Severity of the Problem
The severity of Historical Trauma and Cultural Wounding has led to a generational decline in socio and economic standing for Native Hawaiians. The generational impact of losing one’s culture, language, diet, and national identity is evidenced in these statistics:
● Hawaiʻi’s official population of Native (part) Hawaiians stands at 21%. Studies from 2009 found that Native Hawaiians made up 50.5% of youth admitted to the Hawaiʻi Youth Correctional Facility (HYCF), 39% of the adult incarcerated population, 39% of adult releases on parole, and 41% of adult parole revocations.
● Academic failure was found to be the number one predictor of of youth commitment to the HYCF with truancy a root cause of academic failure. Project PACT, a Hawaii truancy reduction program, found that academic failure resulted from two causes of truancy, 1)Low value of education; 2) Student and family disconnection from school.
● Native Hawaiians have rates of type 2 diabetes four times higher than the U.S. standard population (Grandinetti et al., 1998), and mortality rates from diabetes eight times that of non-Hawaiians (Braun, 1996). Rates of heart disease mortality for Native Hawaiians are documented as one and a half times that of the total Hawai’i state population and five times that of non-Hawaiians (Johnson, Oyama, & le Marchand, 1998). Rates from malignant neoplasms and strokes are more than three times that of Non-Hawaiians (Office of Hawaiian Affairs, 2003), and mortality rates for all cancers combined are second in the nation (to African-Americans among males and to Alaska Natives among females) (Miller et al., 1996). Native Hawaiians have twice the rate of asthma as other ethnic groups, (Hawaii Department of Health, 2002). Not surprisingly, Native Hawaiians have the shortest life expectancy in the State.
Mission - Purpose - Objectives
Vision: Impact the youth to find success in life.
Mission: develop youth into community pillars through programs of drill, leadership, character building, personal achievement, and cultural enrichment.
Purpose : With understanding the severity of the problem that faces Hawaii, especially Native Hawaiians we asked - How do we keep more individuals out of jail, improve their social-economic standings, deal with the youth trapped in broken homes ravaged by drug use, absentee parents, and barely surviving that then in turn find their way into jail?
After talks-kukakuka with elders-kupuna, community providers and like stake-holders the answer and our purpose became clear - We must work with the children and share Aloha so that they can learn to live Aloha at the youngest age possible - We must share with all in Hawaii the story, culture, spirituality, of this place and why it is so special - We must build a community that will live Aloha, support each other and thrive. - We must have a symbol of resilience in the community that will inspire young people, instill pride, and motivate individuals to share and live Aloha, to live lives of purpose and meaning.
But what is Aloha and why is it so important? We hear it every day and see it on media - if it is so prevalent then how can it change anything? The answer is Aloha is not just a buzz word it is a way of life and if lived, it is the core and essence of Hawaii and the Native Hawaiian culture. You do not need to be Native Hawaiian - Kanaka Maoli to have Aloha, we are all born with it. Aloha is our connection to God or a Higher power. Aloha broken down is Alo - Face to Face and Ha - The breath of Life. Quite simply Aloha is Love, Love is God, and if we live with the greatest of God's gift to man which is Love then we can live as God intended for us with purpose and meaning.
Na Mea Ike ‘Ia is a non-profit organization created to serve all in Hawaii by providing cultural enrichment services that educate, empower, and promote a better appreciation and understanding of the Native Hawaiian culture.
We believe to live Aloha is the core way of life in Hawaii, it is what makes Hawaii special, and from this approach work to develop character in young people.
Objectives : As Native Hawaiians have been so adversely impacted by Historical Trauma and Cultural Wounding, priorities of the organization shall focus on addressing youth prevention into the justice system and reduction of adult recidivism through Native Hawaiian based approaches, higher education, economic opportunity, and community based relations. Initiatives shall include the development of:
I. Archive/Database for stored knowledge and understanding of identity and community;
II. Youth Resilience Program - Nā Koa Kiaʻi Aliʻi Hawaiʻi – “The Royal Hawaiian Guard” program to provide a symbol of resilience and pride and to work directly with young people in learning how to live Aloha;
III. Cultural Healing Program - Hoʻala – “Awaken” program to provide a community program open to all in Hawaii that seeks to build partnerships in growing Aloha.
IV. Life Pathways Program - Hua - "The Seed" program to allow young people an opportunity to work with community experts in various fields gaining an understanding of careers, opportunities, and unlock hidden potential.
Na Mea Ike Ia finds its beginning with the Royal Hawaiian Guard (RHG) which was established in 2009. The founder of the RHG, Mr. Paulo Faleafine Jr. along with its cultural advisor Mr. Wilmont Kamaunu Kahaialii, discussed establishing a company that would educate visitors to Hawaii with cultural activities and lessons while empowering Native Hawaiians and practitioners to perpetuate the Hawaiian culture and receive a source of income.
After nearly a decade, the idea of Na Mea Ike Ia evolved into a plan which then, with the commitment of strong team of volunteers, turned into action with the organization and incorporation of Na Mea Ike Ia on February 24, 2017.
Royal Hawaiian Guard
The Royal Hawaiian Guard (RHG) serves as Na Mea Ike Ia's youth outreach program sharing the same vision and mission.
The Royal Hawaiian Guard (RHG) was founded as a nonprofit in 2009 by Mr. Paulo Faleafine Jr. Initially the Guard was formed as a for profit entity in 2008 with the purpose to provide further opportunities for the HP Baldwin High School JROTC Drill Team cadets as Mr. Faleafine was their coach and wished to emulate the opportunity that he enjoyed while a member of the King's Guard Waikiki Drill Team in Honolulu.
Within short time, Mr. Faleafine felt it necessary to search out for appropriate cultural understanding, activities, and responsibilities to make worthy the name of the "Royal Hawaiian Guard". In search of cultural and historical identity for the unit, Mr. Faleafine met, by chance, with Auntie Grale Chong of Waiola Church who told him of Queen Keopuolani, the lineage of the church, and Mokuula. Auntie Grale encouraged that the Guard should come to see Royal Tombs and join with their congregation at church.
In July of 2009, the Guard took Auntie Grale's invitation and requested the privilege to assume an official post at the Royal Tombs as their Honor Guard. The church members, without hesitation and open arms, accepted and continues to allow the Guard to honor the interred King, Queens, and high Alii of Hawaii while allowing its participants to provide an enduring symbol of duty, integrity, and Hawaiian heritage to the community.
Since its inception, the Guard has conducted numerous community events, parades, and special presentations. A highlight event was taking part in the Live Aloha Festival in Seattle, WA while there, then visiting with the 78th Fraser Highlanders in Canada where the hopes of conducting routine cultural exchange between their Native American cadets and ours may one day take place. The Guard continues to further its purposes by hosting an open drill camp and competition to all interested with the most recent competition being held at the USS. Missouri pier at Pearl Harbor, Oahu in partnership with the USS. Missouri museum.
Cultural Healing Program - Hoʻala – “Awaken” program with the purpose to:
Develop positive self identity and resilience through engaging in culturally significant and appropriate practices in venues deemed cultural, historical, ancient, and/or sacred.
Build value of education through alternative teaching environments and hands on learning.
Connect with key stakeholders within the community to progress the program.
Establish a vision for implementation of a Pu’u Honua - Place of Refuge where individuals may learn to forgive themselves and others, vice versa, for healing and growth.
Reach out to individuals facing recidivism who show a genuine interest and effort in positive self development.
Provide historical and cultural activities to the community that promote its purpose.
The Hoʻala program shall build revenue streams through activities linked to eco-tourism in partnership with Nā Mea ʻIke ʻIa stakeholders deemed appropriate.
Board, Officers, & Staff
The Board currently consists of the three founding directors: Pam Keanini, Scot "Hoapili" Patrick, and Ezekiala Kalua. We are in the process of finding additional board members to aid in the mission of Na Mea Ike Ia.
President/Treasurer: Pam Keanini serves as the President and Treasurer of the Board and resides on the island of O'ahu. Pam is a nurse by profession. Pam has sat on the multiple boards from Unions to the Civil Air Patrol.
Secretary: Scot "Hoapili" Patrick serves as the Secretary of the Board and resides on the island of O'ahu. Scot is a Federal Government employee with decades of experience in coaching young people in military-style drill. Scot was an early member of the King's Guard Waikiki Drill Team.
Director: Ezekiala "Zeke" Kalua serves as a Director on the Board and resides on the island of Maui. Zeke serves as the Executive Assistant to the Maui County Mayor and is actively involved in many community organizations. Zeke had served as the President of the Royal Hawaiian Guard (RHG) from 2012 until present where the RHG is now a program of Na Mea Ike Ia.
Staff: Na Mea Ike Ia is comprised of an all volunteer staff. Na Mea Ike Ia is continuing its search for more volunteers that may advance the mission of the organization.
Executive Director: Paulo Faleafine Jr. is the co-founder of and serves as the Executive Director of Na Mea Ike Ia. Paulo is was raised on the island of O'ahu and resides on the island of Maui. Paulo is a Adult Correctional Officer by profession and had served as the Executive Director of the Royal Hawaiian Guard (RHG) until the RHG was made a program of Na Mea Ike Ia. Paulo has a background in coaching young people in military-style drill from 1998 until present and was a member of the King's Guard Waikiki Drill Team from 1998-2003. Paulo served as an US. Army Infantry officer and Department of Defense Police Officer.
Cultural & Programs Director (CPD): Wilmont "Kamaunu" Kahaialii is a co-founder of the organization and serves as the Cultural & Programs Director of Na Mea Ike Ia. Kamaunu resides on the island of Maui and has been raised in a prominent Hawaiian musical family and has lived a life focused on Aloha. Kamaunu is a strong advocate and organizer for the Hawaiian community. As the CPD, Kamaunu focuses on sharing truths about the Hawaiian people and its history so that future generations may understand Hawaii's past and accomplishments.
Royal Hawaiian Guard - Oahu Program Director (RHG OPD): Michael Ligsay serves as the RHG OPD. Michael resides on the island of O'ahu where he coaches youth in military-style drill. Michael was a member of the King's Guard Drill Team Waikiki.