HomeLifestylePua Case wants to share Hawaiian culture with the world. Her work...

Pua Case wants to share Hawaiian culture with the world. Her work is far from finished.

Pua Case is one among USA TODAY’s Ladies of the Yr, a recognition of girls who’ve made a major impression of their communities and throughout the nation. This system launched in 2022 as a continuation of Women of the Century, which commemorated the one hundredth anniversary of girls gaining the proper to vote. Meet this yr’s honorees at womenoftheyear.usatoday.com.

Pua Case is leery to simply accept any form of recognition for her work. 

A self-described “alliance and bridge builder” and an educator by commerce, Case is set to share Hawaiian tradition, customs and roots with the world.

Case spent 20 years educating center college social research, specializing in Hawaiian historical past, a chapter typically glossed over in conventional American historical past textbooks. As a Kumu Hula, she teaches Native rituals, dance, prayer and chant. A fierce and lifelong advocate dedicated to conserving Native Hawaiian customs and language alive, Case is greatest identified for her work with the Mauna Kea movement

In 2019, Case joined hundreds of different Native Hawaiians, together with her two daughters,  to protest the construction of an 18-story telescope on Mauna Kea, a dormant volcano on the island of Hawaii that is thought of sacred in conventional educating.

Case, 62, teamed with different activists and spent 9 months dwelling in her van, which was parked “in a lava subject, on an entry street,” a brutally difficult stretch. Dozens had been arrested.

She identifies as a kiaʻi, Hawaiian for “a water protector, land defender and guardian.” She is defending the mountain. 

The Hawaii honoree for USA TODAY’s Ladies of the Yr program, Case needs to make one factor clear: Being acknowledged, she says, is just not about her as a person butproof that “the collective voice and efforts to guard Mauna Kea is working.”

And there is nonetheless extra work to do. 

This dialog has been edited for size and readability.

Who paved the way for you? 

The robust, courageous girls who by no means gave up, who took the time to guarantee that they retained sufficient data to go all the way down to us the important life methods, the traditions and values that served as the muse for us. These girls who by no means stopped believing in the necessity to guarantee being Hawaiian would dwell on. These had been my academics and mentors, who are actually my fellow guardians and protectors inside and past Hawaii. 

Do you have a proudest moment? 

I’ve many. A proud second for me was seeing my youthful daughter, on the age of 15, standing in line on June 24, 2015, as her (protest) line captain was arrested in entrance of her. A proud second for me was developing the mountain on April 2, 2015, and having my older daughter chant again to me with police surrounding us in all places. 

Moments that contain my daughters, particularly as I’ve seen them develop into themselves and change into the courageous, but fragile, girls that they’re, and having them overcome challenges makes me proud. Each time I see my women and myself do one thing which means the mountain is protected another day, that we have unfold the message another time, that is what makes me proud. 

Officers from the Hawaii Department of Land and Natural Resources prepare to arrest protesters, many of them elderly, as they block a road to prevent construction of a giant telescope on Mauna Kea, a mountain that some Native Hawaiians consider sacred, on the Big Island on July 17, 2019.
Officers from the Hawaii Division of Land and Pure Sources put together to arrest protesters, a lot of them aged, as they block a street to stop building of a large telescope on Mauna Kea, a mountain that some Native Hawaiians take into account sacred, on the Massive Island on July 17, 2019.
Cindy Ellen Russell/Honolulu Star-Advertiser by way of AP
Do you have a lowest moment? 

I would not say I’ve a lowest second as a result of I’ve come to comprehend {that a} loss can nonetheless imply a win. Once we weren’t profitable in stopping the approval of the allow for (the telescope) on Mauna Kea, we skilled what you’ll name a loss. My husband mentioned, “You go to the mountain; you have got in the future to cry your coronary heart out. And then you definitely come again, we regroup, we transfer on and we make a plan for the subsequent day.” 

And we did. We went to the mountain and cried the entire day. We felt that sorrow. However then I feel to myself, if we had gained in 2012, there by no means would have been a Mauna Kea movement, and we’d not have impressed the entire world. Day by day that mountain is protected and secure, that is a win. 

What makes me unhappy is when our voices will not be heard – when we now have to work so laborious for the atmosphere, for our practices, for our very existence – as Native, Indigenous or first peoples of a spot. 

What is your definition of courage? 

Turning into braver than your worry so you might be prepared and capable of do what you by no means thought you’ll. Generally you crawl to braveness. That is OK. 

Do you have a guiding principle or mantra that you tell yourself? 

I feel that we, within the Mauna Kea motion, have one. The time period Kapu Aloha, it is our code of conduct. It is a name to motion – however in a fashion wherein your ancestors can be proud. You arise in a approach they might anticipate and demand of you. For us, it means respect and reverence, and it shapes your life on and off the mountain. I am undecided there is a direct translation, however it means sacred conduct. It is a guideline for our total motion. 

Pua Case (fifth from left) helped organize the Mauna Kea movement, where thousands protested the installation of a telescope on a dormant and sacred volcano in Hawaii.
Pua Case (fifth from left) helped set up the Mauna Kea motion, the place hundreds protested the set up of a telescope on a dormant and sacred volcano in Hawaii.
Courtesy Pua Case
Who do you look up to? 

There have been only a few actually courageous women and men in my life once I was rising up. However the courageous ones, I bear in mind them. Just like the trainer who spoke the (Hawaiian) language when nearly nobody did, who taught me ritual when Christian missionaries had been throughout us, who mentioned to me, “chant as loud as you’ll be able to to the goddess of the volcano” even when the clergymen mentioned you’d go to hell for those who did that. Ladies and men who mentioned, “Be Hawaiian it doesn’t matter what!” 

(Legendary activist) Haunani-Kay Trask was a visitor speaker at my highschool. There are beacons, like her. My grandmother by no means stopped practising the Hawaiian way of life and she or he taught it to us by having us dwell it. 

Who dared to try this? Who had that braveness? Who mentioned, “To hell with all of you, we’re nonetheless who we’re, irrespective of who involves the islands – irrespective of the navy, irrespective of the missionaries, irrespective of the politicians, the companies and irrespective of the nations.” The courageous few, that is who. 

What advice would you give to your younger self? 

Tempo your self higher, go a little bit slower. And do not go away your well being behind. Do not sacrifice your well being and your self since you suppose you are the one one, and for those who do not do it, who will? If you do not have your well being, you do not have something. I might additionally say, handle your tooth! (laughs)


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