I Am a Hawaiian in the 21st Century
I am a Hawaiian in the 21st century
The conflict within me is the same that divides my people
Amongst each other
Inhibiting all attempts at progress
And yet as time passes on each step we don’t take is a step taken backwards
Because my culture is dying each time a kupuna loses her breath
Each time our western-bred generation inherits her strength
How can we understand her wishes if we no longer understand her breath?
How can we understand her wishes if she no longer has a breath?
c 2004 Kealoha
"The performance poetry piece that I performed at the MNHCC was meant to engage people in the dialogue of our current affairs by demonstrating conflicting arguments within the Native Hawaiian community. As a Hawaiian who was raised with both traditional and western influences, I oftentimes find myself in the middle of ideologies, and I think a lot of kanaka maoli today can identify with this position. Regardless of where we stand on particular issues, the goal is for us to acknowledge our different viewpoints, find common ground, and move our people forward in the best way that we can. Our kupuna have been waiting...", Kealoha Wong.
Kealoha is an internationally acclaimed poet and storyteller. Featured on HBO’s Brave New Voices series presented by Russel Simmons, with performances from Brazil to Boston, including the 2007 NFL Pro Bowl halftime show, this Punahou graduate by way of MIT (with honors and a degree in nuclear physics and a minor in writing, yes!), served as a business consultant in San Francisco before turning to poetry in 2002 and becoming Hawaii's Master of Slam. Visit www.KealohaPoetry.com to get to know him.
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