The Edith Kanaka’ole Foundation (EKF) is a Hawaiian cultural-based organization established in 1990 to maintain and perpetuate the teachings, beliefs, practices, philosophies and traditions of the late Luka and Edith Kanaka’ole.
Edith Kanaka’ole was a Hawaiian practitioner, kumu hula (master hula teacher), chanter, composer, Nā Hōkū Hanohano award winning recording artist, and instructor of Hawaiian Studies at the Hawai’i Community College and the University of Hawai’i-Hilo.
Her achievements include:
- 1979 Order of Distinction for Cultural Leadership (State of Hawai‘i)
- 1979 Living Treasure of Hawai‘i (Honpa Hongwanji Mission of Hawai‘i)
- December 9, 1978 “Edith Kekuhikuhipuuone Kanakaole” Day proclaimed by former Mayor Herbert T. Matayoshi (County of Hawai‘i)
- National Living Treasure (Emperor of Japan)
- Order of Ke Ali‘i Pauahi (Ke Ali‘i Pauahi Foundation)
- Outstanding Hawaiian (Statewide Associations of Hawaiian Civic Clubs)
Luka and Edith Kanaka’ole championed active learning and participation in indigenous culture and saw the need to promote higher Western education among native Hawaiians. In 2005, the Kanaka’ole – Kanahele family was awarded the Distinguished Service Award by The House of Representatives, State of Hawai’i for distinguishing itself as one of Hilo’s most well-known Hawaiian cultural treasures, boasting more than a dozen descendants of famed Hawaiian language and culture educators who stand among the alumni, faculty, and staff of the University of Hawai’i at Hilo and Hawai’i Community College.
The Edith Kanakaole Foundation is a non-profit organization whose mission is to elevate Hawaiian intelligence through cultural education founded on the teachings and traditional practices of Edith and Luka Kanaka’ole. EKF has, as a major accomplishment, provided scholarships to native Hawaiian students attending the Hawai’i Community College, the University of Hawai’i-Hilo, and other higher educational entities on Hawai’i Island since 1990. Additionally, EKF has provided conditional awards to students of apprentice/mentorship cultural learning programs and cultural practitioners who enhance native Hawaiian culture among Hawai’i’s people on the island of Hawai’i.
EKF’s cultural antecedents are Luka’s father and mother, Ioane Kanaka’ole and Haleaka Kaleopa’a along with Edith’s mother, Ahi’ena, and her granduncle, Lonokapu.