Who Are the Kanaka Maoli?

“For too long, we have allowed others to define us, to discount us, and to commercialize our culture. For too long, we have allowed others to divide us. The Return Voyage takes us back to our genuine ohana – in its aboriginal meaning: ‘Everyone and everything you can see, that you can wrap your heart around, is your responsibility to take care of.’

“We agree on so much more than we do not. We agree that we – who are descended from the original ancestors – are brothers and sisters. We agree that our personal freedom relies on knowing who we are and who our ancestors were. We agree that the Creator entrusted the Islands to our care – that we are its stewards. We agree that we come from a people who took responsibility for one another, and for every part of the living creation. We agree: The time to share our message with the world is now.”

‘Iokepa Hanalei ‘Īmaikalani


We are the proud, generous, faith-filled people who inhabited these Islands for over 13,000 years. Our aboriginal ancestors were born from the heart of our Creator and set down on these Islands to assume human responsibility for its stewardship. We accept this as our sacred commitment and our divine gift – now and forever.

For 12,300 years, the indigenous people of our Islands embraced a culture that refused the possibility of war.

We were – and are – a people who revere the life within all Creation. We hear clearly the words in every rock on our sacred land and in each gust of wind in our faces. The moon, the sun and the ocean waves speak to our eyes, to our ears and to our hearts.

We were – and are – a people who listen. We revere the silence as the place where prayers are answered. We honor no-words as the place where all words are spoken.

We were – and are – a people who know that our full hand, held always open, is an invitation to any soul to empty it – and that our emptied hand, held open, is an invitation to the Creator to fill it. We honor that divine flow.

We welcomed others, always – over these thousands of years – to our home. We welcome them still. We open our hands, our arms and our hearts to these, our guests. We ask that those who share the ‘āina – the sacred land that we care for – to share also the responsibility of that stewardship – and the responsibility for one another. We ask these guests to honor, in that way, the spirits of our ancestors.

We serve our Creator when we embrace and celebrate the soul, the life and the culture to which we were born. We were – and remain still – the people whose lives are to be lived as an example for all the peoples of Earth.  Aloha means just one thing: “In the presence of our Creator in every breath.”

We – the kanaka maoli, the original people of these Islands – claim the freedom to live these primal rights: a life lived in service to our Creator, freed of the oppression of greed, hierarchy, drugs, competition, control, dependency, racism, warfare and a dishonoring of our ancestors voices. The time is now.