The Society for Hawaiian Archaeology (SHA) held their annual conference on Oʻahu from September 29th to October 1st, 2017, at the Bernice Pauahi Bishop Museum (Friday) and University of Hawaii West Oʻahu (Saturday and Sunday). Friday’s field trips were held at various places around Oʻahu, including a tour of the Kalaeloa Heritage Park. SHA is a registered tax-exempt organization established in 1980. The mission of SHA is to:
- Promote and stimulate interest and research in the archaeology of the Hawaiian Islands
- Encourage a more rational public appreciation of the aims and limitations of archaeological research
- Serve as a bond among those interested in Hawaiian archaeology, both professionals and non-professionals, and aid in directing their efforts into more scientific channels as well as encourage the publication of their results
- Advocate and assist in the conservation of archaeological data
- Discourage unethical commercialism in the archaeological field and work for its elimination.
Every year, SHA accepts nominations from its membership for the Hawaiʻi Cultural Stewardship Award. This is an annual award sponsored by the SHA and Nakiʻikeaho, celebrating grassroots efforts of an individual or group working in the Native Hawaiian community that practices responsible stewardship of Hawaiʻi’s cultural heritage. This annual award is presented to an individual, group or organization to recognize their contributions and special achievements in the preservation, protection and perpetuation of Hawaiʻi’s cultural resources through responsible cultural resource management, stewardship, and/or education efforts. This award is designed to acknowledge the successful contributions made by persons or organizations to the sustainable welfare of Hawaiʻi’s cultural resources and their commitment to long-term stewardship of these resources. This year’s recipient of the Hawaiʻi Cultural Stewardship Award is Uncle Shad Kane and the Kalaeloa Heritage and Legacy Foundation (KHLF). Uncle Shad and the foundation received a custom-made ‘auamo carved by G. Umi Kai. (The theme of this year’s SHA conference was ‘Auamo Kuleana.)
KHLF is a non-profit Native Hawaiian organization founded by members of ‘Ahahui Siwila Hawaii O Kapolei (ASHOK) and dedicated residents of the Honouliuli ahupua‘a for the purpose of preserving and protecting over 177 Native Hawaiian cultural and historical sites of Kalaeloa (on the former Barbers Point Naval Air Station). Uncle Shad is a KHLF board member and the Facilities Manager. Dwight Victor, KHLF President since August 2016, provides leadership and guidance to the foundation.
Since 1998 ASHOK has worked with the Navy, Barbers Point Redevelopment Commission, and subsequently the Hawaii Community Development Authority to preserve and protect sites from the ‘Ewa Plain. In December 2010, members of ASHOK’s Kalaeloa committee realized that these sites needed the exclusive dedication of an organization to preserve these sites and create a heritage park. The committee and ASHOK stepped aside so such an organization, KHLF, could be created. While a conceptual plan for the park was drafted in 2014, KHLF could not move forward to carry out the plan until a long-term lease was secured first. Through KHLF’s grassroots efforts, led by Uncle Shad, the community rallied to provide testimony in support of the Heritage Park and in December 2015 the foundation was granted a 40-year lease to the 77-acre park property.
KHLF’s mission for the Heritage Park is the stewardship and preservation of the Native Hawaiian cultural sites and the cultural landscape of Kalaeloa, to educate the community on centuries-old cultural traditions and practices, advocate cultural awareness, and implement and maintain an authentic Hawaiian presence in the Kalaeloa area, including the new city of Kapolei. There is still much to be done by KHLF, including the clearing of additional archaeological sites and procuring funds to build a cultural center at the park.
There are many hands that volunteer to help to maintain the Heritage Park, including the KHLF board, community members, and the youth of Hawaiʻi, but the backbone of this effort is Uncle Shad, who spends countless hours maintaining the park, coordinating volunteers, giving site tours, and sharing his knowledge of Hawaiian culture. Due to Uncle Shad’s passion, dedication, and tireless efforts, the many volunteers, and KHLF’s long-term commitment, Kalaeloa’s cultural landscape will be preserved for future generations to appreciate. Congratulations on receiving the prestigious 2017 Hawaiʻi Cultural Stewardship Award!
Uncle Shad Kane and Dwight Victor, accepting the 2017 Hawaiʻi Cultural Stewardship Award from the Society for Hawaiian Archaeology.