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OHA: Office of Hawaiian Affairs

OHA Board Chair Carmen “Hulu” Lindsey statement on Maui wildfires 

August 9, 2023 – Today we offer pule for our beloved Kanaka ʻŌiwi o Maui, knowing that their loss is personal, physical, emotional and spiritual. Our prayers and aloha go out to ‘ohana who have lost loved ones, and to those who have lost their homes, property, and livelihoods. The Office of Hawaiian Affairs is currently assessing community needs, and we stand ready to assist our lāhui.

As kānaka, there are truly no words to describe the devastation and immeasurable losses in Lahaina, a national historic landmark, historic district, and former capital of the Hawaiian Kingdom. Lahaina holds some of the most historically significant cultural properties and highest-ranking sacred remains of our ancestors. There is so much history that will be forever lost, a history that tethers all of us, young and old, not only to the ʻāina, but to ourselves and to each other.

The fires of today are in part due to the climate crisis, a history of colonialism in our islands, and the loss of our right to steward our ʻāina and wai. Today we have watched our precious cultural assets, our physical connection to our ancestors, our places of remembering – all go up in smoke. The same western forces that tried to erase us as a people now threaten our survival with their destructive practices.

As Maui is my home island, these events have struck a particularly painful chord. But I have no doubt that the Maui community, and the entire state of Hawaiʻi, will come together to aid in the recovery efforts. We will persist. We are connected through mana that nothing can break. Our love for ‘āina, and for one another, is a model that can change the world.

Today, more than ever, let us aloha kekahi i kekahi, love and take care of one another. Ke Akua pū.

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