Na Maka o Ka Aina
Executive producer: Davianna MacGregor
Format: DVD; 57 minutes
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Kaho’olawe Aloha ‘Aina focuses on the cultural, political and military significance of the little-known “target island” of Kaho’olawe in the Hawaiian archipelago. The Hawaiian term aloha ‘aina refers to love of the land, the basis of Hawaiian cultural belief and the force that animates the current movement to bring the island back to life.
This video, produced by the Protect Kaho’olawe ‘Ohana, traces the history of the island, from ancient times through the years of ranching, U.S. military bombardment, and the modern-day struggle to stop the bombing and reclaim the island.
An ancient chant set against sweeping aerial views of the island opens the program as the viewer sets out on a tour of Kaho’olawe’s historic past. The island’s summit was used in ancient times as an astronomical observatory and its southern point provided a prime launching site for canoe voyages to Tahiti.
Tracing the later history of the island, the video studies the degradation of the island’s natural resources through the introduction of goats, sheep, cattle, and military bombing. One day after the attack on Pearl Harbor, the island was declared off-limits and used as a bombing target by the U.S. military, a practice that continued until 1990.
The 1970’s saw a turnaround in the history of Kaho’olawe as Hawaiians began to occupy the island, protesting its desecration. Out of a commitment to stop the bombing and revive the natural and cultural resources of the island was born the Protect Kaho’olawe ‘Ohana (Family). Their visits to Kaho’olawe for archeological surveys, for water studies, for replanting activities and for religious rituals are highlighted by the annual observance of Makahiki, a season of peace celebrated with dance, music and feasting.
Finally the program takes a look at the debate between the military and Hawaiians over the future of Kaho’olawe. An order by President Bush to stop the bombing in 1990 was followed by a congressional action to appropriate funds for the removal of ordnance and to return the island to the sovereign nation of Hawai’i, pending its recognition.
The fight to preserve the island as a cultural and educational resource for the people of Hawai’i paved the way for today’s movement for Hawaiian independence and sovereignty.
Featuring Uncle Harry Mitchell, Nalani Kanaka’ole, Noa Emmett Aluli, Davianna McGregor, Leslie Kuloloio, Steve Tachera, Kate Vandemoer, Palikapu Dedman, Ku Kahakalau, Kealohikina, Attwood Makanani, Keli’i “Skippy” Ioane, Kala Mossman, Lopaka Williams, Malama Chun, Craig Neff, Rodney Morales, Coochie Cayan, Moke Kim, Shannon Lima, Dan Holmes and members of the U.S. military.
Narrated by John Dominis Holt and Ekela Kaniaupio.