Global Girls-Global Action Project Series: "Influence & Contributions of Hula and Hawaiian Culture to the World"
Murielle Sipola

In this yearlong course, students in Global Girls-Global Action produce a research project that can fulfill their Independent Inquiry requirement for graduation, especially if they are seeking to graduate with our Global Leadership Distinction. This is often their first encounter with in-depth academic research. However, a critical part of this course is also its “action” component: students are tasked to find creative ways to make positive changes regarding their chosen issue.

Last week we shared a slideshow presented by senior Kara Ho, “Gift of Hula to the World.” This week, we share work from Kelis Johnson who created a photographic portrait of a young Kanaka (herself) wrapped in the Hawaiian flag. Her research this year was on Mauna Kea and the controversy around the telescope.

In her research, Kelis has worked on understanding the issues surrounding the TMT on Mauna Kea and has explored both sides of the controversy. She has also learned about indigenous communities around the world who are facing similar challenges. Today, we realize how indigenous cultures are still carrying this forgotten truth of oneness with nature. Listening to what they have to say is a chance to create a better future for all. 

“Aloha! My name is Kelis and I am a sophomore. As a young kanaka*, it is my kuleana* to take action and stand up for what I think is pono*: Aloha ‘aina*, Love for the land and its people. Our Hawaiian lands are sacred, we are connected to the land, we are ʻaina. I want to protect Mauna A Wakea, Aʻole TMT with kapu aloha*. We are Mauna A Wakea, Kū Kiaʻi Mauna*.  I chose to express how I feel about this issue, with this photographic self-portrait here.”


*Kanaka: Human 

*Pono: The kind/right thing to do 

*Aloha ‘Aina: Love and take care of the land 

*Aʻole TMT: No thirty meter telescope 

*Kū Kiaʻi Mauna: Stand up for Mauna Kea

*Kuleana: Responsibility

*Kapu Aloha: With love