For almost two centuries, every Native Hawaiian cultural practice was forbidden – at odds with missionary-imposed laws. The lyrical Hawaiian language was silenced; the masterful healing-arts were prohibited; 12,000 years of sacred ritual was banned – children were legally-mandated to be given Christian names, not Hawaiian. These laws were lifted in 1972, but the damage was done.
In their wake, the truth of this remarkable culture was distorted and shrouded from the indigenous people themselves – and, sadly, denied to the rest of the world as well.
For thousands of years, this had been a matrilineal culture that empowered and honored women leaders. Nightly, men chanted their celebration of all that was female, in accordance with each moon phase. They acknowledged that they were half their mothers.
Ho’oponopono, the sacred, community-centered, mediation ritual at the heart of the Native Hawaiian culture – was created by and fostered through women. In this way, the women diffused impulses that led to hostility. For thousands of years, there was no war.
It is the purpose of Huliau - The Return Voyage to awaken the Native Hawaiians to their rightful heritage, and to awaken the rest of the world to the empowering gifts of that culture.
Every Native Hawaiian ceremony and ritual began with a chant welcoming the ancestors.
‘Iokepa Hanalei ‘Imaikalani follows tradition here:
‘Iokepa Hanalei ‘Īmaikalani
“We’ve all come from tribes – communities that knew how to care for each other, and for the natural world. Our survival depended on it - it depends on it still.”
‘Iokepa is a man of deep and proven faith - faith in his people’s birth-knowledge (ike hanau); faith in his ancestors’ wisdom (ke kahiko), faith in his own destiny and purpose. He comes from a culture that celebrates the connections: between people, and between every thread of our natural world. He lives and he speaks with the certainty that his ancient culture holds healing gifts for our warring world.
Within his name resides his destiny: “The best from the sky - who is the Creator - has chosen me, to work to bring the people together.”
INETTE MILLER ‘ĪMAIKALANI
Inette Miller - a Jewish woman, outspoken feminist, successful author, journalist and workshop teacher - surrendered her privileged writer’s life to join ‘Iokepa, camping on Hawaiian beaches with little food and no money – walking the paths of his ancestors.
She wrote the story of her overwhelming immersion into the authentic kanaka maoli culture in the book: Grandmothers Whisper: Ancient Voices… Timeless Wisdom… A Modern Love Story. The book won Book of the Year, Visionary Award. Her next book, The Return Voyage: 95,000 Miles on the Paths of Our Ancestors, continued the journey where the earlier book left off.
It has been for Inette, a faith-challenging rite of passage into Native Hawaiian culture. She has embraced it for the love of her husband, her belief in his people, and the certainty that every experience and gift of her own life and culture were the destined preparation for what is asked of her now.
Inette Miller was a national and international journalist for sixteen years – a war correspondent for Time magazine in Vietnam and Cambodia. She is the author of the very successful Burning Bridges, produced as an ABC Movie of the Week and translated into a half dozen foreign languages. She has appeared widely on major network news and talk shows – here and abroad. She has taught her powerful Writing to Find Your Voice workshop across the country. She is the recipient of Associated Press awards, Virginia Center for Creative Arts fellowships, and a long-standing member of the Authors Guild.
“Who is this man I followed, literally, to the edges of civilization, to the brink of life itself?"
Inette Miller is a Jewish woman, a writer, a level-headed single mother agreeing to a rite of passage that demanded she walk naked in someone else’s homeland – trek the blurred borders of magic. She was mute that first year, but she is no longer shy about telling her story. This is the story of the human possibilities of spirit. It is equally the story of the human path, burdened with fears and doubts. She went on vacation for a week, and she stayed for a lifetime.
What Does Happily Ever After Look Like?
‘Iokepa is a Native Hawaiian, who relinquished “everything I’d worked for all my life” to embrace his aboriginal identity and reawaken his ancestral culture.
Inette is a Jewish woman, who surrendered a privileged writer’s life to join him, camping on Hawaiian beaches with little food and no money, and walking the paths of his ancestors.
Together, they packed all they owned into three suitcases and began their ancestor-driven Return Voyage across America. Their message: what Native Hawaiians lived for 12,000 years – ritual practices that prevented war – have profound implications for the 21st century.
For each of the past ten years – January through April - Inette and ‘Iokepa have taken their empowering Return Voyage speaking and book tour on the road. Coast to coast, they have shared their stories at clubs, churches, bookstores, universities..
This year that changes. We will no longer schedule months-long continental U.S. tours. Instead, we welcome individual invitations (on Island or off) to speak to your preferred audience, in your chosen venue, at an agreed upon time. As always, we do not charge for our appearances. We now ask that our hosts assume travel responsibilities from our home on Kaua’i. Contact us with your questions.
Gratefully, we’ll determine availability.
We are the proud, generous, faith-filled people who inhabited these Islands for over 13,000 years. Our aboriginal ancestors were born from the heart of our Creator and set down on these Islands to assume human responsibility for its stewardship.
Before colonization, the nation of Lāhui (now Hawai’i) embraced a culture that insisted on the interdependence among and responsibility for every thread of Creation – human and natural.
These were a people whose ancestral wisdom guided their every breath; who welcomed strangers with open arms, open hands, and open hearts; who could imagine neither ownership nor greed, gender separation nor warfare.
When freed from foreign strictures, they live this still.