Hula dance falls under two categories, Hula Auana and Hula Kahiko. Hula Auana is an amalgamation of western influences and instruments that do not have roots on the island. Hula Kahiko, on the other hand, is the original Hula dance that was refined before any foreign influence. Prior to the arrival of western cultures, Hawaiian music was called Mele. 

Mele includes poems, songs, or chants that were passed down through generations. Cultural interaction consisted of incorporating useful items into each other’s daily lives. When the Portuguese, Mexicans, and Spaniards landed on the Hawaiian Islands, they brought musical instruments such as the ukulele and the guitar, and taught Hawaiians how to play these instruments. 

The voyagers that landed in Hawaii used an outrigger canoe to discover the land. Thus, the native mode of transportation was also used daily as a part of their lifestyle. From paddling for leisure to traveling from island to island, it has been a tradition of the Native Hawaiian culture. As of the 21st century, outrigger canoe paddling has become an international sport and serves to educate people from all over the world about Hawaiian culture.

The first migrants who moved to the island did not find anything edible. When more people came to the Hawaiian islands, they brought many different plants so they would have food to eat. Polynesians also brought pigs, chickens, and dogs, and bred them on the islands. An important food at the time was taro, which was used to make poi, a staple food made from the underground plant stem or corm of the taro plant. This was a big part of their everyday diet. Some common Hawaiian dishes include Kalua pig, Lau-lau, Poke, Squid Luau, and Haupia. 

Hoʻoponopono (ho-o-pono-pono) is a cultural practice of reconciliation and forgiveness, which is combined with prayer and performed on islands throughout the South Pacific, including Samoa, Tahiti, and New Zealand. The cultural practice is used in spiritual, emotional, mental, and physical healing practices. Traditional Hawaiian philosophy does not consider the physical and non-physical aspects of the world to be separate. Therefore, to heal one aspect, all must be healed. Conversely, healing one will help to heal the rest. For example, if a person has an upset stomach, healing anger towards a sibling may also help to heal the stomach. The modern versions of hoʻoponopono might also contain elements of Christian belief and ritual. 

The Hui ‘O Hawai‘i Club shares the culture of Hawai’i with the university and the surrounding community. The club also helps to develop a spirit of Aloha (love, peace, and compassion) and share cultural Hawaiian traditions and customs through activities.

Throughout the year the club hosts numerous events and activities that help share the culture and bring people together, both from Hawai’i and beyond. Kahaiu No Ke Aloha and Lu’au, are two highly anticipated events that we organize which helps us share our culture through song, dance, food, and fellowship. 

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