About Kānaka Climbers
Culturally & Historically Significant Information for Hawai'i Hikers & Climbers
We are a Native Hawaiian led non-profit organization that aims to encourage a more responsible and ethical outdoor recreational community in Hawaiʻi. We focus on providing vital, culture based education surrounding hiking and climbing. We work with Cultural Practitioners, Allies who are experienced in Archaeology, Botany, History, and Locals. We hope to provide knowledge and guidance that will help people form a connection with the ʻāina (land) and in turn become better stewards. We actively engage in conversations with Kānaka (Native Hawaiian), Native Hawaiian Organizations and Locals within different recreational areas to assist in voicing and supporting area specific concerns, which often involve the protection and preservation of sacred spaces.
To be an educational resource for the outdoor recreational community, to help them responsibly, safely and ethically access the outdoors in Hawaiʻi. Our group's plan is to work closely with Native Hawaiian Preservation groups, Hawaiian rights groups, the State and act as a bridge to the Hawai'i recreational community. We are here to advise and educate on culturally appropriate and respectful practices in Hawaiʻi, while working to revive traditional climbing practices within the Hawaiian communities.
To see Kamaʻāina, Keiki O Ka ʻĀina and Kānaka have responsible access to the outdoors. To empower generations of Kamaʻāina to be stewards of the land while preserving and protecting the beauty that is Hawaiʻi. To provide appropriate access for the Keiki of Hawaiʻi to safely learn how to navigate the land and the rocks of Hawaiʻi.
The Hawaiian Kingdom
The Hawaiian Kingdom originated in 1795, when Kamehameha the Great united the Islands under one government. Between 1843 and 1885, The Hawaiian Kingdom’s national independence was recognized by 16 world nations. International treaty relationships were signed with countries such as Austria-Hungary, Belgium, France, Germany, Great Britain, Italy, Japan, Netherlands, Russia, Spain, Sweden and Norway, the Swiss Confederation, and the United States of America.
The overthrow of The Hawaiian Kingdom began in 1893 with a coup against our Queen Liliʻuokalani by missionary descendants and foreign plantation owners. Hawaiʻi has since been illegally occupied. Even The United Nations acknowledges the occupation of the Hawaiian Kingdom.
"As hikers, climbers, and outdoors enthusiasts, we love that access to America's Public Lands allows us to pursue these activities, but for non-Native people, it is too easy to forget that these public lands were created through the violent dispossession of millions of indigenous people - the system is designed to make us forget. As long as we continue to accept indigenous erasure as the status quo, we continue to be complicit in the ongoing colonial project in the United States."
Kānaka Climbers was created in response to a shortage of Kānaka (Native Hawaiian) voices and awareness in the Hawai’i climbing and hiking community— we saw a niche needing to be filled!
In no way is our intention to call out anyone with this platform. We wholly understand that these issues are still new to some (to us as well, we are all still learning!). Our hope is to educate and help others understand more about the places we recreate in and move forward with a positive attitude.
Climbing is, and always has been, rooted in activism and a mutual love for our environment. We are athletes set on exploring spaces, being surrounded by nature, and climbing higher. But we also have a responsibility to be aware of the culture surrounding these spaces we all love so much. The more aware we are of the history and cultural importance of these islands- the more information we can gather- the better for all of us. We hope to move forward as a united climbing community.
On a final note; while this organization is meant to raise up Native Hawaiian voices, this organization is 100% inclusive. All you need is to arrive with a positive mindset, the desire to get involved while learning, and be ready to unlearn. If we all can adjust our mindset and see that the ʻāina, the pōhaku, the plants, and the animals as our grandparents, only then we- as a community- will be able to move more PONO.
Mahalo all, climb hard, stay active and stay safe!