I also recommend bringing a copy of Haunani-Kay Traskʻs "Lessons From a Native Daughter" on your trip—an iconic beach read to decolonize the mind! Be respectful and honor boundaries. How do you act when you enter the home of someone you respect greatly, on whom you want to make an excellent impression? Enter into this place with that same degree of respect, and more. As a guest, you would think twice before barging into spaces where you weren’t invited, and if you were told there were specific areas you should not enter, you would want to respect those boundaries. There are many places in Hawaii that hold great cultural significance and are not for settlers or visitors. What a beautiful thing that is, to be able to honor boundaries. It means we begin to live in a world where our own boundaries are respected as well,
“Social dancers still believe that to plant a garden is to believe in tomorrow.”
Be curious, and if you don’t know, ask. The culture of white supremacy teaches us to be ashamed if we donʻt know the right way to be. But guess what? We are all fallible, and we all make mistakes. White supremacy teaches us to make assumptions and put up a front of defensiveness when we don't know the answer. Don’t be a white supremacist! Ask questions if you don’t know how to pronounce a word, if you’re not sure of the appropriate custom, or if you’re not sure of your place in a situation. Don’t presume you know. Be open to learning new ways.
"Shores of Haleiwa" by Loyal Garner
Give back to this place, rather than simply taking from it. Consider what you are being given during your time in Hawaiʻi: Rest, beauty, comfort, ease, the purity of this land, and the illusion that all of this comes easily, freely. In truth, all of these gifts, and the very impact of your presence, come at tremendous cost to the natural resources and the people here—particularly our host communities, the kānaka maoli. How can you give back to Hawaiʻi and its people to create a model of healthy relationship for other visitors and future generations? Spend your money with locally-owned businesses and artisans. Consider making a donation of money and/or your time to an organization working to restore Hawaiʻi’s natural resources and protect its people.
What have we learned in 2020? We are fragile, we need each other, we need this earth, and we must rewrite our stories of community, connection, and equity if weʻre going to survive. I hope you use your time in Hawaiʻi to do just that. (And for goodness sake, wear a mask.)