Submitted by Naomi Wilson
MAUI, HAWAII — During their recent out of state trip, the Hollywood seniors were able to do a cultural exchange with the local Natives in Ka’anapali, Maui, Hawaii.
This event was organized by the Hollywood Elders Services Activities Coordinator Elizabeth Bridon and the host hotel, the Westin Maui. It took a lot of back and forth due to the six-hour time difference between Hollywood and Ka’anapali, however it was arranged and everyone was excited to attend. Prior to the group leaving Hollywood, it was announced that Hollywood senior Nettie Stewart (Big Town Clan) was donating a Seminole doll and a Seminole ladies skirt with patchwork to present to the local Natives at the cultural exchange. The Seminole doll was made by Nettie’s mother, the late Minnie Doctor (Big Town Clan) who was usually a frequent traveler on the senior trips. So everyone was very happy that a treasured golden senior could be represented on the trip in this way.
On Saturday, July 21 the seniors, Elders staff and the Fire/Rescue duo gathered under the portico at the Westin Maui and were presented to Ke’eaumoku and Uilani Kapu and members of their cultural group. They represented the local Hawaiian Natives and are part of the Na’aikane Cultural Center. Their leader, Ke’eaumoku Kapu, started off the presentation explaining the history of their people in the area and sharing how his native families still thrive in the area today. All of the local Natives wore their traditional clothing and to some of the seniors, they were quite revealing! He thanked the seniors from the Seminole Tribe of Florida for visiting and for wanting to meet the local Natives. His wife then presented the native Hawaiian flag to the Hollywood senior group and it was accepted by Agnes Billie-Motlow (Bear Clan).
Agnes Billie-Motlow then made the Seminole introduction in Elaponke and translated to English as all members of the Seminole group stood behind her. As she presented the Seminole doll and patchwork skirt to the Hawaiian Natives, Agnes explained the importance of the items to the Seminole’s survival and legacy. She explained some of the history and culture, told them about the clan system and how the seniors were honored to be able to meet the local Natives and share time with them. After the presentations were done, the seniors did a thank you hand shake with all members of Ke’eaumoku’s group. Pictures and personal thank yous were done.
Afterwards everyone went inside to share lunch. However, before lunch was served, the Hawaiian group performed several Native dances to the delight of all there.
In the end, everyone who participated said it was refreshing to meet the local Natives and see the similarities we all have in common; love for the Creator, their people and the importance of keeping their culture alive.