Culture

Cultural icon, kumu hula Edith Kanakaʻole will appear on the quarter

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) – A beloved Hawaii icon will soon be featured on the US quarter.

Cultural leader, composer and kumu hula Edith Kanakaʻole has been selected as one of the 2023 American Women Quarters Program honorees.

A Hilo native, Kanakaole dedicated her life to the Hawaiian culture, preserving native art forms of hula, language and chanting. She also was an educator, having worked as a longtime instructor at the University of Hawaii Hilo campus.

Her image will grace the reverse side of US quarters in 2023.

Kanakaʻole was announced as one of five influential women selected for the program. Other honorees announced in her group include pilot Bessie Coleman, First Lady Elanor Roosevelt, Mexican American journalist Jovita Idár, and Native American ballerina Maria Tallchief.

The women are selected by the Secretary of the Treasury after consulting with the Smithsonian Institution’s American Women’s History Initiative along with other stakeholders.

Edith Kanakaʻole was one of five women selected as honorees that will have their image appear on the US quarter.(United States Mint)

“The range of accomplishments and experiences of these extraordinary women speak to the contributions women have always made in the history of our country,” said Mint Deputy Director Ventris C. Gibson. “I am proud that the Mint continues to connect America through coins by honoring these pioneering women and their groundbreaking contributions to our society.”

Kanakaʻole is also remembered as a trailblazer in the 1970s Hawaiian Renaissance.

“This is an unbelievable honor for our family, for our body of work at the Edith Kanaka’ole Foundation in carrying on her legacy and her teachings, for our home and for our people,” said Kanaka’ole’s granddaughter and Edith Kanaka’ole Foundation Executive Director Huihui Kanahele-Mossman.

Kanaka’ole’s daughter, Pualani Kanaka’ole Kanahele added, “My mother was a ‘pusher’ but she always did it with a smile. She pushed all six of her children, when it was not yet a natural process for Hawaiians, towards Higher Education to earn a degree. When she became an Instructor at the University of Hawaii in Hilo she encouraged Hawaiian students to 1) maintain their stay and earn their degree, 2) know who they were as Hawaiians and elevate the status of the Lāhui.”

The stadium in Hilo where Merrie Monarch is held annually is named in honor of Kanakaʻole.

For more information on the American Women Quarters Program, click here.

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