Aloha a hui hou, Aunty Marion

Posted by Shelley at Dec 16, 2011 06:05 PM |
Celebrating the life of the late, great Marion Kelly. A woman who will be greatly missed. Mahalo Aunty for your many years of fighting for Hawaii and its people.
Aloha a hui hou, Aunty Marion

Hali`a Aloha, Aunty Marion

Update from Marti on December 20, 2011:

Hundreds of people attended the memorial services for Aunty Marion on Monday night at the Church of the Crossroads in Manoa. Speeches, lei, photos, and mea'ai honored the life’s work of this unwavering advocate for the people and resources of Hawai'i nei.  Aunty Marion was a scientist and an activist, a mother and a fighter, whose work helped to expose the desecration of Makua Valley by the U.S. military, establish the Ethnic Studies Department at the University of Hawai'i, support the land tenure claims of Hawaiians throughout the islands, and inspire many more to take a stand for the future of Hawaii.  As demonstrated on Monday night, Aunty Marion continues to be an inspiration to many.  It was a truly touching evening.  Mahalo to the Kelly Ohana for such a beautiful event.  I, like many, strive to follow the lead of Aunty Marion in our work for social and environmental justice in Hawai'i.



From Marion’s Family:

Aloha kakou,

We want you to know that the memorial celebrating Marion's life will be on 
Monday, December 19,  4:00 p.m.  
Church of the Crossroads (1212 University Ave).

We'll have an open microphone for those who want to share experiences and memories of this amazing woman.

In lieu of flowers, donations in her honor can be made to Hawaii Peoples Fund. 
We look forward to seeing you.

Mahalo nui loa,
Colleen, Cha and Kathleen


On November 12 Marion Kelly passed away at home. A professor emeritus of Ethnic Studies at UH Manoa, Marion helped to found the department in 1968. Ibrahim Aoude, department chair, wrote:

Marion was a staunch champion of peace and justice for all of humanity. She was a fighter of the first order who never compromised on matters of principle.
Marion conducted numerous cultural histories on Hawaiian land use systems such as fishponds and lo‘i kalo. She made her mark on these places—and the sites and their mana made their mark on her as well.

Marion’s voice was always as strong as her research and she was an unstoppable advocate, especially for Hawaiian sovereignty and self-determination. Her open heart and smiling spirit brought many under her wing as she mentored new generations of students and activists.

Marion Kelly’s 1977 study of Makua Valley was never published; 20 years later I was honored to collaborate with her on a synopsis and update.

Marion Kelly lives in her work and her memory lives in every social and political struggle currently taking place in our Hawai‘i nei.—Aoude

Please, also feel free to share your memories of Marion Kelly here.


Here is a great tribute video created by the talented staff at ʻŌiwi TV.

ʻŌiwi TV celebrates the life of noted anthropologist and life-long activist Marion Kelly. As a scholar, Marionʻs work remains an invaluable resource of Hawaiian culture and history, especially her research on the ahupuaʻa system. As an activist, Marion and husband John Kelly, co-founded a grassroots environmental organization in the mid-1960s called Save Our Surf.

Marion is best known for helping create the Ethnic Studies Department at the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa, laying the foundation for what is now the Center for Hawaiian Studies.

Tribute to Marion Kelly from Oiwi TV on Vimeo.

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Luwella Leonardi says:
Dec 23, 2011 06:05 PM
I am very late in knowing that Marion Kelly has past. I will miss her so much for she gave us those of us in Waianae an opportunity to voice our observation of the truth from the depths of our beautiful ancestors and their sweent aina. She gave to so many children the opportunity to collect data and express in their science project their own personal observations. It was very difficult for us to respond scientifically from dry data, that explains a two dimensional lab source from another part of the world. Marion Kelley scientific knowledge brought us home so that we could live a healthy and quality life. My arguments with Gregory Jaczko and Tad Davis was made possible because I felt our lands should not be dirtied with nuclear isotopes, came from deep tenacity that she gave to me.
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