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Education: Higher Education

The Healing Elements: A Native Hawaiian Perspective

Class 5. Kanaloa Kaho‘olawe: Land, Identity, and Health


This fourth case study reviews the history of the island, Kanaloa Kaho‘olawe to examine the interrelation of land and identity in the collective health of Native Hawaiians. Issues involving the island of Kanaloa Kaho‘olawe served as a catalyst for the Native Hawaiian cultural renaissance and sovereignty movement. The objective is for the learners to demonstrate a basic understanding of the efforts of Native Hawaiians to perpetuate their cultural practices as integral to their identity, health and well-being.


Pre-class Assignment

Students read McGregor and Lum, and view videos available online.

class activity

Teachers provide an overview history of Kaho‘olawe, including images, and lead the students in a discussion of the following questions.

Discussion Questions

  1. Historically, what role did the island of Kanaloa Kaho‘olawe play in the training of navigators and in wayfinding voyages between Hawai‘i and Tahiti?
  2. What role did the island of Kanaloa Kaho‘olawe play in the renaissance of Hawaiian culture?
  3. What role does Kanaloa Kaho‘olawe play in the health of Native Hawaiians?
  4. Why is Kanaloa Kaho‘olawe such a powerful icon for Native Hawaiians and for Native Hawaiian health?
  5. What are examples of places which define the identity of Americans of various ethnicities and communities?
  6. Do these places play a role in the health of these ethnic groups and/or communities?

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