From Hawaii to Vegas: Native Hawaiian convention hopes to inspire connections
HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - The first Council for Native Hawaiian Advancement Convention on the continent is officially underway this week.
This year’s convention is particularly important because it’s the first one of its kind to be held outside of Hawaii.
The reason: Data shows more Native Hawaiians are now living in the continental U.S. than in Hawaii. Many more are leaving everyday, largely because of the high cost of living.
So the Council for Native Hawaiian Advancement thought it was only fitting to take their convention — which is the largest gathering of Native Hawaiians — to Las Vegas.
Organizers say they realize the need to remain connected and rooted in culture.
The convention is an opportunity to re-connect with ohana who have left the islands, share stories, successes and struggles and chart a course forward toward common goals for community.
Day one was action-packed with over 1,200 registered participants taking part in hula, mele, oli, genealogy, and Olelo Hawaii workshop.
“Coming here to the convention and seeing what they’re doing, how they’re making connections, how they’re talking to our Hawaiians, to come home is inspiring,” said Kanoelani Davis, Pomahina Designs owner and Hoaka Mana executive director.
“I want to be a part of that,” she said.
Kuhio Lewis, CNHA’s CEO, said they’re hoping to empower the next generation of Hawaiian leaders.
“I hear people and oftentimes, it’s like, how do we be Hawaiian? What is Hawaiian? We’re now second, third generation in. And so their parents might know Hawaii, but the keiki, and the opio, they don’t know,” he said.
“And so this is a chance for us to really connect with them at a cultural level. It’s a chance for them to see Hawaii, feel Hawaii, taste Hawaii.”
Lewis said at the end of the day, he hopes the convention will help the participants help them understand who they are as Native Hawaiians.
The convention continues Tuesday.
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