On the Pa Hula Mound
"You've practiced, you've studied. You've smiled, laughed, fought and cried. And at this moment, as you stand at the mound, surrounded by your brothers and sisters, none of it matters. As one you chant to ask permission to enter, to dance; your Kumu returns the call. You glance at the swirling plumes of Halemaumau where just the day before Tutu Pele had shown her face. Together you dance, feeling the unity of movement between the dancers. You chant better than you have ever before; you speak knowing your voice is heard. You notice small things – the way the drops fly off the uli'uli; the way the ili'ili glisten in the wet grass; how surprisingly warm the ground is when the rest of the world is covered in cold mist; how the Kumu's eyes sparkle and laugh as they chant. And as you dance in this sacred space, at some point it occurs to you: You are here."
by Sarah McGinnis, Woonsocket, Rhode Island
"I think that I, and the rest of my hula haumana felt very honored to be invited to dance our hulas at the pa hula mound. I was overcome with the mana'o of the area that flowed within me as I danced. I cried when Kumu Abe and his group brought us ho'okupu of leis. The whole experience touched my heart so much so that I did not want to leave Hawai'i and this empowering location. Being kanaka maoli, I truly felt a connection to the aina and to my ancestors."
Sharlene Wong, Hamden, CT