Trade and cultural relationships have existed between the West Coast of the United States and the Hawaiian Island for hundreds of years. This includes a number of native Hawaiians who migrated to the Pacific Northwest in the early 1800’s to participate in the fur trade.
In more recent times, travel and tourism between the State of Washington and Hawaii has become a major economic force. Currently, the economic benefits are back to “pre-recession levels”, says Reid Wilson of the Washington Post. While West-coasters don’t spend as much per person as comparative vacationers from China or Japan, West-coast visitors to Hawaii spent more than those from any other region, totaling a whopping $4.7 billion in 2012. In 2012, over 461,000 Washingtonians travelled to Hawaii. Out of all the United States, Washington is second only to California for the most visitors in any year. And out of all U.S. airports, Sea-Tac Airport had the third largest number of travelers leaving its terminals bound for Hawaii, behind only Los Angeles and San Francisco.
Statistics also show that Hawaiians like traveling to Washington and relocating here. After Hawaii and California, Washington is third in the number of people who consider themselves to be of Native Hawaiian or Pacific Islander heritage. As of the 2010 Census, in Washington this number was about 70,000, with those numbers growing today.
Here in Washington State, organizations that celebrate and organize around shared Hawaiian culture and heritage are fairly prevalent. Here are some of the long standing groups that work to preserve and transplant Hawaiian culture.
Outrigger Canoe Clubs (http://www.seattleoutrigger.com/),
The Lokahi Foundation (http://www.lokahifoundation.com/),
Wakinikona Hawaiian Club (http://www.wakinikona.com/),
Pacific Lutheran University Hawaiian Club (http://community.plu.edu/~hawaii/),
The University of Wash. Hawaii Club (http://students.washington.edu/ohanauw/)
And in the Seattle/Bellevue area, KBCS at 91.3 FM features the “Hawaii Radio Connection”, a two hour show on Saturdays. “From the Islands of Aloha to Wakinekona, Hawaii Radio Connection features two hours of the unique sounds that evoke a tropical island paradise for your ears.”http://kbcs.fm/programs/hawaiian-radio-connection
While these are modern organizations, early Hawaiian influences on the developing social landscape of Washington are easily recognized. Kalama, Washington is named for John Kalama, the Hawaiian who settled the land. And Friday Harbor, Washington is named for Joe Poelie Friday, a native Hawaiian who was employed by the Hudson Bay Company there.
Roots and relationships between Washington and Hawaii are strong, and will continue to grow with cultural organizations, celebrations of shared history, and future economic growth, travel and tourism.
The Menzer Law Firm represents clients from both Hawaii and Washington. We have been licensed to practice law in both states for over 20 years. We help people from Hawaii who have legal issues in Washington, and people from Washington who have legal issues in Hawaii. For example, if you have been injured in an accident or are a victim of medical malpractice in Hawaii, we can work with you and your family and your doctors in Washington, and represent you in any case that has to be prosecuted in Hawaii. And if you are from Hawaii and have a Washington or a Hawaii personal injury or other litigation matter, we can help or refer you to someone who can.