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Following the footsteps of my ancestors

May 19, 2014

In celebration of National Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage month.  

Ready with ti leaf leis to welcome Hokule`a to Ho`okena

Ready with ti leaf leis to welcome Hokule`a to Ho`okena

How I am following the footsteps of my ancestors.

Aloha, I am Ida Hanohano.

I work on Ala Kahakai National Historic Trail located on the Big Island of Hawaii and have been with the National Park Service for over 20 years.

I am Hawaiian, Chinese and Irish.

As a “Pacific Islander”, I am connected to the Trail in this way. I never knew, until I was at work one day, that my family helped to build trails on this island. My coworker asked me about the names, Solomon Hanohano and Solomon Benjamin Hanohano. Listed on a road log of work crews who constructed trails and government roads in South Kona in the late 1800’s were the names of my father’s grandfather and great grandfather. Three and four generations ago, my ohana (family) labored on sections of trail near their home in Kealia and Ho`okena.

What a wonderful discovery to find out that, in a way, I have followed the footsteps of my ancestors by taking care of trails that they helped to build. For me, it was a big honor visiting Kealia and Ho`okena and walking on the trails that they may have touched with their hands and feets. Mahalo to the many ohana who welcomed me to Ho`okena and allowed me to go out on opelu canoes to get a view from the ocean of this place where my kupuna (elders) once lived.

It was very special this past year to be on the beach at Ho`okena to welcome the canoe, Hokule’a. As they embark on their worldwide journey, they will travel the Pacific like their ancestors once did and will hopefully feel the same pride that I have felt when connections are made to the places of our kupuna. The Hawaiian culture still lives on in the form of a voyaging canoe and in every person who follows in the footsteps of the ancestors.

Me ke aloha.

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