From On Being Hawaiian | The Nation


From On Being Hawaiian

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Statistically I am part-Hawaiian; although I was reminded one night at a dinner party by a charming, mathematically astute lady, who descends from two prominent early missionary couples, that I am actually three-eighths Hawaiian by blood. All four of my grandparents were part-Polynesian: two actually fifty-percent white and fifty-percent Hawaiian; one who was a mixture of Tahitian, Hawaiian and white; and the fourth, one-quarter Hawaiian and three-quarters white.... My ancestors here included a Spanish rancher; a part-Corsican, part-Tahitian alii woman; an American missionary couple originally from Holden, Massachusetts; a British earl; a Boston businessman; and Hawaiians from both the high-ranking and the lesser, the kau-kau alii, who came originally from the islands of Maui and Hawaii. I am, in depth, a product of Hawaii--an American, yes, who is a citizen of the fiftieth State, but I am also a Hawaiian; somewhat by blood, and in large measure by sentiment. Of this, I am proud.

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