Is La’au just another piece of Real Estate?
A cultural perspective
Just as it would be inconceivable to tear down the Sisteen Chapel or the Western Temple wall in Jerusalem, likewise, it is just as inconceivable to pave over and develop the lands of La’au. Even the destruction of a small church, synagogue or mosque is something that most would consider unacceptable, regardless of ones own religious orientation. What is unique and probably the most difficult aspect to perceive by those outside of the Hawaiian culture is that the land itself is what is most sacred.
The metaphor that I have heard on several occasions refers to La’au as a child and the brothers and sisters of this child being Ka’ana, Kawakiu, Naiwa, and the other lands that will supposedly be saved under the Molokai Land Trust. We are told if we will sacrifice the child La’au and allow her to be molested and beaten to death, then we can keep the other children. Would anyone consider sacrificing one of their own children in such a way in order that the others would live? To those who posses the traditional knowledge of the Kupuna, the ‘aina is ‘ohana, and this is why such a tradeoff will never be acceptable.
“Ho’i i ka Pono” or “Return to the Pono” is the call that is being given at this time. The foundation of “Ho'i i ka Pono” is about setting into action a living model that will perpetuate pono in the spirit and life of the land and the people. The most common translation of pono is righteousness, however the word has many layers of meaning. One such understanding of pono is balance, a balance between God, Man, and the malama or stewardship of the land.
Although “Ho’i i ka Pono” involves the purchase of Molokai Ranch lands, it is not about real estate. It is about a collective effort to manage our island resources. Under the traditional governing body of the ‘Aha Kiole, every district on the island would be involved and have a voice. And though Ho’i i ka Pono represents a return to traditional Hawaiian values, it is not about segregation, it is about unity. Regardless of ethnic background we are of one ‘ohana honua. All of us have important talents and gifts to contribute.
Under this banner we will strive to see our lands returned and La’au as well as all of our culturally important areas permanently protected, and once again the people of Molokai will be restored to their rightful position as the caretakers of this island.
The book of Second Chronicles makes it clear that if we will seek to know Ke Akua and if we will humble ourselves, begin to pray and live in pono, our lands will be healed and restored. (2 Chronicles 7:14) In truth, this is how we will bring prosperity and abundance to our island. Our best laid plans can not match up to the success that would follow the practice of this basic understanding. At this time we must pule and ask Ke Akua to reveal to us a deep sense of this pono so that it may rest in our collective na’au. Unified, Molokai is an unstoppable force!
Ha’ule ka Lewa, Ha’ule ka Lani, Ho’ale ka lepo popolo
A time will come when the ali’I will fall and be no more, but a time will come when the maka‘ainana (commoner) will rise up and be restored
These prophetic words were spoken by the Kahuna of Puku’i Heiau in the time of the ali’i Kahuumanu. As told by Kumu John Ka’imikaua through the knowledge given to him by Kawahinekapuheleikapokane