” Having met Kumu Kawika in person in 2018 was an impression that resonated with me for a very long time. He is vibrant in his quality as a human being and embodies the essence of a gifted healer and artist.

-Heidi Majano, Executive Director of the Peaceful World Foundation

By Julian Antonio Carrillo

Cultural change is a given for any social group. As we witness and partake in the constant new transformations of society, our sense of self, community, and place we also shift.

Kumu Kawika Alfiche

How can we bridge the intergenerational divides that naturally spring up?

How do we honor the legacy of our ancestors while also staying true to ourselves?

The Peaceful World Foundation featured Kumu Kawika Alfiche, a recipient of our 2019 grant, Master Teacher of the Hālau o Keikiali’i and the Director of the Kaululehua Hawaiian Cultural Center in South San Francisco to lead our conversation.

Celebrating 25 years of teaching Hawaiian Movement

The conversation included more than 20 people from around the world and focused on the importance of establishing or continuing relations with our ancestors.

As we went around the room answering the question prompted by co-facilitator Genesis Barraza,

What does the word ‘ancestor’ mean to you?

We began to get overlapping and complementary definitions.

Alfiche, on his end, expanded our understandings of what it means for our ancestors to be with us, along life’s journey.

He has spent the pandemic reflecting on the above questions and others related to identity and cultural change. A traditional dancer and singer in a leadership role, Kawika shared some of his reflections and inspired us all to go deep with our questions.

He used examples from traditional Hawaiian culture to illustrate the principle that constant, open, and sincere communication with our ancestors is required to build or deepen that relationship.

Kumu Kawika sings a traditional Hawaiian prayer

Indeed, songs, dances, chants, prayers, stories and language…all of these connect us, and honor their legacy.

In Alfiche’s case, he has made it his life mission to research, promote, and uphold the values of traditional hula dance and knowledge, teaching hundreds of students of all ages and cultures in his local South San Francisco and around the world.

I dance hula to connect to my culture.

Participant

It was an honor to host him.

Watch Kumu Kawika’s impactful and creative global outreach

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