The Legacy of Kaho`olawe: Protecting the Ancestors at Honokahua

How does one sacred site struggle affect another? When Ritz Carlton resort construction on Maui churned up the bones of 1,100 ancestors who were peacefully resting in sand dunes, seasoned defenders of Kaho`olawe island responded to the call. Here’s how two sacred places were saved.

Tying It All Together Our boat left Maui at dawn and headed south across calm water toward Kaho‘olawe. With a group of 60 Native Hawaiians, we floated our film gear through the surf — in watertight Pelican cases — to a rocky beach. Above us loomed eroding red slopes overgrazed by goats for a century and bombed by the U.S. Navy for 50 years before determined Hawaiian activists won the island back to native control in 1994…

Visionary Cultural Use Plan for Kahoʻolawe I traveled to Oahu, Molokai and the Big Island last week, continuing discussions with Native Hawaiians about our proposal to make the ongoing saga of Kahoʻolawe Island one of the eight stories in Standing on Sacred Ground. This was my fourth research trip over two years to meet with members of Protect Kahoʻolawe ʻOhana and the Kahoʻolawe Island Reserve Commission, and I am very happy to report that we reached an “agreement in principle” to go forward.