Twenty-five sacred site guardians traveled to the IUCN World Conservation Congress in September 2016. First stop was the island of Maui, where the group was welcomed by members of the Protect Kaho`olawe Ohana. Eventually the entire group would travel to Kaho'olawe.
The following kanikau, or chant of lamentation, was written to honor the bones of the beloved humpback whale that was recently returned to the sea of Kanaloa Kahoʻolawe. E Ola nā iwi!
Haliʻa Aloha Ke Koholā i Ke Kai O Kanaloa Kahoʻolawe
Nā Pōmaikaʻi a me Noa, Kaimalino, Oʻahu August 2018
Click on the file below for the official press release shared by the State of Hawaiʻi Department of Land and Natural Resources.
Read about the Protect Kahoʻolawe ʻOhana's welcoming of world leader's to Kahoʻolawe here.
Forty years ago, on January 4, 1976, nine persons landed on the island of
Kaho'olawe as part of the A.L.O.H.A. (Aboriginal Lands of Hawaiian Ancestry) protest to draw attention to the injustices suffered by Native Hawaiians due to the illegal role of the U.S. in the overthrow of the Hawaiian monarchy. Six (Kimo Aluli, Ian Lind, Ellen Miles, Steve Morse, Gail Kawaipuna Prejean and Karla Villalba) were detained and escorted back to Maui by federal marshals. One, George Helm left with a journalist before the marshals landed. The remaining two, Noa Emmett Aluli and Walter Ritte, explored the island for
two days before being arrested and issued letters barring them from the island (which were later by-passed). While these two witnessed the needless destruction, they also experienced a pervasive spiritual presence. The Protect Kaho'olawe 'Ohana (ʻOhana) was formed to build a movement to "Stop the Bombing" and end all military use of the island.
The tragic loss of two members, George Helm and Kimo Mitchell, in March 1977 as part of the ongoing protests, fueled the movement to persevere until the bombing was ultimately stopped on October 22, 1990 (25 years ago).
"I was proud to be guided by the kūpuna of the generation before us." said Dr. Noa Emmett Aluli, a founder of the ʻOhana. "Building upon the foundation laid by
George Helm before he passed - it's been 40 years of working as an extended family for Aloha ʻĀina throughout our islands - stopping the bombing of the island; healing the island; reviving the Makahiki ceremonies; opening access to our fishing grounds on Molokaʻi; protecting our iwi kūpuna at Honokahua, Maui; defending Pele from geothermal development; working for Ea, our own self-governance, through state, national and international pathways."
"The lessons of aloha ʻāina that we learned as an ʻOhana for Kahoʻolawe, are
applied in our work to guard the sacred summit of Mauna A Wākea," said Craig Neff, an ʻOhana leader who was arrested as he took part in a ceremonial gathering at Mauna A Wākea. "Kahoʻolawe taught us how to pray, work and take political action together to fulfill our kuleana, our responsibility to connect, heal and protect our sacred places."
Looking to the future, the ʻOhana has worked with the Kahoʻolawe Island
Reserve Commission (KIRC) and the Office of Hawaiian Affairs on a plan, I OLA KANALOA! LIFE TO KANALOA! to more fully restore the island and establish a cultural learning center. These organizations will work collaboratively with community partners to focus resources to stem erosion, restore native flora and fauna and sustain a healthy marine ecosystem for the island. Significantly, an initiative to utilize the unique resources of Kahoʻoawe to nurture the mastery of Hawaiian science, cultural and spiritual skills and practices will be launched. As part of the plan, the Office of Hawaiian Affairs has provided $129,100 to Kohe Mālamalama O Kanaloa - Protect Kahoʻolawe Fund for the training of cultural practitioners as they engage in the stewardship of the island in 2016 and 2017.
As provided for in state law (HRS 6-K) the plan envisions the island being part of
the first lands transferred to the sovereign Native Hawaiian governing entity by 2026.
For an account and recollection published on Civil Beat by Ian Lind, click here.
Broadcast Premiere of Four-Part Film Series, STANDING ON SACRED GROUND Series Features Kaho‘olawe Story
KHET broadcasts May 9 and 16 at 9pm
Berkeley, CA (Tuesday May 5, 2015):Standing on Sacred Ground, a four-part documentary series, eight years in the making, on Indigenous struggles over sacred sites, will enjoys its broadcast premiere in Hawaiʻi on KHET and nationally on The PBS World Channel.
KHET in Honolulu will broadcast the first two films in the series on Saturday, May 9 and the final two episodes on Saturday, May 16.Profit and Lossairs on Saturday May 9 at 9pm followed byPilgrims and Tourists at 10pm.The following weekend, on Saturday, May 16, KHET will broadcastIslands of Sanctuary at 9pm followed by Fire and Ice at 10pm. The films will run on all three KHET channels: KHETDT, KHETOC and KMEB.
The films premier on The WORLDChannel, Sunday, May 17 at 9pm ET, with the next three episodes running weekly through June 7, 2015.
Islands of Sanctuary(May 16@9pm) featuresthe story of Kaho`olawe and was produced in collaboration with the Protect Kaho`olawe `Ohana. "The broadcast of theKahoʻolawe segment is timely, in light of the islandswideand international focus on protecting the sacred mountain of Mauna Kea," said Luana Busby-Neff, founding member of the ʻOhana."The Kahoʻolawemovement awakened my generation's ancestral knowledge of and kuleana (responsibility) for sacred places through advocating Aloha ʻĀina. Kahoʻolawe is sacred to Kanaloa, the Hawaiian god of the ocean and Mauna A Wākeais the sacred offspring of Wākea (sky father) and Papa (earth mother). The series as a whole shows that we are part of a global movement of indigenous peoples protecting sacred places to sustain the health of our natural world."
Standing on Sacred Ground, produced by the California-based Sacred Land Film Project,shares stories from eight Indigenous communities around the globe who are the protectors of sacred places, as part of a growing movement to defend human rights, protect culture and restore the environment. In the series, Native people share ecological wisdom and spiritual reverence while battling government megaprojects, consumer culture, competing religions, resource extraction and climate change.
In episode one, Pilgrims and Tourists, Indigenous shamans of the Altai Republic of Russia and northern California’s WinnememWintufind common ground protecting their sacred mountains from major government projects: Shasta Dam and theGazprom pipeline. In episode two, Profit and Loss, from Papua New Guinea to the tar sands of Alberta, Canada, Native people work to protect their ancestral land, life giving water and community health from international mining and oil corporations. In episode three, Fire and Ice, from the Gamo Highlands of Ethiopia to the Andes of Peru, Indigenous communities protect their sacred lands from development, competing religions and climate change.
In the final episode Islands of Sanctuary, Native Hawaiians and Aboriginal Australians resist threats to their sacred places. In Australia’s Northern Territory, Aboriginal clans maintain Indigenous Protected Areas and resist the destructive effects of a mining boom. In Hawai`i, indigenous ecological and spiritual practices are used to restore the sacred island of Kaho`olawe after 50 years of military use as a bombing range.
“Public television viewers will now have the opportunity to access global perspectivesfrom a chorus of Indigenous voices defending against attacks on their resources, and on the future we share,” said producer and director, Christopher “Toby” McLeod. “We are proud to partner with KHET, The WORLD Channel, NETA, VisionMaker Media and Pacific Islanders in Communications (PIC), who are constantly striving to provide public television stations with diverse,enlightening programming for their audiences.”
Islands of Sanctuarywas first screened in Hawaiʻi at the Maui Film Festival in 2013. The Standing on Sacred Groundserieshas screened to great acclaim around the world since its release at the Mill Valley Film Festival in October 2013. It received the Best Documentary Feature Award at the Native American Film Festival 2013 and director Toby McLeod received the John de Graaf Environmental Filmmaking Award at the Wild & Scenic Film Festival 2014. The Smithsonian National Museum of the American Indian screened the series last year as part of the U.S. Environmental Film Festival, and the films were featured at the World Parks Congress in Sydney, Australia, last November. The films have also been screening in the Altai Republic, Moscow, Peru and Papua New Guinea.
“We know having these films available to public television stations in May, timed with Asian Pacific American Heritage Month, will allow local stations to provide their viewers with important content that focuses on the issues facing many Native cultures in their areas,” notes Leanne K. Ferrer, Executive Director of Pacific Islanders in Communications (PIC).
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Praise for STANDING ON SACRED GROUND:
“Beautifully illuminates Indigenous peoples’ resistance to environmental devastation and their determination to protect our common future.” —Robert Redford
“Some of the finest minds on the planet are featured in this documentary—and they’re talking about the biggest problems our planet has ever faced!” --Bill McKibben
In addition to The WORLD Channel premiere in May, NETA has distributed Standing on Sacred Ground to the full public broadcasting system for May 2015. To find out more about the series, visit www.StandingOnSacredGround.org.
About the Partners:
Standing on Sacred Ground is a co-production of Sacred Land Film Project and Pacific Islanders in Communications (PIC) in association with Vision Maker Media (VMM), with funding provided by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB).
About the Sacred Land Film Project:
For 30 years, the Sacred Land Film Project has produced documentaries, journalism and educational materials—films, DVDs, articles, photographs, school curricula and website content—to deepen public understanding of Indigenous cultures and environmental issues. Our 501(c)3 fiscal sponsor is the nonprofit Earth Island Institute.
About Christopher (Toby) McLeod, Producer/Director:
Toby McLeod circled the globe for five years filming the Standing on Sacred Ground series. McLeod founded the Sacred Land Film Project in 1984 to make high-impact documentary films relevant to indigenous communities and modern audiences. He produced and directed In the Light of Reverence (P.O.V., 2001) and other award-winning documentary films: The Four Corners: A National Sacrifice Area?,Downwind/Downstream, and NOVA: Poison in the Rockies. Awards include the Council on Foundation’s Henry Hampton Award, the John de Graaf Environmental Filmmaking Award, a Guggenheim Fellowship for filmmaking and a Student Academy Award in 1983. His first film was The Cracking of Glen Canyon Damn – with Edward Abbey and Earth First! McLeod holds a master’s degree from U.C. Berkeley's Graduate School of Journalism and a B.A. in American History from Yale.
About the Protect KahoʻolaweʻOhana:is a grassroots spiritual and cultural Hawaiian organization which works to perpetuate Aloha ʻĀina (love and respect of the land) throughout Hawaiʻi through educational and spiritual activities that heal and revitalize the cultural and natural resources on KanaloaKahoʻolawe. In the work to heal Kahoʻolawe, members strengthen relationships with the land and respect the spirits of the land. On home islands, members work to protect the natural and cultural resources of ancestral lands.
About Pacific Islanders in Communications:
The mission of Pacific Islanders in Communications is to support, advance, and develop Pacific Island media content and talent that results in a deeper understanding and appreciation of Pacific Island history, culture and contemporary challenges. Established in Honolulu in 1991 as a national nonprofit media arts corporation, PIC is a member of the National Minority Consortia, which collectively addresses the need for programming that reflects America’s growing ethnic and cultural diversity. Primary funding for PIC and the Consortia is provided through an annual grant from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting. Visit www.piccom.org for additional information.
About Vision Maker Media:
Vision Maker Media shares Native stories with the world that represent the cultures, experiences, and values of American Indians and Alaska Natives. Founded in 1977, Vision Maker Media, a nonprofit 501(c)(3) which receives major funding from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, nurtures creativity for development of new projects, partnerships and funding. Vision Maker Media is the premier source for quality Native American and Pacific Islander educational and home videos. All aspects of our programs encourage the involvement of young people to learn more about careers in the media—to be the next generation of storytellers. Located at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, we offer student employment and internships. For more information, visit www.visionmakermedia.org.
About the National Educational Telecommunications Association (NETA):
NETA is a professional association that serves Public Television licensees and educational entities in all 50 states, the U.S. Virgin Islands, and Puerto Rico. Since 1967, our reason for existing is to connect Public Television people and ideas, by providing quality programming, educational resources, professional development, management support, and national representation. For more information, visit www.netaonline.org.
About The WORLD Channel:
The WORLD Channel delivers the best of public television’s nonfiction, news and documentary programing to US audiences through local public television stations and streaming online at worldchannel.org. WORLD reached 35 million unique viewers 18+ last year (55% adults 18-49) and over-indexes in key diversity demographics.* Online, the WORLD Channel expands on broadcast topics and fuels dialogue across social media, providing opportunities for broad and diverse audience interaction. (Source: Nielsen Local Buyer Reach Scorecard 01/13-12/13)
WORLD is programmed by WGBH/Boston, in partnership with American Public Television and WNET/New York, and in association with the American Public Television and National Educational Telecommunications Association. Funding for the WORLD Channel is provided by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting and the Ford Foundation. Additional funding for “America ReFramed” is provided by the MacArthur Foundation.
Major funding for Standing on Sacred Ground was provided by: The Christensen Fund,
Robert Friede, Kalliopeia Foundation, Grousbeck Family Fund, Silicon Valley Community Foundation, Newman’s Own Foundation, Corporation for Public Broadcasting, Paula and William McLeod, Weeden Foundation, Paula and James Crown, Compton Foundation, Wallace Alexander Gerbode Foundation, The Tides Foundation, George Appell, Annenberg Foundation, Sundance Institute Documentary Film Program and Fund—a complete list is available at www.StandingOnSacredGround.org.
To view the official press release, click here.
Immediate action is needed to address the University of Hawai‘i Board of Regents and the Office of Hawaiian Affairs Board of Trustees regarding the protection of our sacred Mauna Kea. Please submit testimony to the UH Board of Trustees by Wednesday, April 15, 2015 at 10:30am strongly opposing the continued construction of the TMT and the further desecration of Mauna Kea. Submit your testimony to firstname.lastname@example.org and demand that the University of Hawai‘i cease all development on Mauna Kea's summit.
Also, please contact the Office of Hawaiian Affairs trustees and ask them to oppose construction of the TMT. Their email addresses are:
Colette Machado email@example.com (808) 594-1837
Peter Apo firstname.lastname@example.org (808) 594-1854
Haunani Apoliona email@example.com (808) 594-1886
Rowena Akau firstname.lastname@example.org (808) 594-1860
John Waihe‘e IV email@example.com (808) 594-1876
Carmen Hulu Lindsey firstname.lastname@example.org (808) 594-1858
Dan Ahuna email@example.com (808) 594-1751
Leina‘ala Ahu Isa firstname.lastname@example.org (808) 594-1857
Click here for a testimony that you may copy+paste into an email or download and revise to add your own voice.
Our brothers and sisters who are protecting Mauna Kea need our assistance! Contribute by signing the petition, donate to the Mauna Kea Legal Defense Fund, and/or contribute to the the Mauna Kea ‘Ohana's GoFundMe campaign to aid in expenses accrued while protecting the mauna. Stay connected with our Mauna Kea ‘Ohana by liking their Facebook page, and follow @protectmaunakea on Instagram. E kupa‘a kākou no ka pono o ka ‘āina!
(An update by Miki Tomita and students from University Lab School, O‘ahu)
Recently, we had the privilege to participate in a focus group to envision what the future of Kahoʻolawe might be through a process that explored our own personal relationships and experiences with the Island and each other.
During the different stages of the focus group discussions and activities, we all learned many things and got to know people; some people we already knew, but we got to know them better. We really enjoyed starting with “Guts on the Table”, where we shared deeply of ourselves; as the day progressed, we worked with one partner exclusively and shared much of our thoughts and ideas with them. At the end of the day, we shared everything we had built based on our partnerʻs visions and ideas, and they shared what they interpreted and learned from us. “I learned more about myself through someone elseʻs eyes.” -Baylee J.
Becoming part of this process was harder for some of us because of a lack of personally experiencing the Kahoʻolawe journey; however, it was interesting to hear about other peopleʻs experiences, and soon everyone was sharing ideas of what is important and special about Kahoʻolawe. “It was interesting to hear someoneʻs experiences of Kahoʻolawe even though they have never been there.” - Joey C.
We learned what others think about Kahoʻolawe and shared our thoughts on the island and our relationship to it; we learned deep things about ourselves and others; and we learned a unique history of Kahoʻolawe through everyoneʻs different experiences. It was very moving to hear about what others hold sacred and the deep emotion that people feel when they talk about the Island. “When another group member said: ʻYou see the sunrise every day but on Kahoʻolawe it is different because it hasnʻt changed for hundreds of yearsʻ, I felt it too.” -Kailee R.
Our groups were made up of high school and college students, teachers and other education professionals, a mother and daughter, cultural practitioners and experts on Kahoʻolawe, and a local government official. It was cool to see how our alumni could participate in this process too, through Google Hangout video-conferencing. It showed us that people near and far can experience and contribute to the future of Kahoʻolawe.
We are grateful for being involved in this process to continue the healing and restoration of Kahoʻolawe, and to envision the future of the sacred and beautiful island.
To view a recent news article and video about the 2026 Strategic Planning for Kaho‘olawe, click here.