Kanaka maoli want and deserve self-determination

Letter to the Editor
The Maui News
October 7, 2001

The Oct. 3 letter "There's another view of overthrow and annexation" clearly shows the author does not have any knowledge of the documented history of Hawaii, or even cares that it exists at all.

By way of Public Law 103-150, signed by President Clinton, the United States of America apologized for its part in helping business interests in Hawaii dispose of Queen Liliuokalani. It is amazing how some people refuse to recognize the fact that not too long ago, we were a sovereign government recognized by numerous countries around the world.

It is sad that the writer of this letter does not know that the Hawaiians or kanaka maoli, as we prefer to be called, have been in Hawaii since the third century. When our ancestors sailed across thousands of miles to Hawaii with only the help of the wind, stars and currents, western man thought the world was flat.

King Kamehameha the Great unified the islands and it is still ours. We are the only group in the Pacific that relate to the names and places of these islands and can spiritually connect to the land. The land is the basis of our culture, and we want to control the destiny of our land. Call it what you may, but in our eyes it is self-determination, nothing else.

When the letter writer's ancestors came to Hawaii as immigrants, they were welcomed by the Hawaiian people with open arms, and today our culture is intermingled with others. The Hawaiian people allowed that to happen. What America did in the overthrow caused thousands of our people to lose lands, their lifestyle was changed and they had to be instant-Americans whether they liked it or not. Thousands of people died from heartbreak and the diseases that were brought into Hawaii. Because our people were not immune to these diseases, they perished. Please don't say that we are getting a good taste of what would happen if we were a sovereign nation.

Before tourists came to Hawaii, Hawaiians could visit any beach, go to the mountains, fish in unpolluted waters, live off the land, had plenty of fresh water for the taro patches, and the list goes on and on. Now we all have to work two or three jobs just to survive. Tell me how have our lives improved?

Speaking as someone who has seen the changing times, I must ask who are all these people that the tourist industry supports and where are they from? Who owns the hotels and all the big-box stores? Do you see our names on the thousands of business that follow the tourist trade?

We must all learn to be tolerant of each other and try to come up with solutions to help each other; if not, we all lose.

Charles Kauluwehi Maxwell Sr.


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