The Edith Kanakaʻole Quarter is the seventh coin in the American Women Quarters™ Program.
Edith Kanakaʻole was an indigenous Hawaiian composer, chanter, kumu
hula, and a custodian of native culture, traditions, and the natural
land. Her moʻolelo, or stories, served to rescue aspects of Hawaiian
history, customs, and traditions that were disappearing due to the
cultural bigotry of the time.
Kanakaʻole, or “Aunty Edith”, as she is commonly known, was a
renowned practitioner of and authority on modern Hawaiian culture and
language. She learned hula from her mother, who was instructed by the
acclaimed dancer Akoni Mika.
Kanakaʻole believed that the oli, or Hawaiian chants, formed the
basis of Hawaiian values and history. She started composing oli in 1946
and choreographed hula to go with many of her chants.
In the 1950s, she toured the contiguous United States, western
Canada, and much of Asia with a hula group named after her daughter
Nalani. She also founded her own hālau (hula school), Halau O Kekuhi.
Kanakaʻole assisted in the development of the first Hawaiian language
program for public school students at the Keaukaha School in Hilo. In
the 1970s, she created college courses and seminars on subjects
including ethnobotany, Polynesian history, genealogy, and Hawaiian chant
In 1979, she received the Distinction of Cultural Leadership award,
the state’s highest honor. It is given to an individual who has made
significant outstanding lifetime contributions to Hawai’i in areas of
culture, arts, and humanities.
Edith Kanakaʻole died on October 3, 1979. Her teachings, beliefs, and
practices are maintained by the Edith Kanakaʻole Foundation (EKF), a
Hawaiian cultural-based non-profit 501(c)(3) organization established in