Mysteries of the Sacred Pond and Its Lizard Guardian: Tribute to Alice Kaehukai Shaw, Memory-keeper of Moku`ula and the Kihawahine
Moku`ula, the “Red Island” (referring to menses and genealogy), is one of the most sacred sites in Hawai`i. Moku`ula was the seat of ancient Hawai`ian royalty and home to the Kihawahine, a woman sanctified as the spirit of conception and embodied as a Lizard-guardian of fresh waters. Little is left of the ways that kept the waters pure and ceremonies of Moku`ula vibrant. What did survive colonization and missionization is due to a line of cultural practitioners who gave their lives to protect and maintain the ancient ways. Alice Kaehukai Shaw (1867- 1956) was the last of this line. Dr. Apela Colorado joined efforts with her husband Keola, Moku`ula sacred site guardian, to research and recover the narrative of Alice’s life. Inextricably linked to the greater story of the guardian-spirit she served, and through the individuals and communities revitalized by these stories, Alice continues her work of bringing life through the waters.
Dr. Apela Colorado (Oneida-Gaul) is the Founding Director of the Worldwide Indigenous Science Network, a cultural nonprofit created in 1989 for the revitalization, growth and worldwide exchange of traditional knowledge. Frances Santiago (Tagalog-Ilonggo-Ilokano), MA in Indigenous Mind and PhD candidate in Women’s Spirituality, co-presents.