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OHA: Office of Hawaiian Affairs

OHA Board Chair Carmen “Hulu” Lindsey statement on U.S. Mint releasing new commemorative quarter honoring Edith Kanakaʻole

The late Edith Kanaka’ole stood as symbol of the Hawaiian renaissance of the 1970s, helping to preserve and then educate the world on our culture, language, practices, and history. A legendary kumu hula, chanter, historian, and educator, Edith Kanakaʻole is now the first Native Hawaiian woman to be featured as a part of the 2023 American Women Quarters Program. There is no one more deserving of this honor, and we mahalo the U.S. Mint for recognizing the many contributions she made to her people, her state, the nation, and the world. It is so appropriate that her famous chant “E hō mai ka ʻike, Grant us knowledge” is inscribed on the coin, marking her legacy which continues today through the outstanding work of the Edith Kanakaʻole Foundation. I have been personally touched by the legacy of this great Hawaiian woman, as I was raised with Aunty Edith in Keaukaha – she was my Sunday school teacher in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Keaukaha branch, where her husband Luka Kanaka’ole served as our branch president. Although she passed in 1990, Edith Kanakaʻoleʻs voice still resonates today, as we are reminded of her lessons to her students when she became an instructor at UH-Hilo – maintain your studies and earn your degree; know who you are as Hawaiians; and always elevate the status of the lāhui. Let us all continue her work to Hoʻoulu Lāhui Aloha, to raise a beloved lāhui. Four other women trailblazers will be honored by the 2023 American Women Quarters program; former First Lady and first chair of the U.N. Commission on Human Rights Eleanor Roosevelt; first African American and first Native American woman pilot Bessie Coleman; Mexican American journalist Jovita Idar; and Maria Tallchief, a Native American and America’s first major prima ballerina

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