Tag Archives: island

Aloha Bluejays

February 22, 2017 by
Photography by Bill Sitzmann

Creighton has long maintained a cross-cultural connection with Hawaii. The university considers the Central Pacific archipelago one of its top-10 recruiting states, and students from Hawaii have been flocking to this “Maui of the Midwest” for nearly a century.

The first Hawaiian student enrolled at Creighton University in 1924, long before the territory became a state (which eventually happened in 1959). Creighton started seeing increased Hawaiian enrollment after World War II in the 1940s, amid heightening racism toward people of Asian and Pacific Islander descent, says Associate Director of Admissions Joe Bezousek.

While resentment lingered from the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor and other U.S. military engagements in East Asia, Creighton intentionally rejected riding the wave of then-popular discrimination.

“Creighton has always followed the Jesuit value of being accepting and treating everyone with dignity and respect. So, Creighton kept our doors open and that was a big trigger moment,” Bezousek says.

Current students of Hawaiian heritage say the school does much to foster a culture of inclusion and supply resources necessary for Native and non-indigenous Hawaiians alike to continue being engaged with their culture while thousands of miles from home.

Ku‘uipo Lono is a student at Creighton and a participating member of Hui ‘O Hawai‘i, an on-campus Hawaiian organization. Lono’s favorite part of the Hawaiian club, and the centerpiece of the organization’s calendar, is the annual lu‘au.

According to Lono, lu‘au was first conceptualized in Hawaii as a celebration of life.

“Lu‘au was originally done for a baby’s first birthday,” Lono says. “When Western people came to Hawaii, they brought a lot of diseases with them, and so it was a big deal for a baby to live past one year.”

Today, the number of Native Hawaiians who continue on to post-secondary education remains low, Lono says, so leaving the island for college is a big deal. For Lono, leaving Hawaii was a matter of broadening her horizons, sharing Hawaiian culture, and in some ways, defending her traditional culture.

“There is a big controversial thing happening on the Big Island where the United States wants to build a big telescope on a mountain, and Native Hawaiians are protesting,” she says. “For some people, being Hawaiian is going up on the mountain and protesting—for others, being Hawaiian is getting an education and being part of the committee who decides whether or not to have the telescope built.”

Much like there is a distinction between Native Americans and non-indigenous American people born and raised in America, Lono says there is a cultural difference between Native Hawaiians and people who are simply from Hawaii. Creighton’s Hui ‘O Hawai‘i is inclusive of both groups.

“There are people who are not Hawaiian at all who participate,” Lono says. “A common thing you will hear people say is ‘I am Hawaiian at heart.’”

Sela Vili is a sophomore at Creighton. Although not of indigenous Hawaiian heritage, she is from Hawaii and played a lead role in a play performed at last year’s lu‘au. More than 1,000 people attended the 2016 event, which is inclusive to other Polynesian cultures, too, not just Hawaiian.

Vili says the celebration is different each year, and the food is always authentic.

“We have a food committee, and we bring down a chef from Hawaii,” Vili says. “I love the entertainment in the lu‘au. I love dancing in it, especially given that I have been dancing since the age of 5.”

Vili refers to the Hawaiian community on campus as her family away from home. She says Hawaii is very important to her, which drives a lot of her participation in the club.

“I want to be involved in the lu‘au so I can share my culture with everyone else,” Vili says. “It’s a way for me to keep in touch with home, and also a great way to meet other students that are from Hawaii.”

Hawaiian culture is based on the idea that you live off the land and work in the fields, Lono says, but going to college offers an opportunity for a different type of life. She admits there can be some resentment toward Westerners by Native Hawaiians, especially considering the legacy of colonization and forced acculturation.

“[I used to think] this is not fair. Why do we have to work to pay rent for land we already own,” Lono says. “My perspective changed when I came here. The same thing happened to the Mexicans and the Native Americans, and I think the best thing to do is not really accept it, but to learn about it, make a difference, and move forward from it.”

Lono is thankful for the opportunity to share her culture with the rest of Creighton’s diverse student population, and she praises the club’s approximately 250 members for caring enough about their culture to share with their peers and the general public of Omaha.

“Creighton recruits heavily from Hawaii, and it is nice having so many people from Hawaii so far away from home,” Lono says.

She laments the dearth of Hawaiian food in Omaha; however, the Hui ‘O Hawai‘i organization provides an essential group of friends who get together to cook authentic foods from home, in order to feel a little closer to the Aloha State—right here in Nebraska.

The 2017 Hui ‘O Hawai‘i Lu‘au takes place March 18 at Creighton University’s Kiewit Fitness Center. Doors open at 4 p.m., dinner begins at 5 p.m., and entertainment starts at 6 p.m. Tickets cost $20 general admission, $15 students, $12 children ages 4-12, free to ages 3 and under. Contact Lu‘au Chair Tiffany Lau at tiffanylau1@creighton.edu for more information.

This article was printed in the March/April 2017 edition of Omaha Magazine.

From London to Calcutta to Morocco

December 6, 2015 by
Photography by Tom Kessler

This 9,000-square-foot home was designed from the ground up. Working as a team the designer, architect, builder, and homeowner carefully considered all aspects and details of the home to create a classic, contemporary design. The client wanted the home to be timeless, not trendy, so design elements could stay fresh and current for years to come.  This space took home Gold honors at the 2015 ASID Project Awards.

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A hexagon pattern was applied to the entrance floor using white Calcutta marble and gray London marble.

A Moroccan-inspired light fixture was used in the center of the space as an unexpected element. The warm glow and soft lines from the five-light chandelier creates contrast from the geometric pattern in the foyer floor.

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People passing through the foyer are visually drawn to the decorative glass sliding doors framing the dining room. A natural woven wallcovering was applied to the walls throughout the space, mixing shades of gray and metallics. The metallic background reflects light from the linear chandelier placed above the dining room table. The crystal creates a dramatic eye-catching effect in the space. A large white piece of art was placed above the buffet table to contrast the dark gray walls.    

Transformations5The art is flanked with two white ceramic lamps that create a focal point in the space. The neutral palette of gray, white, and espresso allow the client to easily change the colors in the room using accessories and artwork.

This beautifully designed room does not lack functionality; the room will comfortably seat eight to 10 people for family gatherings and holidays.

The kitchen was designed to be functional for the family of five without sacrificing the beautiful clean lines used throughout the rest of the custom home. When you enter the kitchen the room is framed with clean white cabinetry which is used to hide the oversized refrigerator and freezer bordering the ovens and microwaves. Industrial stainless steel appliance garages were added to hide the everyday cooking tools to help keep the space clean and clutter-free. The island is stained a dark espresso color that contrasts the white quartz countertops selected due to ease of maintenance and durability for a growing family. To soften the linear lines in the kitchen area, drum shades were used over the island and dinette table to create balance and harmony.

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A custom dinette table was designed to be nearly indestructible from the wear and tear of three growing children. The tabletop is made of concrete material with a baked-on finish that will prevent stains or marks from everyday use.

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Just off the kitchen is a hearth room that is used as the family’s main gathering area. The room needed to have comfortable, yet durable, furnishings. The space introduces a playful mix of teal and citron colors with the use of artworks, pillows, and accessories. The main furniture pieces in the space stay neutral so the colors can be easily changed as the family grows and tastes differ. The back wall of the hearth room and kitchen is lined with windows that showcase stunning natural views. Custom window treatments were applied to the windows so views would not be obstructed when the shades were up but could provide privacy for the family when needed.

The powder bathroom mixes texture, material, and color to create a fun, playful space. The teal wall exhibits a pop of color while the carved, natural stone tiles provide pattern and color variation. The concrete countertop gives a clean, modern feel to the bathroom.  OmahaHome

Visit d3interiors.net to learn more.

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