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Letters for Sunday, December 19, 2021

Kaua‘i is not a racist place

This is in reply to a letter to the editor published in your Sunday edition on Dec. 5 from a visitor named Stephen Watson, entitled “Visitor alarmed by racial slurs.”

We were stunned and could hardly digest what was being said by this visitor. My husband and I have lived on Kaua‘i for over 30 years on various parts of this beautiful island. When we moved here, just prior to ‘Iniki, we found ourselves to be in a most-unusual place. The local people were kind, intelligent but cautious in accepting these “haoles.”

No one was unkind to us in any way, but we were immediately aware that “we” were in the minority on this island — Kaua‘i was unique. As a minority, we had to prove ourselves as trustworthy residents to the people who were here long before us. In learning some of the history, we became aware that Kaua‘i truly is a most-unique place.

To share a small piece of Kaua‘i’s history: In the spring of 1835, a young farmer was planting “long sugar” on a plot of land on the South Shore (long meaning “loa” and sugar meaning “ko” = “Koloa”), establishing the first successful sugar plantation in the state of Hawai‘i. (Koloa is where this incident apparently took place!)

During the 1800s, faced with poor economic conditions in their homelands, workers came to Hawai‘i from faraway places including Portugal, Puerto Rico, China, Japan, Korea and the Philippines. Soon many of these new immigrants were settled closely together at the Koloa Sugar Plantation, where they preserved and yet mingled and shared their cultures.

These workers were focused on their families and communities and brought to Hawai‘i traditions, foods and customs of their homelands. No other place on the planet saw this diversity of cultures mixing, sharing and building one strong community such as was happening in this place we call Hawai‘i.

These plantation workers provided this peaceful sense of “place,” where diverse cultures could co-exist and carry on the tradition of aloha, that was and is the nature of Hawaiians. This sharing of cultures resulted in what makes Kaua‘i such a truly special place today. We are all “one people” though we come from many different places!!

We are sorry if this incident happened the way it was reported, and surprised that it wasn’t handled better.

But, Kaua‘i is NOT A RACIST place, and one visitor reporting something like this does not “cast Kaua‘i as a racist place to visit.” Please, Kaua‘i is anything BUT RACIST!

Lucy Adams, Lihu‘e

Kaua‘i needs to be more self-sustainable

In society today, healthier food options or locally grown produce are harder to come across or gain access to.

We are constantly being advertised fast or processed food and other products that potentially have harmful chemicals in them.

Although organic produce is being sold in grocery stores all over the island, the prices are more expensive and it’s cheaper to buy items like canned food. These processed and unhealthy foods surround us, leaving most residents like myself having to resort to the cheapest option, even if it isn’t the healthiest.

Approximately 85-90% of Hawai‘i’s food products are imported from the mainland. As residents of Kaua’i, most of us rely on these shipments and not on small farmers or what the land provides for us.

This ultimately makes us vulnerable to food shortages caused by big problems like global events or natural disasters that may occur on the mainland. This also means that the barges that ship our necessities to us will stop coming for an unknown amount of time.

It is very important to educate ourselves and our future generations on self-sustainability. We have everything we need here on Kaua‘i, so all that is left to do is learn.

Fishing, hunting or growing food are ways to be self-sustainable, but you can always support local farmers by buying their produce. This way of living benefits our communities. It keeps money circulating in Hawai‘i’s economy, teaches us to live off the fertile land, supports small farmers and businesses, and allows us to rely on ourselves to survive. We can all use this knowledge to form a healthier and well-rounded Kaua‘i.

Jodee Miguel, ‘Ele‘ele
Source: The Garden Island

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