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In the Footsteps of Ancestors : Holistic Healing at Kaʻala Farm Cultural Learning Center, Oʻahu, Hawaiʻi

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Title:In the Footsteps of Ancestors : Holistic Healing at Kaʻala Farm Cultural Learning Center, Oʻahu, Hawaiʻi
Authors:Kato, Masahide T.
Keywords:Aboriginal Healing Practices
Land-Based Healing
Hawaiian Cosmology
Colonization and Occupation
Date Issued:2022
Publisher:The International Journal of Health, Wellness, and Society
Citation:Kato, Masahide T.. 2022. "In the Footsteps of Ancestors: Holistic Healing at Ka‘ala Farm Cultural Learning Center, O‘ahu, Hawai ‘i." The International Journal of Health, Wellness, and Society 13 (1): 83-98. doi:10.18848/2156-8960/CGP/v13i01/83-98.
Abstract:Based on ethnographic work at the Kaʻala Farm Cultural Learning Center on the island of Oʻahu, this paper explores the role land-based cultural revitalization plays in the healing of the aboriginal people of Hawai'i or Kanaka Maoli (“true human being”) under prolonged colonization and occupation. Since its inception in the late 1970s when the teachers and students of a Hawaiian alternative school began the restoration of the ancient kalo (taro) terrace as part of its educational activities, Kaʻala Farm has served the larger community in facilitating land based cultural learning through participation in traditional kalo farming. The research focuses on the process of healing at Kaʻala’ Farm observed by the Kaʻala Farm directors and staff and the coordinators of the programs for elementary school students, at risk high school students, early college students, college students, and survivors of substance abuse and incarceration. Based on the data collected through interview and participant observation methods in their interface with previous research in other aboriginal communities, the paper identifies the significant factors in the healing process as follows: cultural protocol, practices and values, place and ecosystem-based knowledge, reconnection with ancestors in various forms, and spirituality. Through Kaʻala Farm’s pedagogical and communal farming activities, the participants experience a spontaneous self-directed discovery of aboriginal cultural values and cosmology as a process of holistic healing. The research finds that such an organic process of self-discovery allows the participants to reconnect with the wholeness of life, overcoming the social and existential fragmentation wrought by colonization and belligerent occupation.
Pages/Duration:19 pages
Rights:Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 United States
Journal:The International Journal of Health, Wellness, and Society
Appears in Collections: Kato, Masahide T.

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