The roots

Kimo Williams

What is it to be 'Ohana?

Usually considered a simple Hawai'ian translation for family or clan, 'Ohana aims to give us a feeling of "we" more than "me."

The Hawai'ian "roots" of 'Ohana actually point at the kalo or "taro" plant. Taro has been with the Hawai'ian people since the beginning, in fact many scholars believe it was brought with them in their double hulled canoes from their polynesian origin.

'Oha, Lit. "To spread as in vines and to thrive." The oha is the part of the taro plant that sprouts from the original root. No matter how many new plants are grown they all come from, and are the same as, the original planting. Some myth even places the Kalo as the progenitor of the first Hawai'ians.


More than a unique way of saying family, a reference to a deep knowledge that, although the taro patch may look like separate plants, they all ultimately hale from one original source. We are all in one field and have one original bulb. Our actions and behaviors effect us all. Like a complex network of roots too deep to see, we are all interconnected, intertwined and interdependent.

 To be 'Ohana is to have reverence for your self, your family, your community and your environment. To realize that your anger towards another and your negative thought/actions will hurt the entire community including you. We are all in this together. Past, present and future generations are strengthened or weakened by our love or our hate.

To set matters to right, or Ho'oponopono, is an intervention at the level of relationship to clear a blockage that potentially harms the physical body of the individual, the harmony of the family and the peaceful inner-workings of the community.

 Healing on the level of person, clan and community reside in 'Ohana. Service, giving and humility reside in 'Ohana.

Connection, awareness and truth reside in 'Ohana.

Imagine being able to still your mind and increase your consciousness to the level of sensing your "self" actually connected to "all" selves. Knowing your ultimate connection to the "original source" of all life.

What would you do?

 Malama 'Ohana

(Take good care of our family)