What's next for Kaho`olawe?
For the past 21 years, the state has been drawing from a $44 million trust fund from the federal government to clean up, manage, and restore Kaho`olawe to some semblance of the island it was before half a century of military bombing devastated the topography. While the staff admits the island will never be risk-free or completely clean, it's trying to heal the island - and the people of Hawaii in the process.
Mike Naho`opi`i, executive director of the Kaho`olawe Island Reserve Commission, explains that the island will be one day transferred to a sovereign native Hawaiian government, so what KIRC and its volunteers are doing currently is establishing the foundation for what they believe Hawaiians want, when that entity takes over one day.
It's set aside for native Hawaiian cultural practices, education, and public use. Naho`opi`i says it's a cause the entire state should care about because "when you come to Kaho`olawe, the culture is very clear: There are no distractions, it's you and the island and the people. This is one of the few places not surrounded by Western civilization."
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