I am non-Hawaiian and I am in full support of protecting and preserving Native Hawaiian Rights. These rights were granted to Hawaiians in an attempt to address the horrible injustices committed against them over the past two centuries. Now the Barrett vs. Cayetano lawsuit has come along and threatens these rights that have been carefully crafted into public law over the past century. It is time for the entire community to come out and stand up for Hawaiians, to lend our support, and to make it clear to our state and federal legislators and officials that our community will not tolerate gross social injustice. The rights that are now being threatened (Office of Hawaiian Affairs, Hawaiian Homelands and Native Gathering Rights) were voted into existence through state and federal legislation. Perhaps the letter of the law must be changed so the language can withstand contemporary scrutiny, but the spirit of the law is, and always has been just; the spirit of the law must be maintained.
It is essential that we as a community, albeit of different cultures, ethnicities and interests, come together in the overarching interest of human decency. If some readers have questions about why we must unite in solidarity at this crucial time, or if some are wondering about why we should care about these particular Hawaiian issues, please take a few moments to become informed. The social and political issues surrounding these circumstances are complex, but two sites on the internet can serve as an introduction: http://hawaii-nation.org/publawall.html and http://alohaquest.com/apology. These sites provide the written text of the formal apology to the People of Hawaii issued by the United States in 1993 on the one hundredth anniversary of the illegal overthrow of the Hawaiian Monarchy. The text takes only a few moments to read and is perhaps the fastest way to get a sense of why many Hawaiians continue to feel a deep sense of hurt, frustration and rage. The first site also provides the full Congressional Record in regard to this resolution, as well as several other documents, including the Barrett vs. Cayetano lawsuit.
As citizens of this state it is our responsibility to be informed on these issues. It would be a mistake to think these problems concern only Hawaiians and that they will not impact our lives. We are all here together; cultivating an understanding of Hawaii's unique historical and cultural context is essential to making wise choices for the future of our community.
Over the next few weeks it is likely there will be demonstrations to raise public awareness concerning these issues. Please be supportive in whatever way possible. Your understanding and kokua is appreciated.
For those who do not have internet access and would like a copy of the Apology faxed or mailed to you, please call Hawai'i Institute for Human Rights at 984-3281.
To become more acquainted with Hawaii's history here are three excellent, well referenced books that are often used as texts in college courses: Shoal of Time by Gavan Daws, Hawai'i Pono by Lawrence H. Fuchs, and Native Land and Foreign Desires by Lilikala Kame'eleihiwa.
With Aloha, Marcia Godinez
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