[Bryan Kamaoli Kuwada] argues that ‘any time Hawaiians—or any other native people, for that matter—come out in force to push for more respect for our culture and language or to protect our places from this kind of destruction, we are dismissed as relics of the past, unable to hack it in the modern world with our antiquated traditions and practices.
David Malie, Science, Time, and Mauna a Wākea: The Thirty-Meter Telescope’s Capitalist-Colonialist Violence, Part II
What’s difficult about being from Hawaii is that everyone has a postcard view of your home. Hawaii lives vividly in people’s minds as nothing more than a weeklong vacation – a space of escape, fantasy and paradise. But Hawaii is much more than a tropical destination or a pretty movie backdrop — just as Aloha is way more than a greeting.
The ongoing appropriation and commercialization of all things Hawaiian only makes it clearer as to why it is inappropriate for those with no ties to Hawaii, its language, culture and people to invoke the Hawaiian language. This is uniquely true for aloha – a term that has been bastardized and diminished with its continual use.
Most who invoke the term aloha do not know its true meaning. Aloha actually comes from two Hawaiian words: Alo – which means the front of a person, the part of our bodies that we share and take in people. And Ha, which is our breath. When we are in each other’s presence with the front of our bodies, we are exchanging the breath of life. That’s Aloha.
I am so over people thinking that Leis look like this:
A lei takes hard time and vigorous work. We (Hawaiians) wake up at the crack of dawn to gather whats needed to make the lei that we want. It can take hours or days to make the leis and Hawaiian’s make leis with only good intentions and love because they believe that if you make a lei with malicious intent it will come out into the lei. There is many different ways to make leis and we also make leis from shells and feathers. It isn’t only Hawai'i that makes leis but throughout Polynesia fellow Polynesians make leis in their own style.
To call the above image a lei is disrespectful to my culture and I want that shit to stop. That isn’t a lei, the images in the photoset are leis.
In 1893, armed U.S. naval forces helped American sugar plantation owners illegally overthrow Hawaii’s constitutional monarchy. One hundred years later, the U.S. apologized and admitted in a resolution that Native Hawaiians had never relinquished their claims to sovereignty. Today, many Native Hawaiians continue to yearn for independence. One activist, Bumpy Kanahele, has even created his own village as a model for Hawaiian sovereignty. AJ+’s Dena Takruri reports on the Hawaiian fight for sovereignty.
I think I heard about this place a long time ago? I heard there was a lot of issues with the Sovereignty land because it works like a reservation/community that shouldn’t be applied to Hawaii because it’s not even apart of USA? I don’t know much, but I remember that… A great story nonetheless!!
There are endless costume ideas to choose from, so why would you choose costumes that enforce racist stereotypes? (Part 1)
For example, instead of dressing up in costumes that enforce stereotypes, can be neo-colonialistic, and fetishize racial/ethnic groups, dress up as something not racist, like Yoshi, a lava lamp, the Black Angry Bird, or a steel blue crayon.
Dressing up as other ethnicities enforces harmful stereotypes. More so, sexualized racial costumes result in racial fetishization, which helps lead to higher rates of rape and human trafficking. Dressing up as other ethnicities is racist. Using the culture of others as a costume is racist. Let’s #endracistcostumes
I’ve had to bust ass to be in this industry. Aquaman is especially cool because being a Kanaka Maoli—being Hawaiian—our Gods are Kanaloa and Maui, and the Earth is 71 percent water, so I get to represent that. And I’m someone who gets to represent all the islanders, not some blond-haired superhero. It’s cool that there’s a brown-skinned superhero.
The film [Niʻihau movie] “is particularly problematic in an age of Trumpian political warmongering with North Korea, with Hawaii as a potential nuclear target, and a potential ground zero for nuclear annihilation, especially if China gets involved.
This kind of careless, insensitive decision-making ― including the casting [decision] ― does not consider the real-world impacts on Native Hawaiians, Hawaii residents, and other peoples of color when we are not made visible as real people with a full range of human experiences and emotions.
Rather we are characters for white people to try on and mimic in their quest to fulfill their own ignorant, arrogant, incorrect fantasies about Native Hawaiians and other peoples of color.
My name is Hinaleimoana Kwai Kong Wong-Kalu, but most people call me Kumu Hina, meaning teacher Hina. I’m Kanaka Maoli, or native Hawaiian. I was born on these islands 43 years ago as my parents’ son, Collin, but in my twenties transitioned to become their daughter, Hinaleimoana, which means Hina encircling the sea.
All through school I was teased and put down for being a “sissy,” “faggot,” “queer,” and “homo.” Worst of all was being called “māhū” - a Hawaiian word - because I didn’t know its meaning. My teachers were no help, even at Kamehameha Schools, an institution founded by Princess Bernice Pauahi Bishop to educate young Hawaiians.
Today, at age 43, all that has changed.
I am a graduate of the Kamakūokalani School of Hawaiian Knowledge at the University of Hawai'i, fluent in Hawaiian and three other Polynesian languages, a cultural consultant for several organizations and corporations, appointed by the Governor to Chair the O'ahu Island Burial Council, and a respected teacher with 15 years of experience educating students in grades K-12 about our history, traditions and philosophy.
Most importantly, I understand the meaning of māhū: a Hawaiian term for those born “in the middle” who embody both kāne (male) and wahine (female) spirit. Prior to Western contact, Hawaiian society embraced māhū as caretakers, healers, and teachers of ancient tradition. But colonization and Christianity led to many changes, including turning māhū from an honorific to a derogatory term.
I’m fortunate to now be in a position where I can help restore māhū to its proper place as a word of pride, dignity and respect. In my school, I make sure that every student has a “place in the middle” where they are judged not by their gender but on their work and accomplishments. And I strive to ensure that amongst the many contributions of our Hawaiian ancestors that are taught in our classrooms, from the long voyages of our great navigators to the sustainable use of our lands, we include the Hawaiian understanding of aloha – love, honor and respect for all, including māhū.
Most Americans probably think that what Hawaii has to offer the world is sun, sand, pineapples and ukeleles. I hope this story, along with the recent PBS documentary about my life – KUMU HINA - will help change that. The world needs more aloha.
“Aquaman is especially cool,” says Momoa, “because, being a Kanaka Maoli—being Hawaiian—our Gods are Kanaloa and Maui, and the Earth is 71 percent water, so I get to represent that. And I’m someone who gets to represent all the islanders, not some blond-haired superhero. It’s cool that there’s a brown-skinned superhero.”
I am still evolving in my understanding of my gender identity. My story is not one of dysphoria, or a deep and certain understanding that I wasn’t who people said I was. My story is more along the lines of things just feeling off. And not really knowing things didn’t feel right because that uncomfortability was all I knew. Then suddenly I was introduced to the idea that I could be nonbinary and things just felt right and I finally understood what it was to be entirely in my body, what it was to be happy, to be thankful. I liken it to drinking salt water your whole life. If there is enough salt water for you to drink, you won’t die. Your thirst will never be quenched, and you won’t realize that your never ending thirst isn’t actually a necessary part of your life. You might not even realize that other people actually are satisfied and fulfilled after drinking water, because you don’t realize your saltwater is inherently different than their freshwater. Until one day something happens and you drink freshwater for the first time. And your whole world shifts. You are not unendingly thirsty anymore. You feel satisfied. You understand what it is to relax, to rest, to be comfortable. You never knew you needed fresh water. You didn’t know that you had only been getting salt water. You realize that other people had been feeling this satisfaction, this comfortability all along, that is why their lives seemed to fit them better. That is my story. The story of finally learning I needed freshwater.
OTHER IMPORTANT THINGS
white/white-passing trans folx: can we please do better for our trans people of color, especially dark black trans women? Let’s not fetishize them by focusing on how attractive they are to us. Let’s not only show the posts where they are murdered. They are human beings just like us and do not exist in the world for our pleasure or guilt. Let’s respect their agency.
able bodied trans folx: let us do better for our fellow disabled trabs folx. They are fucking valid and rarely if ever get representation. Let’s do better by not using them as inspiration porn. They are existing outside society’s narrow ideas of how people’s bodies and minds should be. They aren’t needing our pity or our comparisons. They need a platform from which to tell their stories. Let’s support their platform.
TLDR: trans folx please represent other trans folx who have different areas of marginalization than you. Trans representation and visibility is abysmal enough. Let’s continue to recognize the intersections and places in which we have privilege. The fight for trans rights are for ALL trans people.
* I definitely didn’t mention all areas of marginalization, I mentioned the two that I am most aware of my privilege in. Please feel free to add on or correct any mistakes I have made.
* for those trans folx who are not wanting or able to participate, you are in my thoughts today. You are not alone.
We need to remember: Native Hawaiian Culture > Local Culture
I see this all the time from locals when issues on Hawaiian culture arise, where we think just cause we grew up around da culture, we have any say in how it should or shouldn’t be used.
Lucky we live HI but it doesn’t make us free from harming Native Hawaiians. We who do not have Hawaiian in our bloodlines, are haole to these lands in its original meaning. Yes, Hawai’i is a much more loving place than most and I am so proud to be from Hawai’i, but we are not free of racism, neo-colonialism, etc, including against Hawaiians.
When local culture says one thing but Hawaiian says another, Hawaiian culture wins, because it is HAWAIIAN CULTURE. We as locals, haoles, cannot combat the feelings and lived word of Hawaiians. Ainokea if we grew up with one thing and all of a sudden they saying different. Such as with Hapa. Local culture says its anyone who is mixed with anything. I grew up around that, you grew up around that. But that is false. That is erasure of the true meaning of Hapa, of what the identity of Hapa was born out of, of the Hawaiian culture attached to it. You are not Hapa if you are not part-Hawaiian, no matter what local culture says.
Hawaiian culture always comes before local culture. Respect the culture and respect Native Hawaiians.
“I’ve had to bust ass to be in this industry. Aquaman is especially cool because being a Kanaka Maoli- being Hawaiian- our Gods are Kanaloa and Maui, and the Earth is 71 percent water, so I get to represent that. And I’m someone who gets to represent all the islanders, not some blond-haired superhero. It’s cool that there’s a brown skinned superhero.”
When sugar companies began clearing the fertile lowlands of Koholālele, like much of Hāmākua, in the mid to late 1800s, to make way for the expansion of sugarcane production on the island of Hawai‘i, a process of erasure commenced, which has endured to this day. On the ground, as acres of ‘āina, cultivated and cared for by ‘Ōiwi for generations, were clear-cut and planted over in cane, it was as if a rubber eraser had been taken to a significant number of pages in the book of Hawai‘i island’s history. Erasure—the process of completely removing something from existence or memory—however, does not occur instantly. It occurs over generations, on the ‘āina and in the minds of a people, as communities or nations are dismembered, and as people and their mo‘olelo are displaced from the ‘āina of their origins.
While this genealogy of erasure has persisted in different forms for nearly six generations in Koholālele, the faded words on those pages and the stead-fast roots of the many native trees that were felled over a century ago remain unyielding and firmly fixed in their proper place in time and space. As I weave together this short mo‘olelo in the coming pages, it is this history of resilience that I intend to highlight. This a not a mo‘olelo of erasure. Rather, in writing this mo‘olelo I hope to begin to cultivate, in current and future generations, a consciousness critically aware of the ways in which processes of erasure are questioned, resisted, and overcome.
‘O Koholālele, He ‘Āina, He Kanaka, He I‘a Nui Nona ka Lā: Re-membering Knowledge of Place in Koholālele, Hāmākua, Hawai‘i by Leon No‘eau Peralto
Friendly reminder: Filipinos (& other South East Asians) are NOT Pacific Islanders
Why? It’s fairly simple.The Pacific Islands is a broad geographical area made up of three regions. The largest, Polynesia, then Melanesia and Micronesia to the north. The Philippines/Indonesia etc are NOT APART OF ANY OF THESE REGIONS.
The Pacific Islands are apart of Oceania and consist of:
Aotearoa(New Zealand), Hawai'i, Fiji, Rotuma, Tonga, Papua New Guinea, Guam, Palau, Nauru, Rapa Nui (Easter Island), Yap, Samoa, Tahiti, New Caledonia, Cook Islands, American Samoa, Kiribati, West Guinea, Niue, Marshall Islands, Palau, Tuvalu, Tokelau, Solomon Islands, Wallis and Futuna, Caroline Islands and Vanuatu.
Note how the Philippines aren’t mentioned anywhere in this list. Furthermore, the region(or continent if you will) of Oceania includes Australia and the Australian Aboriginals, whom are related to the other Oceanians
The Philippines are geographically located in Asia (specifically South East Asia) , and the people are primarily Asian(of course, some mixed with European heritage due to colonisation and such ). It’s pretty much known worldwide that the Philippines are an Asian country but there’s always that select few who are ignorant to this. The Pacific Islands aren’t any of these, and the people are different as well, but I won’t delve into that today
I’ve seen a few too many Filipinos ‘claim’ to be Pacific Islanders, despite the fact that they simply aren’t. Many try to back up themselves with ‘its just my opinion’ and such. The thing is, you simply can’t just have an opinion on who you are in this aspect. It’s like a white person from Europe suddenly saying they’re purely of African descent, when they’re aren’t. They’re two different groups.
Unless you’re mixed with any native Islander blood from any of the islands mentioned in the above list, DO NOT ‘CLAIM’ TO BE A PACIFIC ISLANDER. An example of someone who is mixed Asian/Pacific Islander is Nicole Scherzinger, who is of Filipino(Asian), Native Hawai'ian(Polynesian Pacific Islander) (and also Ukrainian (European) descent). She is a Pacific Islander, because she has actual Pacific Islander blood
As a Pacific Islander myself, it is incredibly frustrating to see non Pasifika claiming to be one of us, when they simply are not. By doing so, you’re only erasing actual Pacific Islanders identities whether you realise it or not, and furthermore, disregarding your own Asian identity, you’re also just being factually ignorant. Asia in itself, is already a huge area, with tons of different people, cultures and traditions. Please, please, PLEASE don’t be that one person who erases the cultural identities of minorities.
I’m not trying to attack anyone here, particularly Filipinos who think they’re Pacific Islanders (and other people in general who claim to be something they’re not). But please, stop claiming to be something you’re not, and trying to cover it up with lame excuses. Please don’t be ignorant
Be proud of who you are, don’t be ignorant and claim a title that doesn’t belong to you. Embrace your heritage, be proud of you