Raised on Moloka‘i, Uncle Walter Ritte has been a pillar of social activism in Hawaii for over 40 years. He was recruited into activism at an early age by cultural icons like Uncle Charlie Maxwell and Aunty Frenchy DeSoto, who saw in a young Ritte natural leadership and dedication to his people and culture.
Uncle Walter solidified his place in Hawaiʻi’s history when he and eight others defied the U.S. Military to return to the Hawaiian ‘āina of Kahoʻolawe, an island which had long been seized and occupied by the U.S. Navy for military testing and target practice. In an unprecedented act of courage, “the Kaho‘olawe Nine” became the first Native Hawaiians to step foot on the beaten and ravaged island without military permission in decades. Most of the group was shortly therefore captured by military officials, but Uncle Walter and one other evaded capture for two days.
Today, Uncle Walter serves as the the Executive Director and Founder of Aina Momona, a community organization dedicated to achieving environmental health and sustainability through restoring social justice and Hawaiian sovereignty.
Mahalo Uncle Walter for inspiring an entire generation of aloha ʻāina leaders!
IMPORTANT INFO FROM Aina Momona Walter Ritte Aina Momona For the past year our team of kiaʻi have been working to restore the Kaʻamola ahupuaʻa, while simultaneously learning the steps required to restore land under current management and governance structures. In the current colonial setting there are numerous hurdles and challenges to get through to restore degraded land, which significantly impede community efforts to enact needed revitalization. As we move forward in this work, it is crucial we strive for systemic change that will allow for more community-led restoration that is not heavily encumbered by bureaucratic processes and colonial priorities. The truth is, adequately addressing the material and rights-based needs of our Indigenous community would upend the entire capitalist system that governs us today. This is why Indigenous people are expected to be appeased by increased representation and hypervisibility, instead of receiving actual opportunity for self-determination. As we strive for social and environmental justice in our communities, we must also fight for our human rights as the indigenous people of this ʻāina. In fighting to restore our natural and cultural resources, we must also restore the systems that led to their decline. This is what real social and environmental justice looks like. Mahalo nui to all that support our work for change. To learn more about our progress at Keawanui, stay tuned for more! ... See MoreSee Less
THE ROCK AND FOUNDATION OF THE RITTE OHANA!!!Today's post is dedicated to the matriarch of our ʻĀina Momona ʻohana, Aunty Loretta Ritte. An activist, mother, hula practitioner, and champion of Hawaiian rights, Aunty Loretta has dedicated her life to Hawaiian land and community. She has protected and nurtured numerous sacred places across Hawaiʻi, standing up for Hawaiian rights to self-determination and the preservation of our natural and cultural resources. Aunty Loretta began her activism with Hui Alaloa on Molokaʻi, standing alongside the community to advocate for Hawaiian access rights. She later became heavily involved with the Protect Kahoʻolawe ʻOhana, risking everything to protect the island from the U.S. Navy. Aunty Loretta worked with others in the community to influence the legislature and create a movement that would successfully lead to the end of bombing on Kahoʻolawe. Her dogged-determination and persistence ultimately paid off, and Kahoʻolawe was returned to the Hawaiian people. This victory remains a beacon of hope for indigenous and environmental activists around the world today, and would not have been possible without Aunty Loretta's undying commitment to change. Aunty Loretta has subsequently dedicated her life, alongside her husband Uncle Walter, to the protection and preservation of Hawaiian rights, natural and cultural resources, ʻike, and community. She remains an important stronghold in our community's pursuit for self-determination and her aloha ʻāina activism continues to inspire new generations of Hawaiian leaders. From Molokaʻi, to Kahoʻolawe, to Maunakea, Aunty Loretta continues to show us what kapu aloha and aloha ʻāina truly means. Notably, Aunty Loretta is a featured author in the biographical text, Nā Wāhine Koa: Hawaiian Women for Sovereignty and Demilitarization, which documents the lives and legacy of four wāhine koa (courageous women): Moanike'ala Akaka, Maxine Kahaulelio, Terrilee Keko'olani-Raymond, and Loretta Ritte. To learn more about Aunty Loretta, head to our website at www.kaainamomona.org/lorettaritte... See MoreSee Less