The Quarter Dollar is a United States coin worth 25 cents. From its inception until 1964, the denomination was issued in silver; it underwent several design changes, including finally the silver Washington quarter (1932 - 1964) featuring the first President of the United States on the obverse and the American Eagle on the reverse, issued then until 1998 in copper-nickel. The U.S Mint then embarked on several long term projects: the State Quarters series of 50 coins featuring each State from 1999 to 2008; in 2009, a six-coin series represented the District of Columbia and five US territories, and then the America the Beautiful program (2010 - 2021). After a brief interlude with a Washington commemorative quarter, the U.S. Mint started the American Women Quarters program in 2022.
Running until 2025, the program honours five women on five reverse designs per year, selected for "contributions to the United States in a wide spectrum of accomplishments and fields, including but not limited to suffrage, civil rights, abolition, government, humanities, science, space, and arts". The obverse depicts George Washington with a 1931 design by Laura Gardin Fraser.
The Edith Kanakaʻole Quarter is the seventh coin in the American Women Quarters Program; it was released on ? 2023.
Edith Kanakaʻole was an indigenous Hawaiian composer, chanter, Kuma Hula, and a custodian of native culture, traditions, and the natural land. Her moʻolelo, or stories, served to rescue aspects of Hawaiian history, customs, and traditions that were disappearing due to the cultural bigotry of the time.
Kanakaʻole, or “Aunty Edith”, as she is commonly known, was a renowned practitioner of and authority on modern Hawaiian culture and language. She learned hula from her mother, who was instructed by the acclaimed dancer Akoni Mika. Kanakaʻole believed that the oli, or Hawaiian chants, formed the basis of Hawaiian values and history. She started composing oli in 1946 and choreographed hula to go with many of her chants.
Kanakaʻole assisted in the development of the first Hawaiian language program for public school students at the Keaukaha School in Hilo. In the 1970s, she created college courses and seminars on subjects including ethnobotany, Polynesian history, genealogy, and Hawaiian chant and mythology. In 1979, she received the Distinction of Cultural Leadership award, the state’s highest honour. It is given to an individual who has made significant outstanding lifetime contributions to Hawai’i in areas of culture, arts, and humanities.
Edith Kanakaʻole died on 3 October 1979. Her teachings, beliefs, and practices are maintained by the Edith Kanakaʻole Foundation (EKF).
Edith Kanakaʻole Quarter Dollars issued in 2023 have now been in circulation for less than one year.
The reverse design depicts a portrait of Edith Kanakaʻole, with her hair and lei poʻo (head lei) morphing into the elements of a Hawaiian landscape, symbolising Kanakaʻole's life’s work of preserving the natural land and traditional Hawaiian culture. On two lines on the left, her name EDITH KANAKA'OLE.
Below left, the initials of the designer, ESD (for Emily Damstra); below right, the initials of the sculptor, RG (for Renata Gordon).
Below, the denomination is given as 25¢ (twenty-five cents, or a quarter dollar).
Around above, on two lines the legend UNITED STATES OF AMERICA. Around below left, the motto E PLURIBUS UNUM ("Out of many, one" - signifying unity in diversity).
Around below near the rim, the inscription E hō mai ka ʻike, which translates as “granting the wisdom", and is a reference to the intertwined role hula and chants play in the preservation of traditional Hawaiian culture.