The rain came in the night and then departed, leaving droplets that shimmered and sparkled on barbed wire fences, ironwood needles, lauae fern, when Koko and I went out walking. It was a mauve morning; or rather, it started out gray, with piles of dark clouds in the east and streaks of pink above an enshrouded Waialeale, but then dawn came and turned the black into purple, which soon became gold and before long these pearlescent puffballs appeared, headed south, and I was left marveling, as I often am, at how rapidly things change.
I get a lot of email from various people involved in various causes, concerned about various things — land use, water, GMOs, Hawaiian independence, burials, pesticides, pollution, war, sustainability, economics, government corruption.
Lately I’ve been receiving extensive missives about the burials at Kawaiahao Church and two Senate bills — SB1, co-sponsored by our own Ron Kouchi, and Senate Bill 1520 — that seek to create a governor-appointed commission charged with deciding who is a Native Hawaiian for the purpose of organizing a Native Hawaiian governing entity. The bills totally ignore the fundamental principle that kanaka maoli have a right to self-determination, and should not be subjected to a process created and controlled by the state.
The issues are related because both speak to the lingering distrust that Hawaiians feel about the government, and both have worked to pit Hawaiians against one another in that old imperialistic strategy of “divide and conquer.”
As one woman wrote about the Kawaiahao burials controversy:
this project is NOT about the church`s multi purpose bldg anymore if it ever was, it is about sanctioning the removal of iwi kupuna to pave the way by state government for future development. keep that in mind and spread the word.
It’s not a far-fetched assertion, when you consider that the State of Hawaii, even in its impoverished condition and under the reign of a Republican governor, gave the project $1 million, as did OHA, and that if it proceeds, it will allow developers and elected officials to point to the building and say, see, even the Hawaiians don’t care if you dig up their dead.
Another woman, responding to a Ku`e action at the state Capitol this morning to protest the Senate’s passage of the Hawaiian roll bills, circulated this article, which reportedly was published in the February 1, 1893 edition of the Advertiser:
You can click to make it larger. It’s definitely worth a read.
If you’ve ever wondered why so many kanaka maoli reject the state government, just read this account, which is steeped in the religiosity and racism of those who perpetuated the overthrow. The final paragraph speaks volumes:
It is doubtless premature to forecast confidently what shape the opinions of native Hawaiians will take, as to the political change now in progress. No doubt the majority of them are now governed by their long existing jealousy of white ascendancy, and are dissatisfied and sullen. We have, however, personal knowledge of some of the best and wisest among them who rejoice in the removal of the terrible incubus of Palace influence, with its debauching and heathenizing effect. These men also enthusiastically welcome the prospect of union with America. We are reliably informed that this feeling is growing and extending among the native people. After the final arrangements have been concluded, and the new form of government has been definitely settled, we anticipate satisfaction among the natives, and their cordial cooperation with the whites in public affairs.
Here we are, 118 years later, and those same sentiments live on, from the dissatisfaction and sullenness of the overthrown (though I don't believe it's rooted in jealousy), to the cocky confidence of the occupiers who remain wholly convinced of their virtue and superiority in all things.
This is what lies at the core of the pejorative "fucking haole."