We at Papa Ola Lōkahi fondly remember Dr. Agnes Kalaniho‘okaha Cope, who passed away on November 16th. Her wisdom and compassion, and the many contributions she—and her family—have made to improve Hawaiian well-being are inspiring.
Aunty Aggie’s community leadership as educator and arts advocate landed her on the Native Hawaiian advisory council and board of the Wai‘anae Coast Comprehensive Health Center. She served on the board of Ke Ola Mamo, the Native Hawaiian Health Care System that serves O‘ahu, representing the health care needs of the Wai‘anae Coast.
Kamaki Kanahele with his mother Aunty Aggie Cope. Kaonohi awards, April 2011. Photo by Shannon O’Brien
In her role as president of Ke Ola Mamo, she served on the board of Papa Ola Lōkahi for 10 years, five as president. As president, she helped to move Papa Ola Lōkahi through some significant organizational periods, including the passing of our founder, her cousin, Myron “Pinky“ Thompson.
As a practitioner of lā‘au kāhea, she was a member of the original Kupuna Council of healers established in 1998, and she brought that kupuna perspective to Papa Ola Lōkahi’s board. She guided POL through sensitive discussions of Hawaiian healing practices within the traditional healing community and in educating the State Legislature.
Aunty Aggie served the community on numerous committees and work groups. Named a Living Treasure of Hawai‘i in 1989, POL bestowed upon Aunty Aggie the Alexander K. Ka‘ōnohi Award in 2000, and honored her with the Hawaiian Health Award at the Native Hawaiian Convention in 2008.
It was Aunty Aggie who gave Papa Ola Lōkahi our mo‘olelo, Nana i ka Pono Na Mā, meaning Look to the Righteousness of Many Places. Aunty pointed out that we at Papa Ola Lōkahi are simply the stem; that our kuleana is to care for and provide support to others.
Aunty Aggie lived that kuleana. Her legacy will live on.
Me ke aloha, Aunty. Blessings of aloha and comfort for her family.