Back to All Events

Mo`olelo: Genealogy Through the Art of Storytelling


Honoring our shared histories as Asians and Pacific Islanders in America and how they inform our present and our futures.

The `Ulumau Collective, founded by Susie Kagami of Hawaii Music Live and Kumu Kau`i Peralto, a Hawaiian cultural practitioner and language professor at Stanford University, will present a panel discussion and experiential demonstrations of native Hawaiian and Polynesian cultural art disciplines of ancestral knowledge that has been passed down through many generations in mele and hula (songs and dances), tatau (tattoo), and food preparation (kalo/taro, poi).

Presented by cultural experts in their ancestral art forms, the kumu/practitioners will discuss their genealogical journey and how they have woven the traditional cultural practices into a thriving contemporary society.


1:30 – 2:15 Welcome
2:15 – 3:00 Panel Discussion
3:15 – 5:45 Ancestral Art-Form Mo’olelo Presentations
6:00 – 6:45 Artist Meet & Greet, Dinner avl. for purchase
6:45 – 7:00 Closing Ceremony

Opening Ceremony: `O ke au i ka huli, wela ka honua...”
The Kumulipo chant breaks the silence and draws the attention of the audience as the poi bowl takes its rightful place on center stage. The rules of the poi bowl are shared and opens the space for the panel discussion to begin.

Panel Discussion: `O wai kou inoa...Who do you come from? No hea mai `oe...Where do you come from? These are the first two questions asked to everyone in the Pacific Islander community as we seek to establish a genealogical or geographical connection. This is how we will navigate the introduction of our esteemed panelists, nā Kumu Kekuhi Kealiikanakaole, Pa`a Alana, and Kau`i Peralto. Here, they will discuss their genealogical journey and how they have woven traditional cultural practices into their personal lives and a thriving contemporary society.

Tatau: `O wai iā `oe…who are you? What’s in a name?
For those who are intrigued by the traditional art of Polynesian tatau, they will have the opportunity to witness an actual tatau in progress. One of a few traditional practitioners, Pa`a Alana of Hōlanikū Hale will share his passion for research and genealogy and the process REQUIRED to create an “uhi” or design for each individual.

Ka Ho`oilina: A Legacy of Mele, Hula, and `Ohana
Our Kumu, Kekuhi Kealiikanakaole, is the epitome of one who was born to or chosen to perpetuate the genealogy of her `ohana (family) and mo`okū`āuhau (genealogy). By choice or no choice, our Kumu Kekuhi will share her journey of acceptance, the challenges to perpetuate the traditional cultural practices passed down through generations, and the opportunities to create her own legacy. These mo`olelo will be shared through mele (song, poetry), oli (chant), and hula (dance).”

Closing Ceremony: E Pū Pa`akai Kākou: A Shared Meal
As the day comes to a close, it is a Pacific Islander tradition to end with a shared meal. The purpose of this is acknowledge that as minds and spirits were fed, it is equally important to feed the body. Moreso, it is a sign that we have established a communal relationship and it is important that we all leave with a full stomach and a “good taste in our mouth.” To conclude our day, we will once again gather around the poi bowl, say a prayer, cover the poi bowl, and clap two times to close our event.

Kumu Kekuhi Kanahele Kealiikanakaole
Aloha to you. My paternal family ties are to Kaleikini of Kaua`i, Nauoho of Hana Maui. My maternal family ties are to Ahiena of Puna, Kealiikanakaole of Ka`u, and Kanaele-Kenao of Kohala.

The ¼ of me that is not Hawai`i comes from beyond the Hawaii horizon reaching back to the Milfordhaven, Wales. My lineage taps into the migratory spirit of Pele, the movement and the surfacing of magma. This relationship to the building of terra firma extends my lineage to the building of the natural environment – the mountains, forests, and springs. I am also the builder of heiau and sacred spaces where people connect to their environmental selves. How do I know? The information is the fabric of our names. My passions are manifest through these lineal connections.

I am creator and owner of Lonoa Honua a business entity that houses Hālau `Ōhi`a, the first full service Hawai`i Stewardship Training programs in Hawai`i, Ulu Ka `Ōhi`a, Hula-Consciousness Seminar, and other like programs. I am a Kumu Hula ritually `uniki of Halau o Kekuhi and I was an Assistant Professor of Hawaii Life way at the Hawaii Community College. I teach others how to engage in their own connection to the Hawaii landscape. I sing, compose, chant, dance, and I am in love with Hilo. Learning about and engaging with my relations from Hawaiinui (this Hawaii) to Hawaii-iki (Hawaii within), to Hawaiipāmamao (and the Hawaii beyond the horizon) excites me! Cultivating relationships and rediscovering ecological connections for myself and others is my gift and my passion.

I am KekuhikuhipuuoneonaaliioKohala Kanae Kanahele Kealiikanakaoleohaililani. Mo`opuna to the fire and the forest. Granddaughter of Edith and Luka Kanakaole, daughter of Pualani Kanakaole and Edward Kanahele, mother of Kaumakaiwa, Ulumauahi, Kauilanui, Keahika`ai`ohelo, and Kekuhi Haililani, wife of Taupouri Tangarō, and I am Tutu to Hinamaoulua`e, Kauahi Kauwe, and Nakapuahi Kamakaohua.

Kahu Paʻakū (Paʻa) ʻĀlana
A traditional Kanaka Maoli tattoo practitioner (mea kākau uhi), Kahu Paʻakū (Paʻa) ʻĀlana is a graduate of Hawaiian Studies at the University of Hawaiʻi-Mānoa. Kahu `Ālana is a trained kahu, an expert genealogical researcher, and a former teacher at the prestigious Hawaiian Immersion school, ʻAha Punānā Leo o Honolulu. Kahu `Ālana has certainly fulfilled all the requirements needed to be labeled a Hawaiian cultural expert and he is strong, proud of his culture, and deeply loves his people. His passion for traditional tattooing has led him to perform extensive research on this topic from both Hawaiian language and English sources.

In recognition of his expertise, Kahu `Ālana has been called the leading expert on the topic of Hawaiian Tattooing by members of the University of Hawaiʻi faculty. In addition, he continues to learn and is currently a student of one of the renowned Samoan Tafugna Tatau (Samoan tattoo master). In 2018, he traveled to the island of Tutuila to serve his master and expand on the skills needed to perfect his craft.

In 2014, Kahu `Ālana established Ka Pā Kākau Molī ʻO Hōlanikū-Hale with hopes of creating a truly accurate and historically validated practice of kākau. Since then, Kahu `Ālana has shared his knowledge of kākau molī at various cultural festivals and educational institutions from Hawaiʻi to the United States. For those who are fortunate to work with Kahu `Ālana, each of his exquisite tattoos are one-of-a-kind and created after much study and review of genealogical information.

Kumu Kau’i Peralto
Kumu Kau`i Peralto is a Native Hawaiian, Chinese, and Caucasian community organizer, educator, social justice advocate, and passionate about indigenous rights. She lives her culture and believes in the traditions and power of indigenous knowledge to be a source of wisdom in contemporary discussions. Kumu Kau`i also believes that our “words” are not only that which is spoken, but also that which flows through our beings and unites with our environment.

We would like to thank our sponsors who made this happen!

Asian Pacific Islander Cultural Center (APICC), who is presenting this event as a part of the 22nd Annual United State of Asian American Festival supporting arts for the month of May. Funding also provided through APICC from Grants for the Arts and the San Francisco Arts Commission for this festival.

Pacific Islander Cultural Association (PICA), founders of the 24th Aloha Festival happening Aug 10 & 11 at the San Mateo County Event Center.

Hawaii Chamber of Commerce of Northern California (HCCNC) whos mission is to serve as a bridge, connecting Hawai‘i expatriates in Northern California. This non-profit organization helps provide resources, networking opportunities and scholarships for the islander community in the Bay Area.

Hawaii Music Live was founded by Susie Kagami in 2006 to promote Hawaiian culture and entertainment worldwide, beyond the Hawaiian islands. Booking and promoting tours for Hawaii’s top entertainers into Performing Arts Centers, music clubs and educational centers around the nation and Japan, Hawaii Music Live also produced and co-managing cultural life-style and music workshops both on the mainland and in Hawaii.