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Edith Kanaka’ole

Aunty Edith Kanakaʻole

The Late Edith Kanaka’ole, native Hawaiian dancer, chanter, teacher, and kumu hula will be featured on U.S. quarters along with five other women, as part of the 2023 American Women Quarters project from the U.S. Mint.

Kanaka’ole’s dance school, Hālau o Kekuhi, was internationally acclaimed, for its teachings of the ‘aiha’a style of hula and chanting. The ‘aiha’a is a vigorous, energetic style of hula that springs from the eruptive volcano personas of Pele and Hi’iaka.

Kanaka’ole helped develop the first Hawaiian language program for public school students at the Keaukaha School in Hilo, as well as the school’s Hawaiian Studies mentorship program.

Kanaka’ole worked as a teacher at Hawai’i Community College from 1971 to 1979, and at the University of Hawai’i at Hilo from 1973 to 1979. At both schools, she created courses and seminars on subjects including ethnobotany, Polynesian history, genealogy, and Hawaiian chant and mythology.

The Edith Kanaka’ole Foundation in Hilo was established in 1990 to perpetuate her and her husband Luka Kanaka’ole’s teachings, both were practitioners of modern Hawaiian culture and language.

The Edith Kanaka’ole Multi-Purpose Stadium at the Ho’olulu Park Complex in Hilo is named after her.

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