Our Connection to the Stars
by Joni Kamiya, Hawaii Farmer’s Daughter, April 18, 2018
Over a century ago, my great grandparents made a decision to leave China, Japan, and Okinawa. They left like so many others to a new and unfamiliar place way across the Pacific for future opportunities. I can only imagine what they envisioned as they made that journey.
Many left family behind in their homelands to seek a better way of living. My great grandparents traveled aboard a ship for weeks to get to Hawaii. I can only imagine what it was like to be captive on a board with hundreds of others going to an unknown place. Life must’ve been very hard and the only other opportunity was far away. I bet they sat in the darkness looking above at the stars hoping for a better life.
The ancient Hawaiians were probably thinking the same thing thousands of years earlier when they sailed the oceans looking up at the stars for guidance. The stars were guides for the people to build a new life in an unknown place. It was a constant symbol to people who undertook a journey across the Pacific.
For my family and the ancient Hawaiians, they both looked to the stars for a better life for their families. As I recall my own family history, I appreciate what they did for me over a hundred years ago. I know where they came from and the hardships they faced over the years. They made major sacrifices to give their children better opportunities, and for that I am forever grateful. I tell those stories to my children who reap the benefits of the sacrifices made so many years ago.
In this current day, people have forgotten to look up into the sky for guidance. The same stars that gave people a map of future travels is no longer of value to the modern day person. People would rather protest something under the guise of sacredness rather than see the need to grow a person’s capacity and potential through learning. Like the Hawaiians who stopped voyaging for 600 years, the modern day people are setting the stage to repeat that again by rejecting the curiosity that their ancestors valued. Hawai’i will be set back for years with the loss of the Thirty Meter Telescope should they choose another site.
I see the stars as a connection to my ancestors who also saw the constant light in the sky in a sea of darkness. I have dreamt that those glittering lights are bits of hope for the future.
It makes me very sad to see a young Hawaiian like Senator Kaialii Kahele adamant about stopping the Thirty Meter Telescope with his unscrupulous gut and replace lawmaking. It’s angering to see elite groups like the Center for Food Safety joining in on blocking this opportunity for an island faced with limited opportunities and poverty. The celebrations of activists blocking the telescope only signals a disregard of the stars that connect each and everyone of us to our ancestors.
The world is advancing in leaps and bounds which makes many fearful of what’s to come. We can hide in the dark and try to pretend that it’s not happening. My ancestors didn’t resist the change of moving forward. They got on that boat and sailed away with hope. They also planted hope in my grandparents and the next generation in my dad.
We won’t lose a piece of who we are because of technology if we remember our stories. That technology can help us remember and preserve our heritage and stories for decades to come. Each generation must know their personal histories to keep hopes and dreams alive. The elders carved a path for the future and we need to continue it and maintain that connection. Know who you are and where you came from for that is your roots to keep you grounded for the future. Honor our past to move us forward for the future.