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Keawanui and Kaʻamola

A Protocol for initiatives new to Keawanui and Kaʻamola, Molokaʻi


Molokaʻi is fortunate to have a community process that protects and enhances island resources and the unique lifestyle of its people. Embedded in Molokaʻi’s history and cultural practices, this process is a means in which the community can greet, survey and share intentions with individuals, groups, and respective initiatives not already established in our community. 


The combined elements of this community process are rooted in culture and can be referred to as a ‘protocol’. The aim of this document is to provide a better understanding of Molokaʻi’s method(s) of interaction. 



An onslaught of environmental and cultural threats has for decades forced Molokaʻi’s community to respond reactively in order to protect its resources. Although these conflicts laid the foundation for modern Hawaiian activism and the Hawaiian renaissance which followed, the constant fight has left our community weary and thus, at times, vulnerable. 


A great opportunity exists now, as we share a process that proactively calls out who we are and what we value, in order to identify community partners and initiatives that will complement and enhance Molokaʻi’s community-building efforts. 



In Hawaiian culture, traditional protocol expects that visitors follow certain rules when arriving at another's home or community. Traditionally, protocol expects that visitors, accompanied by a local host, announce their presence through chant and await a reply either granting or rejecting the visit. During this protocol, visitors are expected to share who they are, where they come from and the intentions of their visit. The traditional process is an upfront means for dialogue and sharing of intentions.

The Molokaʻi community engages a similar process for interaction in modern-day. Visitors to our community that are interested in doing work here are expected to undergo this process as a way to protect our natural and cultural resources, conserve our indigenous knowledge, and ensure the community is engaged as a valued partner and decision-maker.    


Keawanui’s Community-Based Participatory Research Proposal Process: 

This protocol builds off of Moloka’i’s community process and recognizes that any relationship with a study or inquiry that benefits from access to Keawanui resources, be it natural resources or personnel, is inherently a partnership. Therefore, any entity wishing to conduct research at Keawanui must submit a written document at least four months prior to the submission of the research proposal allowing ample time for community members to review the proposal, ask any questions, and convene to discuss whether they’d like to proceed with the partnership. 



  • Introduce yourself, the organization you represent, and all those involved in the study.

    • Where are you from, what is your background, what are your goals with the project?

    • Why did you select this site/island?

    • What is the research problem or question being addressed? 

    • What is the purpose and scope of the intended research? Please be specific. 

    • Is this project funded? If so, by who? 

    • Will equipment or supplies be utilized? If so, what types?

    • Will permits or assessments be needed? If so, what types and why?

    • How many people do you expect to actively participate on site? For how long?

    • Will money or profit be generated from this project? If so, how will it benefit the community?

  • What data do you intend to collect? What will you do with the data? What will happen to the data once the project is over? 

    • How will this data support the Molokaʻi community and its goals?  

  • What is the time frame of the intended study? 

    • Does your project have a set timeline? If so, please share. 

  • Community benefit and communications: 

    • What strategies for continuous community engagement and input will be implemented? Who will be responsible for communication? How will the community be involved in the design and implementation of the study? 

    • What community resources will be used and what protocol will be followed while using these resources? 

    • If participants or our staff are needed for the study, how will they be compensated?

    • How will this project/research and its findings benefit the community? How will the findings be made relevant to the work happening currently in Keawanui and Ka’amola? Does this project align with our goals?

    • How will those conducting research ensure the community is engaged as a decision maker in the process, including any process of publication?

    • How will the findings of this project or study be disseminated, locally and more broadly?  

    • How will those conducting the research ensure that all parties involved are in agreement with the materials, prior to publication?

    • How will you ensure the community’s right to free, prior and informed consent?


ʻĀina Momona is excited to partner with researchers who will aid in contributing to the knowledge and revitalization of the Ka’amola ahupua’a. The purpose of this evaluation process is to protect the cherished resources and community of Keawanui and Ka’amola and to ensure a harmonious and mutually beneficial relationship between any research entities and the community. 


Proposals can be emailed as PDF attachments to with the subject line reading: Request for Meeting with Community Based Participatory Research Board. The material will then be disseminated to our board members and a meeting scheduled to evaluate the proposal and ask any questions. Mahalo nui for your time. 

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