Kua’aina Ulu Auamo

Kuaʻāina Ulu ʻAuamo (KUA) means “grassroots growing through shared responsibility.” Our acronym means “backbone.” KUA was created in 2011 by a statewide network of grassroots rural local and Native Hawaiian community based natural resource management groups called E Alu Pū (“move forward together”). KUA facilitates network movements to empower communities in the care  of their biocultural heritage to achieve ‘āina momona— an abundant, productive ecological system that supports community well-being. Today we support three statewide networks: E Alu Pū; a Hawaiian fishpond network called the Hui Mālama Loko Iʻa; and the Limu Hui, a group of Limu (native seaweed) practitioners.

Here's the Issue:

Subsistence fishers, farmers, gatherers, families and culture-bearers are key environmental stewards in our communities. Community-based natural resource management (CBNRM) is an ancestral practice based on generations of intimate traditional ecological knowledge and stewardship; practices that local and Native Hawaiian communities pass on to this day. Degradation and loss of resources and traditional knowledge that supported these practices due to development, land/habitat loss, generational trauma, climate change and the extremely high cost of living presents unique challenges and opportunities. At the local level, the under-capacitated state agencies that govern natural resources in our fishing grounds, streams, forests, & kula (open pastures) are rife with extraction, misuse or neglect. Increased local, national and global policy dialogue, research and literature on effective community-based natural resource management (CBNRM) point to indigenous and local community capacity as key to successful conservation outcomes and addressing climate change as a planet.

Our Solution:

KUA was created by local and Native Hawaiian movement networks to support and empower a collective voice and actions for CBNRM in Hawaiʻi. KUA works to transform environmental stewardship in Hawaiʻi in small but pivotal ways to impact the governance and mindsets around education, job creation, food systems, enforcement, citizen stewardship and collective care. Support for this proposal will help KUA communities be seen, heard, empowered and united through three goals in 2021-2022:

Uplift lawaiʻa (Native fisher) voices to revive an ethic of Lawaiʻa Pono – to ʻfish virtuouslyʻ; to fish in a Hawaiian way – through advocacy for community fishery management goals;

Support increased knowledge and capacity for loko iʻa (indigenous aquaculture) practitioners through the research, planning and development of restorative hatcheries in tandem with their restoration work; and

Help a community of seaweed gatherers and partners promote and pass on knowledge to future generations of limu’s (native seaweed) significance.

We're the right people to do the work because:

KUA was created by and for local and Native Hawaiian CBNRM initiatives. Our three networks touch on 70+ different regions across 6 of the 8 main Hawaiian islands.

KUA facilitates statewide CBNRM networks to help communities leverage a collective role and tradition of CBNRM and an empowered voice for indigenous and local knowledge and environmental governance. KUA’s board members are community-based practitioners or local an Native Hawaiian academic, cultural or institutional leaders.

KUA is a team of ten (8 FTE, 2 PTE). We employ a core community‐driven approach that supports our three statewide networks in large annual convenings. Gatherings, our core mechanism, develop network governance and generative focus groups, capacity workshops, knowledge, community exchange and advocacy initiatives etc..

KUA’s has helped communities establish new policies, programs and jobs. KUA also connects their story with a global movement of indigenous people and local communities.

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