Though I have been a superhero geek since the 80’s, my sentiment for myths & legends goes even further than that. I am grateful to Comic Book Curious for the opportunity to share a bit of it as these particular stories are part of my family history & heritage.
I am Ka’eo Kulani Kawa’a Jr. I was named after my father. He was named after his grandfather, who in turn was named after our ancestor, the great warrior-chief of Kauai.
During that time in our history, the conquering chief, Kamehameha The Great, was waging a campaign across the Hawaiian islands. His goal was to unite them under one rule. His rule.
As the royal families of neighboring islands fell to Kamehameha's western military tactics & rumored favor of the god Kūkailimoku (Kū, the eater of lands/governments), Kaeokulani maintained his rule over the “Garden Isle” until his own demise in battle on the island of Oahu.
This accolade was no doubt due much in part to Kaeokulani’s prowess on the battlefield, especially at the side of his half brother, Kahekili, one of the famous warrior-chiefs of Maui. But, the greatest power that he was privy to came from that of his wife.
Kamakahelei was Queen regnant of Kauai and their union was what gave Kaeokulani the political claim to rule. But, his wife was also a Kahuna, or priestess, with fabled tales of mystic powers.
My favorite story is when the battle fleet of Kamehameha would be seen leaving the island of Oahu on a warpath for Kauai, Kaeokulani would ask Kamakahelei to pray.
As she would oli (chant) at the sea cliffs overlooking their shores, the surrounding waters would begin to boil. The extreme heat would prevent the invaders from landing their canoes and protect the little island kingdom without shedding a single drop of blood.
I wasn’t always proud of my history. I wasn’t always proud of me. There was a time that I wish I could’ve been anything and anybody but me. It wasn’t until I learned this story and others like it that a sense of pride and eventually, a sense of self began to grow in me.
I have, in me, the blood of warrior-chiefs, priestesses and legends. So, what brought me here? Why do I write for Comic Book Curious? Because they are warrior-chiefs, priestesses and legends in their own right; fighting for diversity, understanding and inclusivity! Because their cause is to let you, the readers, know that YOU are warrior kings, priestesses and legends too! If you don’t see it yet it just means you haven’t got to that chapter of your own story. Keep reading. Keep writing and soon enough, you will!
A special thanks to the late Matthew Ka'eo Adolpho Jr. for sharing these stories of my heritage with me and making sure I knew where I came from. Love and miss you, Uncle Matt.
As always, Mahalo for reading.