An Official Prayer From Hawaii
PROCEEDINGS of the House of Representatives were opened the other day by the Rev. Akaiko Akana, chaplain of the Senate of Hawaii, in a prayer of rather unusual character. He quoted Kipling and referred to ancient nations which, before the discovery of this country, “had risen skyward in the splendor of their accomplishment and in the glory of their might, but because God was forgotten, they fell and today the remnants of their broken structures lie heaped upon the ruins of their desolation with their names buried beneath and spelled in cold letters on the pages of history.” This is a fine piece of rhetoric addressed to the Throne on High, but intended for human ears, and it evokes many memories of the Western world.
It is evident that the clergyman is a native of Hawaii and descendant of the ancient tribes which ruled the islands before the appearance of the white man. It will be remembered that Captain Cook was murdered in the islands and that it was not until about the opening of the Nineteenth Century that certain New England missionaries went there and began that career which has made them a part of our territory. More than one hundred years ago a native boy named Oobookiah stole aboard a Yankee whaler and refused to leave. He was brought to this country with an English vocabulary of swear words only (shades of the Puritans, weep!), landed at New Haven, slept on the door-steps of Yale College, until in pity some students took him in and started him on the road to education.
Our first Hawaiian immigrant died and was buried in a lonely grave in Connecticut, but he was the inspiration of the movement which has resulted in existing conditions. That pagan lad was the first fruit of the civilization of the islands of which we are so proud—and which are largely populated by Japanese. Probably no individual of so small importance has ever exercised so much interest in this country or has produced such large and so desirable results.
(Philadelphia Inquirer, 12/19/1920, p. 8)