Welcome to the first episode of Aloha ‘Āina, a series dedicated to exploring Hawaiian kinship with the natural world. Over the next thirteen weeks, over the course of sixty-five episodes, we’ll speak with kūpuna and kumu in the Hawaiian community and explore this deep-rooted and fundamental Hawaiian philosophy.
We’ll look at the complex systems that the early Hawaiians created on land and in the ocean: valleys full of lo‘i kalo, forests of ‘ulu trees, vast fishponds teeming with ‘ama‘ama. We’ll meet some of the visionaries of those days, ali‘i like Pi‘ilani of Maui and Mā‘ilikūkahi of O‘ahu, and we’ll explore the intricacies of a system through which land was cared for but never owned.
We’ll look at the cataclysmic changes that came with contact with the West and the arrival of capitalism and the idea of land as private property. We’ll examine the Māhele of the 1840s, the emergence of sugar as an economic juggernaut, the rise of the forces hostile to the monarchy, and, through it all, the way Hawaiians maintained aloha ‘āina and sought to defend and honor the land – the maka‘āinana as well as leaders such Queen Lili‘uokalani and Joseph Nāwahi.
And we’ll meet people today who are working across the Islands from a foundation of aloha ‘āina to bring care and consciousness back to the land. We hope you’ll join us on the journey, every weekday at this time.