Protecting Kaho’olawe film screening tonight

LIHUE — For decades, Kaho’olawe — the smallest of the eight main Hawaiian Islands — was used as a training ground and bombing range by the U.S. Armed Forces. That all ended, however, in 1990.

Starting tonight, community gatherings throughout Hawaii will premier a new film, “Standing on Sacred Ground: Islands of Sanctuary,” about the island of Kanaloa Kaho’olawe and launch discussions about the Draft 2026 Strategic Plan for the island, called “I Ola Kanaloa!” or “Life to Kanaloa!”

“Our sacred island, the love and sacrifices made by our kupuna and George Helm and Kimo Mitchell to stop the desecration of our aina and the careful work to heal the island are depicted in this film,” Dr. Noa Emmett Aluli, one of the founders of the Protect Kaho’olawe Ohana, said in a release. “Our planning team believes that the film provides the perfect background to engage in discussions of how we envision Kanaloa Kaho’olawe by 2026.”

Gatherings on Kauai will be held tonight at Island School and Thursday at the Waipa Community Center. Both events begin at 6 p.m.

The 30-minute film about the island of Kanaloa Kaho’olawe is part of an eight-part series called Standing On Sacred Ground by filmmaker Toby McLeod. The overall series tells eight distinct stories from the viewpoints of diverse indigenous communities.

The segment on Kanaloa Kaho’olawe that will premier to island communities shows how Native Hawaiian ecological and spiritual practices are used to restore the island after 50 years of military use.

The film will be the opening for the presentation and lead into a discussion about the new draft 2026 Strategic Plan for Kanaloa Kaho’olawe. Those interested in attending either of the Kauai events should RSVP by emailing kmchugh@kirc.hawaii.gov.

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