Confronting the haole attitude towards aloha ‘āina


Hāloa Cover by Solomon Enos


I will start off by saying I’m not indigenous to the islands, I’m not born and raised in Hawai‘i, I’m not even residing there right now, but on the pro-TMT side, it is those that are as well neither Kanaka Maoli nor long-term residents of Hawai‘i, who are the most self-righteous in their arguments for the construction. There is a certain fact they have no respect for or just refuse to understand.

I want to talk about the haole attitude in the pro-TMT debate. Take a look at the racist e-mail and non-apologies that came out of UC Berkeley and the astronomy community, defending their usually so harmless science as the sudden “bad guy” in this debate, when all they want is to see light years away to find the earth’s origins. In doing so, they silence the voice of Hawaiians, who state their origins from the coming together of the Earth Mother Papahānaumoku and the Sky Father Wākea as their first-born Mauna Kea. I want to talk about those who believe this is about going “back to the roots” and doing away with all technology, those who scoff at the mention of “sacred” and “spiritual”, and interpret it as “anti-science” and “anti-progress” to make a mockery of it.

It’s a blatant disrespect of Hawaiian beliefs. The desecration of Mauna Kea, when cultural practitioners and other protectors of the mauna have called it such, is further denial of the voice of a nation that has been oppressed by colonizers for over a century. Non-Kānaka Maoli are in no position to be laying any claim on these lands and what is to happen with them, while denying Hawaiian cultural expression and measuring it as of lesser value. This also isn’t a debate for “local” settlers, Asian and white, to take part in, if the only thing they have to say is that Hawaiian cultural beliefs don’t factor into this. They aren’t the ones who have ancestral ties to the land that is being desecrated. Questioning the verity of “sacredness” and describing the protectors as superstitious quacks, or comparing them to religious anti-science climate change deniers, comes from a place of cultural insensitivity, intolerance, and ignorance.

There is no separating the TMT construction, sovereignty, and Hawaiian cultural beliefs. The culture and the people are all a part of the ‘āina, and the rightful indigenous custodians of the land have been replaced by American legalities*. Consequently, calls for decolonization of the land, of the people, of the mind, are all a part of this. This means that no matter how many generations settler colonists have been living in Hawai‘i, this is about the people who were there first and who have had their homelands taken away from them and their rights denied.

Here, I focus on the cultural oppression and erasure that came from it. Ethnocide, as it’s been called in these circumstances, which is fortunately on its way to being reversed since Hawaiian Renaissance in the 1970s. Hula was restricted, and is now a great attraction as the Merrie Monarch shows, but also a cultural practice of story-telling. ‘Ōlelo Hawai‘i was banned, and now immersion schools have led to more recent generations of Native Hawaiians fluent in it, and it is no longer feared to be an endangered language if this continues. Previous generations given Christian first names and Hawaiian second names are now being called by their Hawaiian names. A hale was built on the mauna by the protectors, oli were chanted, hula was performed, the community of solidarity is still growing in strength and in numbers.

Yet there are debates on authenticity of culture, what is customary Hawaiian, what is an ahistorical claim of it or a contemporary adaptation. Paragraphs of more legalities if the assertions of Mauna Kea as a spiritual place are according to Hawaiian tradition or not. On top of that, just this week one of the arrested protectors was led off the stands in the courtroom for speaking the native language, an official language of the land. How is that perpetuating the life of the land in righteousness?


As I said, I’m not talking about only white people as haole, nor are settler communities given a pass, I specifically mean haole as an attitude: the disrespectful behaviour and attitude some bring towards Hawaiian culture and beliefs. If you’re a guest in a house, you take off your shoes, you don’t move around the furniture, (“It’s a metaphor”), is what the UHM student in the YouTube video explained to his physics professor in her pro-TMT lecture. I was surprised to find out that the physics professor had already spent over a decade at UHM, this Hawaiian place of learning that granted me my graduate degree. Much like I was surprised when in my first year in Hawai‘i, a friend who had lived there for more than five times as long, said she had never heard about Hawaiians being descended from kalo. How wasn’t that common knowledge by now? Because they weren’t taught this, or because they didn’t care?

I’m calling out those who walk in and do as they please and demand to be served as they believe their position necessitates, merely because their American passport lets them into Hawai‘i without passing through immigration. I’m calling out those who treat Pidgin as a lesser and uneducated English, or who complain about not understanding a statement if it includes one or two common Hawaiian words that they refuse to pronounce properly, when it’s not that clever to take pride in speaking only one language. I’m calling out those who act all horrified that they are treated with less privilege than they had grown accustomed to. I’m calling out those who want to make a case against “reverse racism” and “racial discrimination” according to American laws and what they deem is “equality”, because they are unaware of or don’t care about historical contexts of imperialism and illegal occupation.

I’m calling out those who have not yet learned to stop and listen, those who talk back to their elders and their hosts, those who have no humility in admitting they may not know everything and may not always be right. I’m calling out those who don’t know their place and lay claims on the land that is not theirs, because some signature on a piece of paper is given as proof.

Maybe I was lucky enough to not have been born white (or a man), so I never got “haole” yelled at me in Hawai‘i for simply my appearance. Then again, that’s the only time not being white (and a man) has ever been an advantage and would be considered lucky. As a newcomer to the islands, you’re more likely to be criticized as haole by someone for your behaviour, not just for your appearance. There’s a difference between stating the fact of being haole and the insult of being a fucking idiot haole. There’s a difference between born-and-raised local haole and those who complain about “racism”. Those that have spent enough time in Hawai‘i have learned to be more humble, they are born into or adjust to the local lifestyle with a sense of respect and humility.

But this isn’t about being “local” to the islands, this is about being sprung from the kalo and the earth. This is about defining oneself and one’s culture from the life of the land, the kama‘āina. The concept of cultural identity being tied to the land is shared with many indigenous cultures, and it’s also a concept that has many haole in disbelief over why relocation or paying for legal access to land isn’t considered a fair trade-off. It happens over and over worldwide for mining projects, the logging industry and other deforestation, or whatever is judged to be for the sake of “development”. Environmental factors play a role, but it’s often the hardest to explain the connection to the land that is lost. Ecological costs can be measured, but how do you quantify the spiritual loss of the land, the loss of one’s self?

This really isn’t the responsibility of Kānaka Maoli to have to explain to others. If it’s too difficult a concept for you to understand, you should have no say in this matter. If you do understand, you respectfully accept that there is no fair trade-off to be argued over.


What is my personal concern to this debate? My piko wasn’t brought to Lake Waiau, my kūpuna haven’t been going up Mauna Kea to pule for generations, my genealogy isn’t connected to the Hawaiian Islands in any way. I’m speaking up, because for all the complaints I have heard about “reverse racism” and how unwelcoming Hawaiians and locals are, I have to disagree. Hawai‘i is in fact the only place I have lived in, out of more than half a dozen on several continents, where I could feel most welcome.

Those arguing that Hawaiian belief in the sacredness of Mauna Kea is irrelevant or outlandish, are the same people that have argued with me about perceiving racism in Hawai‘i and that then go and make statements that insult the host culture:

If Hawai‘i had never been colonized or would become independent now, what about all the development that has benefitted Hawaiians or they’d be living like those other islands, yes, of course, even the homeless Hawaiians are far happier than any child in the Congo could be, thanks to the money and progress the Americans have brought.

This was said to me in the person’s unyielding conviction that he was in fact talking to a Native Hawaiian, as much as I argued that no, I wasn’t.

Attitudes like this are given a voice at UHM, especially in the sciences. They have deliberately talked down to me being certain I was Hawaiian, and have made this my concern as well. If it’s all in the name of bettering the education of Native Hawaiian students, as they are now saying repeatedly, it won’t work by rejecting Hawaiian philosophies and calling them “anti-science” to promote their cause. Wouldn’t the money be much better put to use in Hawai‘inuiakea, if it’s really supposed to benefit the education and future generations of Kānaka Maoli, rather than in the astronomy research of a consortium of outside schools and associations.

There is solidarity with the Mauna Kea protectors from Native Americans and other indigenous peoples. Solidarity and support from local settlers, other residents, and visitors, and perhaps some who may have had no previous links to Hawai‘i. This movement to stop the TMT isn’t only “a horde of native Hawaiians who are lying about the impact of the project”, as high-profile astronomers Sandy Faber and Alexei Filippenko would have liked their colleagues to believe.

Exactly 12 time zones away I sit here writing/posting/re-sharing pictures/articles/e-mails on #WeAreMaunaKea. Those who say it’s only a few (violent) dissenters are obviously ignoring the petitions with over 50k signatures or the social media discussion groups with over 15k in attendance.

There is global support, even if it’s simply spreading awareness with hashtag selfies, or posting leaked racist e-mails on social media, or assisting in writing press releases to other activists and international news outlets to counter the local media bias. So then others on the ground can immediately launch retaliatory e-mails and demand explanations for condescending remarks, organize meetings and sign-waving protests, testify before OHA against the lack of support in these Hawaiian affairs, come together and build ahu at the “Hawaiian place of learning” that approved this project, and physically stand in the protection of Mauna Kea.

* A commenter below noted this would be more appropriate as: “the rightful indigenous custodians of the land have been replaced by American illegalities”

Karin Louise Hermes has an M.A. in Pacific Islands Studies from the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa with a focus on cultural identities and national consciousness.

55 responses to “Confronting the haole attitude towards aloha ‘āina

  1. If the only way you ever experienced the word haole is in a negitive context, you need to check yourself. Do you act in a way that would fit that use of the word?


  2. A little history lesson for native Hawaiians. Hawaii was first settled by the Marquesans around 300 ad. Later Tahitians came, conquered, and enslaved them. Even went as far as to make them into a slave race forever after. Be glad it didn’t happen to you.


    • First off the history of the foreigner or poohaole is wrong. Our kumulipo places us coming from the sea and the coral and as much as you may want to deny this this creation that is also proves evolution, this historical fact is proofed by western science and is how the three first human genome patents owe their research, period fact.


  3. “In doing so, they silence the voice of Hawaiians, who state their origins from the coming together of the Earth Mother Papahānaumoku and the Sky Father Wākea as their first-born Mauna Kea.”

    You must be referring only to the Hawaiians who are not familiar with the theory of evolution and the African origin of homo sapiens. You know, the uneducated and uninformed ones who have the most to gain from science education.

    I know you haoles like to expect a much lower standard of intelligence for Hawaiians, but I can promise you that not all of us believe in stories and myths. Some of us have a good grasp of science. Some of us are aware of the fact that Hawaiians didn’t originate from Hawaii or “Mauna a Wakea” or whatever the hell you’re talking about. Some of us know that Polynesians sailed to Hawaii. We’re not all dummies.


  4. I have very very rarely heard anyone use the word haole without their being a spike of hatred or underpinning of racism.

    That goes for writers and settlers who adopt it, not just folk with a Kanaka quantium.

    Users can try justify or bluff it over to others or inside their brain, as intending the old-time meaning of breathless, which is no compliment anyway and an ignorant way to describe a human. I get the intent as it’s used then and now and it’s not aligned with what I understand of aloha ‘aina.


    • It actually means foreigner as well and is not exclusive to your narrow definition as an outsider of a foreign population. In English you use the word foreigner. In Hawaiian we use the word Haole. There is no other word for that concept. It is also used in context as a racial slur but not exclusive to these to uses either and these are facts not justifications and the bottom line is you do not define my mother tongue and language nothing is more racist than that entitled act of a white person feeling they know my language better than me. Shame on you. For your racist entitlement you wield with arrogance and for telling me what my language means. I will tell you. Here are a number of the multitudes of the NON racist use of the word Haole and we will not change our language to accommodate your ignorance nor your perceived entitlement to say what you just did. If you have a problem with the wide breadth of meaning and use of the word haole than the racism is yours to work out. If it is intended as a racial slur it will be indicated by clear verbal markers that surely you are ignorant of and no you do not get to tell another foreigner whether they can use MY language. Who exactly do you think you are that you have that entitlement? Oh wait I just remembered your avatar… Here they are some can be considered our scientific terms: laau haole (non-indigenous plant or medication), ike haole (unfamiliar sight to see), aina haole (foreign lands), hapa-haole (part foreign descent; type of music genre expositioning both Hawaiian and English words), Olelo Haole (English), kapa haole (foreign cloth not of the wauke, traditional variety), Akua Haole (foreign god), ike haole (foreign knowledge, unfamiliar knowledge) AND MUCH MUCH MORE. I’m sorry. You don’t get to come in here and wield your fraud of reverse racism and your white entitlement to regulate our language and word haole to your foreign and superiority centric ignorant and narrow definition. Nothing is more racist that that act alone. Please correct your entitlement habit. It’s disgusting.

      Liked by 2 people

      • How many times though, can you say folks in the islands use the term haole to mean simply “foreigner” though? I am aware and understand the base meaning of the word. I can guarantee you however, anytime I had heard that term uttered within my earshot in the time I lived on O’ahu, it certainly was not meant in that harmless context.


        • Line 4 – Era V – Second Verse – Line 4

          The Poowaawaa was born, his head was uneven.
          The Poopahapaha was born, his head was flat and spread.
          The Poohiwahiwa was born, he appeared noble.
          >>> The Poohaole was born, he became a haole (foreigner).
          The Poomahakea was born, his skin was fair.
          The Pooapahu was born, was a hairy man.
          The Poomeumeu was born, is a short man.
          The Pooauli was born, is dark complexioned.
          The Hewahewa was born, and he remained so (light-headed).
          The Lawalawa was born, becomes a lawalawa. p. 20
          The Hooipo was born, and became hooipoipo (loving).
          The Hulu was born, and became a-aia (demented).
          The Hulupii was born, and became piipii (curly-headed).
          The Meleuli was born, and became melemele (yellow-haired).
          The Haupo was born, and became hauponuinui (noble-chested).
          The Hilahila was born, and became hilahila (very bashful).
          The Kenakena was born, and became kenakena (bitter).
          The Luheluhe was born, and became luheluhe (limber).
          The Awaawa was born, and became awaawa (sour disposed).
          The Aliilii was born, and became liilii (puny).
          The Makuakua was born, and became kuakua (great).
          The Halahala was born, decorated with lei Hala.
          The Eweewe was born, who was proud of his pedigree.
          The Huelo Maewa was born, with very long tail.
          The Hulu liha was born, and became lihelihe (hairy eggs).
          The Pukaua was born, and became a warrior.
          The Meheula was born, and became red.
          The Puuwelu was born, and became weluwelu (ragged).
          That is his, this is in shreds.
          Then came the children of Loiloa,
          And the land grew and spread,
          And the goblet of wish was lowered
          Of affections for the tribe of relations,
          Of songs that grasp of Oma’s friends
          Till relations are enrolled from Kapokanokano
          At yester eve.
          ’Tis night.


      • Another interpretation of the word “haole”, is “ignorant”. The definition is ” lacking knowledge or awareness in general; uneducated or unsophisticated”. Nothing racist about that.


    • The host culture cannot be racist. If you perceive predjudice that may be true as we are quite capable of learning your ways. Further the host culture has little or no feduciary power over the invasive and treacherous invaders – in order to be racist we’d be able to limit your access to you property or deprave you of fair wage out access to resources. As it is your kind are racist and so far removed from reality you think it is reversed. Thoroughly the 18th and 19th century as our leaders traveled the world they were met with great respect till they came to America where our young princes were nearly thrown off a train and accused of being niggers just as US papers later portrayed or Queen as gorilla esque. Even when Duke Kahanamoku broke the world record for swimming at r Navatorium the Olympic officials in New York scoffed and question if our officials used alarm clocks for timers. If you want to talk racist know the meaning first.


  5. If you look at my last name it says enough:
    Keaweehu being from Keawe. Ehu for the reddish hair we have as babies. Kauakahi: to be placed on top, number 1. Kaiakapu: This is the the sacred 1. My geneaology spans from a fixed marriage of 2 Kahuna Ali’i. In my Ohana, oral history was and is very much alive. Decoding of Olelo Hawai’i is tradition. Place names are like words to a Hawaiian Mele that directs us. Na Pali, Kaua’i every ridge name has a place in a greater sentence. Mary Kawena Pukui would sit with my tutu as she initiated the first Hawaiian-English dictionary. My tutu compiled the birthing oli for Queen Emma & Prince Kuhio. My grandfather was taught under this system hense the given name Kaiakapu: he also decoded the Na Pali.

    With this, I know (through oral history) my genealogy spans from the continent Mu. Encompassing both Polynesia and Hawaii. So in the sense the Hawaiian ended up in Polynesia after the great flood but originated at the Piko of Mu Mauna A Wakea. The Hawaiian Polynesians basically returned home when the re-arrived at the sunken Mu, Hawaii.

    Why do you think the Hokule’a set out, the Polynesian knew there were land masses, they originated from Mu (Lamuria).

    So yes, the Hawaiian are indigenous to the land. Ua Mau Kea O Ka Aina I Ka Pono.

    There are many who believe they can take this from us. They can’t, we are indigenous. Besides how can you separate who’s part Menehune (the race of people who remained in Hawaii before the Hawaiian resettled) and part re-settled Hawaiian? We all got shorter over time. LOL!

    Liked by 2 people

  6. While I respect Karin Hermes’ attempt at being supportive of Hawaiian culture (as she interprets it), It’s unfortunate that during the brief time she spent in Hawai’i earning her MA degree she did not learn the term “cognitive dissonance” in addition to words like “ethnocide” and “erasure.” To say that neither outsiders nor Hawaii settlers have any say in the TMT debate (unless they agree with those who oppose it), and then to go on and herself speak for Native Hawaiians is at minimum ironic. To say that outsiders should be humble, listen and learn, and then go on to “call out” various groups as though she speaks from higher ground is anything but humble, and frankly indicative of the very “haole” attitude she rails against with her many bolded phrases. To claim that she is somehow personally invested because someone at UH-Manoa mistook her for Hawaiian (“They have deliberately talked down to me being certain I was Hawaiian, and have made this my concern as well.”) is a bit bizarre, and strikes me as yet another outsider trying to claim a connection they just don’t have. And again, to speak as though the views of anti-TMT Kanaka Maoli are the only relevant Kanaka Maoli views, to not acknowledge that within the Hawaiian community there are a diversity of opinions on this subject as in many others, is to reduce our people to caricatures … not her intention, I’m sure, but the result of someone speaking out in haste and anger about something that she has herself said should not be a topic of discussion for non-Hawaiians or non-residents (unless, again, they agree with a specific point of view within the Hawaiian community).Karin, take your own advice: as an outsider who has spent only a limited time in the Islands and has now departed, you have demonstrated no true investment in our aina. You have also yourself pointed out that you have no true connection to our aina, apart for a sense of aloha for those who treated you kindly here. I respect your attempt to return that aloha, but I would also counsel you to show some respect by taking a step back to listen and further learn; to in your own words understand that you may not know everything and may not always be right; to (again in your words) be more humble and adjust — if only from afar — to the local lifestyle with a sense of respect and humility. While I won’t deign to speak for the entire Lahui, I will say that I don’t feel the need to have you speak for me on this subject — by your own measure, there are plenty Kanaka Maoli (and also plenty non-Hawaiian but actively-invested, local residents), who can are already engaged in a healthy (if sometimes heated) debate on these topics. I for one would like to hear more from Big Island people and less from everyone else who is speaking for them.


    • You do know where the ONLY heiau to Poliahu is right? If not you should get your foot out your mouth because perpetuating that the PIKO is a Hawaii centric kuleana is more than ignorant- its HUPO. -from a Waimea native of the laau Mahiki. Enlighten yourself before you try to enlighten us as to how HUPO you are. You’re welcome.


        • Neither here nor there. Perpetuating the misnomer that the Piko belongs only to Hawaii island is HUPO. Too bad you can’t own your foot in mouth ignorance and when presented with fact totally red herring. Your discourse is lacking.


      • And yet, just last July, you were submitting testimony to OHA that, “The voices of residents on Hawaii Island are unique because they are the ones whose feet are planted firmly in the slopes of Mauna Kea.” HUPO is as HUPO does.


        • Out of context again- neither here nor there. Are you naturally misleading or are you that unable to comprehend support for the point that the most important discussions of OHA re: the Mauna at that time were on Oahu island? Also do not take more out of context your misleading comment that somehow the Piko is Hawaii island centric. That was the point of this conversation after all. Not so. Hupo indeed.


  7. Very well written article, that I generally agree with. Bottom line is that anyone in Hawaii with even a shred of historical knowledge and sense of justice should have sympathy with the Hawaiian plight, whose culture was outlawed in their own home, stamped upon for over 100 years, and stolen and commercialized by outside powers. Every loves to say aloha here, but nobody likes to acknowledge where that concept came from.

    Iʻd just like to point out that by the rationale of the article (haole as an attitude) there are Native Hawaiians who are haole. And I agree with this statement too…there are. Just like there are non-Hawaiians who embody the epistemology of Hawaiian culture.

    I am kanaka maoli and kamaʻaina, just to clarify that before people call me a racist, or reverse racist, or whatever else.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Bra u said u aint from here you aint hawaiian so how could u possibly know anything about hawaii culture u think u kno but u dont no shit about hawaii or its people


    • Interesting that he was supporting the “Hawaiian side” of the argument, yet all you focus on is the blood running through his veins, and the fact that it’s not the same as yours. It’s Hawaiians like you, yes you, that perpetuate the hostility and disrespect between Hawaiians and Haoles of all races. You are the token angry Hawaiian, and you do nothing to help the cause of your people, and all those in support of it.

      Liked by 1 person

  9. Thank you for writing this. You are definitely calling out the right people (based on their attitudes) on the right issues (as evidenced by their disrespect and privileged assumptions). I share you feelings and appreciate your analysis.

    And – I want to share this. I had a phone conversation this morning with anti-TMT court petitioner, Mr. Clarence Kukauakahi Ching. He is a former scientist and retired lawyer (also a former OHA trustee from the 80s) who is Kanaka Maoli. He has been active in protecting Mauna Kea for over 10 years. In the conversation, he mentioned that restoration of the funding of the existing Keck interferometer (currently mothballed according to a Wikipedia entry) would enable the “two Kecks” (already built) to collaborate to see as far into space as the TMT – observations would just take a little longer. In other words, THERE IS NO REAL ASTRONOMICAL “NEED” FOR A TMT – especially as existing facilities can be easily restored and refunded to function as well, or nearly as well, just not as fast. So, someone please get the word out to Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation? No need to buy sportscar when family vehicle just needs a little tune-up…

    Liked by 1 person

    • “the “two Kecks” (already built) to collaborate to see as far into space as the TMT – observations would just take a little longer.”

      I’m afraid that just isn’t true. An interferometer can simulate the resolution of a larger telescope but it doesn’t replace the collecting area and they are very inefficient because the need for many additional mirrors to bring the light together. How deep you can get in the universe is a function of sensitivity not resolution, the two Kecks don’t make a TMT even without the added losses of an interferometer. Sensitivity without adaptive optics goes as telescope diameter squared, so TMT wins by a factor of 4.5, with AO it’s diameter squared over resolution squared, TMT wins by a factor of 14 (because an interferometer can only match the resolution in one direction simultaneously). If you go to imaging exoplanets around other stars the gain is around 100. But this is all assuming a best case scenario for your interferometer, in reality they are not as efficient.

      To explain how inefficient interferometers are I will cite the Very Large Telescope (VLT) in Chile which has an interferometer like Keck but is still operational. It’s shiny new instrument GRAVITY can in a whole night of observing with the four 8 meter telescopes simultaneously to reach 18th magnitude in imaging. Sounds impressive but another instrument (HAWK-I) which uses just one of those 8 meter telescopes will be over-exposed in 1 minute on an 18th magnitude target! A whole night on all 4 telescopes vs 1 minute, GRAVITY will have much higher angular resolution but it will take much, much longer and have a very small field of view. This is why interferometers aren’t yet competitive with monolithic telescopes. This is why the Keck interferometer would be no match for TMT. In the south the VLT still has it’s interferometer (the VLTI) but the organisation that runs the VLT is building a telescope much like TMT, because they know the VLTI is no replacement for a thirty meter class telescope. If you want to read a little deeper see how few papers are published using the VLTI compared to the VLT, interferometers cannot replace monolithic telescopes, not yet anyway. There is absolutely an astronomical need for TMT.

      I’d also point out that the reason the Keck interferometer shut down was lack of use, without the Keck outriggers it could only be used when taking up both 10 meter telescopes, which is wasteful in most peoples eyes. The outriggers didn’t happen because they faced similar opposition to TMT.


      • Scientifically you are spot on (using the Kecks for interferometry would in fact be a waste of resources). However – the conflict is not a scientific one. It’s about civil rights, freedom of religion, very significant historical injustice, protection of minorities.


  10. I have a problem with tmt protesters. Native Hawaiians (not all) will say that haoles (Asians, whites, blacks, etc) have no claim to the land, that they are disregarding the Hawaiian culture and beliefs. The fact of the matter is, no one originated in Hawaii. What we call native Hawaiian today is a mixture of other Polynesian ethnicities that long ago settled the islands. But beyond my gripe with that is this attitude that native Hawaiians are somehow entitled to the land, that it is somehow more theirs than it is mine. Well, it’s neither. I am 0% Hawaiian by blood. But I was born in the islands, raised in the islands, as were my ancestors for at least a century. Now, that may not be such a long time, but I’ll say this…whatever Hawaiians (not all) feel entitled to, feel that is their birthright, I feel I am entitled to too. I didn’t ask to be born in the islands, nor did I have a choice. The only home I’ve ever known is Hawaii. How is it that I don’t belong? How is it that I’m the fucking haole?
    If Hawaiians want to talk about how the land is for everyone, how we all have to take care, they have to realize that we all have to work together. Perhaps native Hawaiians would do better at gaining support for their causes, all of them, if they stopped putting so much emphasis on us versus them. I know I’ll catch shit for this, but here goes…I am Hawaiian, the way that anyone born in the US is American. It doesn’t matter where we came from, or where we are going. We are all here together on this planet. To gain support and unity, and cooperation by talking about cultural and attitude differences only serves to widen the divide. When this first became news I didn’t know how to feel about the telescope. Now, I am in full support of it. But I also strongly support cooperation with authorities in the Hawaiian community to come up with a solution that placates both sides. Many times I feel that many protests in Hawaii, be it native Hawaiian led or otherwise are conducted wrong…in that they wait until millions of dollars have been spent on the ground work of whatever project. Once the ball is rolling, viciousness will rear its head on both sides of the argument. Why wasn’t this project protested so strongly 5 years ago?

    As for the haole attitude…why divide? I am a Hawaiian born person of japanese, Italian, and German descent. Whatever attitude I have is a product of interactions with Hawaiians, Japanese, Filipinos, whites…residents of Hawaii. Let’s call it a modern Hawaiian attitude. And my attitude is this…Native Hawaiians have made very valid points that deserve respectful consideration. That being said, I feel that there is a gap between message and process that needs to be amended in the future. Stop fucking shit up at the last minute. Make noise from day 1. Don’t waste people’s time and money by waiting till the most inconvenient time to protest. That’s when ugly racial attitudes will come back to bite everyone in the ass.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Reid Nakamura you need to study the histories further back. How is it that you were born here and still have a surface understanding of who we are as a people and where we come from. I recommend you read the book tales of a night rainbow. That’s a start if you truly wanna understand.

      Liked by 2 people

    • So racist is the fault of the victims of racism. Got it! Also the telescopes have always been protested since day one, and since telescope one in the 1960s. You would know that if you took the due diligence to at least know the history of this movement. Just because you and others only noticed now is not the fault of the resistance. FYI. Protest has been continuous and unbroken.

      Liked by 2 people

    • As a settler in Hawaii like you Reid, understanding indigenous issues like those faced by our Kanaka Maoli sisters and brothers is a very difficult task, one that requires a bit of intellectual work and much humility, as is mentioned in this piece: “I am calling out those who have not yet learned to stop and listen, those who talk back to their elders and their hosts, those who have no humility in admitting they may not know everything and may not always be right.” So as settlers we should listen where and when we do not understand. Luckily the voices of reason in our Hawaii are many and often recorded in text, film, or other media so that all may listen and learn from them. Historically these voices are Kanaka Maoli activists, scholars, public intellectuals, artists, students, and kapuna. More recently, there are reasoned voices of settlers (of many ethnic backgrounds, including backgrounds just like yours), like those found in the book Asian Settler Colonialism who have laid the path for settlers like us to better understand these problems. The dichotomy of us vs them is not one established by Kanaka Maoli, but rather the very “haole” mindset or ideology the author speaks of–when we settlers whose minds are still colonized approach an issue like TMT we initially see it in such binary ways, even compromise to us is really capitalist development as usual. For us settlers to call Hawaii home requires an deep, nuanced understanding of what Hawaii is and who its people are, and not denying them their right to self-determination or sovereignty. Settlers do not have to give up any of their own rights or freedoms to do so; we can be allies and not antagonists/colonizers.

      Liked by 1 person

  11. As a direct relative to Robert Wilcox, this is ridiculous. Why do you think you deserve so much understanding when you treat mainlanders or anyone that doesn’t look Hawaiian enough like trash? Also if you read enough about this whole situation and about the history of our ancestors you’d know that they’d be pro tmt too. I’ve been here my whole life, born and raised here and I’ve visited other areas in the mainland that has 100 times more aloha spirit than we have here now a days. Say it however you want to but the fact is we have a very bad racist issue here to tackle so bad that it was way worse than Ohio was when I uvisited there. I got less trouble on the south in Ohio than I do here..let’s worry about raising our kids correctly before worrying about the Aina, which need I remind you existed before or ancestors got here. Belief systems? Give me a break..tell that to a native American or a wiccan.. You have the right to believe in what you want to believe in as long as long as it doesn’t affect everyone else.

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    • Ugh..Don’t mind the typos it’s very hard writing on this phone lol. What in trying to say is everyone should understand you get what you give.. If you treat someone terribly for no reason don’t expect them to treat you right or to care about your issues. Even if this tmt thing was as bad as people are making it out to be its not haole thing..we do it here and so does every other type of race anywhere.. Its called being a human. People are people and there are good ones and some that are ignorant . that’s how it is. By starting it out as haole attitude, you’ve exposed the world with your Hawaiian attitude.. Het over yourselves. Your ancestors (as well as mines) would be ashamed..


    • You have a right to believe as you may but I have to say that your perception of the matter you write about is just that a perception one that you came to based on how you have been raised. You see things through you’re lenses. This is based on opinion and not fact.


      • We can say the same of you. You ask how I could be raised in Hawaii and not grasp Hawaiian history? And that our opinions are perceptions based on how we were raised? I don’t claim to know as many details about Hawaiian history as the kupuna do, but science can prove that no humans originated in the islands. All people that are known as Hawaiians presently and throughout history have ancestral roots elsewhere. FACT. Our opinions are based on our perceptions and how we were raised. True. I was the only visibly “haole” kid in my class growing up, and by that I mean white. I was subjected to teasing, harrassing, and threats by, yes, Hawaiian students. I also was teased by Filipinos, japanese, and all other ethnicities. Most kids called me fat because I was. Hawaiian kids would always call me haole. What does that say about the Hawaiian attitude toward Caucasians in Hawaii to this day? They are raised to dislike and or resent us simply for being. I had nothing to do with taking your land. For that matter, no one took YOUR land. We’re arguing over shit that happened 100+ years ago that neither of us had anything to do with. Was it wrong? Perhaps. Is Hawaii ever going to be wholly returned to the Hawaiian people? Absolutely not. Could Hawaii survive as an independent nation in today’s world? Not likely. Just my opinion.

        What we should be doing is realizing that whatever differences our ancestors may have had, we do not need to perpetuate them today. This TMT issue as an example, the people of Hawaii have spoken. The majority of us are either in favor of, or don’t care about its construction. And while that may anger many, that’s the world we live in. Fight the fight based on legal basis. Incorrect procedure, cutting corners, desecration of land.

        Look where it is now. International court? War crimes? Be serious. This is a hissy fit because things didn’t turn out in favor of the protestors. All this because of a loophole relating to illegal annexation. How about this…long ago, the British made nice with Hawaiian royalty. Slowly they began to make moves that allowed them more power. This eventually led to a takeover by The British and Americans. Ultimately the Americans took control. Unfair, yes. Is war fair? No. It’s a hard pill to swallow, but Hawaiians lost control of their land to their oppressors, and haven’t regained it. And with the value of the islands, they will not regain control through political measures. If a sovereign Hawaiian nation is what you want, be prepared to take up arms and literally fight for it. Short of that, can’t we all just work together and make Hawaii the best possible place for all of us to live?

        I’m sorry for my extreme views, but I get so frustrated with the amount of time and money spent in Hawaii going nowhere. Fighting each other accomplishes NOTHING for EVERYONE, or EVERYTHING for SOME. Neither of these is healthy. Let’s work on achieving SOMETHING for EVERYONE.


        • Reid, Even my kids who are half Filipino, were picked on in school because they were, from me, half haole. There is certainly racism on a personal level, but there is also institutionalized racism and I think the protests around Mauna Kea relate to that. A good many countries, including Pacific Island nations, are smaller than Hawai’i in both geography and population. Further, history is not stagnant! In my “Liberate Hawai’i!” I do a long chapter on the parallels of Hawai’i with Lithuania, both of which were “annexed” fraudulently by a superpower. Yet one superpower has dissolved and did so at the time when the Lithuanians refused to be governed by it any more, and through mass demonstrations forced the issue. Look how many countries exist now compared to pre WW 2! The US empire is not stable now, but brittle–hard but fragile. We live in “interesting times.”

          Liked by 1 person

  12. Very Well written, I would like to share a little about the word “HAOLE”..This word really means “Foreigner” not the color of any-ones Nationality, Race, or Origin..HAOLE also means breathless, people who do not share the same breath of air from where you were born. You are very right to say HAOLE is an attitude..example; 1, Every Airport around the world and the U,S,A, has a Foreign arrival area here enter’s Foreign Attitudes from all over the world..example; 2, If any different country were to Over-throw {lets use the United States as an example} and you do not speak their Language or culture Government, Ideals, every thing of a Foreign Country and keep you oppressed for more than a hundred year’s as the U,S, did against My Kanaka Maoli Nation from “1893” when the United States Marines came ashore with full canon’s and rifles landed on the lawn of our Kingdom Palace; { I’OLANI PALACE } and took our Queen Ka’Pio Lani prisoner in her own home..Then move swiftly to destroy your culture, language, your beliefs, and everything that you once recognized of your home you become lost in your own Lands even if this has happened against America, the American people would wonder what the heck these “HAOLE’S” doing in their country.. …example; 3, “HAOLE” becomes a race, The United States Marines along with their Senator’s, Government leader’s, and all of their Presidents were white Men of course overtime people of color { and I don’t mean this with any disrespect to any person of color,I am Hawaiian last time I checked I have color} were gradually being elected into the United States Government System..Of course we, and the whole world knows when and who the first President of color was elected..OOOPPSS! you mean to say he is Hawaii born WOW! that’s where I was born our home we have color..But aside from these white Men taking the term ‘HAOLE” and putting this word on them selves for their Crimes of Occupation, Injustice to an existing Nation, Exerting there illegal power of an Usurping Government over the Hawaiian Kingdom and Nation..Extortion of a Nation..Oppression and Slavery oh I could go on and on..But there was a little glimmer of Education maybe a small piece of hope during these past times. example; 4,A none “HAOLE” THE HONORABLE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA; GROVER CLEVELAND declared the overthrow was an Illegal act of war and Treason against an existing Government and it’s people of the Hawaiian Kingdom and Nation that has a right under God for their SOVEREIGN existence..President Grover Cleveland tried to re-instate Hawaii but lost the next election…example; 5, A none “HAOLE” THE HONORABLE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA; BILL CLINTON….He wrote an Apology Letter to the Hawaiian Nation and also declared the Hawaiian Nation has a right for a SOVEREIGN existence..A small explanation of “HAOLE” and its metamorphosis meanings..And by the way all Homes, Hotels, and businesses of HAOLE own lands in all the Hawaiian Islands you think you own it you bought it from the United States not from the Hawaiian Kingdom We Kanaka Maoli and the Hawaiian Nation and our Keiki’s OWN IT..Perhaps we can play lets make a deal..Maybe Great Britten would want to be our Navy again perhaps they’ll pay fair lease for the use of Pearl Harbor, and all the Military bases thru out the Islands.. One of the Countries in the World that respected Hawaii’s Kingdom, Hawaiian Nation and it’s peoples right s of their SOVEREIGN EXISTENCE..LONG LIVE THE QUEEN…

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  13. So this guy thinks that I shouldn’t be part of this debate because I’m asian, latino and white but NOT hawaiian. And even though I’m 4th generation in the islands, I have no say in the debate because I have no ancestral ties to the land. Ridiculous. I had no control over being born in Hawaii and I have just as deep a spiritual connection with Hawaii as any native Hawaiian, Not because of its gods and deities, but because its my home that i love with soul…I am from no other place on this earth.

    Liked by 3 people

  14. I would like to lend my full support to the views and sentiments of this article and those who have rightfully praised it. Very well done! Mahalo!
    The confrontation between corporate globalization and a more earth-centered indigenous viewpoint is coming. Think of a tsunami whose wave glides across the ocean with little effect until it encounters shallow water. The wave of negative haole thought and attitudes) (and I am of European ancestry with along history in Hawai’i) is crashing against the shore of indigenous aina. It can do damage, but it will recede while the aina remains. Imua and onipa’a! Ea!

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  15. Karin Louise Hermes, thank you for this well written piece. Just last I watched, AGAIN, the discussion on ‘Oiwi TV titled “Should the TMT be built?” I must say if anyone wants to see first hand, reverse racism, it is rampant by pro TMT supporters! Auwe!!!

    Liked by 1 person

  16. For now, early on in my reading I would like to clarify the statement: “the rightful indigenous custodians of the land have been replaced by American legalities” should actually be written as such “the rightful indigenous custodians of the land have been replaced by American illegalities.” After all, the occupation of this archipelago is “illegal, and perpetuated by America by its continual occupation.

    Liked by 3 people

  17. these men who feel nothing from naau. Who only feel with the brain. They disrespect even the Christian bible who gave warning of disaster. ie “THE TOWER OF BABEL” and the desire of man to seek to be equal with God. No honor of home and other people. Money and power destroy all aina, even theirs. What of those who come after we are gone. What do we leave behind for moopuna not here yet?

    Liked by 1 person

  18. Mahalo nui plenty for those words of wisdom and truth. This is what we need for all indigenous people . A voice that will stand up and say ENUFF, why must we keep explainng ourselves till we are blue in the face when you are not listening to the kama’ainas. Mahalo again

    Liked by 1 person

  19. Mahalo for this Writer and article. It shines light on the obvious. The Haole mind comes in many Cultural flavors. The lost of connection to our Mother Earth and the need to be in harmony with her is so blatantly obvious as those that feel entitled or think money can solve everything. These young Hawaiian educated Spiritual Practitioners are showing the World how to say No more compromise to abuse. KAPU Aloha!

    Liked by 2 people

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