This is an independent blog. Please note that I am nowhere near fluent, and that these are not translations, but merely works in progress. Please do comment if you come across misreads or anything else you think is important.
We were at a birthday party in the uplands of Kalihi on last week Thursday. We admired how well supplied the table was spread, and from among the beautiful things on the table, there was a skillfully crafted Hawaiian umeke, that is, it was loulu palm and the young coconut fronds woven just like a wooden calabash. Also there was the Minister of Finance, John M. Kapena; the Hawaiian Hotel keeper, Mr. A. Herbert; the subeditor of the Kuokoa, Rev. M. Kuaea; as well as those who were invited; there was much food supplied. “Aloha to Kaleiahihi.”
A question which has long puzzled the friends of the Hawaiian people has been how to provide, for the ones who wish to work, suitable occupations. Critics of the Hawaiian race have been free in their statements to the effect that the Hawaii is lazy and unprogressive, in utter forgetfulness of the fact that it takes more than a generation or two to outlive the old customs more especially when the vitality of a once healthy people has been sapped by the vices and evil productions of socalled civilizasion.
This attitude on the part of many whites and the importation of foreign goods has very nearly doomed to extinction many industries distinctively Hawaiian, but a determined effort is being made to revive at least some of them before they are forgotten entirely.
Perhaps among the most interesting of these is that of making Hawaiian hats and in this a fine start towards establishing a truely native industry has already been made.
The prices commanded by Panama and Filipino hats is such as to encourage those who are looking after the present attempt as there is no doubt that as good hats can be made by the Hawaiian women as any that come from the places mentioned. For these expensive hats however there is of course a limited demand and it is towards the production of grades for ordinary wear that attention has been directed.
First attempts to enlist Hawaiian women in the work were discouraging but after some time Theodore Richards and the Atherton Estate, recognizing the importance of the work, took it up in order to assist the lady who had the matter in hand.
“When Mr. Richards heard of the work he became interested and at once offered a work room at the Kauluwela lodgings, on Vineyard street,” she said this morning, “with out that we could have done nothing. There the women work on the hats and on the braids. Some of the original Hawaiian patterns for braids had disappeared entirely. Others were recalled by native women who remembered them from the early days. Others we managed to get from the other islands and one or two I designed. We have now thirty patterns in all.” Continue reading →