Willson Stamper | Portrait of Edith Kanakaʻole (1980)

Aunty Edith Kanakaʻole (1913 - 1979) was born in Honomu, Hawaiʻi. Fluent in Hawaiian and English, she became a Hawaiiana instructor at the University of Hawaiʻi at Hilo and wrote the history of the Hawaiian renaissance in her native tongue. Under her training, many within her family and hundreds of students learned hula and chant. More than a dozen of her descendants have become distinguished Hawaiian language and culture educators.

It's 4th of July 2017

And I have a few reminders:

Mauna Kea is still under attack. The Peace Park is bullshit! Protect kanaka maoli land and beliefs! Hawaiian land in Hawaiian hands!

On that note, Hawaiian Kuleana lands are still stolen away from us. These are lands which have been passed down to families for generations. The only problem is haole require us to have land titles and we don’t because that’s a haole invention. So they steal the land in hushed court cases. Today. They steal the land today. Ok, maybe not today because the courts are closed, but tomorrow.

Hawaiian people are a very small population but they make up a disproportionately high number of arrests and homelessness. Hawaiian convicts are often shipped from the islands to the mainland where they often suffer a loss of culture and struggle to adjust, making rehabilitation more difficult.

Burning flags is a protected constitutional right that is often an integral part of anti-colonization protests. If it upsets you, remember that having our land stolen is pretty fucking upsetting to us.

Honestly, at all my other Polynesian siblings, you deserve autonomy and continued cultural renaissances. I understand if you trade it in for representation with the behemoths, but please consider how you will break free in the future.

[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.

—  Janet Mock

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. 


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.

Waterfall-draped mountains encircle Hanalei National Wildlife Refuge on the Hawaiian island of Kaua’i. The winding Hanalei River feeds wetlands that are home to five endangered water birds: the koloa maoli (Hawaiian duck), the ‘alae ke‘oke‘o (Hawaiian coot), the ‘alae‘ula (Hawaiian moorhen), the ae‘o (Hawaiian stilt), and the nēnē (Hawaiian goose). Photo by J. Waipa, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.


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!! 


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.

“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.”
Transgender Today: Kumu Hina
Worst of all was being called “māhū” - a Hawaiian word - because I didn't know its meaning.

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.

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.