Residence: San Diego
Date of Performance/Collection: 4/27/20
Primary Language: English
Context: The informant is my aunt and will be referred to as L.I. She is originally from Hawaii and is of Filipino descent. She grew up in Hawaii, which is where she learned of this myth, but she now lives in San Diego with her husband (my uncle) and their two children.
Main Text: L.I: “The Hawaiian Green Sea Turtle is called Honu in Hawaiian and it’s a symbol of good luck. The Honu represents the link between man, the land, and the sea. It is believed that the green sea turtle is a form taken by the guardian spirit that Hawaiians refer to as Amakua. So if you see people taking photos with green sea turtles, its because they believe it will bring them good luck.”
MM: “And you aren’t allowed to touch them right?”
L.I.: “No you’re not, but there are always so many people that want to touch them because they are such big, relaxed creatures. People think that since they have a shell it is impossible to harm them.”
Analysis: The Hawaiian people are very in tune with nature and treat nature with great respect. It is now illegal to touch, collect, or harm green sea turtles because they are endangered and tourist populations in Hawaii disrupt them. After researching, it seems that Amakua can manifest in the form of several different types of animals as well, like sharks and owls.