Saturday, April 23, 2016

Monument has cultural value

As a native Hawaiian, I assure you the ocean region beyond Papahanaumokuakea Marine National Monument retains devout cultural significance for Hawaii ("Native Hawaiian leaders seek expanded marine monument," Star-Advertiser, April 17).

Our ancestors saw the entire archipelago and the vast ocean surrounding it as the framework for our cosmology, and it is accounted for in our oral traditions.

We believe that after passing on, our ancestors return to Po, or the realm of darkness, the region extending beyond the main Hawaiian islands and the limits of the sun's northern advance, beginning at the Tropic of Cancer.

The expansion of protection aligns with the traditional custom to prohibit human presence to minimize the impacts to limited natural resources.  It is imperative that we protect native species found within this ocean region that are inextricably connected to the integrity of our culture.

This expansion will have long lasting benefits to our island heritage and the local and global health of our oceans.

Kalani Quiocho Manoa

Published in the Honolulu Star Advertiser on April 22, 2016

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