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The Value of Hawai'i: Knowing the Past, Shaping the Future

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How did we get here? Three-and-a-half-day school weeks. Prisoners farmed out to the mainland. Tent camps for the migratory homeless. A blinkered dependence on tourism and the military for virtually all economic activity. The steady degradation of already degraded land. Contempt for anyone employed in education, health, and social service. An almost theological belief in th How did we get here? Three-and-a-half-day school weeks. Prisoners farmed out to the mainland. Tent camps for the migratory homeless. A blinkered dependence on tourism and the military for virtually all economic activity. The steady degradation of already degraded land. Contempt for anyone employed in education, health, and social service. An almost theological belief in the evil of taxes. At a time when new leaders will be elected, and new solutions need to be found, the contributors to The Value of Hawai'i outline the causes of our current state and offer points of departure for a Hawai'i-wide debate on our future. The brief essays address a wide range of topics--education, the environment, Hawaiian issues, media, tourism, political culture, law, labor, economic planning, government, transportation, poverty--but the contributors share a belief that taking stock of where we are right now, what we need to change, and what we need to remember is a challenge that all of us must meet. Written for a general audience, The Value of Hawai'i provides a cluster of starting points for a larger community discussion of Hawai'i that should extend beyond the choices of the ballot box this year. Contributors: Carlos Andrade, Chad Blair, Kat Brady, Susan M. Chandler, Meda Chesney-Lind, Lowell Chun-Hoon, Tom Coffman, Sara L. Collins, Marilyn Cristofori, Henry Curtis, Kathy E. Ferguson, Chip Fletcher, Dana Naone Hall, Susan Hippensteele, Craig Howes, Karl Kim, Sumner La Croix, Ian Lind, Melody Kapilialoha MacKenzie, Mari Matsuda, Davianna McGregor, Neal Milner, Deane Neubauer, Jonathan Kay Kamakawiwo'ole Osorio, Charles Reppun, John P. Rosa, D. Kapua'ala Sproat, Ramsay Remigius Mahealani Taum, Patricia Tummons, Phyllis Turnbull, Trisha Kehaulani Watson.


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How did we get here? Three-and-a-half-day school weeks. Prisoners farmed out to the mainland. Tent camps for the migratory homeless. A blinkered dependence on tourism and the military for virtually all economic activity. The steady degradation of already degraded land. Contempt for anyone employed in education, health, and social service. An almost theological belief in th How did we get here? Three-and-a-half-day school weeks. Prisoners farmed out to the mainland. Tent camps for the migratory homeless. A blinkered dependence on tourism and the military for virtually all economic activity. The steady degradation of already degraded land. Contempt for anyone employed in education, health, and social service. An almost theological belief in the evil of taxes. At a time when new leaders will be elected, and new solutions need to be found, the contributors to The Value of Hawai'i outline the causes of our current state and offer points of departure for a Hawai'i-wide debate on our future. The brief essays address a wide range of topics--education, the environment, Hawaiian issues, media, tourism, political culture, law, labor, economic planning, government, transportation, poverty--but the contributors share a belief that taking stock of where we are right now, what we need to change, and what we need to remember is a challenge that all of us must meet. Written for a general audience, The Value of Hawai'i provides a cluster of starting points for a larger community discussion of Hawai'i that should extend beyond the choices of the ballot box this year. Contributors: Carlos Andrade, Chad Blair, Kat Brady, Susan M. Chandler, Meda Chesney-Lind, Lowell Chun-Hoon, Tom Coffman, Sara L. Collins, Marilyn Cristofori, Henry Curtis, Kathy E. Ferguson, Chip Fletcher, Dana Naone Hall, Susan Hippensteele, Craig Howes, Karl Kim, Sumner La Croix, Ian Lind, Melody Kapilialoha MacKenzie, Mari Matsuda, Davianna McGregor, Neal Milner, Deane Neubauer, Jonathan Kay Kamakawiwo'ole Osorio, Charles Reppun, John P. Rosa, D. Kapua'ala Sproat, Ramsay Remigius Mahealani Taum, Patricia Tummons, Phyllis Turnbull, Trisha Kehaulani Watson.

30 review for The Value of Hawai'i: Knowing the Past, Shaping the Future

  1. 4 out of 5

    Janet

    This is quite an important book in Hawaii and at the university I am attending, which is why my advisor suggested I read it. The authors who contributed were passionate about their topics and experts in their fields, but not all good writers so I can't say I enjoyed the entire book. Some of the essays were harangues without much concrete evidence, others a bit too technical for me, but the rest I found highly instructive. The book was written in response to the way the Hawaiian government was ha This is quite an important book in Hawaii and at the university I am attending, which is why my advisor suggested I read it. The authors who contributed were passionate about their topics and experts in their fields, but not all good writers so I can't say I enjoyed the entire book. Some of the essays were harangues without much concrete evidence, others a bit too technical for me, but the rest I found highly instructive. The book was written in response to the way the Hawaiian government was handling the financial crisis and recession and in response to the many primarily social and environmental threats the state faces. I was most alarmed by the unsustainable use of water and the ways that development and global warming are going to threaten the resource of water further. This is a serious threat to Hawaii's future. They are islands - where will they get the fresh water they need? Desalination is costly and resource greedy and doesn't produce good drinking water.I learned how much Hawaii and Hawaiians have been through from the Māhele (land division begun by Kamehameha III and meant to give commoners land, but arguably led to haoles legally purchasing 90% of the land originally ceded to the non-royal Hawaiian people) to the overthrow of Queen Liliʻuokalani (clearly illegal) to annexation by the USA. When Hawaii was a territory the use of the Hawaiian language in school was outlawed and plantation owners brought in waves of laborers primarily from China, Japan, the Philippines (in that order) and Portugal and a few from Norway. Despite cultural differences, they banded together to protest their conditions and won significant gains. Another way of looking at Hawaiian history is how the land use changed or the way the plants changed. A big shift would have been from taro to sugar in the 19th century. The most wonderful thing this book showed me is how the language, philosophy, art and heritage of Hawaiians are significant to all of the contributors, whether local or Hawaiian, and inform both the source of their passion for their topic and also the way they think about their topic as well as how to go about improving conditions or solving the problem. The vitality of Hawaiian culture and the way it can be embraced by non-Hawaiians is beautiful and probably will be the key to Hawaii following a course of sustainability and tolerance, possibly leading the rest of the United States in this. This vitality is due in part to the success of the Hawaiian movement of the 70's and 80's which involved reviving the learning of the language, songs, stories, hula, and the growing of taro - urban guerrilla gardening style. 3 quotes worth sharing: Coffman, "Reinventing Hawaii" p. 10: "Here was the upside: out of a determination that the sacrifices of war not be in vain, the statehood campaign was at the heart of a political strategy to create a novel multiethnic society, in which the rights of working people were to be secured and the colonial dominance of the Big Five corporations was to be curtailed. At the time, many people equated statehood with equality of citizenship-more fundamentally, an equality of being. With statehood, all became first-class citizens in the American democracy. From this widely shared viewpoint, statehood was a victory over marginalization and discrimination." This is how I thought of Hawaii's statehood before I came here and it is so well articulated here. However, while people may agree on this, there is a Hawaiian sovereignty movement and questions about land the royal lands that have been held in trust since the monarchy was overthrown. What to do with the land continues to be debated in court. The case is extremely complicated, so I can't explain it here nor do I fully understand it. Below is part of the Hawaiian Supreme Court's decision not to allow the sale of these lands. I don't ever remember hearing language like this in court proceedings. It reveals a legal concern for the complex relationship people have with the land beyond ownership. MacKenzie, Law and the Courts, p. 90: "Aina is a living and vital part of the native Hawaiian cosmology, and is irreplaceable. The natural elements-land, air, water, ocean-are interconnected and interdependent. To native Hawaiians, land is not a commodity; it is the foundation of their cultural and spiritual identity as Hawaiians. The aina is part of their ohana, and they care for it as they do for other members of their families. For them, the land and the natural environment are alive, respected, treasured, praised, and even worshiped." There is something special here. If you thought that was bordering on poetic, there is an oil aloha (a traditional greeting chant) carved into Hawaiian state law: Aloha Spirit Akahai, meaning kindness, to be expressed with tenderness; Lōkahi, meaning unity, to be expressed with harmony; 'Olu'olu, meaning agreeable, to be expressed with pleasantness; Ha'aha'a, meaning humility, to be expressed with modesty; Ahonui, meaning patience, to be express with perseverance.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Kenny Stevenson

    This book is the last book that I read for a new project that takes place in Hawaii, and it was the best book to wrap up all of the work that I have done. It gets a little too textbook-ish at the end, which made it a little boring, but overall, it was really good.

  3. 5 out of 5

    R

    A thought-provoking collection of essays about Hawaii.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Rachelle

    "The Value of Hawaii" is a collection of 28 essays focusing on what is valuable about Hawaii, and provoking discussions of what is right. Howes identifies three general themes throughout the book: 1. we must come fully to terms with Hawaiian claims to land and sovereignty; 2. we require a certain number of government services and planning to preserve our society and environment; and 3. public and private-sector partnerships are essential. I am a little disappointed that there is only one perspec "The Value of Hawaii" is a collection of 28 essays focusing on what is valuable about Hawaii, and provoking discussions of what is right. Howes identifies three general themes throughout the book: 1. we must come fully to terms with Hawaiian claims to land and sovereignty; 2. we require a certain number of government services and planning to preserve our society and environment; and 3. public and private-sector partnerships are essential. I am a little disappointed that there is only one perspective on each issue, and I think that the author bios should be at the beginning or end of each essay (not at the back of the book). Most of the essays are informative, poignant, and practical, with reasonable and "actionable" solutions. The book definitely accomplishes its goal of provoking thoughtful and open discussions; I really appreciate its focus on solutions, not just blame.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Momi

    Heard about this book, The Value of Hawai`i, on the internet...Hawai`i NPR by chance. In my Hawai`i life I knew Osorio and one of the women who writes in this book. A must read for all who'd like to know more than just sunsets/mai tais and snorkeling. Well done! Heard about this book, The Value of Hawai`i, on the internet...Hawai`i NPR by chance. In my Hawai`i life I knew Osorio and one of the women who writes in this book. A must read for all who'd like to know more than just sunsets/mai tais and snorkeling. Well done!

  6. 5 out of 5

    Elizabeth

    I wish there was a book like this for every state, every five years. It's so wonky and wonderful. It's escapist reading for me, reading about another state's budget crisis. I wish there was a book like this for every state, every five years. It's so wonky and wonderful. It's escapist reading for me, reading about another state's budget crisis.

  7. 5 out of 5

    allysther

    I registered a book at BookCrossing.com! http://www.BookCrossing.com/journal/11098850 I registered a book at BookCrossing.com! http://www.BookCrossing.com/journal/11098850

  8. 4 out of 5

    Cornelia DeDona

  9. 4 out of 5

    Toni

  10. 4 out of 5

    Brad

  11. 4 out of 5

    Angela Coloretti mcgough

  12. 4 out of 5

    Sombresorbet

  13. 4 out of 5

    Koa

  14. 4 out of 5

    Jodi Lower

  15. 4 out of 5

    Ileana Haunani Ruelas

  16. 4 out of 5

    lisa

  17. 5 out of 5

    Katherine

  18. 5 out of 5

    Brent

  19. 4 out of 5

    Joseph Schaffer

  20. 5 out of 5

    Alex

  21. 5 out of 5

    Alan Loo

  22. 4 out of 5

    Sarah Takenaka

  23. 4 out of 5

    Michael

  24. 4 out of 5

    D. Keali'i MacKenzie

  25. 4 out of 5

    Scott Chan

  26. 4 out of 5

    Mari

  27. 5 out of 5

    Deja

  28. 5 out of 5

    Kristin Belmonte

  29. 5 out of 5

    Nicole

  30. 4 out of 5

    Maryrose Hunt

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