March 4, 2020

Detours: A Decolonial Guide to Hawai‘i, published in 2019 by Duke University Press, was designed to inspire public programs intended to facilitate critical dialogue about tourism and decolonization in communities that are affected by high visitor traffic. There is no shortage of representations about Hawai‘i in narrative and visual form that align with the goals and imaginaries of the tourism industry. While these depictions serve the economic engine of tourism they do not do justice to the complexity of life in Hawai‘i. Detours makes the argument that the dominant representation of Hawaiʻi as postcard image of an tropical paradise elides its present-day struggles with colonialism, military occupation, Native dispossession, food sovereignty, environmental degradation and lack of sustainability.

Detours public programs worked towards providing alternatives to the romanticized images of Hawaiʻi and tried to create spaces for people, organizations, and communities working toward the restoration of Indigenous lifeways, traditions, and political practices, and sustainable, ethical relationships with each other and the ‘āina.

For instance, on Kauaʻi, the tourism industry is a powerful influence across the island and local residents are eager to engage in critical and productive conversations about tourism and climate change. The programs also addressed a need for place-based arts-integrated pedagogy, for which the book is meant to be a natural resource.