[W]hile Kanaka Maoli have continued to protest the overthrow of our government in 1893, the subsequent annexation to the United States in 1898, and all threats to Kanaka Maoli land tenure, gathering rights, and related issues since then and have written extensively in the Hawaiian language, in English, and in HCE [Hawai'i Creole English] about these issues from that time to this, there is no significant literature written by Asian or haole settlers that supports Kanaka Maoli claims, which run deeper than saccharine sentiment and fond recollection for the ‘good old (plantation) days.’
—  ku’ualoha ho’omanawanui, “‘This Land Is Your Land, This Land Was My Land’: Kanaka Maoli versus Settler Representations of ‘Aina in Contemporary Literature of Hawai’i” in Asian Settler Colonialism (122)

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.
Hawai'i and Native Hawaiians - What You May Not Know
The relationship between the United States, the State of Hawai'i, and Native Hawaiians is a complicated one that many people may not understand. Also, watch a video tribute to Queen Lili'uokalani.

A few facts on Hawai’i and its people:

  • Hawaiians are not named for the state (think Californians, New Yorkers, Texans, and so forth). Unlike the aforementioned groups of people, the state of Hawai'i is actually named for the people, and not vice versa.

  • The Hawaiian language was banned at one point. Children were punished in school for speaking Hawaiian and those who spoke Hawaiian in the home were looked down on.

  • Native Hawaiians, are also known as kanaka maoli

  • Hawai'i (the collection of islands) had formed an independent and soveriegn nation and traded

  • On January 17, 1893, an illegal overthrow of Hawai’i’s government took place.

  • European visitors were reportedly astounded that in Hawai’i, the common man was taught the same sorts of things that only European elite of the time were entitled to learn.

  • Native Hawaiians are rebuilding their culture

  • In 1987, instruction in the Native Hawaiian language began again in public schools. Today there are 21 public Hawaiian immersion schools in the state of Hawai'i. Students are of diverse races who choose to be educated in all subjects in the Hawaiian language.

  • Native Hawaiians continue their quest to regain self-governance in some form, and rightful compensation for the illegal overthrow and a nation lost.

“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’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.


Hawaiian selfie train let’s go!

No “from Hawai’i but not Hawaiian” ppl please. Also, even if you’re white-passing, or you feel like you don’t “look Hawaiian”, or you have even 1/1000th Hawaiian in you, please participate! The point of this selfie train is to show people that na kanaka maoli come in all different shapes and sizes. All Hawaiians are welcome!

So this admittedly symbolic usage of “hapa” by Asian Americans feels to many native Hawai'ians like the appropriation of land and culture perpetrated by all Hawai'ian settlers and colonizers. Further, that mixed race Asian Americans appropriated a word to find their own power is an item of their own blissful ignorance … and privilege. As Dariotis points out in her article, Asian Americans appropriated “hapa” because it had no negative connotations for Asian Americans. But that was because the word arose out of a colonizing situation between Europeans and native Hawai'ians. The fact that Asian Americans saw no negative connotations in the word had to do with the fact that in this colonizing situation, Asian Americans played a helping role on the side of the colonizers. That’s about as ironic as it gets.

 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

(Feel free to check out these images on SDC’s Instagram page!)

Our Sea of Islands is a zine written for and by Pacific Islanders. The purpose of this zine is to bring focus to Islanders as autonomous indigenous peoples, away from the API (Asian-Pacific Islander) social rubric, to highlight our intersectional identities within our contemporary realities.

(Read It Here)

Profile Interview: Janet Mock

Make sure to check out Janet’s new show #SoPOPular on MSNBC!

(Image description: A picture of Janet Mock, an African American & Native Hawaiian trans woman with curly brown hair, accented with blond highlights. She is wearing a shiny, shimmery top and is half smiling into the camera.) 

Introduce yourself! Who are you? What should we call you?

I am Janet Mock. I am a writer. I wrote the memoir Redefining Realness, which is my story of growing up as a young trans girl of colour in Honolulu, Hawaii. I am a media maker. I have my own show, called So POPular!, on MSNBC’s new digital network and it discusses the intersections of popular culture, art, entertainment, community and what it says about identity and where we’re going. People would say that my writing is a form of activism, though I wouldn’t call myself an activist. I am proud that my writing has resonated with people and has hopefully taught people and helped them to see themselves. I think as a storyteller, that is the greatest reward – when people say they’ve seen themselves, they’ve felt something or learned something through your words and your story.

How do you identify in terms of gender, sexuality, gender expression, etc?

I identify as a trans woman. I identify as Janet. I identify as Aaron’s fiancée. I identify as my cockapoo Cleo’s mother. I also identify as “biracial”, though I don’t really necessarily use that terminology. I identify as an African-American and an Indigenous Hawaiian/Kanaka Maoli person.

What are your personal pronouns?

She, her, hers.

Keep reading


Hi guys,

So I just recently got a job as a teacher’s aide at the Pūnana Leo preschool on my island and I just wanted to share why these preschools are so important and the impact they had in the Hawaiian community. 

With less then 80 fluent speakers under the age of 18 in the 1970s a renaissance of Hawaiian culture and politics in the 1970s brought a new focus to the topic of the revitalization of the Hawaiian language. Among its many consequences was the reestablishment of Hawaiian as an official language by a state constitutional convention in 1978, as part of a recognition of the cultural and linguistic rights of the people of Hawaii. Thus the first preschool opened in 1984 in Kekaha, Kaua'i but their was still a law banning the teaching of/in Hawaiian language in a school system in Hawai'i until the law was over turned in 1986.

With the opening of the Pūnana Leo preschool’s around Hawai'i their was a need to further the Hawaiian Language learning and not just stop it after preschool. Hence the beginning of the Hawaiian Language immersion program in schools that taught Hawaiian from grade K-12. The Pūnana Leo organization has provided the foundation for the reestablishment of a Hawaiian-language educational system which also includes doctoral-level programs in the language, a Language that was on the verge of extinction.

The first-ever class of Pūnana Leo students graduated from high school in 1999, and in 2002 the Hilo campus of the University of Hawaii awarded the first master’s degree completed entirely in the Hawaiian language. As of 2006, there were a total of 11 Pūnana Leo preschools, with locations on five of the Hawaiian islands: Hawai‘i, Maui, Moloka‘i, O‘ahu and Kaua‘i 

Ke Kai a Kahulumanu. The tsunami, of water perhaps? Of her raging magma perhaps? Eating, burning, and reforming everything in her path. Magma so furious it moved like the over swells of the ocean. #Hawaii #hnmop #hawaiian #kanaka #maoli #hula #island #home #paradise #luckywelivehawaii #hilife #culture #tradition #beauty #olapa #kumu #kumuhula #merriemonarch #mm2105 📷: @manamagazine

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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.


VIDEOS & NEWS REPORT: Indigenous Hawaiian Activists Block Illegal Construction on Sacred Mountain, Mauna Kea

Decolonization in action.


Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. wearing a Lei at Selma, 1965

“In Oceania, we give lei for many different occasions, usually to mark the significance of the event and the person wearing it, no matter how small the celebration or encounter. It matters profoundly that Reverend Abraham Akaka, then Kahu of Kawaiahaʻo Church in Honolulu sent these lei to Selma as an example of the significance of the event and of the marchers. But, this relationship did not occur out of thin air. Reverend Akaka and Dr. King already knew each other, presumably as two preachers seeking justice and because Dr. King visited Hawaiʻi on September 17, 1959, less than a month after Hawaiʻi transformed from a territory to a “state”.

Reverend Akaka is also known for giving a famous sermon following the passage of the Hawaiʻi Admission Act, proclaiming that Hawaiʻi’s gift to the world is the “spirit of aloha.” Yet Hawaiʻi statehood was largely motivated by haole and Asian settlers who aspired to middle class U.S. citizenship while Kanaka Maoli were dispossessed and silenced. Is this example of the journey to Hawaiʻi statehood really a “gift” given by Kanaka Maoli, or is it evidence of the power of capitalism? Would any of our ancestors, dispossessed of their lands, agree that illegal occupation motivated by capitalist greed is representative of aloha in any way?”

(Read More)