The first two Guild of Ornamental Hermits novels take place on Hawai’i Island, during a time (“in the not too distant future”) when the Hawaiian Kingdom is reorganizing its government, post-occupation. A plot thread concerning Hawai’i continues in the fourth book.
To learn more about the Hawaiian islands, issues, culture, and the Hawaiian Kingdom, please go to these websites below. (New links will be added from time to time.) Below you will also find examples of important issues in the islands. I have thought at times that the popular non-resident’s conception of Hawai’i as “paradise” enables people to ignore or gloss over the severity and number of problems brought to the islands through occupation by settler-colonists, military, etc.
LOng-standing and Immediate issues of concern
I almost don’t know where to begin. There are so many–so very, very many–truly horrific things happening in Hawai’i that need to be addressed and corrected now. This is not a complete list–that would take an encyclopedia. I will be adding to it as needed.
WATER CONTAMINATION EXAMPLES
Fresh, drinking water contamination: The Navy’s jet fuel and firefighting foam leaks at Red Hill on O’ahu.
The Red Hill jet fuel leak. Link to story by Christine Jedra in Honolulu Civil Beat.
The firefighting foam leak just happened (from the 11/29/22 article by Christine Jedra): “Aqueous film forming foam, also known as AFFF, was released on the upper end of the facility into the aboveground soil and into the underground facility, the health department said in a news release. AFFF is used to suppress fuel fires and contains chemicals known as PFAS that are linked to cancer and other health problems. PFAS chemicals are notorious environmental contaminants because they are “forever chemicals” that don’t break down in the environment.”
DEPLETED URANIUM DUST AND CONTAMINATION FROM LIVE FIRE TRAINING AT POHAKULOA
Watch the film Pohakuloa – Now That You Know, Do You Care? (2014). Features many Hawaiian Island activists. This film is a production of the Kamakako’i Website. These issues are still ongoing. The live fire training has not stopped as of 2022. The Kamakako’i website has information about other issues too.
Peace Vigil at Pohakuloa, 2022. Short video. No discussion.
Kahoolawe – Bombed since WWII and halted in 1990. It is still in need of the promised complete clean-up of military debris, probably also including unexploded ordnance. Visit the Protect Kaho’olawe ‘Ohana website for more info about current activites and the history and timeline. Please consider a donation.
Unexploded ordnance can be found in many places on Hawai’i Island as well, sometimes near homes and schools.
ITEMS TO COME: Houselessness, water diversion, GMO contamination, etc.
Hawaiian Kingdom Links–so you understand the issues and history & Songs–so you can connect emotionally.
Kaulana Na Pua – Ellen Keho’ohiwoakalani Wright Pendergast, composer, 1893. The most beautiful protest song in the world (and one of the most powerful). Written and sung in ‘Olelo Hawai’i. Project Kuleana version (2013). The YouTube text for this video says the song was “a mele of opposition to the annexation of Hawai’i to the United States. Originally this mele was titled Mele ʻAi Pōhaku (The Stone Eating Song) and was also known as Mele Aloha ʻĀina.” Mākaha Sons version (2001). Kuana Torres Kahele talking about the 1879 First Ukulele (which he plays) and the history of Kaulana Na Pua, before he sings, falsetto style (2021).
Hawai’i ’78 – Mickey Ioane, composer. He composed “Hawaiʻi ’77” as a teenager. It was recorded as Hawai’i ’78 by Mākaha Sons of Niʻihau and Israel Kamakawiwo’ole “IZ”. Mana Maoli version (2019). Mākaha Sons of Ni’ihau version (1979 live album). Bruddah IZ version.
All Hawai’i Stand Together/Hawai’i Loa – Liko Martin, composer. His story of the song and performance of the song (at The Slack Key Show, about 10 years ago). Sung in ‘Olelo Hawai’i first and then in English. Project Kuleana version (2013), English and ‘Olelo Hawai’i. Dennis Pavao version, English and ‘Olelo Hawai’i.
Ea. Sudden Rush.
Independence & Aloha ‘aina Activism
Richard Kekuni Blaisdell Hawaiian National Archive. Contains “multiple collections of materials from contemporary history relating to Hawaiian national identity, including documents, photos, banners, signs, t-shirts, and other paraphernalia.” Please consider a donation.
KAHEA – The Hawaiian Environmental Alliance. A great website to learn about most if not all the environmental issues affecting the islands. Please consider a donation.
Protecting Sacred places
Mauna Kea, Temple Under Siege, by Joan Lander and Puhipau, Na Maka o Ka ‘Aina. 50 min. Watch in full, above. Documentary.
Jam 4 Mauna Kea. Worldwide jam of Kū Ha’aheo & Hawai’i Loa. Video.
Kū Haʻaheo: Pae ʻĀina Hawaiʻi. A very moving video showing scenes of the Kia’i (Protector) resistance set to Kū Haʻaheo e Kuʻu Hawaiʻi composed by Hinaleimoana Wong. Video.
Like a Mighty Wave: A Maunakea Film, Mikey Inouye (2019).
“You Will Not Build On Maunakea” Mililani Trask Tells NSF (Aug. 9, 2022). Video.
Jason Momoa, We Are Mauna Kea. August 15, 2019. Includes footage of kupuna (elders) being arrested on Mauna Kea, and interviews with Kia’i. Video.
Documentaries & Media
Na Maka o Ka ‘Aina – Many more excellent documentaries by Joan Lander and Puhipau.
Voices of Truth-One on One With Hawai’is Future, YouTube channel. Koani Foundation. Dozens upon dozens of video interviews with Hawaiian community leaders and cultural practitioners.
My FAvorite Books (List in progress)
Brown, Marie Alohalani. Ka Po’e Mo’o Akua-Hawaiian Reptillian Water Deities. University of Hawai’i Press, 2022.
Hoʻoulumāhiehie. Translator: Nogelmeier, Puakea. The Epic Tale of Hi’iakaikapoliopele. Originally published in Ka Na’i Aupuni, 1905-1906.
Trask, Haunani Kay. From a Native Daughter-Colonialism and Sovereignty in Hawai’i (Revised Edition). Originally published in 1993.
On a personal note: “Uncle” Clarence Ku Ching
My former partner of over a decade was also my greatest teacher and mentor regarding Hawaiian activism and culture until 2017, when we parted. You can learn more about him and his work here, at a website I built for him in 2015. He is also featured in the films Mauna Kea: Temple Under Seige and Pohakuloa, Now That You Know, Do You Care? He is currently in precarious health and well-wishers from around the world are sending their kind thoughts and hopes for his recovery.