I am proud to be Hawaiian. My dad would tell my brother and I all of his old fishing stories, the beach, and his family. He told us how he would work for a pineapple plantation picking pineapples for pennies a day. That was his life, his stories of his home more than 40 years ago. His home is now my home, a small island in Hawaii called Lanai. He takes us to his parents place and there, they would share their ancient Hawaiian customs of hugs and kisses and delicious food. Our Ohana or family, with all my cousins, aunties, and uncles would all eat and laugh together. To be a Hawaiian is something to be very proud of. I will be happy to show what I learned from my family to my children one day.
It seems my dad had it good but then there were stories, when Hawaiians did not have it so good. In the early 18th century, Hawaiians were a very peaceful and loving race. They lived off the land and shared with their neighbors. Hawaiians are very smart navigating the great Pacific Ocean by using the stars. One day as my friend and I were walking home my friend said, “Can you believe it”? Lost at the sudden question I answered, “Believe what”? “We are Hawaiians”. I replied, “What you mean”? “We were a proud race and a strong people”. I agreed, “We were”. My friend didn’t even notice he said were. His attitude turned sour. Thinking back to 9th grade I reminded him of the overthrow of the Hawaiian Monarchy.
At the end of the 18th century the United States soldiers marched to Queen Liliuokalani’s home. We could only imagine what our Queen felt as warships pointed their cannons at the palace. Our queen wanted only what was best for the Maka’ai nana (common Hawaiian). She knew that the best thing for her people was to give up Hawaii. The land, the people, the pain and tears that were suffered as the Hawaiians rule over their own home fell. The land was taken and the people who had no form of currency had to pay taxes. Hawaiians lived off the land, but they did not own any land so they were forced to work for foreigners.
My friend asked me a question I cannot answer till this day, “How can you just watch as they take everything away”? They even took the Hawaiian language away. My grandpa went to school and had to learn English because they would have been punished if they spoke Hawaiian in class. My grandpa would tell us stories of how they had to go fishing often to help his brothers and sisters with food because his mom and dad did not get paid enough to support the whole family. The suffering Hawaiians went through after the overthrow hurt and till this day some Hawaiians are in pain and struggling.
Homeless in Hawaii is increasing, and a big percentage of those homeless is Hawaiian. You will see millionaires having private property and big houses. Unfortunately those are not Hawaiians. As my family drove along beaches on the big island we soon noticed all the Hawaiians living on the beaches, my dad couldn’t say anything, but felt pity. It seems Hawaiians were strangers on their own homeland. The only thing left for us Hawaiians is our pride. That is something no one can take away from you. Small Hawaiian Sovereignty groups have spread out across Hawaii with one thing on their mind; they wish to stop the destruction of the land for the construction of hotels, and stop, the Hawaiians from going homeless. One of those sovereignty groups said, “We are a dying race”. Ea, or Hawaiian sovereignty, is what they said as hundreds of Hawaiians marched to the mayors office. Ea is what they said to those who taken Hawaii away from my queen, and that is what I say. I believe in the struggle for Hawaiian Sovereignty. I Will continue to live my Hawaiian lifestyle and make we survive. “Ea”!
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