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Old Posted Oct 22, 2003, 10:04 PM
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Wink Puerto Rico-Hawaii Connection (Wally23 where are you?)

Puerto Rico-Hawaii Connection

Puerto Rican Folklorico Ballet performed a traditional folk dance called "Anazio Bomba" at Hawaii's Hispanic Heritage Festival this past weekend.
Its origins came from the African slaves who worked the fields on the Northeastern side of Puerto Rico.

The Coqui Frog - Native to Puerto Rico, these frogs have become what is considered a pest in Hawaii


December 23, 1900: First wave of Puerto Ricans came to Honolulu aboard the Rio de Janeiro.

*There were approximately 45,000 Puerto Ricans in Hawaii in 2000 according to the Lewis Mumford Center

*Puerto Ricans are the largest Hispanic/Latino ethnic group in Hawaii and is probably the only state in the Western half of the country where they remain the dominant Hispanic/Latino ethnic group, however the Mexican population in recent years is growing much faster and at its current growth rate will probably become the largest Hispanic/Latino group in Hawaii in the next decade or two as population estimates range from 30,000-40,000 currently including illegals according to the Mexican consulate in Hawaii.

*Honolulu & San Juan are official sister cities

Festivals Celebrated:

<>El Dia de los Tres Reyes or Three Kings Day
<>Puerto Rican Festival
<>Hispanic Heritage Festival
<>A taste of Puerto Rico
<>Celebrando Navidad
<>Hawaii International Latin Salsa Music Festival

The first group left from San Juan. The next few groups left from Ponce. The next three groups left from Gua'nica and then back to Ponce again, as the port of departure. They left their port of departure to New Orleans. In New Orleans they were boarded on the Southern Pacific Railroad and went to the West Coast.

The first group had to be forced to go on that train, because after being at sea for five or six days, they realized the distance that they were going, and that they might never see Puerto Rico again. So more than half wanted to turn back. But instead they were forced on board the Southern Pacific Railroad, and 114 Puerto Ricans started the journey across the country. And they stopped at different places. That first group, the people guarding them tried to keep them away from the press, and so on, but the Hearst reporters got on board the train, and were interviewing people and so on. And then they got to San Francisco, and 66 of them escaped. And only 56 people were loaded on the Rio de Janeiro and came out to Hawaii.

That first group arrived December 23rd 1900, and after a couple of days in quarantine in Honolulu, they were again shipped out to Maui, to the island of Maui, and they went to work, all 56 went to work at the Pioneer Mill at Lahaina. Now that was not the good luck of all the other groups that came. The other 10 groups that came, sometimes one lone Puerto Rican was the only one to go to a certain plantation. Maybe seven went to another, maybe 25 went to another. But occasionally it was just that one Puerto Rican.

Eventually 5,100 men, women and children made similar voyages and settled on plantations on Maui, the Big Island, and OĎahu. Pay was $15 a month for men, and less for women and teen age children, for 10 hours daily labor in the fields and 12 hours in the mills.

What began as "Trabajo y Tristeza"--or work and sorrow--was the basis of a successful community of some 20,000. On the 75th anniversary of the first voyage, the Puerto Rican government invited Blase Camacho Souza, whose parents made that voyage, to represent HawaiĎi at ceremonies in Puerto Rico. Besides participation in all areas of jobs and professions, Puerto Ricans today keep alive their rich culture in dance, music, food, and religion, and contribute to the unusual multicultural mix of HawaiĎi.

Boricua Migration to Hawai`i
It has been said that perhaps the least understood and appreciated major ethnic group to come to Hawaii were the Boricuas or Puerto Ricans. The sugar planters who recruited them as "indentured slave laborers" were apparently only interested in profits, false promises and "kidnapping." When the Boricuas rebeled - the first migrant group to physically take up arms against the planters - they became commonly labeled as "criminals," "vagrants" and "vindictive." But the Boricuas or Boriqueos or "Borinkees" who came here were basically the indigenous peoples of their land, who had sowed the yuca root for millennia, who had experienced severe economic and social hardships, and were merely trying to make life better for themselves and their families.

From 1900 to 1901, eleven expeditions brought over 5,000 Boricuas to Hawai`i. Most came from the mountain regions of Yauco, Lares, Utuado and Ajuntas, and many were coffee farmers whose crops had been devastated by huracn San Ciriaco in 1899. The Boricuas who came here were proud of their indigenous heritage, initially identifying as "Boricuas" or "Boriquenos," not as "Puerto Ricans" or "Porto Ricans," since they considered themselves Indians. It was the Boricua or Jibaro who had been "the foot soldiers of every revolution on the island" since the uprising of 1511. They led the "Grito de Lares" in 1868 and eventually drove the Spanish out in 1898, only to be recolonized shortly after by the Americans. Ron Arroyo writes that the Boricuas who came to Hawai`i were free spirited independence fighters who refused to be enslaved:

. . these were people who were Boricua indians. They were proud of their indian culture as inhabitants of the island of Boriquen. Their heritage was based on a love of freedom and independence. The Spaniards called them `jibaros' which meant men of freedom. They were also called `Los Macheteros' for their use of cane knives as weapons in the fight for freedom and independence. An early commander of the island's Spanish regiment referred to the jibaros as `the free coloured inhabitants of Porto Rico.' So the most significant aspect of the Porto Ricans who migrated to the plantations in Hawaii was that they were free persons. Their attitude of freedom was to determine their behavior in a slave-like environment on those plantations. The Caucasian landowners, in their ignorance of culture and history, seeking laborers for their sugar cane, sent agents to Puerto Rico to recruit to a slave condition a group of people who had historically fought for and fiercely protected their freedom.

The Puerto Rican community has been very instrumental in improving the quality of life here in the islands. As is the case with many of the other ethnic groups that call Hawaii `home' today, the early Puerto Rican migrants toiled on the plantations to create a better life for themselves and their future generations. As is also the case with the other groups, they brought their traditions, culture and foods with them. Pasteles and gandule rice are well-known dishes in today's Hawaii.

In the year 2000 Puerto Ricans in Hawaii celebrated 100yrs of history in Hawaii.

Hawaii's Puerto Rican community has changed in many ways since the first Puerto Ricans came here as plantation laborers a century ago. When it comes to music though, they cling to tradition.

Puerto Ricans elsewhere are used to salsa but here in Hawaii we all grew up with musica tipica/jibaro and we continue (to enjoy it), says Nancy Ortiz, a promoter of traditional and modern Puerto Rican music.

In Hawaii, the cuatro is heard in its traditional role as local Puerto Rican bands here play primarily within the Puerto Rican community. They include Tommy Valentine Y Suy Amigos, who play jibaro music at Sportsman's Lounge in Pearl City on Saturdays and the Rainbow Lounge in Kalihi on Sundays, and Second Time Around, a musica tipica band featuring Ortiz's husband John on cuatro, is a long-time attraction on the jibaro circuit. Big Island resident John Gary Guzman is not only an internationally recognized cuatro but also makes them.

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