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Kanaka Maoli send distress call

The Kanaka Maoli are the native Polynesian people of the Hawaiian Islands. They have endured much injustice over the last century at the hands of the U.S.government.

After the illegal overthow of the Hawaiian monarchy in a coup involving U.S. citizens, military personnel, and a go-ahead signal by Washington, the Kanaka Maoli have suffered greatly.

First there was the illegal annexation followed by the gradual diminishing of the rightful owners of the land. For awhile it looked as though Native Hawaiians were an endangered species.

Fortunately, the Kanaka Maoli proved plucky and began to fight back.One response of the government was to form the Office of Hawaiian Affairs (OHA), a state-sponsored organization charged with advocating for the welfare of NativeHawaiians especially in regards to land and trust issues.

Since its formation, the board of trustees at OHA have been elected by Kanaka Maoli. Not illogical since OHA by its own name is involved with Native Hawaiian affairs. The principle of voting for one's own reprsentatives.

Then along comes Freddy Rice, a descendent of an old wealthy white family in Hawai'i dating back to the monarchy. Rice files suit charging that it is racist and illegal for Native Hawaiians alone to vote for their own representatives. He believes that allresidents of Hawai`i should have a say in Native Hawaiian affairs.

Isn't that sort of like saying that Hawaiians should be allowed to vote for representatives in California or mainland Chinese should be allowed to choose between Bush and Gore?

The issue is not race.OHA is charged with Native Hawaiian affairs. They are representatives of the Kanaka Maoli not the Hawaiian population in general.To allow non-natives to influence the composition of the board would just be anothers ad episode in the United States treatment of Native Peoples.

And that is exactly what the U.S. Supreme Court did when it ruled in favor of Rice in the Rice vs. Cayetano case.The fact that Governor Cayetano rushed to dissolve the present board and replace it with his own hand-picked appointees didn't help the situation either.

Many think that this is Cayetano's way of pushing through his own agenda regarding the Kanaka Maoli.

But that won't work for long if it goes against the will of the people themselves.

The Kanaka Maoli are responding to the Rice vs. Cayetano decision. A little slowlythough. Maybe many did not think the ruling would against them.

One thing they have done is called on all people sympathetic with their plight tosound off against this infringement on their self-determination. They have asked forletters, faxes, phone calls and just plain getting the word out on this issue.

People of Asia Pacific Islander descent should be the first to answer this distress call from their brothers and sisters in Hawai`i.


 
 
 
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