Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Native Hawaiians must be careful when talking about Kanaiolowalu with others

Back on May 22, 2013, the Honolulu Weekly published a letter submitted to it by Native Hawaiian activist Aunty Lela M. Hubbard.  Aunty Lela is fairly known in the political Hawaiian community.

Aunty Lela Hubbard's Honolulu Weekly letter is a perfect example of why Native Hawaiians must be careful when discussing or writing about Native Hawaiian issues, in particular nation-building efforts.  (see screen capture below) 

Unfortunately, Aunty Lela positioned herself for an attack by a Hawaii resident who has a reputation in the Hawaiian community for being a racist and opposed to all Native Hawaiian programs. 

You see, in her letter, Aunty Lela used the phrase, "Hawaiians who have signed up for any Hawaiian registry".  While she is known to criticize and oppose Kanaiolowalu, she made herself vulnerable to an attack on her own credibility.  Aunty Lela made herself vulnerable because, although she is opposed to Kanaiolowalu, she apparently was a very strong supporter of its predecessor Kau Inoa.  See the screen capture below to for an excerpt of an online response to her letter.

The responding Hawaii resident, (again perceived by some Native Hawaiians as a racist), attacked Aunty Lela's credibility by showing that she advocated for something (a Native Hawaiian registry) that she now claims to be against.  To be clear, she supported Kau Inoa, but now opposes Kanaiolowalu. 

However, Native Hawaiian Roll Commission Chairman, John Waihee explains in a video that while there may be some differences between the two lists, the people who signed up for Kau Inoa were told, "there would be another step.  What Kanaiolowalu is, is that second step.  So we're contacting everyone that signed up for Kau Inoa." 

Chairman John Waihee indicated that: (1) Kau Inoa was step one, (2) that people were told there would be another step in the future and (3) that next step is Kanaiolowalu.

Now, not only did Aunty Lela give someone a chance to attack her credibility, but she also gave that person an opportunity to start injecting his own manufactured and ill-informed characterization of Kanaiolowalu.  Contrary to what the responder would have people believe, Kanaiolowalu is a political registry of people recognized as the indigenous peoples of the Hawaiian Islands.  

This is precisely why Native Hawaiians must be very thoughtful and careful when publicly discussing Native Hawaiian issues and nation-building efforts.  We should not give anti-Hawaiians opportunities to to mischaracterize the needs and realities of our community. 


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