Date of Award

Spring 2023

Document Type


Terms of Use

© 2023 Cynthia Ruimin Shi. All rights reserved. This work is freely available courtesy of the author. It may only be used for non-commercial, educational, and research purposes. For all other uses, including reproduction and distribution, please contact the copyright holder.

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts


Sociology & Anthropology Department

First Advisor

Alejandra Azuero-Quijano


In the last two decades, environmental NGOs on the islands of Hawai’I have been leading efforts to restore traditional land practices and foodways, among them fishpond, or loko i’a, which are traditional aquaculture infrastructures that ensure a stable production of fish protein. This ethnographic study of loko i’a restoration projects is informed by four months of fieldwork grounded in participant observation at Paepae O He’eia, a non-profit organization on the windward side of O’ahu heading the restorative effort at He’eia fishpond.

My thesis addresses the ethics of care, labor, and Indigenous worldmaking emerging from ecological and cultural restoration of fishponds that have been neglected and disrepaired due to colonialism and climate disasters. The project explores fishpond restoration at He’eia to understand their centrality for community building for all beings, for human and other-than human actors, as well as creating more expansive frameworks of Indigenous sovereignty and activism. By investigating the role and contradictions of environmental “care” practices, I illuminate multispecies collaborative survival, resistance, and Indigenous world-making practices in the age of the Anthropocene.