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Episode 2: The meaning of aloha ‘?ina with Professor Jon Osorio

Over the next few days we’ll hear different voices speaking to the meaning of aloha ‘?ina. We begin at the Kamakak?okalani Center for Hawaiian Studies on the UH M?noa campus, sitting in the office of Professor Jon Osorio as the birds outside his window call to each other. “Aloha ‘?ina is a relationship not just with the land but really with nature itself and in particular that part of the land and sea and streams and water that actually sustains life. ‘?i is the word that means to eat and when we say ‘?ina we’re talking basically about what it is that feeds not just humans but basically everything, and everything is directly dependent and interdependent with the ‘?ina.”

The epic Hawaiian creation chant, the Kumulipo, tells that ‘?ina and kanaka maoli were born of the same ancestors; ‘?ina was born first, plants and animals upon which humans depend were born after and humans were born last. “The relationship to this land is deeply connected, it is familial, and it incurs powerful kinds of obligations and responsibilities—kuleana we call them—and also a sense of real dependence in the way that children depend on parents and grandparents.” Tomorrow we welcome the mana‘o of Auntie Puanani Burgess of Wai‘anae.

researcher, writter, and narrator of Aloha Aina. She is currently an editor at Hawai‘i’s largest magazine, Hana Hou!, where she has written and edited numerous award-winning articles about Hawai‘i. She was the founding editor of Honolulu Weekly. She holds a BA in Pacific history and journalism from the University of Hawai‘i at Mänoa and a JD from Stanford Law School.
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