The Passing of the Torch is ours to do, is ours to take care of and ours to ensure that the mistakes of the past are less likely to happen and to continue to perpetuate into the generations which will follow ours.
A few days ago, I ain’t gonna lie – I went OFF, and did so for one very good reason – there are a whole, whole lot of us who share culture and a collective past heartache with others who live in a cultural myopia that makes it so that those who are in the ‘Aina , at least some of them, like believing and even passing on the idea (and it IS truly JUST an idea…and really, I do not care one tiny little bit who feels how they do about this …”fake kine” mainland maoli girl gives her opinion…it’s the podaghee in me…deal with it) that we on the mainland somehow are not as Hawai’ian as you are (and there is that damned apostrophe again…if it hurts your eyes, go play candy crush already…yeesh!).
What I really would like to know is where anyone would get the idea that a zip code, or even a place of birth will somehow make it so that anyone else on this planet is more of this ethnicity than others are – you guys need to stop that nonsense.
The three people in the picture, obviously, are my children.
The little guy in the tie and the hat – that is Joshua. His Tutu Lady helped give him his name, which is Kaneokawaiolaokeuhane (and yes I know what it means, sort of).
The pretty girl in the middle is my only daughter, Grace, who carries my middle name, which is Kealamailekahalaomapuana (she goes by Maile, and indeed, I go by Mapuana, and of course, Mapu, because who the hell is gonna argue with an ape, right?).
The tall one….Jeremy…was named, appropriately so, Kahakuloa, because naturally, as the first born of Kahuna, he is, indeed, the tall one who can indeed “see” (and his animal spirit, his animal ‘Aumakua is the lizard…the mo’o…and my boy does not abuse this gift of being able to ‘converse’ with the animal kingdom, neither does his sister abuse her gift of being a conduit for the spiritual messages of the Divine, of our ‘Aumakua, just like I do not…keep reading…)
The things that I have, to this point, given to my children as what is theirs to pass on, not only to their own kids, but also to their peers, their employers, their teachers, and others who wear the invisible label “human being.” The things that they have been taught are not only hula or stringing leis or making skirts out of ti leaves or diggin an imu or playing ipu or making good kine shaved ice….
They have not only been taught how to measure rice with their fingers, have not been given just the lo-down on how to make terrific curry stew.
My kids, even though they are Hapa-Haole, are all Aloha.
They were raised like I was – as Hawai’ians. They answer, go by, live as the person who is their Hawai’ian name, just like I do, like I was raised to, like I will always. They know the tenets of Aloha. They know that there is justice in the world so long as in their own personal world, they are who creates that energy. My children have been taught that the reason for their mother’s almost insane love for rock music spawned from the love that I have always had for slack key guitar, fueled by the memories of myself as a child, seated on the floor in front of my grandfather, Bill Namahoe, Sr., when I was a little girl, swaying back and forth on my grandparents’ living room floor in La Puente, listening to my Tutu Man create this music that would become the very theme music for my life – nothin’ but screamin’ and jammin’ guitars …that living room floor, where I’d sat so many times before – Christmas…Easter…Thanksgiving…whatevah other reason we might have had to converge onto my grandparents’ house for whatever feast it was that we were going to be part of.
My recollections of that part of my life, with that part of my family, I will not lie, are not my most fond but for the music – I love music, and without my mother’s family, I would not know the importance that music holds for our people, because we are a musical people, are a poetic people, are a people whose stories are told through this medium of stringed instruments and animal skins pulled tightly across the width of a hollowed out tree trunk. I could say the same thing for my father’s family, because my Tutu Man played trumpet during war time, and my Nana sang when her shift at the Royal Prince was pau…and she sang with people who we and who our own kids have only read about in history books.
These are the things that I have taught my Hapa kids, that my Hapa kids teach their friends and that their friends…young and lively people who hail from every cultural background, and every walk of life…go out into the world with, knowing that the energy of Aloha that they have been shown is the realest thing in the world, and knowing, too, that the Aloha that they were given by me and mine is always there for them, is always going to be there for them.
These are the things that I have shown all of my own Hanai Ohana, my own personal tribe of rock and roll crazy people who know the true meaning of kanikapila, my own Tribe of Souls, my artists and dancers, my actors and actresses, my rock stars and and my own personal Joan Baez named Amber, who shares the stage with her man and my soul brother, Scott, my painters and sculptors, and of course, my fellow choreographers…I have shown them the value of good Loco Moco, have taught them the stories behind our legends, so that they could go on to understand their own myths and legends. I have taught them the realness of Ohana, of anyone at all caring enough to look past what it is that only the world sees as being the truth of them, to the core of their impassioned, artistic selves, and have made them aware that the only thing that matters lives within them, that the pain that we each and all know and that has been had simply from the daily living of life.
This is my tribe, my Hanai Ohana, and with them I have created this thing called a family. Through them I have learned, for and with one other person, the meaning that is Aloha…
…that one other person did not have the slightest clue of what it is to have someone there for him, always, what it is to live in the light of what is the actuality of Love from one other person, and a Love that is as organic as the moon and the stars in the sky. That one other person who, for me, has brought to life the Kaona that is Love with and for one other person who can see past what it is that the rest of the world has labeled me as…if I had no idea of what was NOT Aloha…I would not be able to pass this one true thing on to the one person who, in this lifetime and other than my children, I love, the very dearly most.
And he knows it…deep down in the very bones of his Irish, Nordic Soul…a musically inclined island boy himself, but of a different ocean, a different ‘Aina, but so, so, so not a different Aloha…he understands this, as this is the Kaona…the metaphor and the poetry between us…
This is what I have shown people.
This is what I have been taught.
This is what I have passed down to my kids, and what they have given to their own Hanai Ohana, their own Tribe of Souls, their own families in the making…this is called our Kuleana…this is our Duty as Hawai’ian people, no matter where we are, no matter who we share this with.
This is our Kuleana…
These are the gifts of aloha, the things that we, as parents, have as our memories with our grandparents, our parents, and our time as small keeds. All indigenous peoples have this about us – not only a love for our arts, but, a love for our elders and what they have given to us in terms of the perpetuation of our culture.
Were it not for my Nana, I would not know what to do in terms of making my skirts for hula all those years, and I would not know how to twist Ti leaves into leis that I now use when I marry people, and of course, when I bless their path as they travel from this side of the veil of consciousness, into the realm of Spirit. I was taught by my aunties about lots of things, and taught by my Auntie Kalei, from the time that I was a little girl, that my place in life was not to be seen, was not and is not for the eyes to be entertained by, but always and only for the minds and the hearts to take consideration of and to impart these truths as reminders that we all need, that we have all been taught…
David Malo refers to us as Ka Po’e No’ono’o…the thinking people.
Truly, this is what we are, and truly, the thoughts that have been passed down to some of us are not the sort that will get us anywhere closer to where we ought to be, and long before it is that we are anywhere near where we want to be, which is seen as a collective of Native Hawai’ians, but there are a lot of people who seem to want to have us as a kingdom, and truly, in that manner, there is a lot more to this than a lot of people are bothering to think about, and truly, the last thing that we, as a people, need, is to make it so that the people who we cede from will be the people who we will also expect in wartime to protect our islands….and truly, my gut is telling me that that won’t happen
If we really thought about what is going on and really thought about how we each and all feel about all of this…stuff…happening…and we bothered to think without our emotional selves getting too far ahead of things (like it has been happening for a long, long time by now…think about it…)we would be able to also see that the things that are happening, and the things that have been happening are the things that are keeping us where we are, which is at a stalemate, really.
The stalemate is not what we all want, by any means.
The stalemate is the thing that keeps people believing that they have some sort of power or control over the outcome of things when the outcome of things has, if anyone has been paying attention, been the same damned thing, over and over and over again.
Truly, the last thing that anyone with any real power in terms of a decision to make as to whether or not it ought to be “officially official” that we are called Native Hawai’ians versus a tribe…is to find out that we actually know what that means and the power that it holds to be simply called, on the books and in writing, Native Hawai’ians…. if no one has been paying attention, and no one can stop getting okole sore over the ridiculousness held within stomping your feet until you still don’t get your way…let me show you something that has crossed my mind, over and over again, and please – don’t think for one moment that I think I know better than anyone else or that I have a better idea than others do. I am just as upset that we, as a whole, have to fight for what is ours, which is our identity. The truth that I have always held, and after having listened to a lot of people – the truth is that there are too many people “fighting” emotionally when really, it will not be the emotional, but the rational and thinking (Ka Po’e No’ono’o) people who will end up creating the best ideas.
The best idea, at least the best one that I have ever heard, is that we would fare better, and hell yeah – eventually, we would get straight paid – if we would bother to stop thinking in terms of the things that have been talked about and thrown around as though in doing so, ALL Hawai’ians will end up with a free piece of land. I must tell anyone thinking this way to stop thinking this way because that shit ain’t gonna happen. However, with reparation monies, no one can stop another person from purchasing land, in a private transaction, that once that deed is deeded – not one person can come and take it from you. It belongs to you, and once it is bought, it is yours. (Try tink, yeah?)
But it seems like no one wants that option. It seems that what everyone wants is what everyone thinks that they, specifically, as Hawai’ian people, are due that land for free.
No you are not.
None of us are.
It is time to stop thinking that just because you are Hawai’ian, that somehow, you are going to end up in charge of anything – the first thing that any human being needs to learn is how to be in charge of themselves, and the thing that has come across most clearly is that there are a lot of people who are totally not able to control themselves in the emotional sense where all of this is concerned and no one is being reasonable – they want their cake (or land) and they want to eat it, too (straight paid for the pain of the ‘Aumakua).
Truly, the only thing that we are owed, in my opinion, is the right to be called what we are, and this includes ALL of us – we each and all, every one of us who has Hawai’ian blood, in any amount, running through his or her veins...we are owed the right to be OFFICIALLY named what we are, and OFFICIALLY meaning in the Federal Laws…we have the right to be called what we are, which is NOT Native Americans, even though we share a whole lot with them and I, personally, love a whole lot of them who are NA’s…we have the right and we ought to be fighting for our RIGHT as a NATIVE PEOPLE to be recognized, federally, as NATIVE HAWAI’IANS, and hell yeah – the right to have it noted that the term “KANAKA MAOLI” is what we are AS NATIVE HAWAI’IANS.
We did not ask the foreigners to come to our islands, all those generations ago.
We did not ask to learn about guns and violence and sexually transmitted diseases.
We did not ask to be converted ..because we did not ask – we were forced through bullying and manipulation and all of those things that would cause us to have this …still very obvious and apparent….collective inferiority. It is this collective feeling of inferiority that makes a whole lot of people behave as though our zip code is what makes us a real, or a fake, Maoli.
I am not a fake Hawai’ian. I did not teach those three beautiful people in that picture up there to be anything other than their truest, realest, most spiritually adept Hawai’ian selves, and they have not ever let me down.
However, the biggest let down is that there are people my age who ought to know better, who ought to be more concerned with saving our culture, of passing down our ways.
Our ways have nothing to do with division and certainly not a fucking thing to do with hatred of one’s own people, just because we do not share a place of birth, neither a zip code.
What we do share is a culture, and a massive Kuleana that all of us who are called Mom, Dad, Auntie, Unko, Tutu…or how about simply MAOLI…??? and what it is that a lot of us are sharing and teaching is NOT what we are supposed to be teaching and sharing, which is misplaced hatred that is so old – stay growing limu on top, already…sheesh!
What, my brothers and sisters of the Maoli sort, will you be calling as your own Kuleana, as your own Duty to our race and to the generations which succeed our own? What will you pass on to those and what will you share to make clear to those who are not Keiki O Ka’aina?
Will you show them the hatreds that you have harbored for strangers all this time, or will you see the errors in that thinking, the hatred that you truly have no idea about and the venomous energy that all this time might have been making you physically ill? Will you continue to make it as though we over here are not the same as you over there, even though we are absolutely the same people, with the same heartache and the same Kuleana to pass on to our own? Will you continue to make it as though the people who showed up on our land, all those generations ago, will remain to have the power over you, over how you direct your lives, and will you continue to make them right in the idea that those guys thought our ancestors were savages, heathens, not fit for anything more than becoming slaves in our kingdom to people whose only upper hand was truly technology of murderous weaponry and nothing more than that?
Will you continue to allow the events of way back then, also be the thing that makes you believe that they were right ? Will you continue to allow that cellular memory be the thing that fuels this madness that is hatred at its very lowest and ugliest, because it is a hatred that is directed to an unseen enemy that is not the enemy, but is actually the bigger, stronger and more unified half of the army of Maoli people all over the world? You cannot possibly believe that you will win this battle all on your hateful own, can you?
Have you bothered to look at the circles you are all running around in, and can you imagine what it is that your own ‘Aumakua are doing right now, as they scratch their heads in disbelief that you still do not realize that this is not their message, this was not their battle and that the battle they have fought is not over land, or what we are told we are, but that the battle is for the truth of the whole of us, and not over how much you want to believe that you are meant to carry on this hatred that is now directed at your own people, just because some of us cannot see the reason why it is that we have to fight your fight so that you win and that no one else is allowed to savor the sweetness of victory that comes with being called what it is that we are supposed to be called?
…or do you like STILL being thought of as savage heathens?
I am anything but savage, and heathen?
Aww hell naw…I ain’t a heathen….
I am Hawai’ian, and no one can take that from me…not one mother fucker…
Not so coincidentally, this same thing applies to you, applies to us all
We are what we are, by birth. It is our birth right to be called Native Hawai’ians
We win the land when we win ourselves…because we are the land
…or did you not know that part, either?
And by the way…we are already a Kingdom, already a Monarchy…always have been…always gonna be…
No matter what government or its descendants tells us we are
We are Royalty
Please start behaving like it and #LiveALOHA…