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ERIC Number: EJ1024088
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2013
Pages: 5
Abstractor: ERIC
ISSN: ISSN-1089-5701
The Children of Kalihi
Mahi, Dawn
Reclaiming Children and Youth, v22 n1 p50-54 Spr 2013
On the edge of urban Honolulu, Kalihi is home to diverse cultural groups struggling to cope with poverty and colonization. This is the story of their journey to reclaim their rich cultural roots in a world that often sees them as troublesome statistics. Dawn Mahi reports that "Kalihi," the Hawaiian word for "the edge," is what many youth are feeling--they are disconnected from both homeland and home, ashamed of their origins as well as their zip code. Their principal and other community leaders are at their wits' end. Sometimes the kids do drugs under the nearby bridge; sometimes they disrupt classrooms with stony eyes, turning over desks before walking out defiantly. In Hawaiian ancient story, children were taught that they have responsibilities to contribute to the well-being of the community. Competence was measured not by abstract concepts but by the ability to help start the morning cooking fire, fetch water, or contribute in other ways. Reciprocity was the loving law of survival. Youth were carefully observed and their gifts cherished. From an early age, talents were nurtured through apprenticeships into specialties that benefit everyone and ensure cultural continuity. Without proper support, and often confronting racism and other challenges, children may not feel capable, useful, or have positive connections to their heritage. But now, youth are reclaiming their heritage by working the land and helping to grow food in community gardens. However, time is moving quickly, and in some cases, the generations are slowly losing connections to the language, practices, and values of their ancestors and feel that this is leading to a loss of youth identity, pride, and purpose. As community leaders and parents come together to improve their situation--their future--it is the job of educators to reach out, connect, and not judge. By looking to the past and the wisdom of their ancestors and recognizing their gifts, the children can be helped to navigate their way to a brighter future.
Reclaiming Children and Youth. PO Box 57 104 N Main Street, Lennox, SD 57039. Tel: 605-647-2532; Fax: 605-647-5212; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Hawaii
Grant or Contract Numbers: N/A