Hawai'i in the Public Square

Zocalo Public Square
Daniel K. Inouye Institute

Why Samoans Are So Overrepresented in the NFL

It All Started in Hawaiʻi on Oahu's North Shore, Where Plantation Managers and Mormon Elders Nurtured Generations of Football Stars

By Rob Ruck

Long before Oahu’s North Shore became a global hot spot for football, it was a pu`uhonua, a refuge under the protection of priests. Fugitives and villagers escaping the carnage of island warfare, or punishment for violating the traditional code of conduct, found sanctuary there—as long as they abided by the priests’ rules. But Captain James ...

Trump Might Be the Best Foil American Democracy Can Have

Journalist E.J. Dionne and Rep. Colleen Hanabusa Discuss the Civic Power of the Response to a President

By Reed Johnson

Should the Trump presidency make us more optimistic about America’s future?

E.J. Dionne—a prominent liberal pundit who is both a nationally syndicated columnist for The Washington Post and a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution—thinks so. ...

The Honolulu Homeless Project That Could Only Have Worked in Hawai‘i

The New Kahauiki Village Is Rekindling the Communal Values of Old Plantation Towns

By Duane Kurisu

I was 16 when I first visited the islands. A skinny, white girl with a bad perm, I became red as a lobster after spending one week on Maui.

I wasn’t interested in the history of our 50th state at the time, yet on Oahu something important happened to me. Walking through shops and outdoor malls in downtown Honolulu, ...

Garage Parties in Hawaii Aren’t Just Any Party

Plantation Day Roots Are the Origins for Present-Day Gatherings with Plenty of Beer, a Pig on a Spit, and Community

By Keala Francis

Growing up in Hawaii in the 1970s, my family and our neighbors spent New Year’s Eve roasting a pig in our driveway. We set up the spit and used corrugated tin metal sheets to block the wind and contain the fire. The ancient Hawaiians prepared much of their cooked foods in an imu, or underground oven, but we lived on one of the ...

In Hawaii, an Immigrant Family that Bridged Japanese and American Worlds

How Siblings Torn Between Two Sides of the Pacific Forged Identities in the Aftermath of War

By Bernice Kiyo Glenn

I still remember them at the dining table after dinner each night in our Honolulu home. Three elegant sisters, styled out of Vogue magazine, their jet black hair in neat chignons and pixie haircuts, each savoring a cigarette and lingering over a glass of bourbon. Their laughter rang, but did not always conceal the dark ironies ...