Full disclosure before I get started. I am a native Hawaiian from the Big Island, I love my culture and take great pride in being Hawaiian.
I am not a Hawaiian practitioner, nor do I believe in all the ancient Hawaiian deities. I don’t even know if I believe in any kind of deity at all.
I enjoy all the ancient Hawaiian legends and the mo’olelo of the past. They are wonderful stories that allow us to use our imagination and creativity, especially small kid time. But many of those stories taught us valuable life lessons on how to live and how to be.
One of the biggest reasons why the Hawaiian people never had a written language is because there was never the need for it. There was never the need to have paperwork proving that anyone owned a piece of property (technically the land belonged to the Ali’i). We didn’t need it. We knew whose land was whose and we respected those unwritten rules.
Stories were passed on from generation to generation because keiki (children) were taught at a young age to respect their elders…they had the experience of life and therefore all the knowledge to live it well.
Having paperwork for everything was a very foreign concept.
It’s such a difficult concept to explain to people because it’s impossible for westerners to believe that this kind of trust and respect existed in the world…a world without ownership papers.
Was it perfect? Of course not. Did it work? Sure did….for many, many generations.
From the time of the illegal overthrow until around the 1950’s, the Hawaiian people stood at a crossroad.
Some of our kupuna held steadfast to the beliefs of our ancestors and continued to pass it down to the next generation. Some of our kupuna (like mine) made the change to a more American way of living.
My grandparents first language was Hawaiian, but they never taught it to my mom or her siblings because they believed the world was changing.
But even though many of our kupuna chose to move towards the American way of living, there were still many parts of their internal “Hawaiian-ness” that never left them and that naturally passed from generation to generation.
It’s difficult to put into words what this is, so I called a friend of mine who is well versed in Hawaiian culture and he explained it to me perfectly.
In the center of everything is our Aloha. It’s the way we treat everything around us. Not just how we treat other people but other living beings, our house, our wa’a (canoe) and everything else we touch. We treat it with Aloha.
It’s more than hello or goodbye or I love you. Aloha is a way of being.
He also shared that this passing down of Aloha from generation to generation is called ‘ike kupuna or knowledge of our ancestors. In other words, that Hawaiian-ness that was instilled in my grandparents, even though they went in a different direction, is also instilled in me. It’s like it’s part of my DNA.
I shared with him that while I’m not a Hawaiian practitioner in any way shape or form, deep down in my core, I still knew that the way they went in at 4 am to take down the Hale and the ‘aha was pilau (stink, rotten, foul). It wasn’t pono (to make right or the right way to do things).
He told me that it was ‘ike kupuna and he explained it like this.
Apple trees always produce apples. It doesn’t matter if you put a Hawaiian Flag on it or an American Flag on it. It doesn’t matter if you move the tree to another place. It will always produce apples.
For us who grew up as Kalo, even if we try to disguise ourselves as apples, we’re always gonna be kalo.
And this is why the Ige administration keeps screwing this up. Buggah no more ‘ike kupuna or aloha so that’s why he doesn’t understand what it means to be pono or to do things in a pono way.
Governor Ige, where are your advisors?
It’s really not hard. You sit down at the table and you have a discussion with the leaders. And I’m not talking about OHA or any State appointed group. I’m talking about the people that stay out in the cold day in and day out fighting for what they believe. You let them bring their own attorney and you guys talk story. Bring them to the table and have a real conversation.
And please no bogus open forums. Those are a waste of time. Have a real genuine discussion.
This kind where you do the shady deed and then have a press conference afterwards is a very cowardly way to act. Not pono at all. Excuse me if I offend anyone but it’s a very Haole way to act.
Look, I’m not saying that a discussion will come to a nice tidy agreement afterwards but at least have the discussion to see what kind of progress they can make. Do it right, Governor Ige.
If you don’t get anywhere with a discussion, then both sides are gonna do what’s gotta be done but at least you’ll have another perspective.
But unfortunately, until our governor grows a pair and has the guts to sit down with the people that he supposedly governs, we will never know what could have been.
Sorry, not sorry.
P.S. – This could have been much longer but I didn’t want to carry on.
The Hearbeat of the Big Island