Our Kuleana: Vicky Holt Takamine & Kahikina de Silva in Conversation
Vicky Holt Takamine and Kahikina de Silva are part of the same cultural family, bound together by hula, Hawaiian language, and the myriad of native Hawaiian cultural practices that both women keep alive in their daily work and advocacy. In 1997 when the Hawai‘i State Legislature introduced a bill that would restrict native Hawaiian gathering rights—and thus eliminate their cultural practices—a young Kahikina, chanted, danced, and drummed with her mother, Vicky, and hundreds of others members of their community until the bill was thrown out.
Fighting to keep alive the sacred practices and traditions that connect their community to history, earth, and their ancestors speaks to the deep kuleana—responsibility—Vicky and Kahikina feel as cultural bearers. In the conversation that follows, Vicky and Kahikina touch on:
- The power of hula as a community and family-maker, a form of resistance, and means of connection
- Navigating tourism as native artists and using the sector to support cultural practices, not commodify them
- How Hawaiian cultural practitioners are successfully infiltrating and influencing other sectors like law, health, and education
- And the kuleana as cultural practitioners to pass on tradition and language to future generations, as well as a spirit of resistance to protect those traditions
Part of the Americans for the Arts Artists & Communities conversation series that pairs veteran community arts leaders with emerging community arts leaders to share their visions for, experiences with, and challenges to making healthy, equitable, vibrant communities through arts and culture. As community-based work receives more recognition, and intersections and collaborations become stronger, these conversations illuminate just how artists and community arts leaders can work to sustain and maintain healthy communities through their practice.