Cultural Restoration

Cultural Restoration

"It’s more than us returning to Kahoolawe. We’re reconnecting with those ancestors and what they were able to experience on the island."
~ Davianna McGregor, KIRC

Kaho'olawe prior to bombing, Only In Your State

Like its neighboring islands, Kaho'olawe's beauty is unrivaled. Before the bombings, it was full of thriving vegetation. Beach clean-ups, debris removal, and the planting of new native plant species were conducted with hopes that Kaho'olawe could return to its' previous physical state. This demonstrates the determination that they have to this day - the determination to defend this island.

"Kahoolawe became a symbol of wholeness for me, a celebration of healing, of restoration of a basic tradition for the Hawaiians and a concept that is needed by the rest of the world--aloha ‘aina."
~ U.S. Senator Daniel Akaka (D-Hawaii)

The bombs cleared from the Navy's environmental impact statement.

Chants and olis hold a strong importance in Hawaiian culture. They are sung by many, the voices unified as one. It reminds everyone of how far they've come since the bombing and revives the cultural traditions held there. These practices couldn't be done before, and because of their protests, they were able to repurpose the island back into what it was meant for.

Oli ceremony during Makahiki season,  KIRC Blog

Hokulea on its voyage, Hawaii News Now

Hawaiians traveled by canoe using wayfinding techinques for generations. The canoe, Hokulea, sailed to Kealaikahiki (means "pathway to Tahiti"), a point on Kaho'olawe that offer navigators a chance to see the island chain to assist in wayfinding. Used as a stopping point before important voyages, it is now utilized as a center for wayfinding. This demonstrates a before and after. Prior to when the Kaho'olawe nine crossed the frontier, wayfinders didn't have as much assistance in plotting out their journey, but now this site helps many on their journeys through the Pacific.

Though the many bombs dropped on Kaho'olawe nearly destroyed the history and culture, many voices spoke out against the US navy to reclaim the island. With continuous amounts of effort, Kaho'olawe is transforming into the place people once knew. Without having taken a chance and fighting for the Hawaiian Island, bombs would repeatedly light the night sky today. But not only did it impact Kaho'olawe, it revealed that the Hawaiian voice couldn't be silenced, and they aren’t a force to be reckoned with. Without them standing up for what they believed in, others would continually ignore the Hawaiians' beliefs to this day.