Friday, July 1, 2011

Musings: "Promises and Promises"

As we head into the Fourth of July weekend, with America noisily celebrating itself as the supposed “land of the free and home of the brave,” it’s easy to forget about the indigenous people who were deprived of their land so the U.S could make a nation.

But yesterday, that issue came again to the forefront when several members of the Reinstated Government of Hawaii were sentenced for “camping without a permit” for sleeping overnight on so-called "ceded lands" at Salt Pond Beach Park while holding their national elections. They pled no contest, and Judge Trudy Senda required them to pay $10 fines after listening intently, and apparently with interest, to their statement (emphasis in the original):

Your Honor,
I stand before this Court as an indigenous person in Hawai`i, found guilty of sleeping on my ancestral land without getting a permit from the government that occupies us. By now it is well known, even to this prosecutor, that the land and the very sovereignty of the Kingdom of Hawai`i was stolen from my ancestors a little over one hundred years ago. Normally after such a crime we would expect an apology and restitution. But those normal expectations have only been half met. The United States has apologized for stealing our land, and they have promised to return both land and sovereignty.

But I stand before you today not having land returned to me, but being fined for simply sleeping on our land that has not been returned yet. How can this be consistent with that apology? How can the prosecutor actually ask you to make me pay the State of Hawai`i, when even the State has apologized for taking our land and has promised to return the same? I’m sure the State feels generous in asking that we only pay $10 fines. I want to say on record that there is nothing generous about fining indigenous peoples for sleeping in occupied territory without asking permission of the occupying forces.

Also, Your Honor, I want you to know that we were not just fooling around at Salt Pond that day. We were engaged in organizing our Nation, conducting citizenship drives and voting for our elected officials in our indigenous Nation, the Reinstated Hawaiian Kingdom. In December of last year, President Obama signed a Declaration of the United Nations, further promising rights to indigenous peoples such as myself. This United Nations Declaration is now the law of the international community and the United States. The Declaration says, and I quote,

Article 3
Indigenous peoples have the right to self-determination. By virtue of that right they freely determine their political status and freely pursue their economic, social and cultural development.

Article 4
Indigenous peoples, in exercising their right to self-determination, have the right to autonomy or self-government in matters relating to their internal and local affairs, as well as ways and means for financing their autonomous functions.

Article 5
Indigenous peoples have the right to maintain and strengthen their distinct political, legal, economic, social and cultural institutions, while retaining their right to participate fully, if they so choose, in the political, economic, social and cultural life of the State.

Article 20
Indigenous peoples have the right to maintain and develop their political, economic and social systems or institutions, to be secure in the enjoyment of their own means of subsistence and development, and to engage freely in all their traditional and other economic activities."

Article 26
1. Indigenous peoples have the right to the lands, territories and resources which they have traditionally owned, occupied or otherwise used or acquired.
2. Indigenous peoples have the right to own, use, develop and control the lands, territories and resources that they possess by reason of traditional ownership or other traditional occupation or use, as well as those which they have otherwise acquired.
3. States shall give legal recognition and protection to these lands, territories and resources. Such recognition shall be conducted with due respect to the customs, traditions and land tenure systems of the indigenous peoples concerned.

Article 33
1. Indigenous peoples have the right to determine their own identity or membership in accordance with their customs and traditions. This does not impair the right of indigenous individuals to obtain citizenship of the States in which they live.

2. Indigenous peoples have the right to determine the structures and to select the membership of their institutions in accordance with their own procedures.

In closing, I have pled no contest to these charges because I cannot afford to contest them, and for no other reason. This prosecution, however small, is just one more violation of our rights as indigenous people, and one more example of law enforcement’s reluctance to give real meaning to what your government promises and promises, but never delivers. Thank you.


Anonymous said...

“Land of the free and home of the brave"

We recite these words often enough, but what do they really mean these days?

"Home of the brave"....the birth place of women and men that are trained and programed to fight wars with no purpose; while the "unbrave" who run the country, play golf, stuff their pockets with corporate money... argue and debate......accomplish nothing but for themselves sometimes caught with their pants down

The "unbrave" many of our "leaders"....want to control how we should live and what we should think and how we should act (in the privacy of our homes) by making more laws that control the population ...

The best and the brightest they are not, nor the most honest and moral. Yet they govern over us.

Land of the Free....used to mean what it says...hmmmm

"Land of the free",? where TSA invades our bodies and those of our children...the elderly with prying hands, and suspicious minds,and harmful radiation...

We are free to spread that "freedom" all over the world with bombs, guns, and drones. Are those people grateful for the freedom falling from the skies?

We are free to be harassed by helicopters because our government wants to control what you smoke and who you "poke" and where.

The people in control are not you or me.

What are we really celebrating on the 4th of July? A lie?

or... Violence is good if freedom is the end result? Is that what this country needs to do is to celebrate with bombs and rockets?
(A little kinky don't you think?)

Freedom Wars? Does that include the war against "Indians" in the 1880's that led to genocide and extermination and the confiscation of their lands and culture? Should be be proud of this one?

Are we celebrating the companies that profit from war through the sales of tanks, guns, and planes...body bags?

What are we celebrating? The wealthy fat cats in Washington who send the "brave" to useless wars?

Should be celebrate the dead and the "collateral damage" as worth the liberate and free them?

I used to think I knew what I was celebrating on the 4th, but now I don't know so I won't.

Dr Shibai

PS. Yes, I know...."love it or leave it@!"

Anonymous said...

Poor Hawaiians

Anonymous said...

wonder if that skinny haole running from prosecutor would be prosecuting native hawaiians with the same zeal?

Anonymous said...

wonder if that loud obnoxious woman running for prosecutor would be prosecuting native hawaiians with the same zeal?

July 1, 2011 9:41 AM

Anonymous said...

she is ...

Anonymous said...

Joan, a big Mahalo for publishing this statement.
It is correct about the costs to defend this. Which undoubtedly would have been tossed out. But only the wealthy can plead not guilty and be found not guilty especially when they are; the poor must be found guilty even when they are not.. Pretty simple. Pretty shameful.
Whoever the judge was after hearing this in court will only sleep well if they have no intellect behind their judicial capacity.
Would a thinking judge have allowed this to have even a $10 token fine?
Would a judge who tossed it out be labeled activist judge?
Does the judge even comprehend the scope of the no-contest plea, acceptance of fine and ruling of this?
Does the judge realize the error made that may come back with a vengeance?
Will the judge and prosecutor be served human rights violations?

The guys took a small hit in the form of a $10 fine but a big win in the big picture and if the court doesnʻt comprehend now how that is, they soon will.

Anonymous said...

Very profound statement.

Free Hawaii!

Anonymous said...

The theory fails when you realize the state will pay for their defense, including a sovereignty defense.

Anonymous said...

no. the state won't.

You have to be proven indigent. And the charge has to carry jail time.

$3 for a permit?? Let me guess. They were happy to use the facilities....

Anonymous said...

$ 10 to be on stage for acouple of hours. They should also pay court cost electric and salaries.

Anonymous said...

Or maybe the cops and prosecutors should pay the court costs and electric. Who is wasting whose time here? Really, indigenous people having their national elections and local cops jacking them up for $10 violations?
Law enforcement on Kauai is much like law enforcement in the 1960s south. They are aware of all of these new laws that protect civil rights (then - african americans, here and now - native hawaiians) but they just cannot or will not accept them.
Local government would be wise to back off of the indigenous people, but they won't, because they just see a challenge to their power. A hundred years from now, people will be wondering how they could be so cruel and the legacy will be just another bunch of uniforms, badges and local prosecutors on the wrong side of history - oppressing helpless people.

Anonymous said...

Interesting viewpoint.

Anonymous said...

Lets blood test each and everyone claiming to be "indigenous people".
Then hold an election for or against a kingdom with only those of 50% + hawaiian blood to vote.
Then we take it from there.
Helpless is right!

Anonymous said...

Law enforcement on Kauai today is like law enforcement in the south during the sixties? Yeah, like those Mississippi towns with African American police chiefs, cops prosecutors and judges.

Anonymous said...

I recently visited Ireland. Since I am "Irish" I told some people at a pub that I was "indigenous"....they all cheered and bought me a pint....then I asked where is my land?....and they beat me up.

Anonymous said...

" Lets blood test each and everyone claiming to be "indigenous people".
Then hold an election for or against a kingdom with only those of 50% + hawaiian blood to vote.
Then we take it from there.
Helpless is right!"
July 3, 2011 12:44 PM

1. Then we take it fro there. WHO IS WE?
2. You really sound like an american. What you suggested is really a racist method already implemented. The AKAKA BILL and KAU INOA are examples as well as the Indians.
3. Itʻs "Aboriginal" as opposed to "Indigenous"

4. The Kanakas have their own election system FREE from U.S. INTERFERENCE.

5. They donʻt need your suggestions.

Anonymous said...

Your not a Hawaiian until you pass the blood test.

Anonymous said...

Lawful Hawaiian Government Elections:
Scheduled for November 2011.

Free from U.S. interference.

Anonymous said...

Lawful Hawaiian Government Elections:

Who decides who can vote and what is the criteria?
or desire to be...

Anonymous said...

Land of the Free (out on bail)

Home of the Brave (Indian land)