Friday, September 16, 2011

Musings: Indigenous Rights & Fire Ants

A heavy rain fell in the night, so heavy that the ground was thoroughly saturated — much to the delight of the garden — when the dogs and I went out walking beneath a waning white moon snuggled up to golden Jupiter. Clouds draped themselves around the summit of Makaleha as I inspected the taro patch, where every huli transplanted from a Wainiha loi has firmly rooted and is sprouting new leaves. Yes!

Growing taro makes me happy, not only because it’s beautiful and tasty, but because the hardiness and resiliency of the plant that is the ancestor of the kanaka maoli gives me hope for the Hawaiian people, the Hawaiian nation.

Of course, not everyone would like to see the resurgence of an independent Hawaiian nation. According to an article in Indian Country Today:

The U.S. feared that the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP) would help Indigenous Peoples assert their right of sovereignty over their lands and resources, according to cables released by the anti-secrecy website Wikileaks. The cables also reveal an almost obsessive preoccupation on the part of the federal government with Bolivia’s democratically elected President Evo Morales and the indigenous leaders who admire him and oppose laws opening Native territories to oil, mining and logging companies.

Initially, the U.S. was one of only four nations to vote against the declaration, which later was signed by President Obama.

Thus far, only Kauai attorney Dan Hempey has been akamai enough to use UNDRIP to advance the rights of kanaka maoli, successfully invoking it in his defense of Dayne Gonsalves and his right under the declaration to carry a Kingdom of Atooi badge. That case is now headed to the Intermediate Court of Appeals after county prosecutors objected to Circuit Court Judge Kathleen Watanabe’s ruling in favor of Hempey’s motion.

Apparently, this sort of judicial review is precisely what the U.S. feared. When Morales signed UNDRIP into Bolivian law, worried U.S. embassy officials sent a cable that read:

“The new law contradicts existing land laws, and therefore will be subject to judicial interpretation when it begins to be cited in legal cases.”

The Indian County article goes on to report, still citing from an embassy cable:

"Although most indigenous leaders seem to view the UN Declaration as a ‘feel good’ document that will give them more inclusion in the public sector, some leaders are citing the Declaration in support of concrete aims like self-governance and control over land and resources.” The “post,” meaning the embassy, promised to “watch for further developments, particularly with regards to property rights and potential sovereignty or self-rule issues.”

Now this is going to be an interesting case to watch.

Moving on to another subject, I feel compelled to come to the defense of actor Ben Stiller, who was implicated in an article that appeared in yesterday’s The Garden Island about the ongoing efforts to eradicate fire ants from properties on Kalihiwai Road.

Yes, Ben does own one of the parcels being treated for fire ants, but he had nothing to do the infestation. That credit goes to his neighbor, Anne Earhart, one of the heirs to the J. Paul Getty fortune, who insisted on having mature trees imported from the Big Island for a palmarium that a mainland landscape architect had designed.

I, and others, tried to warn her, stating the very real concern of importing invasive species on such massive root balls, but she wanted she wanted, and couldn’t wait for smaller trees to grow into maturity.

Her local landscaper, Dan Shook, obliged, and sho nuff, the ants came, too. Now, 12 years later, they’re not only still present, but apparently have moved onto Ben’s property, which he purchased three years after the ants were introduced. I wonder if he knew? And I wonder if KISC, which is always short of cash, is billing the landowner for the protracted eradication efforts.


Anonymous said...

Re-read the story of Haloa, the story of kalo. He's not the ancestor of just the kanaka maoli but humankind in general.

Joan Conrow said...

Thanks for clarifying. Then maybe there's hope for the whole human race!

Anonymous said...

If you were wondering if the landowner pays for services, why did you not call and ask?

I don't understand, if you had a question, why you would look it up?

Seems illogical.

Anonymous said...

and I thought people living inside fish for 3 days was weird.

Anonymous said...

Dan is one of the plant people who will do anything. He plants using a shitload of fertilizer. You can always tell his jobs.
It is a sign of the sickness here, peops can't wait for trees to grow, that is part of the beauty, watching how fast things grow. One year i went to florida, laughed at all the full grown palms being planted, next thing you know, these full grown palm nurseries sprouted up. One hurricane, these full grown trees gonna be missiles.

irk said...

i remember seeing all the dirty equipment of Hendrikus Schraven, landscaper to the rich, (remember him?
being loaded up after use at B Stiller's place on Kalihiwai Rd. and thinking to myself: "looks like fire ants getting a free ride to Kilauea town and quarry". D Shook of Pepperwood
Hollow brought them in, others will participate in distribution.

Anonymous said...

Forget the ants how do weget rid of the haole bugs

Pest Control Portland said...

Fire ants can be nasty if you don't know how to deal with them.