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The Hawaiian Village on Russell Island
Russell Island's and the Hawaiian people's histories are interwoven and this relationship began with the northwest coast farrier. Hawaiian, or Kanaka as they are known in their own languages, was included in the nautical fur business in the latter years of 1700. The Hawaiian Islands became a stop-over point between North America and Asia at that age.
These Kanaka became staff of various skins trading firms, among them the Hudson's Bay Company (HBC). In the course of the years, small Hawaiian colonies began to establish HBC stations in Canada and the United States. As the United States administration began to pass laws that stopped the Kanaka tribe from becoming US nationals or possessing lands, many Kanaks migrated to Canada.
The Kanaka began to settle on the Gulf Islands in the 1870'. A deed of sale and a Crown Grant for Russell Island was given to William Häumea, a Kanaka colonist, in 1886. Hemumea already had property at Eleanor Point on Salt Spring Island and expanded to Russell Island. Though he never had a house on Russell, he was in charge of grubbing up farmland and pastures and creating a large fruit garden and straws.
Maria Mahoi was the only heiress of Russell Island in Haumea's will in 1901. Before that Maria Mahoi had been living on Salt Spring Island with her first man Captain Abel Douglas and her seven cubs. Maria and her second spouse George Fisher relocated to Russell Island in 1902. From 1902 to 1907 a building was constructed on the north-west side of the island.
In front of the building a shipyard was also constructed (n.d.). Mahoi/Fisher extended the work Haumea had started by cultivating the grubbed lands and expanding the orchards and strawberries. It is said that George Fisher bought some of the orchards from William Naukana and John Palau, the other Kanaka colonists of Portland Island.
The number of grubbed areas on the island had peaked by 1932. Until 1959, when it was resold to the Rohrers, Russell Island was in Kanaka ownership. At first the Rohrers had to stay in the Mahoi building. Around 1972, however, they began building a "summer house" on Russell. They intended to use the cottage and if they were away in winters, they would let their janitors stay in the Mahoi cottage for the winters.
Some work was carried out on the Mahoi-Haus. At the end of the 60s a new base was laid on the building. The Rohrers' daugther - Judith and her man Richard Anderson - became active on Russell Island in 1982. While they were renovating the Mahoi-Haus.
She was planning to stay at the Mahoi home during the winters. They made changes to the Mahoi building for the next ten years. It later became part of the Gulf Islands National Park Reserve (GINPR). The Gulf Islands National Park Reserve, in cooperation with the descendants of Maria Mahoi, launched a new volunteers programme on Russell Island in 2009.
By a voluntary arrangement with the Parkreservat the descendants of the Mahoi are sharing their story about Russell Island with the people. Your own link to the island gives the island's historical interpretations a special sense of genuineness.