Photo: 2022 Restoring Balance for the Wellbeing of Humanity and the Environment Gathering
2022 Restoring Balance for the Wellbeing of Humanity and the Environment Gathering opening ʻaha at Mauna a Wākea. - Photo: Courtesy of Huliauapaʻa

By Kelley L. Uyeoka and Amber Souza

This past November, Huliauapaʻa, along with members of the Kaliʻuokapaʻakai Collective, co-hosted a gathering in partnership with Red Star International, Inc. Red Star International is an Indigenous-led nonprofit organization dedicated to building connections with Indigenous communities to expand mindsets, evolve practices, and realize a collective vision of health and wellness.

The Restoring Balance gathering took place in Hilo, Hawaiʻi, over three days. Our hui included representation from across Hawai’i, Turtle Island (the U.S. and Canada), Aotearoa and Tahiti. The gathering aimed to engage Indigenous leaders, communities, and organizations in a participatory process to identify pathways to globally connect current efforts to promote health equity and ecosystem resilience. Objectives included:

  • International Indigenous knowledge exchange and sharing;
  • Exploring Indigenous-led collaboratives – their development, growth and sustainability, and looking at the Kaliʻuokapaʻakai Collective as a model example;
  • Sharing of an Indigenous approach to organizing for collective impact; and
  • Discussion on the value of coming together as a global community.

To reaffirm our pilina to place and allow us the time and space to become grounded as a hui, we initiated our gathering with a visit to Mauna a Wākea. Mahalo ʻAnakala Kalani Flores for holding space, sharing moʻolelo, and orienting us to this sacred place. Our ʻaha on the Mauna where we offered hoʻokupu and introduced ourselves to the elemental akua of this landscape deeply resonated with our visitors.

“Unless we start from values and ceremony, we miss the target; our political struggles cannot be separated from ceremony and values – knowledge sharing comes with responsibility” shared Lead Fisheries Director Ken Paul (Wolastoqey Nation).

Over the next few days, our gathering consisted of discussions and deep reflections of our kuleana both locally and globally. Red Star International CEO Aleena Kawe (Hiaki) and her team brought the value of collective impact and Indigenous knowledge systems to the forefront of our discussions.

We were reminded of our inherent ancestral responsibilities to our wahi kūpuna as well as the connection and shared responsibility we have as Indigenous people globally. Participant Julia Bernal, director of the Pueblo Action Alliance noted, “Our discussion highlights the need for the deep and intentional work we have to do in our community to have global impact.”

After a few years of remote-only work, it was inspiring to gather in person again and experience the value of knowledge sharing and collective action. Throughout our time together, the Red Star International team fostered a space that allowed our hui to reaffirm and enhance our commitments by reflecting, sharing lessons learned, celebrating successes, teaching, and learning from one another.

As the backbone organization for the Kaliʻuokapaʻakai Collective, Huliauapaʻa aims to continue to elevate and uphold our kuleana to safeguard our wahi kūpuna through collaboration and collective efforts. We remain steadfast in our commitment to grow Hawaiʻi’s communities through collaborative networking in wahi kūpuna stewardship and are reminded of our local and global impacts.


To learn more about Huliauapaʻa and the Kaliʻuokapaʻakai Collective visit us online at www.huliauapaa.org and www.kaliuokapaakai.org.

Kelley L. Uyeoka serves on the Kaliʻuokapaʻakai Collective ʻAha Kuapapa (Steering Hui) and is the executive director of Huliauapaʻa, the backbone organization of the Kaliʻuokapaʻakai Collective. Amber Souza is the Kaliʻuokapaʻakai Collective coordinator.