In ancient times Kahoolawe was called Kanaloa for the god of the ocean and the foundations of the earth.
It was a place where kahuna and navigators were trained and it played an important role in early Pacific migrations.
Today, Kahoolawe serves as a foundation for the revitalization of Hawaiian cultural practices, and provides an unique opportunity for restoration on an island-wide level.
Beginning in the 19th century and through 1988, feral goats and sheep overgrazed Kahoolawe, eliminating the plant cover and causing massive soil erosion.
At the start of World War II, Kahoolawe was taken by the U.S. military for use as a target and training area.
A 1953 Executive Order placed the island under the Secretary of the Navy with the assurance that it would be restored to a "habitable condition" when no longer needed for naval purposes.
Efforts to return the island to the people of Hawaii started as soon as it was taken for military purposes.
The Protect Kahoolawe Ohana led the public protest to end the bombing and return the island.
The Ohana carried out a series of occupations of the island beginning in 1976 which brought national attention to the movement.