DO YOU STEAL SOMETHING THAT'S NOT YOURS?
Hi guys. Something interesting just came up on my radar. As you maybe know I chose to study abroad and take my bachelor degree in mass communication at Hawaii pacific University. Coming here I did not know much about anything, especially not the Native Hawaiian Culture. I am now in the beginning of my third semester at HPU and for the first time I have been exposed to a documentary fully explaining the history of the Hawaiian Islands and how they became a part of the United States of America. One word: HOLY SHIT!
I have been told to be careful around the native population of the Hawaiian Islands because there may be some tension between the whites and the Native Hawaiians. Had I seen Act of War before coming to Hawaii I think I would have started of with prejudice of my encounters with the Native population. I think I would have been much more careful then what I have been. That being said, from my own experience I have been travelling several of the islands and only experienced aloha and hospitality.
The local population of Kauai, Oahu, Maui, Molokai and Lanai never asked me for anything in exchange for their love. I have been given mechanical help on my scooter; Tours in the jungle, Food from their land, story’s about their ancestors, advices on hikes and so much more. The feelings I now keep inside are of mixed origin. In The documentary there were three facts that I want to talk about.
The first fact is that the Hawaiian native population was reduced from 1 million people to 44.000 people in less then a century from it´s discovery in 1778 to the late 1800’s. Alongside with the population decrease missionaries were trying to convert the religion of the Native Hawaiian people which led to a lot of change in the Hawaiian society.
Secondly the Native Hawaiian population never used the concept of “My land and your land”. In Hawaii people saw the land as they saw the air and water. It was for everybody to enjoy and nourish of. Unfortunately with the cultural influence of western society’s the Chief’s of Hawaii soon had to accept the idea of owned land in order to not loos what was rightfully theirs. By the time they realized what was going on the western society had already got its foothold in Honolulu, and was not going to let it slip away. Actually they wanted more, which leads us into my third fact.
The Hawaiian Nation ruled by King Kamehameha and later Queen Liliuokalani never wanted to enter the Untied States Of America. As a mater of fact they never wanted anything else then to govern and rule their own land in peace with rest of the world. The Hawaiian nation was never hostile to anyone, and had peace treaties with the major powers of the world. Before the overthrowing of Queen Liliuokalani in 1893 the kingdom of Hawaii were more than open to ideas and economically growth. The question remains: What would Hawaii have been like if had been allowed to rule itself?
Though it is impossible to predict, in my opinion I think the answer to that question can be divided into two different answers. One being that Hawaii would have been a better place for Native Hawaiians to live. This is because they never wanted any big city’s, industrialisation or fast food stores as the Americans brought with them. The Hawaiians could have chosen in their own pace how things should have been done, which is where I believe they are feeling left out. Someone else has been doing the choices for them.
The second one being that Hawaii would not have been the ideal place for Americans to settle down because under American jurisdiction, Hawaii is defiantly influenced and tailored to fit the American way of life. It’s hard to say whiter or not Hawaii would have been a popular touristy location. Al I can say is that based on my encounters with the local population, I believe the Aloha would be just as strong no matter the outcome.
"Aloha is for everybody, so let’s keep it going." - Unknown surfer, Ala Moana Bowls.