Teresa, Thanks for the friend invite. The Hawaiian Puerto Rican story is important in understanding the history and plight of Boricuas. Sadly, it's also one that's little known and understood by Americans in general, Puerto Ricans and even many in Hawaii. Hopefully, the story will be properly told some day.
I first learned about the migration of PR laborers to Hawaii some 20 years ago from a book on the Puerto Rican migrations between 1830s and 1900s. There were other migrations in addition to the ones to Hawaii. I remember reading about laborers being shipped to Ecuador and other territories then under Spanish control.
But the Hawaiian Puerto Rican experience was the most interesting because there's a continuing record--in documents and in the lives of the descendents.
I've posted these two entries on Hawaiian Boricuas on my blog American Taino:
- Borikuas in Hawai'i
- Coqui: Endangered in Puerto Rico and Hawai'i
What's interesting is that I increasingly see evidence of the Hawaiian-PR connection. For example, my sister visited recently and, as is her way, made a PR dinner including pernil, rice w/gandules and plátanos. I had recently read about Hawaii's gandule rice and pastele stew--both adaptations of PR dishes. Furthermore, w/its big Japanese tourist trade one can now find Hawaii's gandule rice in Japan.
Anyway, I say all of this because there's meaning in your family's journey. You are examples of a rich but little known vein of the American experience.
The question is what--if anything--you'd like to do about. One steo--which you've taken--is to join this site. But there are others you may want to explore. You could also do a blog. It's amazing what happens when you do these things. For example, I posted about a new documentary about the forced removal of Puerto Ricans from Vieques to the Virgin Islands. I had no idea that that had happened and that there were Puerto Rican descendents there. The filmmaker saw my post and has used it to market her film. She and I are now in touch via Facebook.
Of course, I'd love to see a film about the Hawaiin PR migration and experience.
I'm curious how you and your mom ended up in Hilton, NY? That's a long way from Hawaii. I'm from one of the early Puerto Rican families that found their way to the Rochester area via the migrant express. Still have family there.
Hi,so happy to hear about your discoveries,like me,I keep asking questions and the info.keeps coming!( We eating casabe bread in my family and my aunt offering it to her" Indians"!)Happy new year and very good to hear from you., Frank Aku Turey Cubanakan
Hello,Teresa,how's it going?That is so interesting,huh?!your mom a baseball player,and a good one to boot!the things we find out about our people...my grandmothere's brother was the chauffeur for The Cuban dictator,"Machado"!a "minor" job,but also right there in "the mix",and of all people,it was my grandmother's brother-what does that make him,my granduncle"-?I don't know the terms for many things.Well,Teresa,cuidate y pa'lante! Frank Aku Turey
You go sister, keep digging and questioning your elders and your ancestors will be revealed to you slowly. Once you have found them honor them by joining our nations resurgence struggle by registering as a tribal member and helping all those who will come after you looking to find themselves and their ancestors. Let us not be forgotten or lost in the sauce of time that has a habit of trying to erasing our existence and that of those who came before us. We as a nation will this time make sure that everything that we have fought to bring back and that which we have reestablished will not be erased for the future generations that both you and I have contributed to by the birth of our children and their children’s, children till the end of time. The struggle awaits you, come join us and make your mark in our history. Ahiahude waitiao Teresa, hahom you can count on me and your people to help guide you in any way we can, tau, tau.
Wow,That;s great...congrats on your persistence!I have moved and a waiting for my computer to be up by the 29th of this month,meanwhile,I can use my daughter's somewhat.Talk to you soon,and at more length soon!Frank
Blessings to you and to all of your loved ones on this beautiful day here in the Big Apple. It's good to hear from you again my sister especially with the good news about you finding your Boricua ancestors in Hilo Hawaii. I'm pleased to have been instrumental in any small way in helping you find your ancestry. Your news has helped brighten my day and will bring hope to all those who are presently searching for their lost ancestors. I will say a special prayer in our circle for all those ancestors that where ripped away from their home land with the promise of fortune. Only to find them selves tied up as indentured servants called migrant workers, working long hours for starvation wages trying to buy them selves freedom to hopefully finding their way back to their beloved motherlands of Boriken. But sadly never finding their way back home. I am at least grateful and thankful for our Hawaiian brothers and sisters that welcomed them to their home land, that so closely resembles and reminded them of the Boriken they left behind but never forgot and kept burning in their hearts till this very day. Of which you my sister are a product of and living proof of our continued survival. Hahom for sharing this information with the rest of our people. May Yaya continue to guide you on your journey back to your people, the Taino people. It is only because of our resurgence movement and the few Taino sites that are bursting from the seams with all kinds of information that have helped so many to find their way. I have posted your beautiful family photo of "La Familia Garcia, Boricua en Hawaii", on our Taino Nation News site for all to see. Take care my sister and don't be a stranger, stay in touch, tau tau.
FYI, after the Spanish American War of 1898 the USA took Puerto Rico as a territorial possession from Spain, in effect merely changing one colonial government for another colonial government. The USA immediately started changing its economy from an agrarian economy to an industrial economy. Moving in American companies like United Fruit Co. who immediately started displacing rural families from their traditional plots of land and moving them into the big city as laborers. Those that could not be absorbed into the local labor force where mainly shipped out as migrant workers to the eastern seaboard cities of the US and then to more rural farming areas across the US. A couple of hundred where herded on to trains for a cross country trip of the US to the west coast and transferred on to ships and fared cross the Pacific Ocean to Hawaii to supplement the lack of laborers into the Sugar and Pineapple Plantations to cut sugar Cane and pick Pineapples and other fruits and vegetables. Most of them never to return to Boriken. But as they say you can take a Boricua out of the country but you can take the country out of the Boricua, which they held onto their traditions and music. There descendants are still living on the Island in small communities.
Following in the foot steps of our forefathers,
Tomas Waribonex Gonzalez
--- In Official_Taino_Nation_News@yahoogroups.com, "Tomas Waribonex Luzojos" wrote:
> At 9:58pm on September 17th, 2008, Teresa
> Hi Tomas so glad ur my friend! you got me all excited about that
> immigration history that finally when I started up my family search
> again This researcher in Hawaii found my great grandparents both
> recorded in 1910 as laborers of the Hilo Sugar company and both
> immigrated from PR in 1901 so they were part of the early group that
> came over. my grandmother wasn't even born yet since she was born in
> 1914 but they already had 4 children. My great grandmother was only 13
> when she immigrated and he was 30.
> Now having solid dates I will be able to order microfilm and look at
> passenger listings.
Thanks for the add. Looking forward to talking to you soon. Love the pics. Hope you and your loved ones are in good health and spirit. May YaYa Bless you and your loved ones, now and always.
Love, Hugs, Peace & Taíno-tí,
Joanna & Family