Tuesday, 1 February 2011


i went to hawaii kinda out of the blue for work a couple of weeks ago. hawaii is biutiful, but FAR away. it is so rich in culture, it is a bit crazy that its part of the US.

according to the locals, this is how the US got hawaii. a US navy admiral commanded a few battleships into pearl harbor and requested a meeting with the queen. he told her that if she didn't abdicate her throne and power they would use all of their force and essentially commit genocide. she didn't want that, so she abdicated.

when she realized it was a rouse and that she should have called the admiral's bluff, she petitioned the president. who at the time was cleveland. he commissioned a study (classic) and determined that it was indeed an illegal take over of a sovereign nation, but the provisional government refused to leave. (they were, no kidding, rich investors hoping to turn hawaii into a cash-cow) which then meant that congress had to act. i guess congress has always moved slowly because congress did not act fast, and president cleveland died. his death was also the death of any hope that hawaii could be a sovereign kingdom again. apparently the people running the provisional government were making horrible land deals with hawaiians.

essentially, people in hawaii don't believe that land can be owned it is for everyone, but there is a deep connection to the ancestral homes (the fervor with which this was spoken of reminded me of the Hopi and Masi. so they took money from these men and thought they were leasing the land to them, when in fact they had signed over ownership and were leasing the land from them.

then sugar and pineapple plantations sprung up for export and the typical destruction of subsistence farming took place. (old story from every corner of the world). now, C & H pure cane sugar, from hawaii, sweetened by the sun is imported to hawaii from far afield. the land values have increase so much that the plantation owners are selling it off. so, the native hawaiians are both loosing their land and their ability to earn an income.

this has lead to an incredible "ice" or crystal meth problem. and it is this problem that brought me to hawaii. i was there to speak to a group of people who get the "Access to Recovery" (ATR) money and provide "recovery oriented systems of care"

the first day i was there i visited three different treatment providers
here i am with linda (far right), who is the SAMHSA program officer for Hawaii's ATR
and some of the folks
working to help people get off ice and into stable employment and housing

bernie is to my right (left of the photo)
she runs the ATR program for hawaii
and is totally awesome
she taught me how to properly hang-ten
(linda is still working on it)
and was so culturally astute it was astonding

the view from my breakfast in waikiki

the days i was working were incredibly rainy
linda and i had a treacherous trip back from the north shore
everyone talked about how it never rains like that
and they were totally freaked out by the lightening and thunder
all i know, is driving along those steep cliffs in torrential downpour is not easy!
it also meant i didn't take many photos

this is from the day i had some more free time
and it was sunny!
i ended up hanging out with bernie and totally just veggin' out
we did go to roy's and have MIND BLOWING sushi!
this photo is when from when i pulled over and got out to hear a whole bunch of people make that "OOOOOO WOW!" sound
turns out a whale had just done a complete flop out of and back into the water
i missed it by a few seconds

but i didn't miss this little guy . . .

the view from our lunch

bernie took me to the beach here obama had his famous body surfing expedition

apparently the part of the beauty of this photo is not just that the guy can body surf, but that he is kinda hard core and is a local. turns out he was surfing in one of the hardest places to surf. really cool waves, but crazy tides and rocks that need to be avoided. anyway, it was his way of saying to the people of hawaii, i'm local and i'm not a wuss.

we also got to see a seal that was molting, and i took photos, but they got lost somewhere . . . it was cool. it was a seal that is native to hawaii but is protected because there are so few. i'm really bummed about loosing that photo.

one last random hawaiian fact, when the christian missionaries showed up in hawaii they taught the people that surfing was bad. that it was a tool of the devil to get people to be lazy. they were probably fat. also, how cool is it that our president surfs?

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