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Kihei Ceremony: Beadie Kanahele Dawson’s empowering speech to our newest Native Hawaiian physicians

Date: May 10th, 2019 in Alumni News, Faculty, JABSOM News, Student Life    Print or PDF

An MD 2019 class member receives her cloak

Pictured: MD graduates to be, including Keolamau Yee, receive their Kīhei.

Beadie Kanahele Dawson described how the Aliʻi fought for a hospital for Hawaiians, then turned to the people, and led them to make it happen.

By Tina Shelton, JABSOM Communications Director

Beadie Kanahele Dawson, honored this year by the Historic Hawaiʻi Foundation or her significant contributions as a community leader in native Hawaiian rights, social equity and heritage preservation, gave a powerful speech today to the graduating physicians in the MD Class of 2019 who are of Native Hawaiian ancestry. Those nascent physicians are annually presented a ceremonial cloak or Kīhei, which in the ancient Native Hawaiian culture represents a significant achievement, and through patterns made using dye to print the cloth, symbolizes their life’s journey to this point. The event in which they receive their Kīhei is held near the John A. Burns School of Medicine (JABSOM) campus healing garden, filled with plants Native Hawaiian healers used before the arrival of western medicine.

This video includes Kanahele Dawson’s entire powerful speech. In addition to her many contributions to the community, Dawson has been a stalwart supporter of JABSOM, a longtime member of the Friends of the Medical School and the University of Hawaiʻi Richardson Law School as well.

Her words today inspired the future MDs, known as kauka (a Native Hawaiian word for healers), their family and friends, as well as the faculty, staff and community physicians who came together for the ceremony sponsored by ʻAhahui o nā Kauka, the Native Hwaiian Center of Excellence, the Department of Native Hawaiian Health and the John A. Burns School of Medicine, University of Hawaiʻi Mānoa.


Our new Kauka are:
Ailea Apana, Megan Araujo, Michael Brigoli, Marci Chock, Jayden Galamgam, Keahi Horowitz, Andrew Kinimaka, Jennifer Lyman, Ashley Morisako, Kathryn Roberts, Leinaʻala Song and Keolamau Yee.

The ceremony took place in the Native Hawaiian healing garden at JABSOM and is meant to offer support and remind the kauka they enter a community of Native Hawaiian healers and hold a great responsibility, with a state of people who need their care, and not enough physicians to adequately meet the needs of our population.

UH Med Now will have more coverage of the cloaking in video and with photography, so please stay tuned!

JABSOM has 12 MD students this year of Native descent, and in total proudly graduates 73 physicians on Saturday, May 11, and confers degrees in Medical Technology, and advanced degrees om Communication Sciences and Disorders and the Biomedical Sciences.

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