Talking Story

conchLocals say, lucky you live Hawaii, and they’re right. Everyone is welcome in Hawaii’s melting pot. But don’t make the mistake of calling yourself Hawaiian just because you live in the islands.

Myth-understanding #2:

If you live in Hawaii, you’re Hawaiian.

Unlike New Yorker or Californian, Hawaiian refers to a Polynesian race. To be Hawaiian you have to have Hawaiian blood, meaning ancestors that were living in the islands prior to Captain Cook’s arrival in 1778. In Hawaii you’ll hear kama‘aina, meaning of the land, used to refer to Hawaii residents, but even this word isn’t quite right unless your family has deep roots here. Locals, islanders, or simply from Hawaii are all more accurate descriptions. Keep this in mind if you hear ex-pat islanders in Idaho call someone local. Hint: they aren’t saying he’s from Boise.

Oh, and Hawaii is the only state where everyone is a minority—no one race or nationality is anywhere close to 50% of the population. Most islanders are a mixture—having five or more nationalities isn’t uncommon.

Next: #3: You need a passport to visit.

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