People of Hawaii should rise against attack on Hawaiian entitlements

The Maui News
Wednesday, June 26, 2002

John Goemans, with the use of the laws of America (The Maui News, June 22), is trying to add the list of na hewa (crimes) against the kanaka maoli, beginning when Capt. James Cook "stumbled" on these Hawaiian Islands 224 years ago.

Cook brought in all of the diseases known to modern man and decimated the Hawaiian race which had no immunity to these diseases. After the Hawaiian population had dwindled by one-third, enter the missionaries who completely overturned the culture and lifestyle of the kanaka maoli while establishing the Christian religion in Hawaii.

Because of the kindness of their hearts, the confusion of land tenure and the deceitfulness of some missionaries, their children and grandchildren, the kanaka maoli became alienated from Hawaiian lands.

Prince Kuhio and others, who saw how the Hawaiian race was slowly diminishing, created the Hawaiian Homes Act of 1920 to actually put the Hawaiian people back on the land. From the start, this act was meant to fail because one of the requirements of the act was that lands to be used would not be fit for agricultural purposes and would not contain water rights. It also was not funded.

William Hyde Rice, the great-grandfather of Freddie Rice, was elected a commissioner to set aside the land for the Hawaiian Homes Act. His son, Harold W. Rice, leased Hawaiian Homes Land in Waiohuli for 50 years at 25 cents an acre for the Rice Ranch. Efforts were made by the Hawaiian people to prevent a new lease of these lands, and today Hawaiian people are building on this land as lessees under the Hawaiian Homes Act.

The Hawaiian people suffer from the long list of social ills of Hawaii as a direct result of being colonized, and having their land, culture and identity taken away. Now the Goemans, Rices and others driving to take away all the entitlements of the Hawaiian people is the "straw that breaks the camels back."

As a kahu who has been involved in forefront of the Hawaiian movement for the last 30-plus years, I find it frightening to imagine what could happen. I cannot understand why business leaders are not up in arms against these people who want to create havoc for the tourist industry and all of the economy that depends on tourism.

These court actions attack the Hawaiian Homes Lands, Kamehameha Schools, Alu Like, Hawaiian language immersion programs, University of Hawaii, and many other institutions trying to help Hawaiians be self-sufficient. It is traumatic to us as native people of this land.

We all must remember that once we were warriors and as native people we cannot be continually attacked, culturally, socially and economically, without responding in a desperate manner

Just to show everyone in Hawaii and around the world that we mean business, every Hawaiian in these United States should conduct a one-day "brown out" by staying home and not going to work. Every Hawaiian in the islands and on the Mainland should stay at home for one day to show commitment to the cause of the Hawaiian people and how we are being attacked by the Goemans, Rices and all others who are trying to say that we are in violation of the Civil Rights Act.

What about everything that was done to us as Hawaiian people? Where were the American laws then? Are the laws of America only applied to people of color, and that if you're a lawyer who has influence with the Bush administration, you can stick it to the Hawaiian?

If this trend continues and Hawaiians are removed from their entitlements, I predict that the Hawaiian people will rebel and take to the streets, causing Hawaii's economy to drop like a lead weight. This is not a threat, it's reality. We can be pushed only so far.

Ku'e, kapo'e o Hawaii.

Charles Kauluwehi Maxwell Sr. is a consultant on Hawaiian culture. He lives in Pukalani.

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