Advocate for Hawaii sovereignty dies, 86
Genesis Namakaokalani Lee Loy / 1919-2006
Genesis Namakaokalani Lee Loy, a retired Hawaiian Telephone Co. supervisor and a founder of the Hawaiian sovereignty movement on the Big Island, died yesterday at his home in the Panaewa Hawaiian Homes area of Hilo. He was 86.
"He was the founder and advocate for restoring the Hawaiian nation," said Patrick Kahawaiolaa, a longtime protester of the policies of the Department of Hawaiian Home Lands.
Retired Catholic priest George De Costa remembered a day in 1987 when Lee Loy came to him. "We have to make people aware and work towards sovereignty," Lee Loy told De Costa. "That word was not even used at that time," De Costa said.
Lee Loy and others wanted to restore Ka Lahui Hawaii, the Hawaiian Nation, but they could find no place to meet to write a constitution. "I told them to use our church hall," said De Costa, who was the priest at Malia Puka O Kalani Catholic Church. Ka Lahui eventually grew to a membership of 12,000.
Mililani Trask, the longtime, former head of Ka Lahui, issued a statement from the United Nations Human Rights Council meeting in Switzerland.
"I am here in Geneva doing what he educated me to do," she said. "I really wouldn't be who I am without his guidance. He prepared me to do this work. He was my dear friend," she said.
In the 1970s, Lee Loy joined one lawsuit and persuaded his son Lambert to file another, both against the Department of Hawaiian Home Lands, said Lee Loy's oldest son, Gerard. The outcome was the opening of Hawaiian Homes farm lots at Panaewa, which the department had been unwilling to do until that time.
In recent years, as a member of the Royal Order of Kamehameha, Lee Loy had opposed NASA's plan to build "Outrigger" telescopes around the two giant Keck telescopes on Mauna Kea, feeling that telescopes show disrespect for the sacredness of the mountain.
Although legal challenges by the Royal Order and others could not directly block the Outriggers, they slowed the approval process until a time early this year when funding for the telescopes was no longer available.
Mass will be said at 10 a.m. Thursday at Malia Puka O Kalani Catholic Church. Burial to follow at Homelani Memorial Park. Friends may call from 8 a.m.
Lee Loy is survived by wife Elizabeth; sons Gerard, Blase, Lambert, Sean, Emmett, Hilary, and Ian; daughters Bridgit Bales, Maureen Namaka Rawlins, Hedwig Nakoolani Warrington, Elizabethanne Masaoka and Monica Morris; brothers Hartwell and Elijah; sister Lehua Weatherwax; 27 grandchildren; and 12 great-grandchildren.