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CREA-HI Week: Introduction to CREA-Hawai‘i by Dawn Mahi

Curator’s note: This week’s AEA365 posts contain Hawaiian language words that use certain diacritical markings. We make our best efforts to include these markings to be as culturally and grammatically accurate as possible, however, these markings often display as question marks or boxes, and may display differently on different browsers and devices. For best readability we have omitted some of those marks here. 

Aloha mai kakou. I am Dawn Mahi of Consuelo Foundation and CREA-Hawai‘i in Honolulu, Hawai‘i, the second affiliate of Cultural Responsive Evaluation and Assessment (CREA), formalized in 2016. CREA-HI is co-hosted by the Consuelo Foundation, and Lili‘uokalani Trust.

The seeds of CREA-HI were planted by the many Hawai?i attendees at the 2013 CREA International conference among the many Hawai‘i attendees. Recognizing that Hawai‘i has a unique, important, and even critical potential to further CREA, Hawai‘i-based attendees were inspired to continue the dialogue. Thus, the Cultural Evaluation Hui (hui = group, meeting together) was born.  The monthly gatherings of this group–held in circles, over food when possible–was informal, generative, and iterative, merging theory and praxis. The group includes a range of members that continues to expand, encompassing community elders, local nonprofit organizations, individual evaluation practitioners, government representatives, university professors, philanthropy, Ali‘i Trust organizations (founded by members of Hawaiian royalty to care for Native Hawaiians) and others.  All have missions and commitment to care for Hawai‘i and her people. Since initially convening as a hui, the group has hosted or helped to plan local convenings and conferences designed to raise capacity and awareness regarding CREA.

Lessons Learned:

CREA-HI is committed to learning and evaluating with ALOHA — this means we must act with:

  • Akahai: kindness, to act and to speak with kindness
  • Lokahi: unity, to bring about harmony in spite of differences
  • ‘Olu‘olu: pleasantness, internal peacefulness
  • Ha‘aha‘a: modesty, humility, openness
  • Ahonui: patience, waiting for the ripe moment – to persevere.

Make no mistake: Aloha is hard to do, to achieve, to internalize, to practice every day witheach interaction. Aloha is my way of prayer, my challenge, my practice, my Way.

–Aunty Puanani Burgess

Hot Tips:

This week you will read and learn some Hawaiian words and concepts written with Hawaiian language diacritical marks, including the ‘ okina    which is a distinct consonant letter that separates vowel sounds and is different from an apostrophe.

We also will include in each of our posts this week indicators of well-being from Kukulu Kumuhana: Creating radical and new knowledge to improve Native Hawaiian Well-being.

We begin with waiwai which means our collective and shared wealth, or abundance. [pronounced /vai-vai/, and derived from the word wai for fresh water].  Hawai‘i once enjoyed one of our planet’s most sustainable and innovative societies, based on an express and intimate kinship between people and land.  On an island, wai is critical, and waiwai is the means to measure the abundance that we have the potential, responsibility, and privilege to cultivate.  Wai is important to not just cultivation and survival, but thriving in balance with all members of our society.  This includes not just the two-leggeds among us, but the land, air, sea, and those beings seen and unseen from past, present and future generations who guide and inspire all the work we do.  Through us, may they inspire you as well with these humble offerings.

Mahalo a nui, thank you for joining us along the journey this week as we delve deeper into CREA from a Hawai‘i context.  All our aloha to you! 

The American Evaluation Association is hosting CREA-HI Week. The contributions all this week to aea365 come from members of the Hawai’i affiliate of Cultural Responsive Evaluation and Assessment (CREA). Do you have questions, concerns, kudos, or content to extend this aea365 contribution? Please add them in the comments section for this post on the aea365 webpage so that we may enrich our community of practice. Would you like to submit an aea365 Tip? Please send a note of interest to aea365@eval.org. aea365 is sponsored by the American Evaluation Association and provides a Tip-a-Day by and for evaluators. These views and opinions do not necessarily represent those of the American Evaluation Association, and/or any/all contributors to this site.

1 thought on “CREA-HI Week: Introduction to CREA-Hawai‘i by Dawn Mahi”

  1. This is wonderful to see. I just used the Kukulu Kumuhana document two weeks ago with my masters students in an International Development course. It was a terrific example of alternatives ways of conceiving of well being, and an excellent process for exploring them. The students were grateful to see that there are non-Western ways of doing this work, and the resurgence of Indigenous Peoples that this work represents.

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