Traditional Ecological Knowledge
Traditional Ecological Knowledge (TEK) is a way of looking toward the past for answers to current environmental issues. Many indigenous Pacific Island cultures have been heavily influenced by foreign ideals for as many as 200 years. Ancestral knowledge can help native people today related to their elders and homeland. Here's a short break down of TEK:
- Traditional: Practices used before Western contact and the introduction of foreign fishing methods and devices.
- Ecological: Ecology is branch of science that studies the relationship between organisms and their environment. Lawai'a understood how i'a behaved in the ocean. These knowledgeable fisher-people also understood how their actions affected the behaviors of fish and other marine life.
- Knowledge: Hawaiian understanding was passed down orally throughout the generations. Writeen accounts of Hawaiian culture and history can be traced back to the early 1800's following the arrival of sailors and missionaries to the islands.
Native people can use TEK as a source of information to preserve their culture and tradtional practices. Although the extent of TEK within many Pacfic Island groups may be limited, what is known can be of great value to people facing devastating social and environmental problems.
Through the use of Hawaiian legends, this website introduces some of the knowledge gained by tradtional lawai'a and known only to a few fishermen today. This knowledge may help to preserve Pacific marine resources using methods different than those in common use today. Perhaps a way to preserve Hawai'i's natural resources is to combine the knowledge of the ancestors and that of the modern world.