Selected Research Results

Below, please find a brief selection of some of the results from this research. We have chosen to share these few results because they are most readily understood without the two academic papers of which they form a part (that is, the papers that report the results shared in the hula show). These papers are currently in review at two different peer-reviewed journals. We will post updates when they are published. If you would like to be notified when the papers are available, please send Rachelle an email.

Research Result 1: Identity-ecosystem relationships, as discussed by interview respondents

Interviewees addressed the complex associations among identity, activities, and social relationships. Some respondents described how their identity is tightly linked to Kona’s ecosystems, without discussing any ‘mediators.’ Others described their identity as intertwined with ecosystems, but with that connection mediated by cultural practices dependent on ecosystems (such as collecting food or lei-making). For a third set of respondents, identity was related to “what they do” – activities they perform in the ecosystem – rather than “where they do it;” they did not see their identities as particularly connected to ecosystems.

Identity in Land & Water

“[My] identity [and the] ecosystem are kinda one and the same. For me, anyway, the ecosystem is what has made my identity, is what has made me who I am.” (Hawaiian man, 30s, lifelong resident)

“Because Hawaiians without land cannot be Hawaiians. You have to be connected to the land. You can’t go to Nevada and really be Hawaiian…. Until you can relate to this mountain, that ocean, this ahupua'a, and you can have some kind of involvement with it, you’re in Nevada [laughs, pauses], in Hawai'i.” (Hawaiian man, 50s, lifelong resident)

“For us as Hawaiians I think who we are is directly linked to Hawai'i. Like I said earlier, it's made us who we are today. We are a product of this land. … If we lose [land] to someone else … we‘ve lost a piece of our own identity. It's gone. Every time we lose a species it's a loss of our identity.” (Hawaiian man, 30s, lifelong resident)

“You know, it’s your identity. It’s your heritage. … you gotta take a step back once in awhile … and reconnect. We have been disconnected with our culture… . Sometimes we gotta reconnect, yeah, and it’s these places that are the places that we can do that. We can’t reconnect in Walmart, or McDonalds or wherever, right? But you can do it here [outdoors].” (Hawaiian man, early 70s, lifelong resident)

Identity in Land & Water, Expressed Through Practices

Quotes from Interviewees

“…the ability to farm or to fish, or to gather or to make food together, to hunt. It’s hard to explain who you are but it’s the practices that go with it, the interaction with family. …. observing a place and weather and times to go hunting and times to go fishing.” (Japanese man, 40s, lifelong resident)

“So, we need to stand up and be willing to be identified as the Hawaiian selves that we are. … We need to claim to be our true selves. Keiki o ka 'āina. Child of the land. And that's basically where I come out of. The land took care of us. My dad fished. My Tutu Lady [grandmother] taught us how to go get [lists five other harvested items (shellfish, seaweed)]. And all the things we grew up with, that brought us joy. We did it with our own hands. We knew how.” (Hawaiian woman, 70s, lifelong resident)

“… identity, would be almost the stepping stones of what made you what you are now … I can identify with the forest in certain areas, more so than other areas, because there’s historical significance there for me. ... Because I went up there with my classes. And we learned about the forest. And we pointed out plants. And I go to harvest there. So, it helps kinda develop that personal identity of [pause] it being an important area, and kind of adding to what I know.” (White woman, 20s, lifelong resident)

Identity Independent of Land & Water

“I don’t really feel that identity is necessarily tied too much to places. It would be places where I volunteer, places where I do things … where we paddle, where we snorkel, where we run, where we live. But that’s not that tied personally. [Interviewer: Not as much, central to your identity.] No.” (White man, 60s, 5-year resident)

“Well, I would expect a link [between places and people, as that link relates to identity], and my definition of a link would be a requirement that you personally had some history of some personal relationship with a place, which I don’t, really. I go to these places, I appreciate them, I respect them, but I don’t feel like it’s “home,” like I own it. You know, I feel like it’s acceptable for me to be there because I respect it, but I don’t feel like I own it, which I would have to feel to identify with it personally.” (White woman, 50s, 3-year resident)

Research Result 2: Cultural Ecosystem Services are Inter-related

This figure demonstrates another finding of the research: that the various Cultural Ecosystem Services provided by ecosystems are highly inter-related. You can see the diversity of values respondents mentioned after being prompted for specific values. As one example, when asked about artistic or ceremonial value, respondents discussed these two values, but also addressed values related to education, heritage, inspiration, spirituality, and social capital (among others). Prompted values are listed on the left-hand y-axis; various benefits and values mentioned in response are represented as a percentage of total responses for each prompt. Numbers on the right-hand y-axis represent the total number of responses coded for each prompt.