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Kapu Aloha: Agent of Change

Noe Tanigawa
Noe Tanigawa

  Nonviolent action has resulted in political change in recent history:  in the American South, in Gandhi’s India, and in South Africa, just a few examples.  Now the self-described “protectors” of Mauna Kea and Haleakal? are rallying around a call for “Kapu Aloha”, a nonviolent mode of conduct that organizers say guides their movement.  HPR’sNoeTanigawa reports.

“Active resistance through love, the consistency of that has been proven in many world conflicts. Here is another one.”

Indigenous scholar/practitioner, Manulani Aluli meyer, links the spirit of Kapu Aloha to nonviolent social change in other parts of the world.

“Ahimsa has been a synonym for Kapu Aloha and it has given us much strength."

Ahimsa meaning “not to injure”, was the basis of Mahatma Gandhi’s approach to political change in India.   Kapu Aloha refers to a reverence, a feeling of connectedness.

“I think that the Kapu Aloha is the energetic field that will bring what is perceived as a dual thinking system into wholeness. It’s the only thing.  We’ll listen, they will listen, I know.  We are at the table, we will be at the table.  There must be compromises on both sides, because that’s the duality finding what is inevitable, which is wholeness. And that’s what aloha brings us to.  Nothing else does.  Wholeness is our pono (morality).”

“And that’s why this is a long term commitment to transformation that our mountains inspire in us.”

Change is challenging.  The international center on nonviolent conflict states tactics like petitions, boycotts and civil disobedience can shake the status quo, and have in the past opened avenues for education.  In Poland, the resistance pieced together a coalition of social forces over 30 years, before the velvet revolution.  In Hawai‘i, after a protracted struggle, through nonviolent means, Kaho‘olawe is being restored. 

Meyer:  “This movement is becoming a world-recognized one because of the spiritual nature of our commitment to love.”

Aloha ‘?ina Movement member, Luana Palapala Busby-Neff:  “We do this for the love of.  Not for the defiance, not for the defense of, but for the absolute love of the place that you come from.”

“And it’s energy when you give that aloha, when you acknowledge that aloha that’s always been there.  It really acknowledges you, in that there is also a firmness of being:  To stand in courage and to release the fear of what needs to happen.”

H?k?lani Holt Padilla is cultural programs director at the Maui Art and Cultural Center.  I asked her, how can we really experience that feeling?

“For me, go outside.  Go outside, appreciate the sunrise and the sunset.  Appreciate how the waves move.  Go outside!  Because we have all chosen Hawai‘i to be our home, whether we came here last week or whether we’ve been here for generations.  We chose this place, and we love this place because of the place, and because of the people who have come from this place.  We different.  We’re different from other people when we come from this place.  So, come from this place, go outside, know your home.”

What a pleasurable pursuit.

Hear a deeper discussion of Kapu Aloha with international indigenous scholar/practitioner Manulani Aluli Meyer and Aloha ‘?ina and Protect Kaho‘olawe ‘Ohana member Luana Busby-Neff.

The Case-Flores ‘ohana shares their mana’o about the significance of Mauna Kea

The Case-Flores ‘ohana shares their mana’o about Mauna Kea  (4 minute version)

Experience the Spring Equinox up Mauna Kea with the Mamalahoa Chapter of the Royal Order of Kamehameha

Find out more about international nonviolent movements

Noe Tanigawa covered art, culture and ideas for two decades at Hawaiʻi Public Radio.
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