Opinion: Since the ancient days, dwells the Monk Seal in this place

By Steve Morgan

Going back a few years, I remember a song performed by the students of Kumu Manuwai Peters’ Hawaiian language class, the song entitled “O Kala’au.” This song tells of the beauty of La’au and of the ancient creatures that inhabited this place, also known as the “Ilioholoholoikauaua,” which translated is a word that means “the dog that swims” or more commonly referred to in our time as the Hawaiian Monk Seal.

The Hawaiian Monk Seal Ho'ailona, formerly known as KP2, at the Kaunakakai Wharf.

Contrary to what some may believe, the Monk Seal was not introduced to our shores and is in fact “Maoli” in the truest sense.

In the mo’olelo of the creation story of “Hawaii Loa” the Monk Seal is associated with Lono, extending the name of this magnificent creature to “Ilioholoholoikauaua a Lono.” This mo’olelo tells of the creation of the first man “Kumu Honua” who, along with his wife, dwelt in Kalani Hauola. The story goes on to mention that among the animals that dwelt in this place in peace and comfort was the Ilioholoholoikauaua a Lono.

Long before the first voyaging canoe arrived to our islands, the Monk Seal dwelt in this place, small in number but nevertheless at home. I have always understood the idea that we respect that which is “kahiko” just as we respect those who have dwelt in this ‘aina before us. To abandon this basic principle ignores the foundation of not only Hawaiian culture but that of any honorable culture.

The Monk Seal continues to decrease in numbers and, sadly, even on Molokai, where it seems that this ancient creature might find a place of sanctuary, it remains threatened.


5 Responses

  1. oh look boys and girls, stevie morgan is back on island and is ready to impart his words of wisdom to us. everyone sit down and be quiet so that uncle stevie can try to make us think he’s a real hawaiian.

    • Opala Picka,
      If you choose to offer criticism, please critique the writing not the writer. If you have a beef with Steve Morgan keep it private. If you choose to be sarcastic and condescending, at least act like a man and not a troll and put your real name down.

  2. It is so sad to hear of at least 3 monk seals killed recently. The people of
    olokai know who is doing this but are afraid of coming forward. There is an award for info and if you are concerned that the guilty ones will find out who you are, call authorities without your name, or donate thr reward to a non-profit org. We must put a stop to this senseless killing.

  3. fwiw- huffingtonpost is currently running an ap piece on this subject.

    on a side note- i happen to appreciate hearing steve morgan’s pov even though i found myself in total disagreement with it on several occasions.

  4. Our island is decaying in many ways: drugs, domestic violence, limited jon opprotunities, protesting and blocking commerce for visitors to come to our island and organizations trying to control our island when we already have governmewnt agencies for permits and now the killing of seals. Anyone who kills a seal has issues of abusiveness in their life.There is No excuse for s senseless killing. People here kill turtles, get lobster when it is NOT in season. Many people from outer island come to Molokai fishing, lobstering, hunting ( on other peoples property w/out permission and BIG white coolers leave Molokai ALL the time.
    Man is the problem when it comes to shortages of fish or any other ocean food. There is OVERFISHING, POLLUTION and littering of our ocean daily.
    I can say that NOAA should not bring any seals to the Hawaiian islands from the northern Hawaiian islands they should work the problem out there in those areas. If it is competition for the sharks and ulua let the fishermen have permits to go fish over there in those waters.
    I ask the fishermen here in Molokai to PLEASE donot kill anymore seals it is NOT their fault what Man has screwed up in this world and it is their world the ocean, we were not born in the ocean.Please I ask you to work with the volunteers on your island to find a solution.Please
    Mahalo for your time…..

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