Kū Kanaka/Stand Tall examines recovery from trauma for a Native Hawaiian man and his people.  When 15 year old Kanalu Young takes a dive into shallow water he becomes quadriplegic. Angry and defiant through months of rehabilitation, he begins to change when he learns Hawaiian language and discovers an untold story of Hawaiian history.

An intimate story of an extraordinary person, Kū Kanaka/Stand Tall provides a deep and haunting dual history of one man reclaiming his life after a severe injury and helping to lead Hawaii in reclaiming its language, history, and uniqueness.  Brilliant, moving, memorable.

Martha Minow, Carter Professor of General Jurisprudence, Harvard Law School
Synopsis: 

When 15 year old Kanalu Young takes a dive into shallow water he becomes quadriplegic, paralyzed from the neck down. Angry and defiant through months of rehabilitation, he begins to change when he learns Hawaiian language and discovers an untold story of Hawaiian history. Fired up to tell Hawai‘i’s story, he earns a PhD, gets arrested fighting for Hawaiian rights, and becomes a crusading teacher and leader, eager to instill pride in his people. Would his body give him the time he needed to fulfill his dream? 

Subject Areas:  Indigenous Studies, Social Work, Counseling, Occupational Therapy, Physical Therapy, Disability Studies, Rehabilitative Medicine, Asian-American/Pacific Island Studies, Peace Studies

 

Reviews

At long last, a portrait of both disability and Native Hawaiian identity at the crux of political activism and cultural pride. This loving tribute to Kanalu Young is a must-see for any student of disability identity and a most welcome addition to my disability studies classroom.

Katharina Heyer, Associate Professor of Political Science, University of Hawai‘i

Kanalu spoke of the Hawaiian movement as being broken and in 
need of repair, and he compared himself to that. He felt he understood Hawaiian trauma in his 
being since both he and his nation had suffered trauma and emerged with an identity tempered 
but with resilience. As Jon Osorio says in the film, "the kind of trauma imposed on our people 
could be compared to the trauma of Kanalu's accident. You could say that it really changed 
the trajectory of where we were headed as a nation, as a people." Of course, Kanalu's accident 
changed his trajectory too, and he would have argued it was that change that made him who 
he was.

Raphael Raphael, Filmmaker and Editor-in-Chief, Review of Disability Studies