Raymond Charles Gomez


Chicken Scratch

Paniola Cowboy music

Paniolo (Hawaiian Cowboys) of Hawaii Island

Hawaii Island has an unexpected heritage, a rich “cowboy culture” more than a century old, centered in the upcountry ranchlands of Waimea and North Kohala. In 1798, Captain George Vancouver presented King Kamehameha I with five black longhorn cattle. The animals were in poor condition after the long sea voyage and Kamehameha immediately put them under kapu (taboo) and freed them to range the island. Horses arrived five years later in 1803.

In 1816, John Palmer Parker, a western advisor to Kamehameha, married royal granddaughter Kipikane and was awarded two acres of land for $10. He was given permission to wrangle the maverick cows that had thrived and multiplied, overrunning the range by the thousands. With the help of Hawaiian workers, Parker quickly established a booming beef, tallow and hide business with visiting whalers and sandalwood trading ships.

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