Hawaii is not anyplace USA

Letter to the Editor
The Maui News
Thursday, March 14, 2002

The Maui News March 10 editorial, “Hawaii, U.S. owe Hawaiians,” is pono (correct). For many years, I have sometimes criticized and sometimes praised The Maui News when it was warranted, and I believe that this is one of the most poignant editorials I have read in a long time. I congratulate the editor who wrote it. 

For kanaka maoli, this is a very confusing time in Hawaii’s history. We are being torn by the Western culture, yet have a strong connection to our past culture. At one time land, water and other resources were “owned by the gods” and everyone shared in the bounty. Resources were cared for by our ancestors in a communal way that would benefit everyone and sustain the bounty. 

Along comes Western culture with its desire to “change” the host culture and its relationship to land, water and the other resources by bringing in the concept of “private property.” Hawaiians in their wisdom of sharing “gave” away land, thinking that it would be returned some day. Westerners used their laws to steal, change and coerce our alii into allowing foreigners to own land in Hawaii. The makaainana, the common people, had no knowledge of what was being done to their lands.

The saying “No moa Hawaiians, no moa aloha” should be plastered on the advertisements that call Hawaii “paradise” and “Maui the magic island.” A percentage of all the tax dollars spent by tourists should be set aside to promote cultural festivities that make Hawaii unique and activities that perpetuate our culture. 

Let’s stop the idea of making Hawaii totally like everyday USA.

Charles Kauluwehi Maxwell Sr. 


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