Mahalo, Uncle Moke

As we approach the first anniversary of Uncle Moke Kim’s death on April 17, please join me in reflecting on his words from an interview he gave years ago:

“On Molokai, we need to be our own county. We need to start our own mala (gardens), to wean our dependence from the stores. We need to start walking and riding bikes more so we’re not dependent on oil. We need to start building the big double wa’a (canoe) so we’re not dependent on the airlines. We want to be independent, we want to be self-sustaining, we want to be sovereign. Mahatma Gandhi said, ‘Every household, take care of yourself first. Every community, start community industries. Don’t depend on anybody from the outside. If we do that, they can’t control us.’ We need to Gandhize Molokai so that we go back to the old system of ahupua’a. We need to huli and look at our kupuna. We need to see what it is they did and what they said; how and why they did it. We need to look back. That’s our future.”

As I got to know Uncle Moke during the last decade of his life, I learned more from him about selflessly caring for the earth and for humanity than I ever could have in any classroom, or from any book. Though his body was slowly failing him during his last years, he remained a teacher until the very end, and one of the most important people in my life. I’m forever grateful for all the aloha and wisdom and time that he shared with my wife and I.

Jayson R. Mizula


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