College - Author 1

College of Liberal Arts

Department - Author 1

Social Sciences Department

Degree Name - Author 1

BS in Anthropology and Geography



Primary Advisor

Terry Jones, College of Liberal Arts, Social Sciences Department


The purpose of this paper is to examine how Native Hawaiian spiritual practices played a role in social systems and stewardship practices. Lightfoot and colleagues (2013) suggest that more archaeological research is needed on traditional resources and environmental management practices. The authors point out that “landscape management practices… are subtle and not prone to leaving smoking guns in the archaeological record” (Lightfoot et al. 2013), which makes such sites difficult to document without ethnographic accounts. Due to this subtlety, I will mainly be pulling information from interviews or oral histories from Hawaiian descendants, early explorers and missionary accounts, ethnographers, and occasionally, archaeologists. I plan on outlining Hawaiian spiritual practices by discussing their deities, ceremonies, creation stories, and the idea of mana. I will then expand upon how those spiritual activities and beliefs are woven into social structures and environmental stewardship practices. Within social systems, I will summarize the ancient Hawaiian hierarchical structure and incorporate the layered restrictions imposed by the kapu system. As for stewardship practices, I will discuss how their everyday environmental operations–fishing, cultivating, and harvesting– revolved around sustainability and reciprocity. There were many systems in place that maintained the well-being 2 of the community and natural world, and I want to highlight those Hawaiian principles of love and respect for the land–aloha ‘āina–throughout this paper.