Dr. Katie Kamelamela, is a Hilo-based Assistant Professor in the Global Discovery and Conservation Science Center at Arizona State University and studies ethnoecology, ecological restoration, Indigenous conceptions of wealth, and Indigenous economies. She shares with us her on-going research into modern and Hawaiian contemporary uses of various plants like kiawe (mesquite), maile and ti (kī) and how these relationships are ever evolving. Dr. Kamelamela takes us to one of her most cherished places: Kaho‘olawe Island in her role as member of Protect Kaho‘olawe ‘Ohana, a grassroots organization dedicated to island's repair and the principles of Aloha ‘Āina. Our discussion brings to light some of the environmental parallels between the island's historical neglect and the ongoing catastrophic fires of Maui. She shares with us the potential for the land to bring about healing, a kind of reciprocity for both the land and its care givers--a testament to the possibility of relationship between the most vulnerable places and those wanting to restore them.
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