E Alu Pū Gathering 2019: Intergenerational knowledge sharing and solidarity

In July of 2019, over 180 participants and supporters of the E Alu Pū network gathered in Kāʻanapali, Maui for the 2019 Annual Gathering.  Hosted by the Save Honolua Coalition, they shared knowledge, discussed, restored, built, and continued to set intentions for their mission: to empower a network of kiaʻi loko whose kuleana is to reactivate, restore, and cultivate loko iʻa guided by loko iʻa culture in pursuit of ʻāina momona for ʻohana and communities. Read more about it below…

Special Mahalo to our hosts Save Honolua Coalition, and all the 2019 gathering participants, communities, and ‘ohana of E Alu Pū for giving your time, manaʻo, energy, commitment, and aloha.  2019 EAP Gathering Report: coming soon!

E Alu Pū fosters Intergenerational transfer of knowledge and solidarity*

*A version of the article below was first published in the Honolulu Star Advertiser: Island Voices on September 18, 2019 under the title “E Alu Pu: Moving forward together, sharing knowledge among generations.

By Alex Connelly

(Kaʻanapali, Maui) ~ In trying times, we need stories of reassurance. What the community has accomplished quietly through the E Alu Pū network over the past 16 years is one such story that should lift our spirits and lead us to redouble our efforts to be better stewards of our island home, and of each other.  The E Alu Pū grassroots effort has done as its name suggests: moved forward together. At this year’s gathering hosted by the Save Honolua Coalition in the moku of Kāʻanapali, Maui from July 18 through July 21 the youth –the keiki and ʻōpio generation–constituted about a third of the 180 participants.

The transfer of knowledge from one generation to the next takes place when there are relationships that are built over time on a foundation of trust and patience. E Alu Pū is magical in the way that culture of trust and connection has been built. So when we gather, the sharing flows across generations and communities. Our youth learn from legendary kūpuna throughout the islands and our kūpuna see a future of continuity and hope.

Much was accomplished over four packed days. Attendees helped rebuild and stabilize rock walls in taro patches in Kahoma. One family in Honokōhau saw a lo’í started on their land for the first time in 100 years: the first since the time of their great-great-grandfather. Participants weeded and planted trees in Honolua. They shared lessons learned from efforts to improve their own communities.  That learning has continued as the fishermen of Ho`okena and Molokai plan exchange visits. “We will connect with ʻōpelu fishermen from other islands to learn their mana’o and get support to mālama our ʻōpelu fishing kuleana,” said Damien Kenison of Ho`okena.

Participants welcomed the instruction in resource management using new tools, techniques, and ideas gleaned from formal activities and from talking story, to apply in their mālama ‘āina work. Those concepts include Kapu and Kānāwai taught by Huihui Kanahele-Mossman and Kialoa Mossman of the Edith Kanakaʻole Foundation (EKF). Some attendees said this offered crucial perspectives that they will talk about with their hui and their haumāna.

The story-telling was energizing. “Learning about Te Pa O Rakaihautu and their efforts to decolonize their education system was so empowering! To create a curriculum by walking in the footsteps of our ancestors is my new goal, which directly ties in to properly managing our resources,” said one participant, referring to the presentation of Kari Kururangi, a founder of the indigenous school in Aotearoa.

Another reported learning much from the Honuaiākea process taught by EKF. “I learned how to translate and relate our oli and mele to mālama ʻāina work.“ One attendee pointed to learning about the concept of Papakū Makawalu, the ability of kūpuna to view all forms of life through the lens of three papa, or spheres of knowledge: astronomic, atmospheric and heavenly. Stewardship of the land could be lifted to a higher level, participants learned, by tapping into one’s full potential, using both intuition and intellect, a concept called lololo.

In these times when we are pitted against each other; when money is honored over values; when sacredness is questioned; when we fail to realize our disconnect and imbalance, attendees found the gathering truly restorative. As one participant said: “Our kuleana has more focus, our hana better direction, our ʻohana is pono and pa’a.” May E Alu Pū move all of us in Hawaiʻi nei to contribute overflowing stories of connection and assurance for our keiki and kūpuna.

Alex Puanani Connelly works for KUA: Kuaʻāina Ulu ʻAuamo, a backbone organization that supports grassroots growing through shared responsibility. Connelly is the E Alu Pū Coordinator & Program Assistant 

 

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