Our Beloved Hawai’i

Option one

As a Native Hawaiian scientist, I have humbly reached out to the Sacred Mauna Kea Hui to share my anonymous letter. As a Mauna Kea supporter, I am often faced with the dilemma of supporting STEM and supporting my indigenous culture. However, the problems I face on a near daily basis are not from the STEM community, but from the Hawaiian community. As I write this, I sit here with a heavy heart. I feel anger, sadness, and confusion.

I sit here with anger. Anger because of the long history of suffering our indigenous people have faced. I sit here with anger. Anger because our people often feel like we are not being listened to. I sit here with anger. Anger because of the constant desecration of our sacred and beloved lands. I sit here in anger. Anger because of all the fighting I see amongst our people. I am angry at those that take advantage of and benefit from the ignorance of some of our people. I am angry at the way the people who have different views are treated by some of us.

My heart sheds tears. The tears of sadness at seeing our people fight. The tears of sadness at seeing our people belittle each other. The tears of sadness at seeing us not have respect for other people – both kanaka and non-kanaka. I recently read a Facebook comment that said, “No Hawaiians support TMT, only Americans with koko they don’t honor [do].” Differences in opinions do not make us less important or less Hawaiian.The tears of sadness at seeing people be relentlessly harassed and mocked for having different opinions. The tears of sadness at how we cannot come together because some people are stuck in their beliefs. Differences in opinions allow us to learn and grow from each other. The tears of sadness when kanaka are deemed less important to our community because they received a “haole” education.

I’m confused. I’m confused by all the fighting. I’m confused by all the belittling. I’m confused that different opinions are not held valuable. I’m confused by the harassment and mocking caused by some of us. I’m confused as to why we wouldn’t want to see our people become successful and later contribute positively to our people. I’m confused by the assumptions that some make regarding what they deem to be a “haole” Hawaiian. I’m confused because I thought many of us had, in the larger picture, the same goals? To be heard, to be given back our birth rights in our native land, to have control of our own people, and to make changes that benefit our people. I’m confused because we constantly fight amongst each other about the ways we should accomplish these goals.

As I sit here, I sit with a heavy heart filled with anger, sadness, and confusion. Not because of the haole people, but because of our own people – the people I try so hard to fight for and support. As I contemplate, I must admit to the happiness I often feel at the progress I do see our people make. Our once near-extinct culture and language have recently flourished. More Hawaiians and haole people are eager to learn our culture, traditions, and language. I myself, have had the privilege of merging two things I love – our Hawaiian culture and traditions with modern STEM practices – something that would not have been possible in the past.

I am amazed by the recent coming together of people. Those that have stood up to say, “enough is enough.” Those that are forcing our voices to be heard. Those that have helped spread our voices worldwide. However, I cannot condone the behavior of some of our people. From my viewpoint, I see this behavior – not the haole people – as the destruction to all our progress. How can we expect the haole people or the “haole” Hawaiians, which I have been repeatedly told I am, and not in a good way, to take us seriously if we cannot fully come together ourselves? If we cannot agree to disagree and move on?

I undoubtedly take so much pride in being Native Hawaiian. I undoubtedly love our people so much. I love our people so much that I want us all to be successful – from the cultural practitioners to the caretakers of the land to the scientists, and anyone in between. We are all important and can contribute to the success of our people. I want us to work hard for what we love and for what we want. I love our people so much and envision such a brighter future for us, that I refuse to condone the unacceptable behavior displayed by some of our people. This also means that I had to share this letter anonymously. Anonymously to protect my career as a scientist, to protect my family and myself from being scrutinized or harmed, and to protect any group or affiliations people assume I may be part of. And it is not to be protected from the haole people or the STEM community, but from our own Hawaiian people whom I cherish so dearly.

14 responses to “Our Beloved Hawai’i

  1. Read this letter 3 times. One point keeps bubbling to the surface…Hawaiians being afraid to voice/represent their own individuality/position on, in this case, the TMT. And you can see telltale signs on some of the FB messages…remember one response referring to shoving “1 rubbah slippah you know where…”. This was a direct attack on someone who is trying desperately to malama the situation so we “all” have understanding and “KAPU ALOHA” for the, in the first instance, our Hawaiian family. IIF there are segments of the Hawaiian community who are afraid to voice their views due to fear for themselves, family, and social repurcussions in general, then we will never be able to handle and manage the “Nation”. And as a direct result of this visible attitude the obstruction(s) to achieving this primary objective will increase. This is not about Ke Akua, “ceeded lands”, the validity of Hawaiian Kingdom Laws, the TMT. It is about 1) Hawaiian family Aloha to all Hawaiians – the KOKO- regardless of beliefs/views, and 2) positive ATTITUDE towards our language, culture, knowledge of where we came from, where we are today based on history, and our all encompassing AGREEMENT on the future of our people. IT HAS TO BE A CONFIRMED AGREEMENT BY ALL OF US. NOT THE FEW. If by the few it will never work as there will never be agreement on future activities. It’s called civil unrest! Each view is important. We as Hawaiians need to encourage healthy debate, exchange of ideas and personal beliefs. Without “fear”.

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    • The approval of comments is not automatic and can be delayed by the spam filter or simply by other daily commitments of the moderators.

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  2. The article says “by Kauakuahine”… yes, I read the anonymous reference in the text but was confused by who “Kauakuahine” was in relation to the article. There’s nothing wrong with my comprehensive.


  3. aloha Aunty,

    You speak with aloha, from the heart, with openness and honesty. In the end, you seem to say Kanaka Maoli should accept the inevitable…..total assimilation. While these are not your words, this is what I hear. Am I mistaken? Perhaps… We DO look to the future, with feet firmly planted in the past. It’s obvious to me (and I’m sure to MANY others) that the ways of the west have NOT worked to create healthy and sustainable lives for mankind. While I MAY to some, sound like chicken little (the sky is falling), I think it safe to say, many (most?) if us feel our continued existence on planet Mother Earth has become tenuous at best. What our people are clamoring for is something different, yet familiar….a life based on our culture, NOT that of the west, which holds nature in its entirety in sacred reverence. Only then will mankind, (or at least those who plan to continue to call Hawai’i nei home), have a fighting chance at living a life that is happy, healthy and abundant….not in an economic sense, rather in terms of daily existence filled with the things that truly matter. Mahalo nui for sharing your mana’o; I am more hopeful than ever that the pono thing will happen. We are Hawai’i; Hawai’i is Mauna Kea.


  4. Human * you struggle within but when you Surrender, you need not struggle … Simply, Choose * Do not fear your Own Spirit but Embrace It – All of It * ” WE ARE ONE ” * See with the True eye, Listen with the Heart, & Feel with your Spirit * akua sabe’

    Liked by 1 person

    • The STEM student prefers to maintain the anonymity. I don’t know if you comprehend the immensity of that. It’s there in the writing if you do comprehend it.


    • Ahem… If you read it… “… I refuse to condone the unacceptable behavior displayed by some of our people. This also means that I had to share this letter anonymously. Anonymously to protect my career as a scientist, to protect my family and myself from being scrutinized or harmed, and to protect any group or affiliations people assume I may be part of. And it is not to be protected from the haole people or the STEM community, but from our own Hawaiian people whom I cherish so dearly…”


      • Seems like the anonymous writer is speaking directly to you Kauakipuupuu… is there really a need to throw this much attitude at TK for asking a simple question? Reading your comments throughout this site (and seeing them on many other sites as well — I’m not sure why you’re using a pseudonym here, Kamahana Kealoha, when you use your full name in most other places), it’s troubling how quick you are to jump on people, call names and throw insults, even when someone (like this person above) is asking the most innocent of questions. Is this really the way to build support for a movement? Especially so when you are styling yourself as a spokesperson for this movement, raising funds, and acting as a moderator on this site. As someone who supports the work of the protectors and whose family has been actively testifying against the telescopes since the time of the first construction, I find this attitude you’re constantly throwing around — especially when you’re relatively FOB (fresh on the boat) with this action — to be really counter productive. And yes, I’m posting anonymously here for precisely the same reason the author of this piece did: Because, frankly you, of all the people in this movement, frighten me. Turn it down bruddah, and you may find that you gain more support.


      • Mahalo for remaining in kapu aloha, JJ. And for clearly understanding the motive of the letter (not directed at SMKH, or we would not have received it from the author). I believe the opinion blog posts are defended more emotionally because of their personalness, and especially with this anonymous letter the comments on social media have been even more devastating to the author than the intention it was written for.


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