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Kaiaulu: Gathering Tides

Kaiaulu: Gathering Tides

by Mehana Blaich Vaughan


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The tide is rising ahead of the early morning sun on the northeast coast of the Hawaiian island of Kaua‘i. Waves rush singing onto the outer reef where two throw net fishermen stalk the surge. An elderly woman with her silver hair in a kerchief makes her way toward shore, two octopuses tucked in her mesh bag. Within hours, two hundred tourists will snorkel, sunbathe, and teeter on the coral, few ever knowing that people fish here or that their catch sustains an entire kaiāulu (community) connected to this stretch of reef.

This coast is known as a playground for tourists and backdrop for Hollywood movies, but catch from small local reefs, and the sharing of this abundance, has sustained area families for centuries, helping them to thrive through tidal waves, hurricanes, an influx of new residents, and economic recessions. Yet fishing families are increasingly invisible and many have moved away, threatened by global commodification and loss of access to coastal lands that are now private retreats for star entertainers, investors, and dot-com millionaires.

Building on two decades of interviews with more than sixty Hawaiian elders, leaders, and fishermen and women, Kaiāulu shares their stories of enduring community efforts to perpetuate kuleana, often translated to mean “rights and responsibilities.” Community actions extend kuleana to include nurturing respectful relationships with resources, guarding and cultivating fishing spots, perpetuating collective harvests and sharing, maintaining connection to family lands, reasserting local governance rooted in ancestral values, and preparing future generations to carry on.

An important contribution to scholarship in the fields of natural resource management, geography, Indigenous Studies, and Hawaiian Studies, Kaiāulu is also a skillfully written and deeply personal tribute to a community based not on ownership, but reciprocity, responsibility, and caring for the places that shape and sustain us all.

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780870719226
Publisher: Oregon State University Press
Publication date: 05/01/2018
Edition description: 1
Pages: 272
Sales rank: 600,245
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 8.90(h) x 0.70(d)
Age Range: 3 Months to 18 Years

About the Author

Mehana Blaich Vaughangrew up where the districts of Halele‘a and Ko‘olau meet on the island of Kaua‘i. She is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Management, and the Sea Grant College Program and Hui ‘Āina Momona at the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa. Mehana’s research and teaching focus on community relationships with natural resources, particularly in indigenous settings, as well as place-based education. Her home is on Kaua‘i with her husband, mother, and three children. Kaiāulu is her first book.

Table of Contents

Maps x

List of Participants xi

Prologue: He Lei Aloha (A Lei of Aloha) xiii

Chapter 1 'Aina That Which Feeds 1

Mo'olelo: 'Ohana (Family) 15

Chapter 2 Ho'ihi Reciprocity and Respect 17

Mo'olelo: Minamina (To Grieve for Something Lost) 26

Mo'olelo: Kai Palaoa (Whale Sea) 29

Chapter 3 Kahu Care and Cultivation 34

Mo'olelo: Lawai'a (Fisherman) 49

Mo'olelo: 'Oulilani, A Beloved Elder 53

Chapter 4 Konohiki Inviting Community Ability and Abundance 58

Mo'olelo: Huaka'i Ko'olau (A Field Trip in Ko'olau) 79

Mo'olelo: Tutu Makaleka Day 84

Chapter 5 Kipuka Kuleana to Land 87

Mo'olelo: Wawa's Legacy 126

Mo'olelo: E Alu Pu (To Come Together) 130

Chapter 6 Kia'i Carrying Kuleana into Governance 138

Mo'olelo: Halawai (Ha'ena Public Hearing) 164

Chapter 7 Kaiaulu Provisioning Community 168

Epilogue Ku Kahili (Standard Bearers) 181

Closing Oli Kia'i'ia Kilauea e Nihoku 189

Appendices 191

Notes 193

Glossary 221

Works Cited 227

Mahalo Piha (Acknowledgments) 237

Index 241

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