About Digital ʻUmeke

Aloha pumehana kākou! We warmly welcome you to Digital ʻUmeke by Hula Preservation Society (HPS). The Hawaiian term "ʻumeke" describes a container crafted from natural gourd or wood and used to transport and store items, goods, or liquids. This site is an an ʻumeke of ʻike (knowledge), created to cultivate a meaningful understanding of Hawaiʻi, as shared through the voices of its native people. There is a saying that a well filled ʻumeke, or “ka ʻumeke kāʻeo,” represents a well-filled mind. HPS shares these materials with the hope that you may find sustenance through knowledge, insight, understanding, and aloha, as imparted through these remarkable people.

Digital 'Umeke is the culmination of HPS’s efforts since the year 2000 to document and share the lives of revered hula elders and community members. Curated materials from the HPS Archive provide a unique and well-rounded view of the lives of these elders and their pivotal roles in the preservation and perpetuation of ʻike Hawaiʻi in the 20th century. Born in the 1910s-1930s, these kūpuna (elders) are connected by their love of Hula (Hawaiian dance), an art form and way of life. They collectively embody and seamlessly interweave cultural traditions, history, poetry, art, literature, philosophy, religion, socio-economic impacts, music, composition, language and more. To learn more about the history of HPS, please visit https://hulapreservation.org/

Funding for the creation of Digital ʻUmeke was provided in part by the Institute of Museum and Library Services. The site is designed using Mukurtu, a free and open-source community platform built on Drupal, designed with the unique needs of Indigenous communities, libraries, archives, and museums in mind. We thank the team at the Center for Digital Scholarship & Curation at Washington State University for sharing their knowledge in Mukurtu and for their phenomenal technical support in its creation.

HPS acknowledges the remarkable kūpuna who took the time to share their lives with us and who also gifted materials from their personal collections to the HPS Archive. They continue to be the central inspiration in all that we do. As the ʻōlelo noʻeau (wise saying) states: “I ulu no ka lālā i ke kumu” - the branches grow because of the tree. Without those who came before us, we wouldn't be here or be privy to the great knowledge and insight they endeavored to share.

DISCLAIMER Please be advised that this website contains some discussions and information that are of a mature nature and may not be suitable for youth. Information and knowledge in Hawai'i were historically passed down through oral tradition. These kūpuna share manaʻo and ʻike from their own experiences and teachings in the same manner. In select instances, there may be controversial, culturally sensitive, offensive, or distressing content. Please contact us to discuss further.

COPYRIGHT INFORMATION This website and its contents were created for educational and research purposes only. HPS works to uphold the rights and privacy of donors, creators, and associates while providing access to materials. Traditional Knowledge (TK) Labels are used as a means of safeguarding cultural heritage items as well as representing any cultural or ethical concerns for access and use. For permission to use, reproduce, and/or circulate any materials, please adhere to the TK labels and contact the HPS Archive at archive@hulapreservation.org, (808) 247-9440.

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Archives Specialist Mokihana Rent Cruz, Executive Director Maile Loo, Collections Manager Keau George