The Department of the Interior’s Office of Native Hawaiian Relations announced the awarding of $1 million in grants to eight Native Hawaiian organizations to implement the Native American Tourism and Improving Visitor Experience Act.
Funding enables Indigenous communities to participate in national tourism goals and strategies, while seeking to enhance and integrate native tourism, empower native communities, and expand unique cultural tourism opportunities.
“The HŌʻIHI grant is meant to encourage a tourism model that accurately showcases Native Hawaiian culture and traditions while providing protection and awareness for Hawaiʻi’s natural and cultural resources,” said Ka‘aleleo Wong, HŌʻIHI Grant Manager with the Office of Native Hawaiian Relations. “Grant awardees for 2023 exemplify Hawaiʻi’s overall movement towards regenerative tourism, with projects assisting in enhancing Native Hawaiian Community involvement, and presenting culturally mindful education opportunities for kamaʻāina and visitors alike.”
The Hawaiian value of hōʻihi (respect), reflected in the ʻōlelo noʻeau (Hawaiian proverb) “E hōʻihi aku, e hōʻihi mai,” meaning “show respect, get respect” represents the core principle of ONHR’s Heritage Opportunities in Hawaiʻi. Through showing respect, visitors can then be welcomed as guests with a shared kuleana (responsibility) in perpetuating the values and importance of Native Hawaiian traditional knowledge and cultural practices.
The eight NHOs awarded HŌʻIHI grants in 2023 are:
- NHO: Hāna Arts
Project: Hāna Noʻeau: A Native Hawaiian Arts & Culture Education Program
Description: To create inclusive educational opportunities targeting the students of Hāna High School and Elementary School as well as the wider community by offering open cultural and art exhibitions, and events, at the community space known as the Art Barn, as well as organizing performances and workshops at public events such as the Hāna Farmers Market and Festivals of Aloha on Maui.
- NHO: Hawaiʻi Land Trust
Project: Hawaiʻi Land Trust Cultural & Ecological Preservation & Education programs at community preserves on Oʻahu, Maui, and Kauaʻi
Description: Increase resident and visitor connection to four HILT community preserves totaling 385 acres in Kīlauea, Kaua‘i, Waihe‘e and Kaupō, Maui, and Hau‘ula, O‘ahu.
- NHO: Hiʻipaka LLC
Project: Hōʻihi no Waimea
Description: This award is a project extension to educate visitors to Waimea Valley, Oʻahu about traditional Native Hawaiian cultural practices by engaging them in authentic, interactive cultural activities providing an enriched understanding of and appreciation for Native Hawaiian culture.
- NHO: Hōlani Hāna
Project: Kāhea a Ka‘uiki
Description: To grow the community’s understanding of Ka‘uiki’s cultural, spiritual, environmental, and social significance while building a strong foundation for community-led tourism interventions in Hāna, Maui that nurture a more regenerative and reciprocal experience for residents and visitors alike.
- NHO: Kākoʻo ʻŌiwi
Project: Māhuahua ʻAi o Hoi
Description: To conduct workshops at the Heʻeia, Oʻahu farm site engaging visitors and community in experiences in hands-on loʻi management activities and workshops on Hawaiian agriculture and ʻāina management.
- NHO: Mālama Loko Ea Foundation
Project: Holole‘a Wahi Pana & Kele A‘o Program
Description: To provide a variety of culturally informed visitor experiences including community and visitor workdays, hosted community events featuring music, food, and local vendors, and virtual tours which allow visitors to immerse themselves in the rich history, culture, and life of Loko Ea fishpond in Haleʻiwa, Oʻahu.
- NHO: The Kohala Center
Project: Mālama Kahaluʻu: Guiding respectful engagement with a cherished place
Description: Enhance resilience at Kahaluʻu Bay, Hawaiʻi by increasing respectful engagement of the nearshore reef area by community and visitors through four essential ʻāina stewardship practices: hoʻolauna, kilo, hana and moʻolelo.
- NHO: Waimea Hawaiian Homestead Association
Project: Aloha Festivals, Island of Hawaiʻi
Description: To celebrate Hawaiian culture, language, arts, and traditional Hawaiian customary practices by engaging in several island-wide makahiki-like events and contests such as the Paniolo Festival Event, The Waimea Akulikuli Festival Event, Moananui Ocean Festival Event, Hole Waimea Hula Competition Event and The Kūhiō Ball Event.