Kanawai o ka aina

I didn't know if this should go under politics, culture or economics. It kind of belongs in all of them... We're dealing w/ stolen lands issues, opihi selling issues, kalo GMO issues. With all of these bills going into legislature, it made me thing of Kanawai from kahiko times (which I don't really know much about yet). It seems we're having all this pilikia since the U.S. government has usurped the Hawaiian one, now there's no observance of kapu and stuff for na mea mauka to makai. Pehea kou mana'o? Help!

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  • Mamalahoe
    From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
    Mamalahoe, or Law of the Splintered Paddle (also translated Law of the Splintered Oar), is a precept in Hawaiian law, originating with King Kamehameha I in 1797. The law, "Let every elderly person, woman and child lie by the roadside in safety," is enshrined in the state constitution, Article 9, Section 10, and has become a model for modern human rights law regarding the treatment of civilians and other non-combatants during battle. It was created when Kamehameha was fighting in Puna. While chasing two fishermen (presumably with the intention to kill them), his leg was caught in the reef, and one of the fisherman, Kaleleiki, hit him mightily on the head with a paddle in defense, which broke into pieces. Luckily, Kamehameha was able to escape. Years later, the same fisherman was brought before Kamehameha. Instead of ordering for him to be killed Kamehameha ruled that the fisherman had only been protecting his land and family, and so the Law of the Splintered Paddle was formed.
    The complete original 1797 law in Hawaiian and translated to English:
    Māmalahoe Kānāwai:
    E nā kānaka,
    E mālama ‘oukou i ke akua
    A e mālama ho‘i ke kanaka nui a me kanaka iki;
    E hele ka ‘elemakule, ka luahine, a me ke kama
    A moe i ke ala
    ‘A‘ohe mea nāna e ho‘opilikia.
    Hewa nā - Make.
    [edit]English translation
    Law of the Splintered Paddle:
    O my people,
    Honor thy god;
    respect alike [the rights of] men great and humble;
    See to it that our aged, our women, and our children
    Lie down to sleep by the roadside
    Without fear of harm.
    Disobey, and die.
    • Hey, I wrote (most of) that! (c;
      See what I mean about the Wikipedia thing?
      Not like I'm recruiting, but...
      Maoli mana'o needed!
      Sorry, that's a side comment...

      • Laulani...you wrote this wikipedia piece? toooo good ?
        • Most of it. Wikipedia is a process, and a battle...
          I revised & expanded a very short piece, took some whacks, and got some help too...
          that's kinda how that thing goes.
          Anybody can do it...(Hint to all)!
      • word up
        hey L, you might want to send messages to Uncle Tane and Pono Kealoha here on Maoliworld, about kokua-ing on Wikipedia.
  • At the risk of sounding, um, anarchistic, I would venture to say that the farther you go into the really ancient ways, the less reliance you would see on enforced "law" and the more you would see on mutual understanding between people.

    I know I'll get in trouble for expressing this, but we gotta face up to the fact that things were pretty messed up already at the moment Cook showed up, and maybe there's a lesson in that. Kahekili's invasion (and subsequently Kamehameha's) wiped out a lot of the variety and flexibility in religious practice and daily life. The mo'olelo goes that Wakea instituted the Kapu system, but I do not believe Wakea did any such thing. Pa'ao is a much more likely candidate, and he was not from Hawai'i. Then, the stage was set for the destruction of the kapu system when Ka'ahumanu's favorite teacher was executed because Ka'ahumanu ate banana. Basically, a banana brought down the system. There's gotta be a lesson in that, too!

    To me, the original kanawai was probably not a "law" as we know it. It was probably a system of maka'ainana working out among themselves how to manage and share water, clean the stream, etc. It probably became "law" when there became a need to manage "production" because of the presence of a whole class (or classes) of people who basically did not grow their own food. I'm not dissing all the ali'i, I'm just pointing out that when you have a class of people whose job it is to make and enforce laws, you're gonna have a lot of laws. Look at the legislature.

    This is not to dis those who work in "ali'i" roles today. Right now, we do need people with da mana'o pono to work at all levels of this stuff, and it is a big, multi-angle fight, no doubt, and hard work at every level. On top of and throughout the major hewas, there's a big messy tangle of colonization that needs a lot of effort to straighten out, and everybody is needed to make it right. It can be done.

    Anyway, my point is that it's not really the "law" that has the power of pono, it's the common understanding of the people. I believe that we will best encourage that mutual understanding to blossom by doing more of what many Maoliworld folks are already doing and talking about -- malama 'aina, pono arts, cultural endeavors, working with keiki & 'opio, healing. We need to support each other, build relationships, increase knowledge & skill, 'oki the fear, and strengthen ourselves as guardians of pono. And be there for each other when the kahea comes. I believe that we can get so strong that we can "enforce" through pure mana, no need for guns or violence. In fact, we probably have that ability now; we just need to do it.

    Just a thought!
    • Good mana'o Laulani! Yes, I agree that the "law" vs. common understanding is/was two different ways of relating to the 'aina. I think that is where this conflict is coming into play now. It seems strange that we need law to protect haloa and other mea makamae especially when many know the importance of them. On the other hand, post-contact things are way out of pono, totally pushing the capitalist behaviors too much.
      Also agree that Maoliworld peeps and those not on here can exercise their 'ike and aloha like you said to make it happen!
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