Reclaiming Traditional Practices of Stewardship for Hawaiian Limu Restoration
The goal of Miwa's project is to increase and accelerate nearshore reef habitat restoration through planting and stewardship of native seaweed and macroalgae (“limu” in Hawaiian) around the islands. This project will bring together Native Hawaiian cultural practitioners from at least three sites on three islands to document traditional and contemporary community knowledge on limu, define needs and challenges to limu stewardship practice, and identify activities on which they and Kuaaina Ulu Auamo might move forward together. The project will assist practitioners in identifying and collaborating with potential partners (e.g., scientists, filmmakers, ethnographers, agency officials, linguists, artists, and musicians). Similar efforts around subsistence practices such as lo'i kalo (traditional Native Hawaiian taro cultivation) and loko i'a (traditional Native Hawaiian fish aquaculture) have organized practitioners towards collective action. Reclaiming traditional subsistence practice means restoring and conserving native ecosystem function, which these practices require to be viable. Miwa's project will support limu stewards in Ewa (Oahu), Waihee (Maui), and Maunalei (Lanai) in their efforts to 1) develop place-based limu projects, 2) restore native limu, 3) educate others of the biocultural importance of native limu, and 4) pass on traditional knowledge about limu stewardship. The loss of native limu species runs hand-in-hand with loss of Hawaiian cultural practice and knowledge of limu. Reversing this co-extinction process requires effective and immediate efforts for co-restoration, through which engaged communities reclaim stewardship knowledge and practice, and healthy, biodiverse populations of limu are restored.