Social Capital Development

In their study of resilience in Aboriginal communities,  Laurence J. Kirmayer, MD et al recommend “strengthening social capital, networks and support; revitalization of language, enhancing cultural identity and spirituality; supporting families and parents to insure healthy child development; enhancing local control and collective efficacy; building infrastructure (material, human and informational); increasing economic opportunity and diversification; and respecting human diversity.”

Their recommendations together with the wisdom of the many experts and leaders with whom Olohana works is why we believe building social capital is the foundation on which all other development takes root and grows.


Olohana Foundation together with the Honoka’a High & Intermediate School and Kumu Ramsay Taum propose a project consisting of a series of workshops to teach Natural Movement Self Defense (NMSD) as developed by Kumu Ramsay Taum, founder of the Life Enhancement Institute of the Pacific and long-time Olohana affiliate.NMSD is a method of self-protection based on movements and gestures you already know and use in daily life at home, work, and school that can be used to break contact and protect oneself or others in the case of an assault. NMSD integrates the values, principles and philosophies of Lua and Aloha.




The Practice of Positive Change: An Indigenous Approach (PPCIA) to Diversity, Equity & Inclusion (DEI) is a virtual lecture series for those who seek to be more effective allies and advocates to Communities of Color. It addresses the questions of how to translate a desire for social equity into real and lasting positive change and where to begin in that process. It is based on a framework developed by Kapi`olani A. Laronal, MA, Indigenous Life Coach & Consultant, and includes conversations with guest speakers with Indigenous heritage.


Olohana works with communities using the ITK process, facilitating the sharing of knowledge from one generation to the next, supporting social capital development through relationships and work systems it helps foster, and bringing an indigenous voice to efforts such as the National Climate Assessment, and the environmental sustainability work of Huaka’i & Blue Trails, the Ala Kahakai National Historic Trail Association, the Makali’i Polynesian Voyaging Society, and other organizations.

10000 Homegrown FoodForests, a project of the Olohana Foundation


Working with 100 communities in Hawaii, the U.S. mainland, U.S.-affiliated islands, and internationally, in commemoration of the 100-year anniversary of Victory Gardens, we will plant 10,000 food forests and conduct a national indigenous phenology study.It is a proposal to the MacArthur Foundation for their 2016 100&Change challenge.




Olohana and our partners, including the NOAA Pacific Services Center and the PRiMO Indigenous Knowledge and Environment (IKE) Hui work together to organize and support a Native Expert Advisory Council comprised of Native Hawaiian, Pacific Islanders, and Native Alaskans committed to forwarding our society’s understanding of climate change and variability through multi-generational knowledge systems and modern science.


Training in Natural Movement Self Defense with Ramsay Taum is one of the empowerment training opportunities offered through the Mermaid Lounge in Honokaa.
Training in Natural Movement Self Defense with Ramsay Taum is one of the empowerment training opportunities offered through the Mermaid Lounge & Beauty Bar in Honokaa. 

The Mermaid Lounge & Beauty Bar in Honokaa is visioned as a community space, an apothecary, and a healing place, designed for the nurturing of the feminine and aspects of the matriarchal normally under emphasized in dominant society. It provides hands-on healing services, such as massage, bodywork, energy medicine, Lomi Lomi, and Quantum Energetics Structured Therapy, and more. Social justice and economic capacity development for women drive the discussions at the heart of this space, which is given to the health and well-being of our community’s sisterhood. The Mermaid Lounge & Beauty Bar is in direct response to Olohana’s third value set directive, “Are the women unafraid?” It provides a venue where Olohana and its partners hold women’s empowerment training and well-being classes, workshops, and events. The Mermaid Lounge & Beauty Bar fulfills a need in the community for training in resilience, preparedness, adaptation and capacity building strategies for local women and their families.


The PAA promotes the education of and skills-training in habitat restoration and agroforesty within two specific demographics: 1) veterans; and 2) youth between the ages of 11 and 21. With the Partnership for National Trails System, ATA Ala Kahakai National Trail, NOAA PSC/CSC Pacific Services Center/Coastal Services Center, and the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, returning veterans will be assisted with reintegration to society through habitat restoration and community building and engagement activities. Other network partners will organize around youth to provide exploratory ritual and rites of passage ceremonies whereby they will be supported in their spiritual, cultural, and personal connection to the land, water, flora, and fauna.


The Big Blue O was a performance project with both original and popular music designed as a platform on which to increase awareness of the need for community capacity building to audiences less likely to have considered it previously.