Nation or State: In Search of Hawaiian Identity

January 17 – Kona Coffee & Pu’uhonua o Hōnaunau

Today, I had the pleasure of writing my blog on a day where we visited not only one, but two historical places that have played key roles in the history of the Kona side of the Big Island, the first being Greenwell Kona Coffee Farms, and secondly Pu’uhonua o Hōnaunau, or the place of refuge in the district of Hōnaunau. These were both very interesting places that provided very different insights into the history of Hawai’i.

Hearing the history of the origins of Kona Coffee was very intriguing because, like many other things that we’ve learned about in class, this was founded and ran by whites while giving off the perception that it was native to Hawai’i and it’s culture. Without learning that Mr. Greenwell was an Englishman who came to Hawai’i from California because of potential business opportunities, I would never have assumed that whites had anything to do with something as simple as coffee. It was also very interesting to hear, although not surprising, that Mr. Greenwell was able to purchase hundreds of acres of land at only $2 per acre, proving how easy it was for whites to come to Hawai’i and prosper, while the Native Hawaiians were being suppressed.

After an informative and yummy trip to Greenwell Farms, we headed to Pu’uhonua o Hōnaunau, which I thought was one of the most interesting places that we visited so far on this trip. The whole idea of having a place of refuge where people who have committed crimes can go and be absolved of them was very surprising for me to hear, as I don’t think I’m aware of any other cultures that have similar practices. There are also two other uses of the Pu’uhonua, one being a safe zone where men on either side of a battle could come if they were injured, and the other being a safe zone for children, women, elderly and the ill during times of battle.

As we learned during the Fall semester, one of the misconceptions of the Hawaiians by the whites were that they were savages, and although some of their practices do seem this way, I was very surprised at the fact that they had a place like this where they would show mercy to those that committed wrongs. They had obviously never heard of concepts like fines or jails, so I was very impressed by this Pu’uhonua system that they had set up. Being on these grounds was also surreal to me when the Park Ranger told us that the bones of 23 ali’i were buried here in the Hale o Keawe, meaning that this place was infested with mana! Being able to see a place like this that was so vital to the history of the Big Island and that so many ali’i had visited and were buried at was an amazing moment for me, and Pu’uhonua o Hōnaunau is a place that I will never forget. Standing there I couldn’t help but imagine how it felt to be a maka’āinana, or commoner, who was there seeking refuge, while ali’i were buried, or even potentially residing on the other side of The Great Wall. I pictured myself swimming from another island only to be greeted by the sharp lava rocks on the shore, and I could not even begin to imagine how I ever could have survived such a thing. I sure am glad that we live in a time period with our current judicial system set up, and where standing in the shadow of an ali’i wont get you killed!

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January 17 – Coffee farm

Before touring the coffee farm this morning, “Kona coffee” seemed like something so sacred and original to Hawai’i; little did I know, the Greemwell farm was not started by a native Hawaiian, but a a settler that came over from Europe.

Throughout the readings during both the fall and winter terms, a common argument has been made that Americans and other settlers took land from the native Hawaiians in order from them to succeed and that is absolutely true in regard to the Greenwell family. When the Greenwell farm was first started it was founded for economic gain for the Greenwell family since they originally started to sell citrus to the trade boats that came into the harbor. This family now owns a large amount of land that they are using to grow both coffee and fruit. Also, comparing to what we learned on our tour of the volcanos from tour guide Noah, this land could have originally been the home of many native people and it was taken away, therefore possibly leaving many homeless. In the reading “This Land is My Land: The Role of Place in Native Hawaiian Identity,” it states, “while foreigners, mostly missionaries and businessmen, rapidly bought up the property where Native Hawaiians lived and worked, forcing them to move elsewhere in most cases.”

Upon hearing this settler story I asked our tour guide about the population of their employees and whether or not they were native Hawaiians, assuming they would be. To my surprise I was told that most employees on the farm are not native Hawaiians, many are from other parts of the world. While I was surprised, I then was able to better compare to readings from class. Earlier in the semester we discussed when the Japanese and Chinese were brought in to work on the sugar plantations and the same can be seen here. Similarly, we see that this main source of income is not going to natives and the economy of the state of Hawai’i, but instead is going to the individuals who are foreign to this land.

When in comparison to the rest of the coffee industry around the world, Hawai’i is only responsible for a small percentage of coffee distribution, but it is a large part of this particular state’s economy. Due to this fact, many Hawaiian advocates, such as ourselves, would want this land and money to go back to the Hawaiian people when in reality it does not. However, I would also argue that it is a unifying factor for Hawaiian individuals. Our tour guide explained that while growing up, his grandmother and many others grew coffee on their own property for personal use and I have seen many shops around town that are proud to announce they serve 100% Kona coffee; therefore, while the origin of Hawaiian coffee seemed to come from self greed, it has enabled the Hawaiian community to unite and share a love and bond over coffee.

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Adventures on a boat Jan 15th

The reading talks about the story of Captain Cook and how he has this great plan to discover the world and find new and interesting places. We learn that Captain Cook essentially was welcomed by the Hawaiians. Against his orders men sleep with the natives causing many wide spread diseases. Nonetheless the men are set off on their journey after leaving what seems to be a paradise. They leave the island feeling as if they will always be welcomed. The ship breaks down so they are forced to return to fix it for their next voyage. But when they return they notice a shift within the attitude towards them by the natives. People are stealing from the crew members and when they are caught the king handled it in a way the natives didn’t appreciate. Twist seems to be the eventual downfall of Captain Cook is when they decide to kkidnap the king and hold him hostage.  this angers the people and leads to the death of Captain Cook and the crew left to return home. The bones of Captain Cook were kept because of the Mona within them.

The reason this story is so interesting is that the natives were in a peaceful period when the crew arrived but when they came back because that peaceful time was over they were treated with less regard. In addition to that the keeping of the bones just shows how you need to understand culture before you walk into a land you don’t know.

We were able to see the actual monument that Captain Cook landed on when he came to the island. Even though I was unable to get into the water I was able to ask the Captain what truly happened here and the other area that we visited. He talks about how this reef is so important butpeople don’t get the significance today. Thousands of natives used to live in the area but the population decreased as the years went on. It shows that Cook was only the beginning when it came to outsiders visiting that reef.

Dome dymbolism I took when hearing the story of my classmates on how the reefs were dead. The coral could not support life like it used to. Sandy described the fact that when people touch the coral and climb on it, it becomes less attractive to the fish and eventually dies. We learned the importance of coral at the planetarium in Hilo and it just examplifies the loss of culture over the years and respect for land and traditions.

Since the population of natives has decreased we see the respect for the coral being a lower standard as well. To be able to see where it all started was truly an experience. Although it has turned into a tourist attraction I can’t help but see what has been lost in an area where it all started.

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Have I lost my culture? January 14, 2017

This was one of the most special days for me so far.  While I do want to talk about the amazing things that I saw and bought at the Hilo market, the day was particularly important for me because a piece of my identity was brought to my attention and (maybe) questioned.  As we go from island to island, from story to story, and discussion to discussion, it is clear that the concept of identity is being threaded throughout our course.  But, how can we talk about identity of others without thinking about and perhaps acknowledging the identity of ourselves?

A little background for those that may not know– When I was a baby, I was left in a movie theatre in Nanjing, China by my biological parents.  I am actually grateful that they chose the movie theatre because so many people frequent that location that I was heard (probably crying as babies do) and brought to the one orphanage in the area.  I spent three months (a pretty short about of time on the scale of things) being cared for in the orphanage before my adopted mother and father came to pick me up.  I left China when I was just over five months old (fun fact: I came home on Christmas Day) and haven’t really looked back.

The point of me telling you all this is not to gain sympathy or to make you all think of me differently– I don’t think of myself as being any stronger than any one of you because of it– but rather, because, whether I choose to acknowledge it daily or not, my adoption, my ethnicity, and my race are all part of my identity, which, as Pugh talks about, has shaped my reality that I live in today.

I bring this up because at the market today, I met a woman who was born and raised in Hawai’i.  She kept saying: “I’m of the seventh generation…” and would proceed to count seven out on her finger.  She told me about her father and how he is from Kona.  She talked about her family’s coffee farm in Kona that was supposed to be passed down from generation to generation but somewhere along the way the land was not theirs anymore (sounds familiar).  She even talked about how she remembers seeing large ships coming to the island when she was a child.  This whole conversation started from me telling her that I am here to learn about Hawaiian culture.  Her response: “oh, Hawaiian culture…I can tell you about Hawaiian culture.”  After she finished walking me through her generations she looked me up and down and just paused.  My inclination is that she noticed that I am not white.  She then asked where I was from.  At this point, I had been talking to her for so long that Lillian and Lydia had no idea where I was (sorry, friends!) and thought that I better wrap up the conversation so in the interest of time I responded by saying that I was from New York City.  The conversation lasted quite a bit longer so clearly, not the answer that she was expecting or perhaps even looking for.

I proceeded to tell her that I was from China and immediately she lit up.  She said: “China! Tell me about your ancestors, you must be able to trace them back quite far.”  I admit that I don’t know much about Chinese culture but presumed that the importance of ancestors for the Chinese is similar to that of Hawaiians.  I told her that I was adopted and I didn’t know my parents.  Long silence…it was as if heart broke.  “so sad, so sad.  You know how we feel, you too have lost your culture.”

Have I lost my culture?  What are the similarities between my change in identity through my adoption?  Well, there are a lot of parallels but what I lost I also gained, which can’t be said the same for the Hawaiians and I believe that there lies the difference.  However, this lady, who now knows more about my personal life than many of my closest friends, got me thinking about everything that I have been connecting throughout this journey.

My identity is not rooted in something lost, it is rooted in something found.  My identity is made up of something that was given to me not something that was taken.  My identity is a display of my own voice.

What I am still pondering is the woman’s inability to see my adoption or to her, my loss of my culture as being anything but tragic.  I think that for her, something clicked.  I (like many of you) am not just an “ordinary” tourist shopping around Hilo market looking for gifts with little meaning.  For her, my white parents in New York, are another example of white people taking away from foreign culture and thus, for her my story angered her in the same way that her own does.  I think that for her, rooted culture and biology (generations of ancestors) are far more important than anything else.

What did I take away from this intense 15 minute conversation?

Have I lost my culture?

I am here studying about a lost culture, a loss of ancestry– a defeat of identity. Perhaps I am even advocating for the role that Americans should be playing in mending (if that is even possible) the damage and injustice that has been done.  I am absolutely arguing, based on what I have heard, seen and read, that there is a dire need for Hawaiians of my generation to learn about their culture, especially their language because while it may not directly be necessary for them now, it is necessary for their ancestors that did not have the opportunity or right to do so.

So do we get to choose our identity fully?

In Hawai’i I get the sense that there are certain things in their lives that are a part of their identity because they were born into it– this speaks to the importance of ancestors.  They are Hawaiian large % make up or not.  Their kingdom was taken.  They, according to Jamaica Osorio and Maikalani (the professor at the language school), have a responsibility to make the Hawaiian language a part of their identity.  Whether it is necessarily relevant now or not, I am Chinese because I was born that way.  That is a part of my identity so perhaps I shouldn’t have quit learning Chinese, perhaps I should be taking classes like many of the students we have met to learn about my culture and my history.

Here’s the difference though.  I am American and (despite recent events) I am proud to be American.  But today, I wasn’t seen as an American,  I was seen as someone, who, like many, many Hawaiians, was victimized by white supremacy.

— I have so much more to share like what it was like being able to support locals today, what it was like seeing someone who was in my class yesterday at the language schools selling food at the market, and about the hula lesson but due to the length of this blog already I think I might save that for another entry.  For now, I’ll just post some pictures of things (mostly food) that were taken at the market–

I am sorry if this isn’t too helpful for all of you about the facts and happenings of the day (I have notes on a lot of what we experienced in the afternoon that I can post tomorrow) but I think that this was an important story and experience to tell in detail.

I think that this is the definition of how identity is created and perceived here in Hawai’i and I think, if anything, it shows how important– maybe even the most important–culture, biological ancestry, and language is to native Hawaiians.


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(Hilo Market- photo by Lydia)      (Rambutan fruit- very tasty!)      (Acai bowls for dessert at the market)

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January 14th: Hilo Market and Hula

Supporting local through farmers markets is something I really enjoy, and today I was ecstatic to be immersed in the Hilo Farmer’s Market.  Communities are greatly impacted by the decision to buy local, and in doing so today, we supported Hawaiian artists, farmers, shops and more.  Being here in Hilo, I was really able to see how important this market is to the community and how it really brings people together.  Goods ranging from delectable fruits to genuine Hawaiian shirts decorated the street of the market, and people came together to buy and sell items.  But this market can also be connected to the whole of Hawaii on the premise of sustainability, and the importance of that sustainability in the future of the Hawaiian state.

It has been mentioned over and over again how about 90% of goods in Hawai’i are imported, and that figure proves the impertinence of sustainability for the sake Hawai’i’s future.  After our many readings and meetings with renowned scholars, and the visit to the market today, I have gathered that the cultural renaissance and resurgence of past pride is completely intertwined with education.  Jamaica’s talk, our Waipa visit, and many of our readings have demonstrated that in order to achieve anything, people must be educated.   There must be education concerning culture and language to gain knowledge in many different respects.  Not just the islands, but people existing outside of Hawai’i must be informed of the true Hawaiian history to understand that there is a completely separate Hawaiian narrative.  The Waipa foundation is an amazing education tool in relation to sustainability, and the visit to the farmers market today showed an effort on the big island to build up local communities.

Later in the day, we were introduced to the art of hula with a passionate kumu.  She explained to us the significance of each part of hula, from the preparation of the costume to the dance itself.  Now being immersed in Hawai’i, I understand that hula is a deep passion and responsibility to the perpetuation of a beautiful and intricate culture. After understanding the significance of language and hula, the impact of education, and the need for sustainability, I have developed my own understanding of the Hawaiian narrative.  Hawai’i is more than just one of the 50 states or a sweet vacation spot, it is a nation with a passionate culture and people in need of recognition.  A man at the market today spoke of the importance of pono, righteousness and doing the right thing.  He said that since we look through a different lens at Hawai’i, our pono is not to tell the story of palm trees and blue water, but to spread the true Hawaiian history and the importance of a misunderstood nation.

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University of Hawai’i in Hilo & ‘Imiloa Astronomy Center at Hilo

Today we had one of our best experiences in Hawai’i so far at the University of Hawai’i in Hilo. My main interest on this trip has been the Hawaiian language and culture, and I couldn’t be happier that I get to blog about it today. The man that met us at the parking lot explained to us, as we were walking towards the university, how we should behave and how to show our respect to the people welcoming us. Two male professors welcomed and spoke to us in Hawaiian. In between their speeches were different chants. The entire group (except a lady at the front) participated in all of them. It was such a powerful feeling. We are just foreigners to this land and we were greeted with the outmost respect. We were included in their traditions. The chanting felt almost as a prayer for us to be safe and have the best of experiences. I don’t know if that is true, but that’s how it made me feel. At the end of the welcoming chants, the students gave us leis while we gave them presents from Elon. It felt so good to be able to give them something back even if it were nothing compared to all the experiences and knowledge they helped us gain from this visit.

We knew that the Hawaiian language was very close to extinction from our readings. According to our reading, there are “fewer than a thousand native speakers of Hawaiian left.” In the classroom I was in, there were students from various backgrounds and ages. Some of them grew with Hawaiian at home, some went to schools and were taught Hawaiian in a very young age, and some of them didn’t have an experience with the language until they attended college. Our reading was focusing a lot around Neo Hawaiian and it was fascinating to experience that firsthand today. The professor we watched today explained that her grandmother always complains that what her granddaughter speaks and teaches her students and kids is not considered Hawaiian. But as our professor explained, it was her grandmother’s responsibility to teach her their language, but this was something she never did. That seems to be a very important theme around the Hawaiian language and culture as there used to be a time when Hawaiians felt ashamed to be Hawaiians. The English-speaking people had taken over their land so they had to adapt. As one of the students said, “Hawaiians had to imitate the monster.”

I feel it’s very hard for Hawaiians to accept that their language might be changing because they were so close in losing it once and for all. But all languages change with time. Either due to knew technologies introduced or due to globalization. In my language there are words from other languages that we use for everyday things instead of the actual Greek word, either because this is faster or just because we know it will be understood anyway. Hawaiians had the responsibility of keeping their language alive to be able to teach it to future generations. Some of them succeeded and some of them didn’t, but the main thing know should be to preserve what they have left. What I saw today in that classroom was extremely inspiring. These people had a common goal. They wanted to keep their language alive and they knew that it would be hard because they have so many parts of it missing, but they still try everyday.

There are so many things to touch on from this conversation today, but I’ll try to keep this as short as possible. I’m just amazed how fast Hawaiians gave up on their language. It wasn’t like they started using English words in their vocabulary and slowly give up on their language. It was that they felt ashamed and they decided to give up on it. They didn’t even want their children to be taught the language in secret. Greek people were slaves to the Turks for 400 years. Do we use some Turkish words in our vocabulary? Yes. Did we completely give up on our language? No. In my opinion, Hawaiians lost their way at one point. They forgot what was important. They lost their identity. But know they want to remember how it is to be Hawaiian. And many of them will begin their search for their identity through the language.

The other place we went to was the ‘Imiloa Center. As our tour guide explained, ‘Imiloa has a double meaning. It means explore and explorer at the same time. I believe that we are all explorers in this class and it’s wonderful to learn about other aspects of the Hawaiian culture. But, even though this was an interesting experience, we had heard so much about the controversy on the new telescope addition on mountain Mauna Kea, that I kinda hoped we’d hear more about that. Our visit their was very sciency and it didn’t connect much back to Hawaii. I liked the parts where we saw the trade routs and how Hawaii connects with the rest of the world. I understand thought that most of our tour guides have a script they must follow and are not able to say whatever they want to. It would be just different to actually hear about people that agree and disagree with the new telescope and get some answers such as “why are these people opposing to a new telescope even though it’s not the first one put up there?” or “do people still consider Mauna Kea a sacred place, and is this the reason they don’t want the new telescope?”

Overall, this was a very good day for us that helped us develop a much better idea around Hawaiian culture, language, and identity.


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Immersion School & Imiloa Center

I’m so glad that we got to have the experience that we did at the University of Hawaii Immersion School today. It was really nice and welcoming that they all took the time to greet us with a chant and present us with leis. I have also been so interested in the language since we got here, so I was excited to have this day for the blog. I’ve been keeping a list of all the words I’ve learned in the front of my notebook and my roommate and I bought a book on the language last week. It is such a complex and beautiful language and it was cool to watch the students learning it in class today and speaking in totally fluent conversations.

I was in the 4th year class and appreciated them choosing three different students to talk to us about their story and experience with the language. I think it was also a very great experience for us to ask them questions about their culture and experiences and to have a chance to hear answers from some regular students around our age rather than experts or teachers of Hawaiian history, like we have been so far this trip and in the fall.

When answering our questions, they definitely backed up some of the things in the reading like agreeing with the differences in the native and neo language, the gap in the generations of Hawaiian pride and its recent surge for people in our generation, and the importance of the language connecting them to their culture (I liked a quote that one student said that the language “binds us our cultural identity”). I do wish that we had had some time to have a little lesson and learn a couple words or phrases.

Our experience at the Imiloa Center wasn’t quite as moving as the school and felt a little bit disconnected from our course. Some people were saying that they didn’t like the way that our guide went about teaching us the information, but I didn’t have a problem with the way that he spoke to us or what he talked about. I think since their focus is mainly science, he was really just explaining the physical nature of the island, some information about astrology and the work they do from the observatories, and really was just focusing on the physical and more concrete connections that Hawaii has with the rest of the world. But even though we didn’t get to learn much about the museum itself, I liked the way it was set up and actually really enjoyed the content and how it was all presented.

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Volcano Hike

Before even making it to the volcano on the day of the hike, I was able to get insight into the power and interest in the site from a waitress at Ken’s House of Pancakes. Last night, a large group of us went there for dinner, and she asked what we had planned during our visit and we told her we were visiting Kilauea. Annie asked the waitress if she believed in Pele or had any experiences with her since we had been reading about many different instances of Pele sightings. She told us that Pele and the volcano was essentially the reason she moved to Hawai’i. She was visiting a friend back in May, and they hiked parts of the volcano, and she felt very connected to it and found the whole experience very peaceful and relaxing. She quit her job in California and has been living full time in Hawai’i since, and told us she frequently visits and hikes the volcano as her own relaxation and meditation. While she did not expand on her experience with Pele, it is clear that she, like many others, feels a strong connection to this land.

The hike we took through the park surrounding Halema’uma’u and the surrounding caldera was incredibly interesting and I really enjoyed the story that our guide told us as we hiked. This story connected Pele, her family, and her lover to the Hawaiian islands and taught us some of the many important reasons for sharing stories like these. Much like both of our readings, this tale was a caution about the wrath of Pele and how people should avoid angering her in any way. Beyond that, it told us about the connections between the islands, the importance of family and loyalty, and how these gods and goddesses have played such an important role in the formation and continual changes of the lands that we see in the past and present. As the readings, the video prior to the tour, and our guide told us, Pele is considered responsible for the continual growth of the island of Hawai’i as lava and the ocean combine to form new land mass.


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Today, we met Noah who recounted the story of Pele to us while hiking to see Halema’uma’u, Pele’s home. I found the story Noah told us to be very interesting. But in the back of my mind, I remembered reading in the interview with Jamaica Osorio about how she found out that Pele’s sister Hi’iaka was queer. In that piece, Jamaica spoke briefly about the politics behind “allowing” the queerness of Hi’iaka to live on in today’s stories, or at least that’s how I interpreted it. Then, in reading the shorter Pele article, it said, “Pele promised to contain her fires and lava flows so as not to burn a grove of flowering ohi’a trees where Hi’iaka danced with her friend Hopoe” (page 2). As soon as I read that, my first thought was that Hopoe was Hi’iaka’s lover, but because of negative feelings toward the gay community, they just decided to make them “friends” because a goddess could never be gay.  So when Noah said that some accounts say that my assumption was correct, I was hyper aware of the possible politics that were playing out to silence the queerness.

In the longer Pele piece, many tales are told of bad things that happen to those who disturb her home and take things from her. I remember reading about how the national park would receive packages of lava rocks with notes saying things like “please return this to Pele in a proper manner.” When we were at the Bishop Museum, Bill told us that he used to work in the post office and he saw those packages come in weekly, asking for them to be returned to Pele because bad things were happening to them.

I thought one of the most interesting parts of the day was being able to connect the story with what we were seeing. For example, Noah told us about how Hi’iaka was stomping so hard so that the crater would eventually fall into the ocean; then, he pointed out each “step” and very distinct layer of the crater. It was so cool to basically witness creation since this was an active volcano, and more and more land is being added to the Big Island every day because of its activity. In the video, they said that another island is in the process of being born, so who knows when that will happen. It was such an amazing thing to witness.

We talked about themes in the Pele story as the hike finished up. One that stuck out to me was the importance of family. And because I love Jamaica so much, I thought of her again. I thought about how she said that one way to combat the white supremacy narrative is to remember your genealogy and your roots. Remember where you came from, basically. And I’m seeing that family in general is a big part of the Hawai’ian identity, whether you’re a goddess or a scholar or any other Hawai’ian.

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Sacred Land

To me, the most interesting aspect of working at the Waipā Foundation was learning about the gifting culture and its effects on natural and economic sustainability. I thought it tied in well with our discussions later in the day at the sacred grounds, considering the discussion of the Waipa Valley as being one of such revered places. Our work in the fields was the first time since arriving here that I felt I was truly engaging in the spirit of Aloha Eina. I was astounded by the eventual size of the Uru tree, and excited to know that its eventual beauty was something we had worked to preserve and create.

The farmer’s market and overall culture at Waipa was inspiring. These micro-societies which (somewhat) overturn capitalist dominator culture in favor of sustainability and respect for life, love, and land resonate deeply with me. As I interacted with farmers and dogs and artists at the market, the philosophy of Aloha Eina became much more clear to me. In meeting these people, several of whom have uprooted their lives to move to Hawai’i in pursuit of a simpler way, I felt a deep sense of home that is often foreign to me. Finally escaping the relative unreality of Waikiki afforded me a glimpse at the possibilities of island life, and I was touched more than I expected.

This pattern of respect for and interaction with sacred land raises many questions. In a land that has, in many ways, lost its religion, how does a modern Hawai’ian interact with their surroundings in the “right” way? Sacredness is decided by cultures and religions, both of which are deeply rooted in language; so, in a nation which lost its language for so long, how does one determine what is still sacred? Clearly, Josh and Pu’a still find great value in respecting quasi-ancient sites, and chanting in the native tongue in order to better connect themselves to their ancestors. As the Ava nectar connects one to their peers, the language of sacredness can connect and modern Hawai’ian to their unknown history.

Again arises an underlying theme: connection, in various forms. Jamaica and Jon Osorio find connection to each other and to their nation in the music they create; Josh and Pu’a harvest their Taro to maintain the sustenance of the past generations, recalling the era before 90% of Hawai’i’s food were imported. As Dole Fruit profits still from a stolen nation and a head-locked economy, these natives recognize their responsibility to maintain Hawai’ian sovereignty, even in something as trivial yet integral as food. They have learned that the more independent Hawai’i can be from the rest of the world in terms of economics and resources, the better they can organize their efforts to recreate their education system and cultural integrity. Waipa’s efforts to educate natives and foreigners alike in the art of tending valuable land will surely play a major part in the resurgence of the true Hawai’ian way. Perhaps, as a figure head, Waipa can lead the nation, if not just Kaua’i, in the effort to return to a status quo of cultivation, giving, appreciation, and love for the land.

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