Danielle Kalani Heinz
Grant TypeDissertation Fieldwork Grant
Institutional AffiliationCalifornia, Los Angeles, U. of
Grant numberGr. 10116
Approve DateApril 8, 2021
Project TitleHeinz, Danielle Kalani (California, Los Angeles, U. of) "A Microbotanical Approach to Understanding Hawaiian Survivance in Nā Wai ʻEhā, Maui"
The emergence of sugarcane plantations in 19th century Hawaiʻi significantly altered waterways, diverting water from Native Hawaiian communities. Yet, little data exists concerning the extent to which plantations reduced the amount of water supplied to Hawaiian farms and the degree to which changes in microclimate further depleted this water supply. Collaborating with Native Hawaiian water rights activists and employing a Hawaiian-culture centered framework, I analyze the impact of water diversion and global warming on Native Hawaiian growing practices in Nā Wai ʻEhā, Maui from the plantation period to the present. Using micro-algae as bioindicators of change in water level and oxygen isotopes to analyze changes in precipitation, I seek to understand the extent to which the water level of streams supplying taro farms with water changed during this time period. In areas with low water flow, I analyze microbotanical remains, which reveal changes in plants grown, in efforts to understand how Hawaiians altered growing practices to survive. Recognizing Hawaiians’ deep understanding of their environment, I hope to gain insight on Indigenous land management strategies for surviving periods of reduced water supply so that this information can be integrated into modern strategies for coping with global warming.