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Support Uncle Sam's Market and Cultural Center in Puna District, Hawai'i

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We are asking the community to join in support of and in solidarity with Uncle Sam at his open market and cultural center in the Puna District located at the southeast corner of highway 130 and Ka Ohuwalu Drive in Pahoa. See map here:


Uncle Sam Kaleleiki is a caretaker / tenant of a 5 acre parcel of Hawaiian Home Lands and has lived in the Pahoa area for 25 years, and on this parel for 7 years.  Uncle Sam volunteers his time and the use of this property for the benefit of his community, in the preservation of traditional and customary Hawaiian hunting, fishing, gathering, weaving, carving, toolmaking, arts, medicine, history, cultural, and spiritual practices. He has invested thousands of dollars of his own to prepare the site and provide shelter for anyone who needs it, and does not charge for, nor assign spaces to anyone. Donations are accepted as a means of offsetting the cost of electricity, and to go toward future investments at that location, and in the tradition of old Hawai'i, barter rather than money is widely accepted by people participating in the market and cultural center. 

Uncle Sam operates the market and cultural center largely to provide a safe physical, mental, and spiritual environment.  This is based on a moral imperative and precept in Hawaiian law as set forth by King Kamehameha I in 1797, known as Kānāwai Māmalahoe, or the Law of the Splintered Paddle.

The complete original 1797 law in Hawaiian:

Kānāwai Māmalahoe :

E nā kānaka,
E mālama ‘oukou i ke akua
A e mālama ho‘i ke kanaka nui a me kanaka iki;
E hele ka ‘elemakule, ka luahine, a me ke kama
A moe i ke ala
‘A‘ohe mea nāna e ho‘opilikia.
Hewa nō, make.
—Kamehameha I

English translation:

Law of the Splintered Paddle:

Oh people,
Honor thy god;
respect alike [the rights of] people both great and humble;
May everyone, from the old men and women to the children
Be free to go forth and lay in the road (i.e. by the roadside or pathway)
Without fear of harm.
Break this law, and die.

Youtube Video:  a youtube video explaining this law can be viewed here:

The Purpose of the Market & Cultural Center:

Uncle Sam is volunteering the use of this property to provide a safe and secure place for local Hawaiians to talk story, continue the oral cultural history, display their handiwork, and share with the general public the products and wisdom of traditional and customary Hawaiian hunting, fishing, gathering, mauka to makai resource management practices, craftsmanship, arts, medicine, history, and spirituality.. The market and cultural center also provides an environment for cross-generational transmission of cultural knowledge, as everyone from kupuna to keiki is welcome here.  Without this market and cultural center, cultural practitioners would often find themselves relegated to unsafe roadside easements, just trying to earn a modest living for their families. Many do not have the funds to pay for the typical spaces seen at local farmer's markets.  Keeping cultural practitioners and tradespeople out of harm's way on the roadside is of primary importance.

Uncle Sam is a good neighbor and does not compete with the Sunday farmer's market held at the nearby Maku'u Marketplace, and is a positive role model in the community. The market and cultural center is established to enable Hawaiians to help Hawaiians, not only to put a little extra in their wallets to provide for their families, but also to help Hawaiian people overcome drug and alcohol abuse, to retain and transmit cultural values and knowledge to all generations, and to become more productive so they can take care of their families. The practice of ho'oponopono is taught and practiced here.

Why Uncle Sam Needs Our Support:

Recently, Uncle Sam was served notice by the East Hawaii DHHL Superintendent, Louis Hao, to cease operating the market and cultural center. Uncle Sam has said he will continue operating while simultaneously getting permission to operate legally. He says, "I never turn my back on a Hawaiian". We ask that all Hawaiians (kanaka maoli, kanaka e, and malihini who aloha Hawai'i and her people) to return this concern and support. We also ask that state officials connected with administering DHHL (Governor Abercrombie, Lt. Governor Schatz, DHHL Dir. Jobie Masagatani, DHHL Chair Albert Nahale-a, East Hawaii Branch DHHL Director, DHHL Supt Louis Hao) not to obstruct Hawaiians Helping Hawaiians on Hawaiian Lands.  Most importantly, please come down to Uncle Sam's and show your support in person, hang out, talk story, and enjoy the traditions of old Hawai'i.

Find Us On Facebook:

Social network community resources can be found at

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use hashtag #unclesamsmarket and tiny url:

News Coverage:

Hawaii Tribune Herald article here:



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