Auntie Marion Kelly, a life-long activist / scholar who fought for Hawaiian sovereignty, cultural preservation and the environment, died peacefully in her home on Saturday, November 12, 2012.
As an anthropologist committed to cultural survival of Kanaka Maoli, Marion was a dissenting voice on many destructive projects in Hawai’i. In 1974, she produced an oral history of elders from Makua valley who were evicted by the Army during WWII. Faithful to the concerns she heard from residents, Marion concluded that the Army needed to clean up and return the land to the residents. The Army, which had commissioned the study, never finalized or published the report. But bootlegged, dog-eared copies circulated in the community and ended up in libraries. This report helped to awaken a new generation of activists to the harm done by the military and the need to liberate Makua from military occupation. At every chance she got, Marion reminded the public that the Army had tried to suppress the history of dispossession and struggle in Makua.
Marion’s husband John Kelly, who died several years ago, was also a groundbreaking activist and organizer with Save Our Surf and other community organizations.
Auntie Marion’s fiery spirit and sharp mind will be missed. But a spark of her fire burns within the hearts of the many lives she touched.
Marion Kelly! Eo!