This year was the 200th anniversary of King Kamehameha I uniting the islands. That the Hawaiian culture is taken seriously is as important as its prominent role in attracting visitors to the islands. Our host culture and its values are the backbone of Hawaii: what makes us different, what makes us strong.
President Obama signed a statement proclaiming June 11, 2010, Kamehameha Day in honor of “King Kamehameha the Great.”
Obama’s proclamation says Kamehameha’s legacy is preserved in Ke Kanawai Mamalahoe, (“the Law of the Splintered Paddle,”) which protects civilians in times of war: enshrined in Hawaii’s Constitution as a “unique and living symbol” of concern for public safety.
We should be proud of this rich heritage, and of the welcome it has given to so many from other cultures. I am proud to be part of a place that is built on strong values, and for the welcome our visitor industry extends to the world. The money it generates is important, but so is the connection, and celebration with friends from around the world.
Colleen Hanabusa is the Hawaii State Senate President and a Democratic candidate for US House district 1