December 2022 Newsletter


HHAPI Team: Holiday Traditions

Mo`olelo: Sui-Lan Ho`okano

 Kalo: The Staff of Life

The Anatomy & Nutrition of a Kalo Plant

Recipe: No-Bake Reindeer Cookies

Winter Nature Walk Scavenger Hunt










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HHAPI Staff Holiday Traditions

Marla:  I love the holiday season, the lights make everything feel softer, more peaceful…calm. We love winter walks in the snow and sledding down hills in our neighborhood. We try to focus on being together and creating memories over gifts and enjoy being in the mountains. We visit friends & family and try to do service projects. On New Year’s Day, we all sit down together and write our goals for the next year.

Nicole: Only holiday tradition that comes to mind is to feast! Family gathers and we eat. This is a day to enjoy family, friends and good food. When I was a kid, we would go to my Grandfather’s house in Pasadena and the day would beginning with

basketball outside in the backyard and me wondering when the food was going be ready to grind! The day would continue with piano playing in the background, typically a kiddo clacking away on the keys, football on the TV and treats as far as the eye could see. Now, I cook and the event is a lot smaller, but still get onolicious grindz!

Sukhneet: I love the holiday season! It's so warm and cozy and nostalgic. One of my favorite things to do before the New Year are to watch movies with my brothers! My favorite childhood Christmas movies like Home Alone really put me in a nostalgic mood especially if I have hot cocoa!

Mo`olelo:  Sui-Lan Ho`okano

Sui-Lan Ho`okano is the Cultural Program Manager for the Enumclaw School District. She is passionate about working collectively with kanaka and our native relatives here in Wakinekona. The cultural work runs deep and rich in our communities. From our educators and cultural practitioners to `aina restoration projects, the learning exchanges, and our healing through the canoe, he wa'a he moku, providing state policy for health and wellness to expanding

graduation credits within the educational pathways serving our indigenous students and families. She was awarded the 2022 Golden Apple Award for outstanding achievements in education in Washington State.

Golden Apple Awards - Click to watch video

Share your name, your `ohana and your favorite `aina or wai...what land/water source are you most connected to and why? 


ʻO Sui-Lan Hoʻokano koʻu inoa. kaikamahine a George Wright Hoʻokano a me Lucille Joyce Fraticelli Hoʻokano. Makuahine o ʻeha a me kupuna whaine o ʻelima. ʻO, Hoʻokano, Fraticelli, a me Opunui ka inoa ʻo koʻu ʻohana. No Moku o Keawe, Mauʻi, Kauaʻi, a me Waikinekona mai mākou. No Moku O Keawe kuʻu ʻiwe, kuʻu piko. He hoe wa`a au o ka moana.

For more information on the hu wa’a a me ka `aina projects Sui-Lan has collaborated on with our native relatives here in Washington state, click the links below. 

Seattle Times
ClimeTime Education
Wayfinding Curriculum
Cultural Programs
Policy to 5249n Cultural Pathways

Sui-Lan Ho’okano Daughter of George Wright Ho’okano and Lucille Joyce Fraticelli Ho’okano, Mother of four and Grandmother of five. Hilo, Hawaii, Maui, Kauai, and Washington is where I am from. Moku O Keawe is my foundation and center. I am a paddler of the oceans, locally, nationally, and globally. I have paddled Na wahine o ke kai, Lili’uokalani, world sprints, Gorge, Aotearoa and Canada.

What are you grateful for and why?

I am grateful for so many things, it’s hard to specify one, My Kupuna a me `ohana is my why, our Kaiaulu community at home in Hawaii and our collective community and relatives here in Waikinekona (Washington). The ability to have support in both of my locations helps to continue growing our pilina a me ke kuleana.

During difficult journeys, how do you heal and restore your health and mental well-being?  

ʻO ke kai a me ka aina kuʻu wahi e hoʻola hou ke naʻau, he hoe waa au o ka moana. The ocean and lands is my place to heal the heart, I paddle the oceans. I listen to those memories and voices of Kupuna who have guided me along in my journey and gifted me the knowledge and traditions to remain focused.

What brings you joy?

In so many parts of my journey, my mo’opuna, paddling, in our cultural practices that take me back in relationship with the environment, the work I get to do, just laying in the sun, and playing in the rain. 

How do you share your mana`o and mana with your keiki?

I continue to collaborate with our communities and model what it looks like to support each other and lift each other, during the difficult and successful moments in our journey. 

Through our cultural ways of knowing and being we share what responsibility in the diaspora of Waikinekona and Hawaii. Through the gifts that have been passed down by our kupuna a me ka aina we continue the responsible stewardship and leadership of our kupuna. 

What is a quote that empowers you? 


A‘ohe pau ka ‘ike i ka hālau ho‘okahi. 


All knowledge is not learned in just one school. One can learn from many sources 

What is your favorite way to move your kino (body)?  


Paddling, moving as one in the wa’a effortless movements in the elements allows me to utilize my body in ways that connects me to our cultural ways of being.  

Would you share an easy, healthy-heart recipe that your `ohana enjoys?  

We have a fish favorite recipe that we really do enjoy. We use ahi or salmon depending on location, Hawaii or Waikinekona. We half cook (sear) with a light seasoning and use fresh garlic and butter. Fresh vegetables on the side.  

Kalo – "The Staff of Life"

Holoiʻa ka papa, kau ʻia e ka manu. Where there is food, people gather.

Food is central in every culture, fostering traditions and a sense of community, while also providing us with the nutrients we need to live.

We will take a glance at how kalo, which is also referred to as “The Staff of Life,” has fulfilled this title and the role it plays in Native Hawaiian diet and culture.

From the beginning, we can see the significance of kalo in Native Hawaiian culture. The origin of kalo comes from when the sky father Wākea and earth mother Papa gave birth to their first child Hāloa, who did not survive and was buried.  From the spot he was buried, the first kalo plant sprouted. Wākea and Papa had a second child, Hāloanakalaukapalili, whose children became the Hawaiian people. 

Thus, kalo has come to represent the idea of a family with the main stalk representing the parent and the offshoots as the children. We can see this even in the etymology of words like ‘ōhana, as the ‘ohā derives from the word for the shoots that sprout from the main kalo plant.


Pre-contact, kalo was the primary crop grown in wetlands. By the end of the 19th century, though, the acreage of land devoted to kalo farms had decreased from 50,000 to 30,000, and since 1965, only around 400 acres of land have been devoted to kalo farms. 


After western explorers colonized the Hawaiian Islands, the demand and supply for kalo fell as kūpuna with agricultural knowledge died from diseases that settlers introduced and resources that previously were dedicated to growing and nurturing kalo were diverted to growing foods like rice and sandalwood for export.

Kalo was also a highly nutritious food and one of the staple carbohydrates in the traditional Native Hawaiian diet. All parts of the kalo plant are edible as the leaves and stems can be cooked as greens and the tubers baked, boiled, mashed, steamed, or cooked.

Additionally, the main corm plant provides potassium, fiber, calcium, and iron, while kalo leaves provide sources of provitamin A carotenoids, vitamins C and B₂, and vitamin B₁. With the decreased prevalence of kalo and other traditional Native Hawaiian foods in peoples’ diets came higher rates of obesity and diabetes – issues that Native Hawaiians continue to disproportionately experience today.

It was estimated that, pre-contact, Native Hawaiians ate up to 15 pounds of poi a day. Over the years, though, the price of taro and poi have been rising as the price of taro rose from 57 cents per pound in 2006 to 62 cents per pound in 2008, and the price of a pound of poi rose from $4 to anywhere between $5 and $7.99 or higher at grocery stores. Today, a pound of poi at Safeway can cost anywhere from $6.99 to $11.99 or $7.99 to $12.99 at Foodland.

As the prices of traditional foods rise over time, it becomes more difficult for people to incorporate it into their diets when they become unaffordable. This leads people to turn toward purchasing cheaper, often less nutritious foods, in turn, impacting their health.

The resounding impacts that a decreased prevalence of and harder access to kalo has had over time demonstrates the important role that food plays in our lives. 

Mahalo to Papa Ola Lokahi for article

‘AI PONO: Kalo – "The Staff of Life"

The Anatomy of a Kalo Plant

Learn the parts of the taro plant and find out all the power-packed health benefits of eating it.

Taro Power: Gluten-free and high in fiber, taro is low in fat and its leaves are rich in vitamin A. Just one cup of cooked taro contains:


  • 6.7g fiber
  • 439mg potassium
  • 3x more fiber than white potato
  • 40mg magnesium
  • Antioxidants! including cryptoxanthin and beta-carotene


That translates into power-packed health benefits. Taro can reduce the risk of diabetes and improve digestive health. It regulates insulin and glucose levels in your body, and prevents blood sugar from spiking. Fiber from taro can also help add bulk to get you going. Antioxidants keep free radicals at bay, improving vision health and reducing the risk of macular degeneration and cataracts. Taro’s significant levels of potassium help facilitate healthy fluid transfers between membranes and tissues throughout the body. This helps to relieve stress and pressure on blood vessels and arteries.


Taro is high in carbohydrates, so don’t overdo it. Like all things, eat taro in moderation.

Mahalo to Honolulu Magazine

The Essential Guide to Taro: The Anatomy of a Kalo Plant

Keiki Kalikimaka Snack:

No Bake Christmas Reindeer Cookies


  • Nutter Butter Cookies (or Keebler Vienna Fingers if you are worried about nut allergies)
  • Small Twist Style Pretzels
  • Mini Chocolate Chips (You can also use the candy eyes you can buy these days, or mini brown M&Ms)
  • Red M&Ms (regular size)
  • Tube of white frosting or white chocolate melts

Mahalo to Thrifty NW Mom for recipe.

1. Spread a line of white frosting along the bottom half of the pretzels (all of the pretzel but the top), and attach a pretzel to the top side of a Nutter Butter (using the frosting or melted candy as the glue to hold it there).

2. Using the same method, attach the candy eyes or the two mini chocolate chips with a dot of frosting for each eye.

3. Now add the red M&M with frosting for the mouth.

4. Let the frosting set for about 15 minutes, and they should be ready to serve!

Get your `ohana moving: This is a fun scavenger hunt that you can use or you can make your own! What things can you find in your neighborhood or local park?

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