Sticks and stones
A recent community workshop on Ala Kahakai National Historic Trail put a new spin on the phrase “sticks and stones”. Students from Kamehameha Schools Hawaii Campus Keaau joined community members, Hokulea crew members and trail staff to add their mana (power) to a stabilization project along the trail.
The opening protocol and welcome was accented with a good hoailona (sign) when three iwa (frigate birds) soared above. After introductions, Ala Kahakai NHT staff presented a short lesson about archeology documentation techniques. Then sticks and stones came into the picture when the Hawaiian Legacy program hapai pohaku trail crew invited everyone to work with their hands. Under the hot, sunny skies of the Kekaha district of Hawaii, the crew instructed about lashing techniques for olokea (traditional Hawaiian ladder system) and dry stacking placement and terminology for pohaku (stones). And everyone worked and added their mana.
This group of the next generation had their chance to explore traditional building and construction skills of Hawaii in person, not through virtual technology. They had a moment to wonder if maybe one of their ancestors had walked along this section of trial or built a portion of trail somewhere in Hawaii.
Connections and reconnections were made tangible with the use of sticks and stones in a way that is very different from this familiar phrase of words. This project is possible because of a partnership between Hui Aloha Kiholo, State Parks, State Na Ala Hele Trail and Access System and the National Park Service.