|Public Meeting: Uncle Les Kulolo'io
Save Honolua Coalition
General Mtg 5-8-07 summary of speaker by SHC Secretary Tamara Palitin
Tonight's speaker was Uncle Les Kuloloio from the other side. He spoke about what it means to be an activist, to stand up for the rights of our children's children, for the rest of your life. He asked tonight, how many of us would be willing to fight for Honolua Bay and almost everyone raised their hand and he said, "We'll see..." Which I think is a good answer to our efforts thus far.
Everything has been moving so fast and there is a lot of popularity associated with the surfing aspect that is attracting a broad global audience as well as the basic moral issues involved when greed and capitalism threaten to wipe out indigenous cultures and environments. I can see why Uncle Les challenged us all to take responsibility for this sacred area, we have lost so much already, the only way to successfully fight against the destruction of Honolua Bay is to do your research and persevere at every level and opportunity no matter what and pray that we may build bridges and learn to work together.
Uncle Les mentioned tonight about the word ahupua'a and a definition was given that it was a division of land that went from the mountain to the reefs. Uncle Les indicated that it was that narrow type of definition which allowed developers to divide up the land and sell it off and basically decide to just ruin huge tracts of completely functioning self sufficient ecosystems to turn a lucrative profit and when sugar and pineapple was finished raping the land instead of returning it to the rightful owners, they want to make more money by selling off bits and pieces and restricting access to a rich few.
I think we need to think of the word ahupua'a in a broader Hawaiian context not as a location or topographical area but rather as a system for land management that required balancing the behavior of people as well as management practices. In achieving that balance we must consider carefully how to best maintain the authenticity of the place and quality of life, and that requires a lot of respect. Hawaiian ahupua'a were an engineered environment, but in manipulating the earth, Hawaiians found a symbiotic rather than parasitic relationship.
We must encourage and promote the concept of aloha 'aina--approaching that which feeds you with an awareness of reciprocity; and malama 'aina caring for our resources with thoughtful stewardship. Not necessarily anti-development, but more pro-balanced progress.
I feel personally that if you want to enjoy certain privileges in Hawai'i, such as building a successful business, you have a responsibility to give back and not just take out. If you're acting from a place of aloha 'aina you woul naturally do that. This giving back is more than just paying your taxes because most taxes do not go back into the natural and human resources of capital.
I feel that the best way for a corporation to give back is to embrace Hawaiian concepts and expand on them. For example, build on the concept of 'ohana to go beyond the nuclear family into the workforce, and create a new index for success that moves away from the western definition of prosperity as individual profit to a more traditionally Hawaiian model. It should not be about what I have gotten personally but more about what we have done collectively, to ensure there is enough twenty generation in the future.
In traditional Hawaiian management practices, there was a consciousness or awareness that you are part of a system and you spend your time doing your part, and if you do that you are pono. Those who are pono are doing precisely the right thing at the right time, and that changes, so you need to be responsive and work with it or else you get stuck and you are no longer pono. If prosperity becomes a measure of how pono a person is, we would all benefit
I don't think it is possible to force people to aloha 'aina, but we can encourage businesses who truly practice this in all their endeavors and I hope in the future with the help of the aha moku council to guide us we can create a culturally based model for sustainability.
Uncle Les spoke a lot about the knowledge the Hawaiian people had of the different types of birds that lived in the valley and the wao akua and our most precious of all the resources, the waters of life... there is so much more but I gotta go sleep now