Does Hawai'i have a place in America?
Does Hawai'i have a place in America? That is the better question. Positively there is a place for her in America's history, but what about the present and the future.
I first need to qualify myself before I give you my opinion. That is the Hawaiian way. Who you are is the first and most important thing in the culture. For the sake of Helium's rules I will not include my name. I am not of Hawaiian ancestry. I am, however, tied forever in my heart, my thoughts, and in my language to the Hawaiian culture, people, and aina. I moved to Hawai'i in 1979 when I was 6 years old. I married a kanaka maoli, and have chosen to raise our children immersed in the native tongue and culture. Hawai'i will ALWAYS be my home, and thus I need to have an opinion on her present and her future.
I do not believe Hawai'i was ever legitimately made a State or territory of the United States of America. The injustice done to Hawai'i and her people sent a ripple through time. Many have gone on and ignored it, some acknowledge it but do nothing about it, or think they cannot do anything, and yet others have chosen to set things right the best way they know how. Some I am sure are out to gain personally from the mistakes of the past, some are trying to gain politically, and yet there are some whose only hope is to restore some of what was stolen and recover some of what was lost.
Hawai'i has been recognized by the USA as a State for many years now. So even though she is not legally one, she has assumed the identity of one in the eye of most Americans. Rumbling under the surface of her youthful land and rolling beneath the tides of her ancient sea has been the quite heartbeat of her people. They did not forget. They did not lose sight of who they were. In the 1980's her heartbeat got loud enough that it could be heard over the Star - Spangled Banner. "Let my people free," was the cry.
The problem is that the people don't know the ways of the ancients anymore, and many aren't willing to change. Even if the ancient ways were known, they wouldn't be the same in today's world. The culture and language would have changed with time as all do. The difference is that it would still be Hawaiian, and not American. Many have chosen to start by restoring the ancient and then let it begin it natural change. Others fight to keep the ancient just the way it is. Yet others want no change at all, just identity as a Hawaiian Nation.
So..... where is Hawai'i's place in America? I believe her place is a reminder of a great injustice, a scar of shame on the American flag; the 50th star that doesn't belong; and hopefully the first star to be removed. She needs her own national identity, and is owed many years of restitutional pay to the government that needs to arise out of the native people in a democratic way. I will be there to vote if I am allowed as kama'aina with out koko, and if I am not allowed my husband and children will be.
E ola mau ke ea o ka aina i ka pono
A good start would be to make all public schools bi-lingual, teaching every child the native language, and making all signage in both languages! The language is the lifeline to the culture.