Thursday, September 3, 2015

Musings: Leaderless

Feast days are celebrated annually at the 19 Pueblos where some Native Americans live in New Mexico, giving non-natives an opportunity to visit these communities and natives a chance to socialize with family and friends.

Though the festivals are dedicated to various saints, they feature traditional dances, reflecting how native spiritual practices have become intertwined with the Catholicism introduced by Jesuit and Franciscan priests.

Yesterday, two of my sisters and I — four of the six sisters in my family converged in Santa Fe for one sister's wedding — attended the festival of San Estevan, patron saint of Acoma Pueblo. It's located in a beautiful area of stunning mesas and rock formations about 60 miles southwest of Albuquerque.
The original Pueblo was built atop a 360-foot tall mesa, and has been inhabited since before the 12th Century. A prominent feature is the Franciscan mission church of San Estevan. Established in 1629, its original packed earth floor, straw-adobe walls, high ceilings and massive vigas (beams) are still intact.

In more recent times, most of the people have moved off the mesa and into homes and farming villages elsewhere on the reservation. But some people still live full-time in "Sky City," as it's known, including a potter I met at the Cochiti pueblo, who invited me to the festival.

As we walked around the Pueblo, where vendors from Acoma and other pueblos were selling food, jewelry, pottery and other crafts, we got to chatting with a jeweler from the Santa Domingo pueblo. When he learned I'd lived in Hawaii for decades, he told me of being invited to the Islands in a cultural exchange aimed in part at helping kanaka get organized politically.

“The problem over there is they've got no leaders,” he told me. “Over here, the Pueblo leaders get together every year to resolve issues. But the Hawaiians, they don't meet, and they don't have any leaders who can speak for the rest. It's gonna be hard for them to get together without leaders.”

I thought of his words this morning while reading the piece on nation-building by OHA Trustee Peter Apo, published in Civil Beat. Apo writes:

Na’i Aupuni, an organization independent of government and made up of a volunteer board of directors, is moving forward with a Hawaiians-only election of 40 delegates from around the state. Election ballots will be sent to voters by Oct. 15. The election is scheduled to be complete by Nov. 30.

Delegates will then convene in what Hawaiians refer to as an ‘Aha, which is a form of constitutional convention, and are expected to emerge with a document defining the political path toward restoring a Hawaiian nation by April, 2016.

If a nationhood proposal emerges — and there’s no guarantee — it will have to be ratified by a majority of Native Hawaiian voters to be seriously considered as representing the “will of the people.” In other words, it will need to be validated by a democratically constituted process.

Apo goes on to talk about the clash that is occurring between nationalists, who want to seek restoration of the overthrown kingdom through an international process, and those who support a nation-within-a-nation concept similar to how Native American and Alaska Native tribes interact with the federal government.

He also speaks of the challenges involved in trying to create a nation solely of kanaka, as the kingdom at the time of the overthrow did include non-natives.

Apo then writes:

From my perch it seems the ship of nationhood is about to set sail without a rudder, a captain, or a crew.

In other words, it lacks leaders, just as the Pueblo Indian jewelry-maker observed. And hasn't that been an issue since the so-called Hawaiian Renaissance began?

I'm not sure whether leaders are made, or born, but if kanaka are going to successfully build a nation, it seems they need some. Fast.


Anonymous said...

Thank you Joan.
Santa Fe experiences many situations that occur in many beautiful places. Outside people move in and property values go up. Of course so does the economy as many of the newcomers start businesses that cater to the visitors. At least Santa Fe has land to expand and has built many homes that are affordable.
The Hawaiians have many great leaders and many groups. Too many groups and plenty discord. If the groups could get together and focus, their power would be unimaginable.
The overthrow had plenty Haoles as part of the legal government of the Queen. And plenty Hapas.
There will never be ANY conclusion until the Hawaiian groups allow da Haoles to be a part. The old day Hawaiians took in all races and so it should be. The "one drop koko" don't fly.
There are hundreds of educational programs for people with koko. But unfortunately Halawa and the Wailua Hilton are perhaps the most used of the government "educational" facilities.
The Hawaiians should try the old ILWU practice of accepting everyone, disagreeing in meetings BUT STANDING together once the meeting had reached conclusions. Only by standing together can any political and moral imperatives be achieved. An injury to one is an injury to all.
And still thousands of acres (6000 acres in Anahola alone) that are owned by the Hawaiian are put to no good productive use like homes and farms.

Keith said...

Good article Joan. The issue I see that all the different factions want to be recognized as "the" voice of the Hawaiian Nation, but as you said they appear to have no true leaders. I feel for this to go forward in determining if in fact the people of Hawaii want to restore Hawaii as its own nation, that their needs to be a vote of all citizens of Hawaii, not just ethic Hawaiians. Many of these factions do not acknowledge that nations recognize citizens by their place of birth not their ethnic origins. Then it will have the weight it will need to go forward since all citizens will have voted. Non-Hawaiians have a stake too. It's unfortunate that Hawaiians do not resolve conflicts by counsel meetings like the Indian Nations. Instead they resolve their issues at the end of a spear, that is their legacy. That's why no progress has been made on this important issue. Hawaiian's like to get their "point" across (no pun intended) by force not diplomacy.

Anonymous said...

And Americans are aces at diplomacy. Just ask the Cherokee, Algonquin, Iroquois and Hawaiian nations. Whoops, they no longer exist. Folded into America without a hitch and only a few million slaughtered.

Anonymous said...

Re 1:27 No. The nations no longer exist. And most are not tribal any longer. But there are hundreds of thousands descendants of these three tribes. My family name, Caucasian, is associated with thousands of Cherokees living today, and. stretching in graveyards that cut a. Huge arch from the mid South to Oklahoma, the. curving back up through Texas thru Northern MO. Settler, Cowboys, lawyers, farmers, town clerks etc. We call ourselves "Americans".

Anonymous said...

1:27. Darwin.....wins again

Anonymous said...

Having a country you overthrow remain leaderless for a long time is part of the plan. Just like Iraq now days. Guarans the spooks working to divide Kanak.

Anonymous said...

No leaders? We get R. Pa and Jimmie Alalem!

Anonymous said...

The tribes were not swallowed up. I think it was incredibly foolish for native Hawaiians to spurn the Interior's reach out to them last year. The American Indian tribes have maintained their sovereignty and gained much in this status. Look at Corbell vs Salazar dealing with mineral rights and land issues: "The case was settled for $3.4 billion in 2009, with $1.4 billion going to the plaintiffs (the tribes) and $2 billion allocated to repurchase land that was distributed under the Dawes Act and return it to communal tribal ownership." They have literally receive 100's of millions of dollars for water pipelines, water right issues have gone in their favor (Animas LaPlata water project in Colorado honored water promises from decades ago), and they are an independent entity who establish just about all legal parameters on the reservations. Some res are better than others but that is usually due to however the tribe decides to manage them. They have their own DNR people and the BIA is a large agency representing the tribes. To yell "we want our country back and get all the haoles out of here or else" is ridiculous and will never, ever, happen. Leaders are needed to establish this type of role with the feds so that the Hawaiian nation survives and thrives instead of shouting and fighting itself into oblivion - which would horribly sad.

Anonymous said...

Tell me again which Kingdom in the history of the world has never subjugated its citizens?

Acknowledge the past, and move on. Focus on things that bring us together not tear us apart.

Go listen to Carl Sagan's Pale Blue Dot again.

Mahalo and Aloha

Anonymous said...

5:59 oh Boy! American Indians have the lowest living standard, lowest life expectancy and high crime rates on the "reservations". Once off the Reservation and into the real world, people prosper.
Tribalism is good for somethings, but for educational advancement, higher living standards, longer and healthier lives it is terrible.
Assimilation is key. What? You think all these rich Hoales are of one background? No way, Jose. Half of the Haoles are a mish mash of tribes and countries and ethnicity.
Just like Hawaii, where for decades more than half of all marriages are considered "inter-racial". Time to get real. Only by bringing all people together and sharing can the Hawaiians achieve their goals.
Remember, the Hawaiians have so much land they can do anything. Just because you have Dept of Haw Home Lands and OHA at odds, one with land and one with money..nothing will happen.
Get rid of OHA and have one control. Plus how can Bishop Trust not allow more educational opportunities? A travesty. The elite Hawaiians, the ones with pull or connections get their kids in to schools and the vast majority are left out.
Get the powers you hold together before you take on the Feds and State.
And if y'all look at what KANE PA did for Kealia and the old LP gate...with his leadership and charisma, anything can happen. Kane, Mayor Kusaka and some other (Hoales included)are solely responsible for Kealia Beach expansion and the Best Thing Kauai has done in 50 years - THE BIKEPATH.
There is power....c'mon Kane Pa reach out to ALL the people. Maybe even a Council run. Get all the Anahola folks together and gather all your old friends.

Anonymous said...

Speaking of Apo: "He also speaks of the challenges involved in trying to create a nation solely of kanaka, as the kingdom at the time of the overthrow did include non-natives."

The above is NOT true. There were many non natives who were part of the Kingdom before the overthrow.

The whole nation building scheme still may face a Constitutional challenge under the 14th Amendment.

The whole "magic blood" business is racist, exclusionary and divisive. Not the way to go.

Anonymous said...

The Reinstated Hawaiian Government knows this and is open to all people of all races. They have many caucasian and Japanee citizens. The mainlanders like to perpetuate that future Hawaiian government will be Hawaiians only, but that is not true. The Reinstated Government accepts all races but the Hawaii State-sponsored OHA government is Hawaiians only. Go figure.

Kanaks are so busy dodging threats to what little they get left, (gathering and hunting rights, pule, arrested for clearing loi etc.) it must be very hard to organize. And with OHA getting money and the rest of the sovereignty guys getting convictions, well the climate for emergence of leadership is a little stifled, no?

Anonymous said...

Hawaiians aren't facing any more obstacles to organizing or creating leaders than Alaska and American Indian natives. it's their own internal fighting that holds them back and the suffocating effects of OHA.

Anonymous said...

3:29 if Darwin's theories explain why the subjugation of certain groups by others was simply the natural order of things, how does it explain a dumb ass like you having access to technology?

Anonymous said...

Mr. my favorite insult is dumb ass is one of this forum's more mentally challenged "contributors". His or her's anger and embrace of victim status is highly developed and so sad. It clouds their lens of perception so that everything is somebody else's fault.

Anonymous said...

Great guys but think bigger for the entire nation not just Kauai

Anonymous said...

9:54 mentally challenged? That's truly an insult considering it comes from a dumb ass using Darwin's theory of evolution to explain the genocide of native populations caused by American expansion.

Anonymous said...

That was not me. I'm calling out your pathetic and consistently racist comments. You are probably beyond the help of therapy. You really should just go dig a deep hole and jump in.

Anonymous said...

My comment made no reference to race and you need remedial reading classes, dumbass.

Anonymous said...

No, not this time but that is your MO. I just felt like letting Mr. dumbass (you are known as you call it) know that his/her commentary was at a minimum boring and useless but more often racist and crude.

Anonymous said...

Many here use the term dumbass. Who is the target of my "racism"?