Hawaiians today are different in many ways since they first immigrated to the islands in the year 750. Their diets have become less traditional and more westernized. The population of pure Hawaiians have declined and their lifestyle and government system has been altered since Hawaii's discovery to the western world. Yet, some things about the Hawaiians have not changed.
The Hawaiian people were once the healthiest people on the earth. The western influence changed the Hawaiian's whole culture. Now, the Hawaiians are among those with the worst health in the nation. Because of poor diet, Hawaiians have been suffering from obesity, heart disease, high blood pressure, strokes, cancer, and diabetes. All are due to high fat, high sugar, low fiber diets including plate lunches, fast food, and canned food.
As of the 1990 census, there were 138,742 (12.5%) Hawaiians out of 1,108,229 people living in Hawaii. This means that the other 969,487 (87.5%) were all descendants of immigrants. Today, there are less then 3,000 pure Hawaiians alive. But there are estimated to be around 255,000 to 275,000 native Hawaiians living here in Hawaii. Most Hawaiians today are the offspring of intermarriages. The most common combinations are Hawaiian Caucasian, Hawaiian Asian (Japanese, Chinese, Filipino).
The Hawaiian language still conveys strong emotional feeling. Some examples are aloha (love), aina (land) and kuku (grandparents, usually pronounced tutu). Another word, ohana, is derived from the world oha, the rootlet of the taro plant, which survived fierce tropical storms, intense heat and devastating salt air and water, and is still the staple diet of most Hawaiians. The plant sends out tiny rootlets from which new plants develop, hence the word ohana or extended family, emerging from the parent plant. To Hawaiians, family is a number one priority. It is one of their core values. Youngsters were taught to respect their kupuna (elders).
Since the discovery of Hawaii, the Hawaiian government system and lifestyle has changed. When Hawaii was first discovered, Hawaiians were ruled by Kings and Queens, but now Hawaii is part of the United States of America and is governed by a President. Also, now Hawaiians are going to the supermarkets for their belongings, but before the immigrants immigrated to Hawaii, the Hawaiians used to make their own clothing and belongings. The Hawaiians do not live in grass shacks that they constructed, but real houses.
Hawaiians also have the lowest paying jobs in the community and the worst housing. In Hawaii, Hawaiians are known to have the highest drop-out rate in school. They also have the worst statistics in Western diseases and they have the highest death rate from those diseases. Percentage wise, they have the greatest number of people in jail. The age for suicide by Hawaiian men is 18-34. Various causes have arisen in recent times regarding Hawaiians. For example, land issues, water rights, politics and education.
The traditional "oven" that the
Hawaiians used to cook their pigs
Lu'aus haven't changed much. The traditional lu'au menu is pua'a kalua (kalua pig), poke (raw seasoned seafood), lomi lomi salmon (salmon with tomatoes and onions), chicken lu'au (chicken with spinach, onions, and garlic), chicken long rice., sweet potato, haupia (coconut pudding), kulolo (taro pudding), and most of all, poi (pounded root of taro plant). Beverages include mai'tai's, blue Hawaii's, and a lot of non-alcoholic drinks.
A group called the Alu Like (Working Together) was formed in 1975. This group set goals for the Hawaiian community. It also identified the needs and priorities of the Hawaiian people. They wanted to pursue these goals by implementing various programs. Some of the areas of need are education, housing, land, health, employment and economics.
The Hokulea sailed from Hawaii to Tahiti and back.
In 1976, the first voyage of Hokulea occurred. Hokulea was a canoe built true to the ancient Hawaiian design. It sailed to Tahiti and back. It soon became a symbol for the Hawaiian people, which represented the pride and accomplishments to challenge one's self and explore the unknown. It instilled a high level of cultural pride.
Today, Hawaiians have made positive strives to economic and social independence. The Chief Justice of the Supreme Court is Hawaiian. There are Hawaiians in state legislatures and business. In 1975, the John Burns School of Medicine was established. Since then, Hawaiian physicians have more than doubled.
Senator Daniel Akaka is representing Hawaii in Washington. Governor Waihe'e was the first governor of Hawaiian descent. His son is also interested in going into politics.
Governor Waihee and his son
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