Ever since they set forth on their own respective voyages some 13 years ago, OMKM, MKMB and UH Hilo have been extremely fortunate to have had the collective wisdom of Kahu Ku Mauna, a nine-member council of Hawaiian cultural resource people representing various parts of Hawaii Island, to guide them. Currently, the task of coordinating the council and serving as its spokesperson falls to Chad Kālepa Baybayan, a highly respected Captain and Navigator of the Hawaiian deep-sea voyaging canoes Hokule'a, Hawai'iloa, and Hokualaka'i
Navigating Hawaii's Waters
Kālepa is a graduate of UH Hilo's Ka Haka 'Ula O Ke'elikolani College of Hawaiian Language and holds a masters degree in Education from Heritage College. He currently serves as Associate Director at 'Imiloa, where he works with students and educators to share the powerful story of the mariner explorers and astronomer navigators who settled these islands. Recently, Kālepa contributed an article that was published in the West Hawaii Today newspaper. While there are many different perspectives regarding Mauna Kea, few have expressed their views as eloquently as Kālepa did in his essay. We are pleased to share a few of the highlights with you here.
"The Maunakea adze quarry, the largest in the world, offers conclusive evidence that the ancients recognized the importance of Maunakea's rich resources and its ability to serve its community by producing the tools to sustain daily life. They ventured to Maunakea, reshaped the environment by quarrying rock, left behind evidence of their work, and took materials off the mountain to serve their communities, with the full consent and in the presence of their gods.
"Using the resources on Maunakea as a tool to serve and benefit the community through astronomy is consistent with the example of the adze quarry. To value astronomy and its work on Maunakea, you have to value the importance of "'Ike", knowledge, and its quest for a greater understanding of the universe we live in. Our ancestors were no different; they sought knowledge from their environment, including the stars, to guide them and to give them a greater perspective of the universe that surrounded them. The science of astronomy helps us to advance human knowledge to the benefit of the community. It teaches us where we have come from, and where we are going. Its impact has been positive, introducing the young to the process of modern exploration and discovery, a process consistent with past traditional practices.
"My perspective of Maunakea is based on the tradition of the oceanic explorers from whom I descend, a people who left the safety of their coasts, sailed away, and in so doing discovered the stars.
"Maunakea, like life, is sacred, and we need to proceed with the important work of insuring our future. Let's look to Maunakea and continue a synergy of mountain, exploration, and the stars."
Chad Kālepa Baybayan