Earth Foundation

Stewards of the Land, Sea and Native Cultures

Kupuna Council

Earth Foundation is delighted to continue to extend a very special CONGRATULATIONS to four exceptional Native Hawaiians for their highly important contribution starting in 2004 to Maui County and the Native Hawaiian people. Earth Foundation considers the Kupuna Council to be one of the most important historical accomplishments in Hawaii in the last 29 years. It has been working well and steadily improving.

Starting on March 25, 2004, a Maui News front page story announced this landmark accomplishment that continues to change Maui County’s History and may have significant effect in the future on the other Hawaiian Islands: the creation of the Kupuna Council. The concept of the Kupuna Council was originated, conceived, and planned by two members of Na Kupuna O Maui and a cousin of one of the members. Then the three Native Hawaiians teamed up with a fourth person, who is now a State Representative from Maui, to manifest into reality and implement the Kupuna Council for Maui County. The kupuna (“elders”) on the Kupuna Council are highly respected Native Hawaiian elders of Maui County.

The head Kupuna Council advises the Mayor of Maui County and elected officials and gets their attention on key issues affecting Hawaiians, including proposed, massive land developments (such as Makena). Meanwhile, each of the three inhabited islands of Maui County (Maui, Molokai, and Lanai) has been divided into several regions. A regional Kupuna Council is set up for each region on each island to get information about Native Hawaiian issues that need addressing in each region. And, each regional Kupuna Council passes on information to the head Kupuna Council, which presents the key Hawaiian issues for all the regions of the three islands for consideration by the Mayor of Maui County and elected officials. This system works so well and gets such good results for everyone that, as a result, Hawaiians are now in beginning planning stages to set up Kupuna Councils with this type of relationship with local government on every island in Hawaii.

The Kupuna Council concept importantly could potentially be a highly attractive, new avenue for effectively dealing with a settlement of Hawaiian sovereignty and issues in an innovative way that many Native Hawaiians may be able to comfortably unify behind. This could potentially enable Hawaiians to avoid going through their traditional, substantial, sovereignty disagreements among themselves. The ramifications from the creation of the Kupuna Council on Maui and perhaps someday on every Hawaiian Island are phenomenal to contemplate. This highly innovative Kupuna Council concept has great promise of being a long awaited solution to reimpowering and unifying Native Hawaiians in Hawaii. But for a start, the Kupuna Council is significantly helping the island of Maui and Maui County.