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Friday, November 6, 2009

Second Impressions of Hawaii

I may have been a bit quick at forming an opinion of this culturally educational place in my previous post. Hawaii has much to offer and I'm finding that 'the people' make this land wonderful in many ways. Once outside of Waikiki, a whole new world exists. And we have been lucky to be able to experience this new world from a relatively local viewpoint thanks to Anthony, Brian, and Amos for helping us out. They have shared with us many of the local secrets and because of them we have been accepted to a certain extent as being more than tourists from the main land.
The Hawaiian and Polynesian Culture is so immensely beautiful it puts me into a state of shallow depression thinking about the extreme lack of culture the Western civilization has. In many ways they are losing their culture as well, but many are fighting to keep it alive and thriving. This is hard to do in the modern world we have created, but the necessity of it will prevail over the modern entanglements we have created.
Today we worked with traditional ancient Hula Dancers (a mother and daughter) and with a traditional Polynesian Dancer. Every dance position they perform has to do with the Earth and Nature or as a recognition for their tribe from the little I have gathered. They respect Nature through music, dance, worship, and living everyday with awareness of its many gifts. We also worked at a Hawaiian emergence school. Michael photographed the tiny classroom with all of the students from that class piled in. This school and the educators working there are working hard to keep giving breath to the Hawaiian culture. They teach and communicate in the native language. The teachers also share many cultural stories along with the many other subjects needed to succeed in the modern world.
While being here and witnessing such beautiful history it is hard for me not to think about our lack of culture. Sure, we share certain holidays and celebrate certain achievements but we don't wake everyday and dance with the Sun, Sky and Earth the way traditional Polynesians or Hawaiians do. Although I'm sure many from this culture do not practice their heritage either, many of them do, and are seeking ways to bring it back into their daily lives. As American Mutts, what customs from the past do we even have that we could include in our daily lives? Which customs do we have that make us recognize and pay tribute to the Earth around us and the awe of it all?

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