This is the one story that I've been struggling to tell, More to the point, it's the one piece that I've been painfully trying to shrink to website-size. It is the incredibly exciting story of the Native Hawaiians cohering into a formidable traditional nation - and reclaiming the culture (the world) that was stolen first by Calvinist missionaries, next by their sugar cane baron sons, and finally by Capitalism and it's off-spring tourism - the rape of indigenous peoples across this earth. And now, the kanaka maoli - the aboriginal Hawaiian people - are re-discovering that which unites them. In the face of laws they never wrote and lawsuits by the occupiers, these people emerge to re-claim a nation. But there are divisions. It is within those divisions that I struggle to explain the fullness of this story.
The truth of this story - political, spiritual, cultural, emotional - is as complex and layered and multi-dimensional as the people who make up this nation. I realized that I cannot - alone, and in the Ever Changing Page parameter - do this serious discussion justice. Then I discovered that someone else had done this for me. Therefore, for the first time ever on these pages, I am going to refer my loyal readers to another writer's words. And those words - fair warning - are far more than my three to four page limit.
But - in keeping with the nature of these Ever changing Pages - 'Iokepa Hanalei 'Imaikalani offers a cultural prologue to the more political story. Where the story speaks of a divided people; 'Iokepa insists on describing the history that explains the divisions.
"First they outlawed our spiritual and cultural rights. Next they took away our food supply - their "No Trespassing" signs closed off our hunting and gathering, our fishing rights. Then they shamed us; they treated us like children...and they still do. Now the token Hawaiian stands in the corner, smiles, and says "Aloha" on cue.
"So when we see Hawaiians acting confused or even silly now, it is because they've taken away our education-through-community - and that has nothing to do with books, and everything to do with what our kupuna (elders) handed down.
"Some of our Hawaiians are floating, lost, in a huge ocean that we no longer recognize - that is not of our making. They are no longer swimming purposefully from place to place. But there is are new generations of kanaka maoli - and we are insisting on the return of what has always been ours. "
And with 'Iokepa's grounding words, I now refer you to the British Broadcasting Company.