Mehanaokala Hind is the ILI Host Facilitator for Hawaiʻi, the location for the second of three place-based intensives for the ILI Fellows. She shared her thoughts about preparing to engage Fellows in Native Hawaiian experiences, encouraging their best, and facilitating healing cultural practices.
Mehanaokala Hind is a Kumu Hula and cultural practitioner skilled in hula and oli. She descends from the hula lineage of Kumu Hula Leinaʻala Kalama Heine and earned the rank of Kumu Hula in 2009 when she completed the ‘uniki rites set forth by her Kumu. She has been trained in mele oli from some of Hawaiʻiʻs master chanters. Mehana brings a breadth and depth of relationships with Native Hawaiian communities, leaders, schools and organizations that is hard to match. She has extensive experience in the University of Hawaiʻi and Community College systems, Charter Schools, Native Hawaiian non-profits, Immersion schools, and other Native Hawaiian-serving organizations and Trusts.
What is your role in this first ILI Intensive?
My role was as the site facilitator for Hawaiʻi. I partnered with the other two program facilitators.
How did you prepare for this week-long convening?
I knew that the Fellows group had a challenging ending in Lakota country and that we were going to have to work through that when the group came to Hawaiʻi. There was a lot of spiritual and emotional preparation I had to do. I chanted, I prayed, I went through the itinerary over and over so that I would know at any point that if I had to pivot in facilitating this group, I would be able to do that.
“Our mediation practice of Hoʻoponopono was the strongest cultural practice I had to bring forward.”
What parts of your culture were important to bring to this experience?
Our practice of Hoʻoponopono was the strongest cultural practice I had to bring forward. Hoʻoponopono is our mediation process that involves addressing an issue head-on but using the facilitator as a haku, or a receiver of all the negative energy in the discussion of the issue. I also brought the core value of Aloha into the group and taught the group to chant it. Aloha is a very important word, value, and practice for our people and our relationship to land, water, ocean, gods, and each other.
How does the idea of “Interculturality” overlap with your work?
Interculturality overlaps in my work daily. I work for an agency whoʻs core responsibility is to care for, enhance, and perpetuate the well-being of the Native Hawaiian people, my people. I engage in work that, on behalf of our beneficiaries, we work alongside other cultures here in Hawaiʻi.
“At the onset of the intensive, I advised everyone that it was our goal, as Natives of this land, to have everyone leave Hawaiʻi better than they arrived.”
What is the significance of having an ILI intensive here, in Hawaiʻi?
I believe that it was probably the most significant intensive because our homeland is a place that very few people get to experience. The fact that ILI brought everyone to Hawaiʻi is an incredible investment. At the onset of the intensive, I advised everyone that it was our goal, as Natives of this land, to have everyone leave Hawaiʻi better than they arrived.