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Hawaii Guide

Hawaiian's When they came to Hawaii.

Written by Larry L. Kimura.From the perspective of the Polynesians there were no other people in their vast home as they traversed the thousands of miles of the Pacific Ocean and its island worlds. There were just them and their islands like a galaxy of stars in a blue cosmos of a great ocean.

Today we recognize the Hawaiian as a part of the Polynesian race, extending all the way to New Zealand in the southwest, to Easter Island in the southeast, and to Hawai'i north of the equator, forming the expansive triangular area of Polynesia. The first Polynesians migrated from Southeast Asia as a seafaring people, who spread over an area of the globe larger than that covered by any other people until the 18th and 19th centuries, when Europeans began exploring various parts of the then known world.

Hawaiian tradition tells us the gods themselves gave birth to the Hawaiian islands and that the first man to dwell on them came also from the gods. The stories of the volcano goddess Pele tell of Pele's creating these volcanic islands as they are today. Another account speaks of the evolution of life in Hawai'i from the smallest coral polyp to man himself. And so, according to Hawaiian mythology, the arrival of man voyaging over the open ocean to Hawai'i occurred after the Hawaiian people and islands had already been created.

According to archeologists, the earliest settlers who sailed to Hawai'i on their seaworthy double canoes are believed to have come from the Marquesas Islands of Eastern Polynesia. They arrived between 500 and 800 A.D. The energy of human life proclaimed itself in an archipelago which, according to geologists, had been created millions of years ago, lying virtually isolated, over 2,000 miles away from the nearest continent and about 500 miles away from any other island groups. These people found a land quietly awaiting them in all its pristine beauty. Later fleets of canoes brought more people from the Society Islands, and the maritime skills of the Polynesians proved again to be unsurpassed by any other people of that time.

The first people who came to Hawai'i brought with them knowledge accumulated over thousands of years of settlement on islands stretched across the largest mass of water on the face of the earth, untouched and unspoiled by any other humans before them. They understood their pure and fragile surroundings and knew well that human posterity would depend on the well being of this environment. And so the Hawaiians found life in coexisting with Nature, always acknowledging and ready to complement her. Theirs was the privilege of giving the first breath of human life to this land we know as Hawai'i.

The Hawaiian culture thrived in virtual isolation from disease and pests, maintaining and expressing itself dynamically in a purely oral language. Every Hawaiian wind and rain, cloud and sea, plant and animal, had a name and its rightful and purposeful place in human existence. The Hawaiian mind was in tune with and sensitive to its own world, but, as proven in recent history, tragically susceptible to the onslaught of the outside world, blow by blow, beginning with foreign diseases which devastated the native population and decreased it from 300,000 in the early years of first Western contact in 1778 to less than 50,000 some 95 years later.

The traditional religion gave way to the zealous teaching of Christian missionaries. Enterprising Western capitalists permeated the chiefly Hawaiian ruling system

The traditional religion gave way to the zealous teaching of Christian missionaries. Enterprising Western capitalists permeated the chiefly Hawaiian ruling system to insure the success of their investments. The culture that once stood alone was now being rapidly changed from the invasion of foreign ways to the last of tragic infringements, that being the overthrow of the Hawaiian monarchial system of government by American business interests, the Queen herself being imprisoned. And since the legality of this overthrow has yet to be addressed, many Hawaiians view what has happened as the imposition of American governments from Provisional to Republic, from Republic to Territorial, and finally from Territorial to Statehood in 1959.

Impositions and all their ramifications upon the Hawaiian host have always been accepted and handled in a most gracious and trusting manner. This custom of the Hawaiian host we know so well today as the Aloha Spirit. But we witness the , or breath of life first breathed by their 'ancestors upon this land, as endangered and on the verge of extinction, along with so many forms of life to be found only in Hawaii. Engulfed in a new sea, the Hawaiian now sets sail, on the merits of his rich Polynesian heritage and with new leaning, on a journey for the preservation of his life.

Reprinted from Paradise News

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