I was in a Clubhouse room this week when I brought up the topic of illegal annexation of Hawai’i and whether or not we should continue to fight for sovereignty for our brothers and sisters of the land. What I was met with was, “That happened hundreds of years ago…we have to move on.” And, what I wish I had countered with was, “This is dangerous grounds you are walking on saying that. If that’s the logic we put towards our people, than that’s the logic you have to say to Black Americans, to Asian Americans, to Native Americans, etc. People who are still fighting for the right to exist in this land without oppression.
Unless you’ve been living under a rock, history was made in our community. A show that I’ve been extremely psyched to see dropped, and it has made waves across the world. That show is SIS. It was made by mainly by Pasifika women for our community. For those of us who have been searching for media where we can see ourselves, this is a blessing and something to be proud of. While many have been singing its praises, there are those ready to tear it down. Before I go into that, I want to tell you what I saw.
In summary, I saw a show that makes me feel proud of our heritage. It makes me feel like I can be comfortable in who I am. It showcased not just me, but it showcased me and my cousins hanging out. When I watched the show, I wasn’t watching women and men portraying characters. I was watching my family be authentically themselves. I saw my family and ancestors. Sure, some of it was dramatic, but come on it’s comedy and honestly, our families are filled with drama and laughter. It’s the first time I have watched a show and thought, I finally feel seen. That’s the power this show has. That’s the path this show is creating for our people.
Before you read anymore, this is a SPOILER ALERT. There are different aspects of this show that I’m going to dive into, and I hope you watch the show before reading the rest of this blog.
This post is a hard one for me to write, and I know that many have already talked about this topic, but there needs to be more conversations started about Samoa’s recent epidemic. This is not the first time something this tragic has happened to our country. She has actually been through this before, and it should be said that in the future it should not happen again. When I was in high school my history teacher told us repeatedly that we should be careful not to let history repeat itself. That’s why we learn history. This way it doesn’t happen again. Unfortunately, the history of 1918 hasn’t been taught as a warning, and I think that needs to change. I’m not mad at those that came before us, but there’s something to be said about something that happened just over 100 years ago happening again. So, let’s start with the past, how are here in the present, and what our responsibility is to those of the future.
First Things First: Hawaiians With Hawaiian Blood ARE Polynesians
Y’all don’t get me started on this. It’s absolutely ridiculous that there are people, especially other Polynesians from different islands spreading this narrative. Stating that they are sell outs without understanding the history and underhandedness of the United States is wrong. I know this because I used to think the same way. I never said it out loud, but I sure did think this way. Also the fact that there are many “Native Hawaiians” (and, I really hate using this term because no where in the world are people called “Native Samoans” or “Native Tongans” or “Native Fijians” and so on) are fighting for their land and culture right now. This situation is not an old situation. In fact it’s recent and ongoing. I mean Hawaii has only been a state for a little over 50 years. That’s not a long time, and truthfully it was stolen from them. I will get to that later.