Stevie Kapanui Parsons
I am Kanaka Maoli (Native Hawaiian) and Anishinaabe (Algonquin indigenous first nations). I was born, raised, and lived most of my adult life in Hawaii.
I was a chef in Hawaii, so when I moved to Oregon six years ago, it was love not just at first sight but first taste. I caught my first salmon almost three years ago and have been hooked ever since. Oregon is world renown for our amazing rivers that are home to these remarkable salmon, steelhead, and trout, But, it is so only because people and past leaders stood up and protected the special places in this state that provide for these natural riches.
The Owyhee Canyonlands in the southeastern corner of our state is one of those special places and it needs our protection now.
Hawaii and the Owyhee Canyonlands have a deep and rich connection. Owyhee was the term Captain James Cook first used to refer to the Hawaiian Islands and their residents; it is his interpretation of the native pronunciation of Hawaii. In 1819, Donald McKenzie of the Northwest Fur Company sent three of his employees who were Native Hawaiians to explore a river. They never returned and the region was named Owyhee in their honor.
We need places of solitude, beauty and quiet to find and to heal; too few of these places remain on this planet, let alone in this state. We owe it to our past and our future to protect the Owyhee Canyonlands now or we will have to answer to our children and the future for our failure to do so.