maui thanksgiving


jonah cooked the turkey overnight in the imu pit, i put a loooot of butter in the mashed potatoes, and we made green beans just like the boy always had them growing up. ana oversaw the pilgrim and indian costumes and folded napkins to look like turkeys, and aja made the beeeest jello for our appetizer. soooo, it was a pretty fantastic thanksgiving feast with family (and some friends), enjoyed on the lanai at the back of jonah and aja’s awesome upcountry maui house.

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on friday, we explored the banyan forrests, and braved the rain along the windy coastal roads to take an adventure down to some rocky pools over the ocean. the high tide, blustery sky and huge waves made for some awesome scenes. we ended the day at sunset at black rock, snorkeling and cliff jumping and hot tubbing before it got dark.

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^^ typical “eyre” – a bunch of kids bypassing the danger sign! but i promise we were careful :) ^^
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^^ they had the arms-outstretched pose down well…until a huge wave came along! ^^

the boy and i took aniston to lahaina town for dinner at cheeseburger in paradise and some shave ice for dessert. then we went home to decorate the christmastree ana chopped down in the backyard!

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on saturday we headed to big beach past kihei, and i snapped a picture of the rainbow from the car after its incredible brightness and thickness had faded. we played in the sand, paddle-boarded over the gentle waves, snorkeled and body surfed. the boy and i found some turtles hanging out at makenna landing. that night we watched elf together, because christmastime!

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after church and before we left on sunday, we went to olinda forest for a pretty walk. i always love going to that spot because it definitely doesn’t feel like you’re on a tropical island in the middle of the pacific, which is just kind of neat!

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we love jonah, aja, ana, cam, elsie, poem, ezra, and spots on maui both familiar and new! we have sooooo much to be thankful for, and loved celebrating that in hawaii!


  1. Charity, this is so disappointing. Dressing up as an "Indian" is wrong. Full stop. These are living, active cultures, and dressing up in cardboard approximations (or frankly, stereotypes) of their dress is beyond offensive. You have lived in the Bay Area for years, did you not know that one of the biggest native protests against thanksgiving happens on Alcatraz every year?

    I want to put this in perspective for you. I am a minority myself, and sometimes the thoughtlessness of the mainstream culture is so brash I can barely believe my eyes. this is akin to someone wrapping themselves in a sheet and saying they are going to the temple. . Doesn't feel very good, does it? Please, even if you delete my comment, read and educate you and your family about this. Mormons were once chased across the country by angry mobs. Can you have no empathy for the people you displaced?

    1. hi anon! thanks for reading and for your comment.

      i am truly sorry that this post caused you offense. i actually anticipated a comment like this but was in a hurry when publishing the post. i will try to offer some explanation and context but recognize that it may not be enough for you, and so i apologize without excuse, and promise that i am never seeking to offend anyone of any group or demographic.

      dressing up on thanksgiving is a family tradition for us and helps us commemorate the peaceful, happy fellowship of the natives and newcomers to america many years ago. we certainly are not intending to represent cultures or customs with great accuracy (for either group - both of whom have had a great struggle for freedom). i am deeply upset by the treatment of natives since that first thanksgiving and certainly our "costumes" have no intent to hearken back to that sad history, but rather to carry some hope for peaceful, happy fellowship among all men regardless of culture or background.

      indeed, mormons have been displaced and greatly persecuted. ironically, we often dress up as mormon pioneers to commemorate their struggle.

      i hope this helps if but a little. thank you for sharing your perspective and some information. i will continue to learn about this sad history inasmuch as that learning compels me towards more compassion for my fellow man.

    2. Your comment is pretty worthless since, if researched, you are presented with a wealth of evidence that your family tradition causes pain and misinformation about a living marginalized culture to be spread. You can dress up as Mormon pioneers all you want -- Mormons aren't marginalized and the Church is one of tbe biggest private land owners in earth. And you are a Mormon.

      If you think that dressing up in a costume that cartoonishly characterizes a culture is in any way a respectful celebration, honestly, I am done with this blog. Good luck.

  2. Oh Big Beach and my love for heart is so jealous!!! :)

  3. You all look so great and happy! Looks like.Wonderful time was had by all! Thank you for sharing your adventures!

  4. It was to thank God and the indigenous people who got then through the first year.

    For about fifteen years Joseph Smith moved his congregation. The reason they were targeted was actually disavowed later that century. The trek across to Utah was something that happened after his death and was because in the early days the LDS branch of the church required the convert move, it wasn't forced migration. And then was the fact that utah wasn't empty land uninhabited. I think there were people who had it worse than the pioneers of utah on that very land in that time period. I'm really not sure how the near genocide of a continent of people can be compared with the later life of Joseph Smith?

    The indigenous Hawaiians in some number to this day want everything returned to the queen. They feel Hawaii was stolen.

  5. 1:31 here

    I'd like to delete my post. I was feeling cranky. I don't think you meant you could find similar trials in your denominations history.

  6. goodness! i also come from a place where dressing up is seen as a fun way to remember. our culture has watered down the story of the first thanksgiving so much. however, i can see how others might be offended - but, quite frankly, a person can be offended by literally anything these days, so it's almost impossible to please everyone. anyway, i think the intent is important, and it was clearly not done with malice. although your response of exasperation and anger can be understood, there are other ways to communicate your views that might be more effective and educational.

  7. Frankly, kind of nice of those saying only unkind things to leave the blog. Good luck.

  8. Hi Charity. I recognize your family was not trying to be offensive in any way, but felt it was important to say a few things. I remember (growing up in the 80s) dressing up as Pilgrims and Indians (never "Native Americans") back in grade school around Thanksgiving. I also remember belonging to Indian Princesses (similar to Girl Scouts), run by the Y, where we partook in many "traditions" that kind of shock me now- made up "Indian" dances and "traditions", and we took on "Indian" names. It wasn't done with the intent to offend.

    When my uncle married my aunt-who is Navajo-she sat down with us and explained that those stereotypes were hurtful, that the wearing of an eagle feather in many tribes is considered a great honor, and that the appropriation of them as costumes, as well as stereotyped "war dances" (nearly typed "ward dances, hah!), putting your hand in front of your mouth to make that noise, (not sure what it's called!) as I see your nephew doing in one picture has a lot of hurt and very ugly history behind it. It's also a HUGE oversimplification of the many different peoples that make up Native Americans in the US.

    I realize you and your family had good intentions, but I don't feel like you fully grasped just how offensive the costumes are- no amount of "explanation" can make them hurt any less. While you didn't seek to offend, it is offensive to many people, and I think the best one can do in that situation is to cease to engage in that behavior and educate others. It being a tradition in your family does not make it less offensive, or more okay. There are many other very lovely Thanksgiving traditions (like when you had that great open discussion on your blog) that you can work with. I sincerely hope your family reconsiders next year.

    I find many of the posts here to be very eye-opening:

    Thank you for keeping your blog open to comments, and merry Christmas!

  9. Ugh, sorry for the formatting and typos!

  10. I work at a private school and it has always been my grade's "tradition" to dress up as Pilgrims and Indians. I absolutely love the explanation from KP - thank you for being so kind. I am hoping next year I can persuade my teaching partners to switch from costumes to really learning about some unique cultures!

    1. Wowza! Thanks for taking my comment to heart, it means a lot :)

  11. Many primary schools have Indian / Pilgrim feasts and dress in traditional attire. These judgemental readers probably participated in one as a youngster. Time to get off your soap boxes and stop being so butt hurt about things that aren't meant to be malicious. Might be time to get a hobby rather than read sweet family oriented blog posts and responding with hurtful comments.

  12. One of my ancestors came here on the Mayflower. I find it troubling that you would dress up as pilgrims as a result. My ancestor definitely did not have a hat like the boy is wearing, and didn't wear any of those other clothes either. I, as one of his descendants, also do not wear hats like this or like that other clothing. Thus, I am offended that you would dress as you did. If you cannot perfectly represent another culture with complete and absolute understanding of how and what they do as they do, you should not even attempt to honor, represent or commemorate anything having to do with them in any way. Otherwise I will be offended.

    He that hath ears to hear let him hear.

  13. I'm also glad you keep your comments open, because inbetween rude critics and unkind defenses interesting conversation can develop!

    Hawaii really seems like worth a visit!

  14. Hmmm I think those lashing out at the "judgers" are being a bit unfair. Aren't we all here to learn from each other? Why cast aside someone's genuine hurt and label them as judgmental? For me, I think Charity's use of pioneer clothing as a similar tradition is a false comparison. Those outfits are historical but they don't have any particular significance beyond that. The Native American clothing does have sacred significance. So I think a better comparison would be people wearing temple clothing or the garment. They might see it as totally harmless, just dressing up in the clothing of another group of people. I doubt Charity would just toss it aside as acceptable because it was "tradition" and not intended to offend. Any temple going Mormon would be hurt. I think we need to show the same courtesy to other cultures, especially because, as Charity mentioned, we have been persecuted for our beliefs. Surely it's time to just grow up and realize that if we can stop doing something that is hurtful at little cost to us then why not?

  15. I was less concerned with the Indian costumes (although I do understand some find them offensive) but more with how close you were to the sea turtles. I believe there is a law you have to stay 50 feet away.


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