For many years I have sometimes criticize and praised the Maui News when it was warranted and with this editorial, I believe that it is one of the most poignant editorial’s I have read in a long time and I congratulate the editor who wrote it.
I say this because as a Kanaka Maoli, we are at a very confusing time in Hawaii’s history. We are being torn by the western culture, yet having a strong connection to our past culture. Confusing in a sense that at one time “ownership” of land, water and other resources were “owned by the gods” and everyone shared in its bounty. It was cared for by our ancestors in a communal way that would benefit everyone that helped to sustain its bounty.
Along comes the Western Culture with desire to “change” the host culture and its relation ship to land, water and the other resources and the concept of “private property” is applied to land tenor in Hawaii. It also encompasses other rights of gathering and traversing over land which was open for a thousand years, now could not be accessed. Hawaiians in their wisdom of sharing “gave” away land thinking that it would be returned someday. They found out later that the “new laws” applied to the land and these same ancestral lands were not theirs anymore.
It is somewhat shocking to read the historical facts in the Archives and learn how Westerners used their laws to “steal”, change and coerce our Ali’i to change the laws allowing foreigners to own land in Hawaii. The makaainana, the common people had no knowledge of what was being done to their lands that they survived on for a thousand plus years.
I have personally been involved in the Hawaiian movement for over 30 years and criticized the Hawaiian homes Act of 1920 because when it was passed, it was meant to fail. Congress had left it in the hands of the Territorial Government of Hawaii who was heavily entranced with the influence of the decedents of the missionaries who owned all the sugar and pineapple and most of the businesses in Hawaii. The governor at that time appointed William Hyde Rice (great grandfather of Freddie Rice) who made sure that what lands that was given to the Act, would not have water, or were not suitable for agriculture. This “scrub” lands were given to the Hawaiian Homes Program totaling 200 acres more or less. There was no funding giving to the Act, so lands were leased for ridicules prices (to Harold Rice of Kula, 25 cents an acre for 50 years). The lands were misused by the Federal, State and County Governments for a long time and only a small percentage were leased to Hawaiians for 99 years. Imagine Hawaiian were now leasing lands which they once owned.
We all know about O.H.A and how it was attacked by Freddie Rice (grandson of Harold Rice) who was successful in the U.S. Supreme Court in breaking the purpose to serve Native Hawaiians.
It is beyond me how Mr. Rice and these “multiethnic Group” of people are trying to sue to make the Hawaiian Homes Land and the Office of Hawaiian Affairs illegal and all their holdings turned over to the State Of Hawaii.
I have been on View Point at Akaku Television with William Burgess one of the lawyers spearheading this latest law suit. Mr. Burgess is totally racist and has no concept of the Hawaiian culture history, and his mentality is focused on making Hawaii like the rest of America, without recognizing that the Overthrow of our Queen Liliuokalani was illegal, and refuse to except that Hawaii was “given” to the United States by foreigners and not the true owners of Hawaii.
There are hard facts to show that the Hawaiian people did not fare well by being stumbled on by Capt. James Cook, and because of the introducing of all the diseases died by the thousands, almost 1/3rd of the population at that time. They had no immunity to all the foreign diseases that were brought in. Through out the last hundred years we as Kanaka Maoli have suffered and are at the top of all the social ills presently in Hawaii today.
It is almost a miracle how we still survived this western cultural onslaught and that is because the resilience of our culture. One would think that the residence of Hawaii, the State and federal Government would do everything to promote our wellbeing because we are the host culture of Hawaii. The saying, “NO MOA HAWAIIANS NO MOA ALOHA” should be plastered on the advertisements that call Hawaii “Paradise” and “Maui the Magic Island”. A percentage of all the tax dollars spent by tourist should be set aside in a fund to promote cultural festivities that make Hawaii unique, like the Merry Monarch, Aloha week, cultural activities that perpetuate our culture.
Let’s stop the idea of making Hawaii totally like every day U.S.A., which to some extent we are already.
Charles Kauluwehi Maxwell Sr.