Rant & Rave
THE Office of Hawaiian Affairs was created by delegates of the Constitutional Convention of 1978 in order to bring justice to the indigenous people of Hawai'i. Instead, Native Hawaiians have been put through the political food processor, burned and disregarded by the government that occupies Hawai'i. The least the state could do is let Hawaiians vote for OHA members and let us run our own affairs.
I was disheartened by Judge Helen Gillmor's "landmark ruling" Sept. 19 that allows non-Hawaiians to serve as OHA trustees. One would have hoped she would understand the intent of OHA as established by the 1978 ConCon. Instead, she stated, "To pursue the concept of race entitlement -- even for the most admirable and benign of purposes -- is to reinforce and preserve for future mischief the way of thinking that produced race slavery, race privilege and race hatred."
As expressed through the purposing of OHA, this is not a racial issue, rather it is an issue of Native Hawaiian justice.
The hurt and anger I feel when I read of the people who wish to take away everything that Kanaka Hawai'i (indigenous Hawaiians) have fought for and continue to fight for, is a just anger. We have suffered for years upon years.
I was dumbfounded to see familiar names of people who have publicly opposed Native Hawaiian benefits now running for the position of OHA Trustee.
Roger Grantham said, "I don't have any vendetta against the Hawaiian people or the Hawaiian culture." (Honolulu Advertiser, Sept. 19, 2000).
I thought this was odd for him to say. In May, Grantham expressed in a letter to Sen. Trent Lott about the "Apology Bill" -- which acknowledged the United States government's role in the overthrow of the kingdom of Hawaii -- that "...there was very little to apologize for in the first place."
He went on to say, "... I fought for this country and I am very tired of hearing this P.C. rubbish, how America ripped off the Native Hawaiians." Now Grantham has the nerve to run for an office of which I am, as a Native Hawaiian, a beneficiary.
This is ludicrous! Are these the kind of people we want running OHA? I would rather have boardroom disagreements and fights than someone who has already decided he has tired of the "rubbish" Native Hawaiians are fighting for.
Another name that made me fall off my chair was Richard Thompson. This man has sent me hate mail that led me to file a police report. I would not trust a person like this to be a trustee of OHA!
Finally, Kenneth Conklin wants me to deny my ancestors and culture by having a "race free America." Get real! His sole purpose -- which he has publicly expressed -- is to dismantle OHA. Is this thinking really in the best interest of the beneficiaries? Again, I would rather have boardroom battles than a man who after only eight years in my homeland thinks he is Hawaiian.
UNFORTUNATELY, the saga is not complete. Gov. Ben Cayetano is now claiming that he "feels" Hawaiian, and he felt it was wrong to say he wasn't Hawaiian just because he doesn't have the blood. If anyone can be Hawaiian because they "feel" Hawaiian, where does this leave me? This notion strips Native Hawaiians of their identity and existence.
How much more can we take? In a speech to a rotary club, Hawaiian cultural specialist, Charles Kauluwehi Maxwell stated "...we once were warriors ..."
Is this what we have to turn to? Is this our future? Or will non-natives respect our fight and the Native Hawaiian entities that currently exist?
Adrian Kamalii, 18, is a 2000 Kamehameha Schools graduate and president of 'Ilio'ulaokalani Youth Coalition. He is studying political science at Hawai'i Pacific University.
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Rant & Rave is a Tuesday Star-Bulletin feature
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