Cultural ties: Schofield area rich in historic Hawaiian birthing stones
March 18, 2013
SCHOFIELD BARRACKS, Hawaii -- Centuries before the area became a modern, major U.S. military installation, traditional Hawaiian leaders developed governance and management techniques that revolutionized Hawaii.
Some of the island's most sacred cultural sites are found in the area.
The district of Waialua, including Wahiawa and what is now Schofield Barracks, is a tremendously important historical and cultural site to members of the Hawaiian community.
Working to educate people about these sites is one of the activities of U.S. Army Garrison-Hawaii's Native Hawaiian Liaison program.
"Waialua is known for being a district rich in natural and cultural resources," said Kawika Au, president of the Waialua Hawaiian Civic Club. "We are also famous for being the home of Kkaniloko, the birthplace of many of Oahu's chiefs."
Kkaniloko and its surrounding lands were recently saved from development through a partnership agreement that included USAG-HI, the state of Hawaii, the City and County of Honolulu and a private donor.
The agreement has been celebrated by the Hawaiian community, which has long fought to protect the area.
"The protection of Kkaniloko ensures that Hawaiians will be able to continue to access the area for cultural purposes," Au explained. "Hawaiians understand that place can possess great mana, or power. Kkaniloko is surely one of this island's most powerful sites."
Powerful birthing stones can be found to this day at Kkaniloko. One of the many famed chiefs born here was M`ilikkahi .
Born in the 15th century, M`ilikkahi would become the high chief of O`ahu before the age of 30. His reign was tied to an era of great prosperity for the people of Oahu.
Known as one of Hawai`i's greatest political leaders and innovators, he would revolutionize the way land and resources were managed across Hawai`i. The method, known as the ahupua`a system, would prove so successful that it continues to this day.
Reference to the ahupua`a system can be seen extensively across the islands.
The sustainable natural resource management system, which is a traditional ecosystem-based watershed management, has been proven to be one of the most efficient in the world.
The Native Hawaiian Liaison program will be offering opportunities for USAG-HI community members to visit Kkaniloko and other cultural sites in the area.
"We want to give the USAG-HI community a chance to discover what a rich and amazing place Waialua is," said Trisha Kehaulani Watson, with the Native Hawaiian Liaison program. "We are confident that by learning the history of these places, participants will walk away with a new appreciation for Hawai`i's history and culture."
Visiting Hawai`i's Cultural Sites
The Native Hawaiian Liaison program will be arranging for participants to visit some of the area's cultural sites, including:
•Traditional Hawaiian agricultural sites,
•Heiau (religious sites),
•Traditional fishponds, and
Native Hawaiian Liaison Program
The Native Hawaiian Liaison program offers numerous opportunities for the USAG-HI community to learn more about Hawai`i's native culture. Cultural workshops are offered during the week and include many topics, such as dance, lei making, weaving and music.