Today Honolulu’s Bishop Museum lets everyone in for free. It’s a celebration of their recent renovations. It’s also a celebration of the people of the Pacific, some of whom are performing traditional dances on the museum grounds while others offer traditional island foods. Later I’ll eat curry poured into folded fry bread by the women tending the Fuji food tent shelter and watch well done Tahitian dances. Now I’m inside the museum, sketching a wooden Hawaiian god and half listening to two women on the next bench telling story. Perhaps inspired by the Bishop’s collection of royal Hawaiian regalia and other physical evidence of their history on the island, these Aunties tell each other the important things—who did the things that changed their world, how to fish near shore, a job always for the women, anything about their grandchildren.
As in most places on this island, I feel welcome here, perhaps the only person at this celebration incapable of turning brown under the sun.