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About Dr. George T. Kanalu Young

Dr. George T. Kanalu Young died Aug. 31 at the age of 54 after an fighting complications related to his paralysis of 39 years.

He was and Associate Professor on the verge of becoming a Full Professor and a founding faculty member of the Hawai`inuiākea School of Hawaiian Knowledge. In addition to his teaching, he played a significant role in designing new courses for the expanding curriculum.

A diving accident at the age of 15 left him a paraplegic. While completing his high school and higher education, using a wheelchair for mobility, he was involved in many community activities, such as, wheelchair sports and related disability awareness programs. Kanalu and his wife Geraldine Bush, who died in 1993, were instrumental in planning and promoting the Adult Recreation Center for those with Disabilities, an Oahu Easter Seals Society program, as well as the Wheelchair Sports Hawaii competitive sports program.

Kanalu's professional life as it were could never be considered separately from his personal, family, spiritural lives or especially can it be divorced from his physical life - the special circumstances of his injury, how he learned to live with it, and how that injury eventually come to shape him as a premier intellect and teacher.

His quest for knowledge and expanding intellect soon lead him to become well known for his writings about the lesser chiefs in the Hawaiian culture. His research in this area is the basis for much of the historical curriculum taught in higher education. He never thought of knowledge as an individual possession but as a blessed gift that was learned and was to be shared. He honored that knowledge and his students who willingly entered into a relationship with him. Kanalu's insights were unique and his compassion for people, for humanity was boundless.

In 2002 he received the Frank P. Kernoghan Award from Kamehameha Schools for outstanding contribution to Hawaiian music and culture education.

In 2007, he was awarded the June Jones Foundation Community Service Award for outstanding community contributions.

"Through the inspiration of Grammy Award winner Mike Post and Kanalu, the University of Hawai'i Warriors experienced a once in a lifetime, undefeated football season that led to an improbable invitation to the Sugar Bowl. I will never forget that day Kanalu spoke the words: eo na toa, eo na toa,e to Mike Post and me. I loved Kanalu and shall miss him, but his legacy and contribution will live on," stated Coach June Jones.

Eo na toa, eo na toa,e

Throughout Polynesia, the culture of the Warrior was part of every island society and in ancient times, there were strict codes of conduct that governed the Warrior's way of life in peace and war. They lived honorable lives and combined the qualities of courage, mental fortitude, and service to others in the quest to be successful and make a difference. Using these traditional values as a base, the chant becomes the appropriate form to communicate the meaning of what it means to be a warrior in life. Something old teaches us in new ways if we take the time to listen to the wisdom of those ancestors.

Eo na toa, eo na toa e! This very simple chant comes with a deeper meaning suitable for use as a rallying chant in any situation for any person or group who with others is challenged to respond as would ancient warriors to the call of battle. It literally means "Respond fellow warriors, respond with one heart to the challenges that lie ahead of us."

Today, our community needs Warriors who meet challenges with one heart aimed at being of service to those in need. Working with Coach June Jones to develop this idea, first for the team in 2004, and now for our community is an example of what it means to be a true warrior working together for the common good of all. Toa is the word for Warrior and eo means both "call out" and "respond to the call" which gives the spiritual connection between being an honorable Warrior and serving a cause greater than oneself.

Dr. Kanalu Young - served as Associate Professor/Graduate Chair before his passing in 2008
Kamakakuokalani Center for Hawaiian Studies
University of Hawai'i at Manoa