How Not To Travel To Hawai’i Like A Basic Bitch
April 15, 2020
By Kiona | @hownottotravellikeabasicbitch
From the creator of "How Not To Travel Like A Basic Bitch: Where Race and Travel Intersect"
Hawai’i is the world’s favorite vacation playground with nearly 10 million tourists a year. And for good reason. Hawai’i is a tropical paradise where the locals are friendly, the skies are blue, the palm trees sway, and the water is sparkling. It is truly a paradise on earth, full of aloha spirit.
But a paradise to whom?
What many tourists don’t know about Hawai’i is that this paradise has historically the highest homeless rates in the United States. They also don’t realize the military has exploded enough atomic bombs to crack the water table and drain all the freshwater off of one of the islands, making it completely inhabitable. Finally, tourists don’t think about how this island has been illegally occupied for over 200 years without consent from individuals of the Indigenous monarchy, who were deposed by the United States on January 14, 1893. Let’s take a look at how tourism affects these issues and how tourists can help alleviate this.
History of Colonization Of Hawai’i
Before Hawai’i was a state of the United States, it was its own kingdom with a long history of language, laws, customs, and royalty. Hawaiians had it going on and its monarchy was still operating well into the 19th century. However, upon European contact, the islands of Hawai’i suffered from huge drops in population due to disease brought by dirty ass Europeans and Americans who docked on the island and squatted on land that was not given, sold, or awarded to them. Not only did they squat, but they turned land into plantations, changing the ecosystem and economy of Hawai’i forever. As civilized people, the Hawaiian monarchy constantly made an effort to live peacefully all together. However, that ended when, as absolute barbarians and fuccbois, a group of White plantation owners decided to hold the Queen of Hawai’i at gunpoint, surrounding her palace with guards and threatening to murder not only her but all of her people.
And so White Supremacy and the patriarchy have been ruling Hawai’i ever since.
Current Colonization Of Hawai’i
I wish we could stop there and let that be the end of the pain and suffering of the Hawaiian people. But nope. White people gotta White and colonization continues today.
Colonization in Hawai’i looks like displacement via vacation rentals. Seventy percent of vacation rentals are owned by people who do not live in Hawai’i. That means almost anything that you stay in as a tourist is contributing to the displacement of Hawaiian People.
Or there are the White colonizers like Mark Zuckerburg who buy up oceanfront property and then attempt to kick Hawaiians off their home front beach. Joke’s on them because the ocean is not private and all beaches are public lands. Hawaiians tore down the wall he was trying to build. (I’m not sure what kind of border he was even trying to establish.)
Then there are those colonizers who not only take up land space but actually pretend to be Hawaiian. Yes, imagine hating a people so much that you kill them off and overthrow their monarchy, but then use their imagery, their gods, and their language to advertise your goods. Do you think those shops you’re buying from are owned by actual Hawaiians? Nope. Cultural appropriation at its finest
But what is most pressing right now is the colonization of Mauna Kea.
Protect Mauna Kea
Mauna Kea is the largest mountain in the world, measured from its base, and it boasts one of the darkest skies in the world. It is not only a sacred place for the Indigenous Peoples of Hawai’i but also a water source for freshwater that comes down the mountain and feeds into lakes and rivers.
Currently atop the mountain are 13 telescopes that leak hydraulic fluid. And right now there is an ongoing attempt to build a fourteenth. One larger and bigger than them all. And the Indigenous Peoples of Hawai’i are not having it.
Staging active resistance since the 1960s, the most recent occurrence happened in June 2019 where Hawaiians literally laid down their bodies to stop the construction of this Thirty Meter Telescope (TMT). A call was made on top of the mountain and the people came by the thousands. Now with all of the access to social media, people are coming from all over the world to camp out in front of the road to the mountain. From celebrities to everyday people moved by the movement, they are coming to support Native Hawaiians who are saying NO, we are STILL fucking here, and no one needs to taint any more fucking water. Water is a life source, Mauna Kea is a sacred life source, and Hawaiians will protect the mountain at all costs.
Going up to the mountain myself in January 2020, you can still see the resistance. The protectors of Mauna Kea host workshops, teach classes and offer unity as they always have done. But these protectors are living in the harshest conditions. With high-speed winds, their tents are blowing away and it’s hard to stay warm in the winter. In the summer, being surrounded by black lava rock and so close to the sun, the heat cooks them. Yet, they are still standing there.
It not only takes time to stay up on the mountain but money as well. The protection camp feeds and houses all of its protectors, costing tens of thousands of dollars a month. And now that they’re in wintertime, the world is forgetting that there are still people up there, who have quit their jobs and are fighting every day to protect the water of Hawai’i. It has been eight months since their Stand To Protect Mauna Kea began and Native Hawaiians are still fucking here, continuing to make waves since the first act of colonization in the 1800s. You are witnessing 200 years of resistance.
What You Can Do To Help Mauna Kea
Ironically, tourists can help the movement. The Facebook or Instagram page: Pu’u Huluhulu posts supplies, from medical to food, needed on the mountain. Visitors also are encouraged to visit the movement. The more people that know about it, the better for the movement. There are ceremonies three times a day at 8 am, 12 pm, and 5 pm for people to participate in.
The protectors are incredibly welcoming to people who are willing to educate themselves and help stand in the fight as allies. Even if it’s for a day. Tourists passing by Mauna Kea can also offer their hotel rooms to give protectors a night off and allow them to shower and buy them food. Tourists can also take down laundry to be washed and clear out the trash on the mountain. Small acts of service can help this community and movement greatly (especially if you’re a tourist, frolicking in their paradise, while they suffer for the water you’re drinking).
Not planning on going to Hawai’i, but maybe you’ve already been? I can’t count the number of people who have told me that Hawai’i gave them their honeymoon, a previous family vacation, or the time of their life. Pay up for your unwittingly colonizing behavior. You owe them.
You can contribute directly to the main organizer Pua Case, who has been using her own money to run the camp and has brought the case into the courthouse and paid the legal fees. Anytime anyone gets arrested on the mountain, she’s the person that manages that. She also needs money just to feed herself. Her Paypal is paypal.me/puacase.
And remember, if you do go up to the mountain, listen to Native Hawaiians. There’s a check-in desk at the camp with all of the rules. Follow them. And don’t visit like a basic bitch.