A Native Hawaiian proposal that calls for the expansion of the Papahanaumokuakea Marine National Monument is picking up steam and this week a delegation from the Obama Administration is meeting with stakeholders to discuss the possibility.
The waters around Kauai and Niihau, however, would be exempt from the expansion, according to news release sent to The Garden Island on Thursday.
“As Native Hawaiians, our core identity and survival is tied to the ocean. The Northwestern Hawaiian Islands is where we believe life originated,” said Kekuewa Kikiloi, Chair, Northwestern Hawaiian Islands Native Hawaiian Cultural Working Group. “All resources in nature – from corals to sharks – have cultural significance for Native Hawaiians and are an embodiment of our ancestors. By expanding Papahanaumokuakea we can help protect our cultural ocean-scapes and show future generations that preservation of the environment is preservation of our cultural traditions.”