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A cluster of volcanoes rising from the Pacific Ocean, Hawai’i is brimming with cascading waterfalls, hiking trails across ancient lava flows, white (and black) sand beaches and secret swimming holes; but to coin Hawai'i as paradise would be an injustice to its local communities.
Hawai'i is paradisiacal in many ways, but the 50th American state has a long, complex history of extractive colonialism – starting with America’s illegal overthrow of the Hawaiian monarchy – that major players prefer to gloss over. The rising cost of living rolled in with a relentless tourism industry holding little regard for the environment has cultivated a new wave of activism being pushed forward by Hawai’i creatives intent on reclaiming their homeland and disrupting stereotypes. Looking beyond the images of pristine beaches dotted with blonde-haired surfers, Hawai’i is an ancient culture built on respecting others and the land; something native activists are committed to preserving.