Question #6: What is the state mammal? I thought it was the humpback whale, but I was told it was the Hawaiian Monk Seal…
Up until 2008 the State of Hawai`i has only recognized the Humpback Whale as Hawai`i’s Marine Mammal. This proclamation took place in 1979. It was former Lieutenant Governor Duke Aiona that signed that bill into law (2008). Why? At the time it was estimated to be less than 1.500 remaining in the wild. This was to bring awareness to the Hawaiian Monk Seal.
Question #7: So do we have two State Mammals?
Yes, however, they each carry a different title. The Hawaiian Monk Seal, `Īlioholoikauaua is listed as the State of Hawai`i’s Mammal (Land) and the Humpback Whale, Koholā is the State of Hawai`i’s Marine Mammal (Ocean). Two different titles.
Question #8: Why do Native people use that white cloth wrapped around their bodies?
The cloth wrapped around peoples body during times of ceremony and recently seeing during the arrival of the Hōkūle`a is called a Kīhei.
The kīhei was traditionally made by the women with various fiberous plants such as the māmaki and `alo`alo. The most widely used plant was the wauke or paper mulberry tree. The kīhei is used to clothe and protect one’s body from the elements by both men and women of all ages.
Individuals who wore the kīhei with a certain styles of wrapping and/or knotting were identified for their status within the ahupua`a. These individuals may have carried the title of kumu, kahuna, or loea. These individuals may also incorporate a kāpala stamp design which was significant to their genealogy and skill. Some individuals tie the knot on the right hand shoulder, some on the left hand shoulder. I say “`A`ole Pau Ka `Ike I Ka Hālau Ho`okahi”, not all Hawaiian knowledge is taught in the same school, or by the same resource, so you will see individuals use it on different sides. Neither is right or wrong, but it depends on your customary practice.
In recent years the kīhei is seen and used as a symbol of one’s Hawaiian identity and armor. For others the kīhei is earned like your diploma or graduation cap and gown.