The Kohala Center this week received a $150,000 grant that will support the native Hawaiian community. The money will be used to help reinforce and strengthen native Hawaiians’ ‘ohana (family), mo‘omeheu (culture), and ‘āina (land and water) in the ahupua‘a of Kawaihae, according to a report by Big Island Now.
“The Hawaiian worldview ties together the health of aina and the health of kanaka. More than 90% of Hawaii’s original dryland forests has been destroyed, resulting in the loss of native species, culture, like Hawaii (Hawaiian knowledge), and habitats. This is a key project in our long-term efforts to strengthen aina-kanaka relationships and resiliency as an ahupuaa-stewarded community,” Cheryl Kauhane Lupenui, president and CEO of The Kohala Center told West Hawaii Today.
West Hawaii Today went on to report that through the “Ho‘olauna Kawaihae: Building pilina through respectful engagement” initiative, The Kohala Center will use the grant funds to research, learn, assess, and incorporate ancestral practices to engage respectfully in restoring dryland native forests in the ahupua‘a and strengthening reciprocal relationships between its people and the natural environment.
Due to a lack of rainfall and freshwater resources, this has sparked major issues for community development and sustainability in the low elevation areas of Kawaihae. The 150 families that represent the Kailapa Community Association (KCA) require fresh water which is paramount for self sufficiency for the Hawaiian community. Due to a lack of water, about 7,500 acres of designated agricultural land is untenable.
The Center received the grant from the Office of Hawaiian Affairs’ (OHA) ‘Ohana and Community Based Program Grant for Hawaiʻi Island.
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