Video: Mākua Valley
The Mālama Hawaiʻi leg of the Worldwide Voyage is coming full circle after a successful voyage to Kauaʻi, Niʻihau, and Nihoa. Hōkūleʻa and Hikianalia have now visited each of the 8 major Hawaiian islands and returned to Oʻahu’s Leeward coast where Mākua Valley greeted them.
“It was real special that the first stop on Oʻahu would be here. And this is a traditional stop! We know that there is a connection between here and Kauaʻi. We know that,” said Vincent Dodge, a longtime Mālama Mākua member.
In its more recent history, the U.S. military has used Mākua as a live fire training site since 1943. Dr. Fred Dodge and son Vincent of Mālama Mākua have gone through the long process of litigation with the U.S. Army to allow public access for community groups such as the ʻohana waʻa.
The determination of Mālama Mākua and other community groups to preserve cultural sites caused the military to temporarily halt the munitions abuse on the land. In those same efforts, the mission of the Worldwide Voyage is one of peace and restoration, mending the hurt that humankind has inflicted on mother Earth.
“Coming here to Mākua provides a unique opportunity for to see what’s happening to our ʻāina up close and personal, and what’s currently happening with the military and how they are using the land,” remarked Hōkūleʻa crew member Kaleo Wong.
For the majority of the patrons, this was the first time they were able to witness the storied valley for themselves.
“The most important thing for healing in any process is just a change of mindset. So coming here and allowing community groups to come here and see, ʻike maka, and experience Mākua Valley for themselves puts people in this mindset what’s happening with our ʻāina and what can we do in the future to protect it,” said Wong.
With this rare access, Mālama Mākua members hope that the ʻohana waʻa takes the lessons of this sacred place with them on their journeys to distant shores.
“It was really our greatest pleasure and honor to cultivate the connection between the canoes and Mākua, the restoration of ʻāina, culture, and all the practices that come together,” remarked Dodge.