Kawela Moku: Reviving the Aha Moku System
Opinion by Kawika Duvauchelle, Kanoelani Davis, and Hawaiiloa Mowat
The Kawela Moku lies roughly between Kalamaula to Kamalo. It is rich in natural resources, from stunning waterfalls in the mountains to countless loko ia along its shoreline and from the many culturally significant sites that are scared to Hawaiians to one of the largest fringing reefs in the state. The Kawela Moku is the source of water for many families on Molokai and provides us with fish from the ocean and pig and deer from the mountains. Our hope is that these gifts will last for many, many generations.
So what can be done to ensure that the resources we have now will be available in the future? A few of us are joining together and hope many others will follow. We have a vision: As a community, we will strive to preserve the resources of Molokai so that it may be in abundance for generations to come. We are organizing a gathering to try and bring together the community members of the Kawela Moku who share this same vision. We are hoping to revive the Aha Moku System.
The Aha Moku is fundamentally an ancient Hawaiian system that worked. It is designed to allow the community to be responsible for the management of the resources being utilized by that community. It is a process that gives us a chance to voice our mana`o. The first step in this process is to come together and decide on the resources that we, as a community, value. Identifying our resources will give us focus and help us to become responsible stewards of the land and the sea. The system cannot and will not work with just a few individuals. It needs all of us to participate in order to be most effective. The meeting we are planning will be open to all community members of the Kawela Moku.
Our goal is to have fishermen, hunters, gatherers, practitioners and all of those who appreciate the special places of Kawela Moku to start to connect to our island in a way that will look towards the future. Observation and understanding of the land, ocean, and spiritual resources of this precious island will help each of us become responsible caretakers of our Moku. The timing of the harvest is just as important as harvesting only what is needed. Every day we must all be reminded of our kuleana — take care of the land and the land will take care of you. Please attend the upcoming meeting (TBA) to share your manao and also listen to others who want to share theirs. Accept your kuleana and participate in the Aha Moku.
Like us on Facebook to find out about meetings, issues and other Kawela Moku activities.