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Don't Simply Say 'Hawaiians' & Don't Say Eruptions Just Started

The people who have left their homes because of lava flowing from Kilauea are not all of indigenous Polynesian descent — that is, "Hawaiians."

In fact, according to the Census Bureau, just 10% of Hawaii's residents are "native Hawaiian and Other Pacific Islander alone."

That's why we shouldn't simply say those affected by the volcano are "Hawaiians." They are residents of Hawaii or people who live near the volcano.

Also, we shouldn't make it sound like Kilauea just began erupting in recent days. As Hawaii Public Radio has said, it's been doing that "continuously since 1983."

But, as the station added, "there are always changes, sometimes dramatic, and sometimes more subtle."

What's been happening in recent days would be on the dramatic end of the scale.

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