Meeting Kanaloa halfway: A more than human history Kaho‘olawe, Hawai‘i

Meeting Kanaloa halfway: A more than human history Kahoʻolawe, Hawaiʻi

Coral R. Bielecki, MESc1


A posthumanist story of Kanaloa-Kahoʻolawe demonstrating the agency of materiality with major implications on how environmental law might be practiced in the U.S.


Intimate understanding arises from meaningful engagements. My relationships with the winds, waters, plant life, earth forms, people, and animals of Hawaiʻi have been formative in my journey as a haumāna2 of the environment and politics. I have developed senses, or habits of discernment, about human and nonhuman entanglements, and have found myself delighting in familial faces of plants and responding to the wisdom residing in stone. I am of Hawaiʻi more than just by being born there. Such subtle sensitivities to and intimate relationships with Hawaiian places can be difficult to communicate to academia, though they are legitimate ways of knowing. My aim in mentioning this intimacy is to acknowledge how I am implicated within this work, rather than assert any personal claims, including to some notion of objective knowledge or socio-political right.

It is with great love that I share a story of Kanaloa-Kahoʻolawe in which I challenge our supposition of the inertness of matter and recognize the power of this special island in Hawaiʻi. Legitimizing the agency of Kanaloa-Kahoʻolawe has major implications for how the island might be restored, and I describe some of those possibilities—primarily, legal personhood for Kanaloa-Kahoʻolawe would expand State liability for restoration. I utilize the tools of interdisciplinary theory to bring Kanaloa-Kahoʻolawe into appearance and nuanced approaches to knowing the roles humans and nonhumans do and can play in environmental “problems.” In this creative work, I draw on insights from quantum physics, poststructuralist theory, Hawaiian cosmology, international law, and the practices of history-making—relying heavily upon enthnographic fieldwork I conducted in my community in Hawaiʻi and Karen Barad’s book on material performativity, Meeting the Universe Halfway.

Theoretical background

The universe is not made up of matter, but is made in the process of mattering (Barad 2007). All of existence is essentially entangled in pulsating waves of energy. In the dark ages of our universe, gravity magnified slight fluctuations in the density of energy. The densest of these associations enfolded into the first stars and galaxies, and created spaces that allowed the dawn of early light to blaze into existence. The universe also includes its unseen3 and non-mattering4 spaces. Gravitational interactions continually create forces that pull energy into patterns. This is similar to water moving downhill, displaying the coherence of smooth laminar flows and sometimes turbulent effects brought about by the dynamics of adhesion and tortuosity5. The enchanting relationship of matter and energy is simplified and symbolized in the famous equation E = mc2, whereby we can understand mass (m) and energy (E) as two different aspects of the same underlying physical phenomena (c represents a constant number, referred to as the speed of light6).

Though we often imagine the universe as an assemblage of things, when we fully consider the implications of Einstein’s theories of matter, we may recognize the restlessness of the universe. We have the opportunity to de-“thing” the universe—that is, to transform our understanding of innately-separate components interacting into a recognition of the holistic dynamisms of universal intra-relations. The universe is a phenomenon. The very believable and practical notion of matter results from the nesting of phenomena within phenomena within phenomena ad nauseaum. The material stuff of our lives emerges as a consequence of socio-physical demarcation and enactment of boundaries (Barad 2007, Swimme and Tucker 2011). Our belief in individual entities (alive or otherwise) with pre-existing definite edges and distinct determinate properties does not represent the way the universe actually exists. Relations of interior-exteriority, a “this” separate than a “that,” are co-produced. While we give a tremendous amount of power to the social world to represent and create, the material world critically participates in determining our realities, too (Barad 2003). Consider, for example, as theories of quantum physics suggest, that particles remain in a ghostly state of being everywhere and nowhere at once until a measurement occurs which materializes them in place7. Distinctions between particles are determined by their performance and our measurement of them—it is a result of entanglement of material and immaterial forces (i.e., energy, quantum forces, scientific discourse, technologies, cameras, and the human body, etc.). The rich diversity of our universe is the result of agentive markings and making of space and time (Barad 2007).

A number of stories have talked about how bodies come to matter and are excluded from mattering in the different productive practices of phenomena (see Michel Foucault’s (1982, 1990, 2012) modes of producing human subjects, Neil Smith’s (1996) production of nature, and Judith Butler’s ideas on gender performativity (Butler 2011)). However, even when these discussions challenge the notion of a pre-existing other, the suppositions of a Democritus atomistic world persist. Atomism, or the separateness of reality, and therefore also the separateness of the social and material, makes possible the inquiry of which representations are real. However, these cosmological assumptions stubbornly recapitulate divides that we seek to undo, such as the colonizer-colonized or nature-culture dichotomies. Through the theory of agential realism, however, Karen Barad (2003, 2007) invites us to stop attempting to determine whether Snowdrop or Kitty8 is to blame, and step into the diffractive world of intra-actions within the looking glass9.

The agential realist ontology proposed in Meeting the Universe Halfway (Barad 2007) is not merely a Nietzschean rejection of an objective reality; neither does it argue that separateness is a mere illusion of interpretation. “We” are not reducible to a fundamental sameness, real or imagined. Rather, “we” are made meaningful in the ways we enact our differences. Matter is materialized and made meaningful (for instance, as a body) through performed inclusions and exclusions (Haraway 1988, Barad 2007). Objects are boundary projects because they don’t exist as such objects prior to mapping. However, “boundaries shift from within; boundaries are very tricky. What boundaries provisionally contain remains generative, productive of meanings and bodies” (Haraway 1991). What is more, history matters very much—history helps us understand how matter materializes as it does from a theoretical field of infinite potentialities. For example, an oil droplet bouncing along the surface of a liquid gently sloshes the liquid with every bounce while ripples from previous bounces (referred to as pilot waves) affect its course. As such, through history we contemplate how particular intra-actions, specifically particular inclusions and exclusions, limit possibilities.


In the eminent Hawaiian creation legend, the Kumulipo, in order to bring sufficient light and space for life to flourish, Earth Mother Wakea and Sky Father Papa separate from each other. During this early emergence of the cosmic web, the god Kanaloa takes form and a time of light and man (ao) is distinguished from the great darkness of spirit (pō). This prayer of the universe’s development and Hawaiian genealogy tells us that from within the stretching transformation of pō, Kanaloa births into a hot-striking octopus; his tentacle is cut and ao begins. Kanaloa also materializes into an island, Kahoʻolawe. As Kanaloa is a common ancestor to coral reefs, whales, and man, the Kanaloa-Kahoʻolawe assemblage is embodied in the ocean, the origin of all life of earth, and in the great darkness of the universe. Kanaloa-Kahoʻolawe is an agentive physical apparatus of an elemental god from which life on earth evolved; Kanaloa is a creator not separate from his creations.

Kanaloa-Kahoʻolawe was initially a place laden with powerful prohibitions. Though it was one of the first islands in the archipelago to be seen by man, Kahoʻolawe was the last to be colonized in Hawaiʻi. Kanaloa’s existence in this material body excluded it from use for profane activities for hundreds of years. The island’s physicality does not represent itself as isolated, desolated, insignificant, or abandoned place (as the first and persistent non-Hawaiian stories describe it to be); rather, Kanaloa persists in the enactment of a physical body. The power of this conspicuous demonstration of self is realized in part through hō‘ailona10. The kapu11 of Kanaloa-Kahoʻolawe underscores the respect Hawaiians have for Kanaloa’s autonomy. Through renegotiation, the island eventually came to house fishing villages, small agricultural plots, and excellent adze quarries managed by the aboriginal people of Hawaiʻi. Thousands of archaeological features12 tell us stories about the development of calendars and maps, communing of subjects, gatherings of families, healing of disease, transmission of knowledge, and continuity of purposeful work on the island for over sixty generations (Kanaka‘ole Kanahele et al. 2009).

Temporality has a strong role within both historical studies (Partner 1986, Eley 2005, Bloch 1977, Stone 1987) and physics (treated variably as the absolute background or dynamically, as in special relativity, or more recently as a phenomenon of entanglement (Moreva et al. 2014)13). Suitably, I want to clarify an essential subtlety about how time is engaged in this mo‘olelo14. Quantum entanglement, agential realism, and Hawaiian cosmologies treat time not as an external parameter, or succession of metered moments. Instead, time is produced—be it through the agential cuts of Papa and Wakea, in the self-referencing enfolding of Kanaloa materializing, or the rendering of differences.

O ke au i kahuli wela ka honua
O ke au i kahuli lole ka lani
O ke au i kuka‘iaka ka la
E ho‘omalamalama i ka malama
O ke an i makali‘i ka po
O ka walewale ho‘okumu honua ia
O ke kumu o ka lipo
O ke kumu o ka po i po ai
O ka lipolipo, o ka lipolipo
O ka lipo o ka la, o ka lipo o ka po
Po wale ho-i
–Prologue of the Kumulipo from Beckwith 1981, emphasis added.

The various English translations of this prologue imply and entangle spatial concepts, degrees of shade, and time variability in describing the establishment of night from “the source of deepest darkness, of the depth of darkness, of the darkness of the sun, in the depth of night” (Beckwith 1981). Night is, and so night was born. Ho‘omalamalama (illuminations) is juxtaposed in relation to deepest darkness (of the depth of darkness, lipo; of the darkness within a cavern, lipolipo) evokes a sense of the ocean’s gradation from shore into deep water (Beckwith 1981, Keaulana 2013). Out of the amorphous slime (walewale) of the deepest ocean, life emerges distinguished and continually engaged. Kanaloa remains mostly in the darkness and supports the whole continuum of light-dark along the length of his body. Each new epoch of time, each wā, is marked by an action, or birthed distinctions such as the emergence of ocean and land creatures. Time is not just relative, it is relational. Boundaries, too, are enacted—they are not abstract delineations in space, but specific material demarcations of space (Barad 2007). Hence, both time and space are intra-actively produced (Barad 2007).

Kanaloa-Kahoʻolawe’s history is temporal not in the sense that it tells about particular changes over evenly spaced increments of time in a linear fashion; rather, Kanaloa-Kahoʻolawe’s story and the ways in which the island comes to matter is re(con)figured in the very making and marking of time. The Hawaiian “map of the body” is a function of time (Ke‘eolani, unpublished data)15. The human body, for example, is characterized by three zones, or three piko16, that represent the beginning of time, the present, and forever into the future. Similar to the ways DNA materializes the knowledge of experience and determines possibilities, or the way in which rings in a tree mark the mattering of the past and come into mattering, so too, the corpus of Kanaloa-Kahoʻolawe embodies the past, present, and the future (Barad 2007). Kahoʻolawe is considered the piko of Hawaiʻi, and Kanaloa connects all of the Pacific.

Kanaloa-Kahoʻolawe is not located within a naturally bounded body. However, in privileging representation over performance (Turnbull 2002), we can spatialize Kanaloa within the Euclidian space of a gridded map. In doing so, we create a fetishizing apparatus of a “nature separate than humans;” we create an apparatus of “land;” we fissure the holistic dynamisms of ‘āina17—which is the Hawaiian inclusive concept of nature of which humans are a part. In this “overthrow of diffusionism by localism” (Turnbull 2002), these apparatuses enable particular divisions of labor. The fixing and regulating of space enables particular kinds of hierarchies between humans and islands, and between the islands themselves. This positioning of the island is heavily dependent on the material contingencies of international politics, since such dynamics are instrumental in decisions regarding the positioning of resources.

During the morning of December 7, 1941, the Imperial Japanese Navy Air Service launched an attack against U.S. property on O‘ahu island while Hawaiʻi was under the control of a territorial government. The surprise attack, like a drop of ink in a glass of water, punctuated and then permeated the United States with fear. The attack led to three years of very severe military governmental control, declared as martial law, and compelled the United States’ entry into World War II. Immediately, the U.S. Navy removed public access from Kahoʻolawe and began using it as a bombing and weapons testing range. An executive order signed by U.S. President Eisenhower in 1953 then reserved the entire island of Kahoʻolawe for the use of the United States and placed the island under the jurisdiction of the Secretary of the Navy18. Although Kahoʻolawe has been regarded as the “last bastion for dwellers of the spirit world,” (KICC 1993) 50 years of assault by napalm, mock atomic warheads, bombs, and rockets transformed Kahoʻolawe into the most bombed island in the Pacific (KICC 1993).

For decades, red plumes of dust flared forth from Kahoʻolawe island. The denuding of Kanaloa into bloody rivers of eroding soil, the appearance of Kanaloa in dreams, imperatives of aloha ‘āina19, daring protests, “illegal” occupation of the island, and legal action (“Aluli et al. v. Brown” 1977) eventually resulted in some success for the recognition of Kahoʻolawe as unique. In 1994, the U.S. Navy acknowledged in written terms that Kaho‘olawe rightfully belongs to the Kingdom of Hawaiʻi and military use of the island was finally halted (August 1992, KIRC 2017, PKO 2016). Over $400 million was then spent attempting to de-dud the island. The U.S. Navy removed 10 million pounds of ordnance in 10 years, and then declared the project satisfactorily completed in 2004 when the Congressionally-mandated time frame and money ran out. While just over 75% of the surface of the island was cleared of ordnance, tons of munitions remain lodged in the earth—only nine percent of Kahoʻolawe has been cleared to a depth of four feet. Today the Kahoʻolawe Island Reserve Commission (KIRC), representing the State of Hawaii, manages Kanaloa-Kahoʻolawe within a trust for the promised future return of a restored island to the sovereign Kingdom of Hawaiʻi. The Commission subsequently depleted a $44 million federal trust fund with its restoration activities since the state gained trusteeship of the island.

Trusts are legal devices that are intended to assure that property (in this case, Kanaloa-Kahoʻolawe) is made productive for the trust’s beneficiaries (in this case, the governing body of the Kingdom of Hawaiʻi and her subjects). In the international context, the State of Hawaii must execute the trust following customary law and upholding the laws of the Kingdom of Hawaiʻi. While, the KIRC’s stated mission is to implement the vision of Kanaloa restored and the people of Hawaiʻi caring for the land “in a manner which recognizes the island and ocean of Kanaloa as a living spiritual entity” (KIRC 2017a), the island has not been significantly restored. The task of restoring such a heavily bombed island is formidable. Paul Higashino, restoration manager of KIRC, once rhetorically asked me, “what do you restore hardpan20 to?”

Having demonstrated the customary understanding of Kanaloa’s agency, the substantive work of my Master thesis21 charts a path for mediation, arbitration, and legal action to officially recognize the personhood of Kanaloa. That is, granting rights to the environment itself. This would not grant Kanaloa-Kahoʻolawe all the rights of a human in an unrestricted manner, but provide a way of ensuring that access to judicial remedy is available in order to address harms and breaches of trust. In this particular instance, personhood would also explicitly expand the trust’s beneficiaries to include Kanaloa-Kahoʻolawe, then allowing direct harms (e.g., the persistence of live ammunition; lack of a comprehensive soil erosion management plan; the severance of an ancient cloud bridge between Ulupalakua, Maui and Kahoʻolawe which brought life-giving naulu rains; etc.) to be considered as breaches of trust. As it stands, the State of Hawaii has only been held responsible for maintaining public trusts for five purposes22 as defined in the Hawaiian Homes Commission Act, 192023.

Rights of nature are not rights to anything in particular, but generally a means to enable nature to have a legal hearing. Legal personhood for Kanaloa would grant the right to a representative of Kanaloa, like a Kingdom subject, to seek remedies for corporeal damages in a U.S. court of law. Oftentimes, the inability to establish a right of action like this is the most consequential hurdle in lawsuits that seek to protect nature and obtain remedy for environmental damages.


Justice is not a solution, but a process requiring the recognition and assumption of responsibility for the ways in which we materialize what comes to matter and not matter (Barad 2007). I agree with Barad (2007) and others that we cannot respond to the other as if the other is radically outside of one’s self, but rather that we have mutually constituted our differences from radically different positions of power. Our practices matter, as the world is materialized differently through them. A number of obstacles to justice (e.g., threat of violence, uneven political power, rhetorical weapons) have characterized the Kingdom of Hawaiʻi’s and her subjects’ relationships with the United States at local and international levels. And, until restitutio in integrum of the Kingdom is complete, it is assumed the legal system of the State of Hawaii principally provides de facto for the legal protection of rights, including those guaranteed under international law24, even as Hawaiʻi remains in a state of war under U.S. occupation25 (Sai 2008). While justice for Hawaiians is both a philosophical and legal matter, it can be materialized through the apparatus of positive law26 (Hazard Jr 2001) (e.g., the trust) and remedied through equity (Perelman 2012). This particular trust provides momentous opportunities.

I ka ‘ōlelo ke ola, i ka ‘ōlelo ka make. In words is the power of life, in words is the power of death.


Aluli et al. v. Brown. 1977. United States District Court, D. Hawaiʻi, USA.

August, J.E. 1992. Comprehensive Research Legal Memorandum. In: Kahoolawe Conveyance Commission (ed). Kahoolawe Conveyance Commission Reports: Consultation Report no. 1. Wailuku, Hawaii.

Barad, K. 2003. Posthumanist Performativity: Toward an understanding of how matter comes to matter. Signs 28, 801–831.

Barad, K. 2007. Meeting the Universe Halfway: Quantum physics and the entanglement of matter and meaning. Duke University Press, Durham, NC, USA.

Beckwith, M.W. 1981. The Kumulipo: A Hawaiian creation chant. University of Hawaii Press, Honolulu, Hawaii, USA.

Bloch, M. 1977. The past and the present in the present. Man 12, 278–292.

Butler, J. 2011. Gender Trouble: Feminism and the subversion of identity. Routledge, New York, NY, USA.

Clennell, M.B. 1997. Tortuosity: A guide through the maze. Geological Society, London, Special Publications 122, 299–344.

Eley, G. 2005. A Crooked Line: From cultural history to the history of society. University of Michigan Press, Ann Arbor, MI, USA.

Foucault, M. 1982. The subject and power. Critical Inquiry 8, 777–795.

Foucault, M. 1990. The History of Sexuality: An introduction. Volume I. Trans: Robert Hurley. Vintage, New York, NY, USA.

Foucault, M. 2012. Discipline & Punish: The birth of the prison. Vintage, New York, NY, USA.

Haraway, D. 1988. Situated knowledges: The science question in feminism and the privilege of partial perspective. Feminist Studies 14, 575–599.

Haraway, D. 1991. Simians, cyborgs, and women. University of Pennsylvania Law Review 154.

Hazard Jr, G.C. 2001. Law and justice in the twenty-first century. Fordham Legal Review 70, 1739–1744.

Kahoʻolawe Island Conveyance Commission (KICC). 1993. Kahoolawe Island: Restoring a cultural treasure. Final Report of the Kahoolawe Island Conveyance Commission to the Congress of the United States. Kahoolawe Island Conveyance Commission, Wailuku, Maui, Hawaii.

Kahoʻolawe Island Reserve Commission (KIRC) 2017. Kahoʻolawe History, URL: Accessed: 28 January 2018.

Keaulana, K. 2013. Mele Panel and Performance: Kimo Keaulana Presents. In: Words in the World: Literatires, orature, and new meeting grounds symposium, 14:34. Honolulu, Hawaiʻi: University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa.

Moreva, E., Brida, G., Gramegna, M., Giovannetti, V., Maccone, L., and Genovese, M. 2014. Time from quantum entanglement: An experimental illustration. Physical Review A 89, 052122.

Partner, N.F. 1986. Making up lost time: writing on the writing of history. Speculum 61, 90–117.

Perelman, C. 2012. Justice, Law, and Argument: Essays on moral and legal reasoning. Springer Science & Business Media, Boston, MA, USA.

Protect Kaho‘olawe ‘Ohana (PKO). 2016. Kahoolawe: History. URL: http://www.protect Accessed: 12 January 2018.

Kanaka‘ole Kanahele, P., Kanahele-Mossman, H., Nu‘uhiwa, A.K., and Kaumakaiwapo‘ohalahi‘ipaka Keali‘ikanaka‘ole. 2009. Kukulu Ke Ea A Kanaloa: The culture plan for kanaloa-kaho‘olawe. Edith Kanaka‘ole Foundation.

Sai, D.K. 2008. A slippery path towards Hawaiian indigeneity: An analysis and comparison between Hawaiian state sovereignty and Hawaiian indigeneity and its use and practice in Hawai’i today. Journal of Law & Social Challenges 10, 68–134.

Smith, N., 1996. The production of nature. In: FutureNatural. Routledge. pp. 47–66.

Stone, L. 1987. The Past and the Present Revisited. Taylor & Francis, Routledge and Methuen Inc., New York, NY, USA.

Swimme, B.T. & Tucker, M.E. 2011. Journey of the Universe. Yale University Press, New Haven, CT, USA.

Turnbull, D. 2002. Performance and narrative, bodies and movement in the construction of places and objects, spaces and knowledges. Theory, Culture & Society 19, 125–143.

Warfield, K. 2016. Making the cut: An agential realist examination of selfies and touch. Social Media + Society 2, 1–10.

  1. Coral is a researcher, writer, and active community member. She shares, “wherever we focus our attention and efforts says something profound about our priorities and the kind of legacy we want to build. As such, I carefully consider the power of my work and enjoy the process as an avenue for personal growth. My hope is that these practices bring me closer to comprehending the infinite truths of the universe.” In 2018, she was awarded the Strachan Donnelley Award for her combination of research in Hawaiʻi and leadership that exceptionally blended the humanities with ecology and evolutionary biology in order to promote long-term health, social justice, and sustainability. Bielecki’s current roles include liaison, grant writer, and co-coordinator for the growing Yale University and Rwanda strategic partnership on sustainable development.

  2. Student

  3. Astronomers have established that dark matter dominates the Universe, but they still don’t understand its identity, primarily because it doesn’t interact with light, and therefore, cannot be seen.

  4. For example, antimatter has been predicted in the combination of the abstract theories of relativity and quantum mechanics, found experimentally, and is implicated in common medical imaging practices (positron emission tomography). Laurent Canetti et al. 2012. Matter and antimatter in the universe. New J. Phys. 14. DOI: 10.1088/1367-2630/14/9/095012

  5. Tortuosity (geometrical, electrical, diffusional, hydraulic) describes the energetic efficiency of a non-equilibrium thermodynamic flow process which accounts for relationships between the dynamic porous media (e.g., ice, snow, rocks) and its underlying geometry and topology of pore spaces. (Clennell 1997) See also, Requarth, Tim (11 January 2016) Our chemical eden. AEON magazine. Found at:….

  6. Note: I would argue that the constant c is not fundamental in a physical sense, but reflects only an approximate description of our discernment of the materializing of light in a particular context. That is, the speed of light does not mean the speed of one photon, but the consistent production or “springing up” of quantitatively determining/determined phenomena. This cosmic speed limit is only constant in that the value of 299,792,458 m/s is produced in the particular intra-actions of vacuums and other measuring (demarcating or “cutting”) agential apparatuses (such as someone situated in a particular intra-relationship with the measured phenomenon (i.e., right next to it)).

  7. The theory that particles play out all possible realities simultaneously is known as the “Copenhagen interpretation,” named after the hometown of Danish physicist Niels Bohr, one architect of this theory.

  8. That is, the social or the material

  9. The first chapter of Lewis Carroll’s Through the Looking Glass opens with Alice (from Alice in Wonderland) speculating which of her two kittens was to blame for mischief: “One thing was certain, that the white kitten (Snowball) had had nothing to do with it:—it was the black kitten’s (Kitty’s) fault entirely.”

  10. Hō‘ailona can be defined as a symbol, sign, marker, or omen; and refer to physical and metaphysical communications to guide decisions, understandings, and actions.

  11. Kapu, often referred to as a system of taboo, is a prohibition, or a special privilege or exemption based on relational sanctity or power.

  12. Over 500 archaeological or historic sites and nearly 3,000 features have been inventoried on Kahoʻolawe over the last four decades, documenting fishing shrines, dryland agricultural plots, dwellings, medicine grinding stones, petroglyphs, patterns of cupules ground into the surface of flat stones, large arrangements of stone with astronomically significant placement, amongst many others. In 1981, the entire island of Kahoʻolawe was added to the National Register of Historic Places and given the name of the Kahoʻolawe Archaeological District.

  13. A unified theory of everything continues to elude physicists as they seek to reconcile the apparent incompatibilities of quantum mechanics (conditions of the very small world of particles) and general relativity (conditions of the very large world of planets and black holes) created by the “problem of time.” The Wheeler-DeWitt equation managed to quantize general relativity, but excluded time in order to do so. The quantum phenomenon of time entanglement is regarded as the closest approach to a unifying theory of time.

  14. Literally “a succession of words,” or story.

  15. Keko‘olani, A. (2004) Nā‘au Poi: Spiritual Food for Cultural Enlightenment. Masters thesis dissertation. Pacific Islands Studies, University of Hawaiʻi

  16. There are many understandings of piko. The most salient are its references to the navel or umbilical cord, or figuratively as a blood relative or genitals. Piko also refers to a summit or crest; the crown of the head; end of a rope; border of land; center; the connection of a stem to the leaf (commonly, of taro); the bottom round of a carrying net (kōkō). A piko is emblematic of connections between ancestors and descendants, and the past and future. The piko is also regarded with importance and respect.

  17. Literally translates as “that which feeds,” suggesting the significant role of ‘āina in the constitution of human bodies.

  18. The authority of that decision relied upon The Hawaiian Organic Act, Pub.L. 56–339, 31 Stat. 141, enacted April 30, 1900. This was enacted by the United States Congress to establish a new Constitution and U.S. Territorial government after the Kingdom had been under the control of a hostile foreign provisional government declared “the Republic of Hawaii.”

  19. Often literally translated as “love of the land”, aloha ‘āina is a central Hawaiian value and concept that characterizes the intimate, related and loving, relationships of nature, and which serves as the basis for human’s responsibility for understanding, respecting, and caring for the world of which we are a part.

  20. Hardpan is a dense layer of soil largely impervious to water impeding drainage and restricting the growth of plant roots. Hardpan can be broken up mechanically (digging or plowing) or through the use of soil amendments to varying degrees of success, often unpredictably. Extensive areas of Kahoʻolawe island are seemingly intractable hardpan, created from years of severe erosion of the uppermost layer of soil, and the particular structure of Kahoʻolawe’s mostly clay (oxisol) soils. Digging and plowing solutions are restricted by the risk posed from unexploded ordnance.

  21. Master of Environmental Sciences (MESc), Yale University, School of Forestry & Environmental Studies, 2018

  22. for 1) public schools; 2) betterment of the condition of native Hawaiians as defined in the HHCA; 3) farming; 4) homeownership; and 5) public use.

  23. The Admissions Act further states that any other object besides the five purposes shall constitute a breach of trust for which suit may be brought by the United States.

  24. Customary international laws regarding the duty of an occupying State to administer the laws of the occupied State are codified in Article 43 of the 1899 Hague Convention, II.

  25. Proceedings to establish an International Commission of Inquiry under Part III of the 1907 Hague Convention for the Pacific Settlement of International Disputes stemming from the Larsen v. Hawaiian Kingdom arbitration held under the auspices of the Permanent Court of Arbitration (1999-2001) were initiated under a Special Agreement dated January 19, 2017. The title for these proceedings is “Incidents of War Crimes in the Hawaiian Islands—The Larsen Case.” The matter of Hawaiʻi being in a state of war is partly the subject of the fact-finding proceedings of International Commission of Inquiry: Incidents of War Crimes in the Hawaiian Islands–The Larsen Case. See: and Sai, D. K. (2008). A slippery path towards Hawaiian indigeneity: An analysis and comparison between Hawaiian state sovereignty and Hawaiian indigeneity and its use and practice in Hawai’i today. JL & Soc. Challenges, 10, 68.

  26. I.e., the statutes (of any form) laid down by a legislature, court, or other human institution—as opposed to natural law, which are understood as inherent rights (often as ordained by God, some other higher power, or logic/reason).

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