AluliWithoutTheLand

AluliWithoutTheLand - Without the Land We are Nothing By...

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Unformatted text preview: Without the Land We are Nothing By Noa Emmett Aluli, MD. Aloha 'Aina is more than a Hawaiian phrase made popular again by George Helm, and more than a slo- gan used to rally the grass roots of the Protect Kaho‘olawe ‘Ohana to occupy Kaho‘olawe again. Aloha ‘Aina is the gut-level reason why so many native Hawaiian community groups organize and pro— test against development on our land. It is a deeply held concept fraught with Hawaiian kaona, the hidden meaning in Hawaiian language, poetry, and action. Beginning in 1976, Aloha ‘Aina was revitalized as an expression for the Hawaiian way of loving, working, and protecting the land and the native envi- ronment. It is a way of the kupuna, our ancestors. At its root, Aloha ‘Aiha is the belief that the land is the religion and the culture. Native Hawaiians descend from a tradition and genealogy of nature deities: Wakea, Papa, Ho‘ohokukalani, Hina, Kane, Kanaloa, Leno, and Pele; the sky, the earth, the stars, the moon, water, the sea, natural phenomena such as rain and streams; native plants and animals. The native Hawaiians today, inheritors of these genes and mono, are the kino lau, or alternate body forms of all our deities. The land is religion. It is alive, respected, treas- ured, praised, and even worshipped. The land is one hanau, sands of our birth, and resting place for our bones. The land lives as do the 'uhane, or spirits of all our ancestors who nurtured both physical and spiri- tual relationships with the land. The land has pro- . vided for generations of native Hawaiians and will previde for those yet to come. When we live on and work the land, we become knowledgeable about the life of the land. In our daily activities, we develop a partnership with the land so as to know when to plant, fish, or heal our minds and bodies according to the ever-changing weather, sea- sous, and moons. So close is this relationship that we acknowledge the ‘oumakua a'nd ‘okua, the ancestral spirits and gods of special areas. We even make offerings to them. We learn the many personalities of the land, their forms, character and resources. Each place has been named and we love the land areas personally, as do the 'ohana, or families of the area who carry on the customs and traditions unique to their ‘aino. Land, our religion, is the foundation of native Hawaiian culture. Without the land, we native Hawaiians are noth- ing. Without land, our language, culture and people cannot survive. Hawaiian music, hula and crafts, archaeological sites, street signs, aloha shirts, canoe racing, surfing, and Kamehameha Day parades, would survive as so many myths serving only to pro- long the memory of the destruction of our culture and decimation of our people. In the past decade. you have heard of many na- tive Hawaiian community struggles against particular development on our lands, on all our islands. The arguments against such permits and proc- esses include historic site preservation, access, clean air and water, destruction of our resources, and the many negative socio-cultural effects of development that impact our way of life. These developments are in direct conflict with aloha ‘aina because they rapidly industrialize rural Hawaiian communities into resort areas for the bene- fit of people from continental nations, without offer— Noa Emmett Aluli, M.D., is a graduate at St. Louis High School and the University of Hawaii Medical School. He is a doctor on Moloka'i. (Courtesy of Honolulu Star-Bulletin} ing alternative, island-appropriate community devel- opment that would benefit native Hawaiians and their neighbors. This Ho‘olako, Year of the Hawaiian, is timely as native Hawaiians are challenged to turn back the waves of development upon our lands. It can high- light our struggles to perpetuate a living culture with the land, a way of life still practiced today by families of planters, fishermen, gatherers and healers. In this Year of the Hawaiian, native Hawaiians and others should give aloha and support for several Hawaiian issues. Two stand out: 1. Pele vs. geothermal energy. A suit was brought against developing geothermal energy on behalf of Pele practioners, whose customs, traditions, be- liefs, and practices honor and protect the volcano goddess. The Hawaii Supreme Court and the U.S. Supreme Court declined to hear the case. A new suit was filed in federal court in April 1988. 2. Ka‘u. The plan being discussed for developing a large space port there could have an adverse im— pact on the lifestyles of the many Hawaiians who live in this district. These two are among the many issues that native Hawaiian communities and districts must address to ...
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AluliWithoutTheLand - Without the Land We are Nothing By...

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