Monday, July 15, 2013

Clarifying misunderstandings and misinformation

In this post, I explain what the biggest issue with the Facebook comment below is.

The biggest issue with the comment to the left is that this fellow Native Hawaiian, who lives in San Francisco, incorrectly thinks that the State of Hawaii is somehow "defining what it means to be Kanaka Maoli."  Her opinion is misguided and isn't grounded in the reality surrounding Act 195.  In fact, her comments are representative of someone unfamiliar with the goings-on with the State of Hawaii.  Anyone not familiar with Hawaii politics and contemporary Native Hawaiian politics within the State of Hawaii will have difficulty talking intelligently about Hawaii political issues.  

Sure, the Hawaii State Legislature passed Act 195 establishing the Native Hawaiian Roll Commission.  But, the Legislature is not made of sterile robots nor is it a monolithic machine with no interest in supporting Native Hawaiians or Kanaka Maoli.  

Act 195 started off as Senate Bill 1520 and was introduced in the Hawaii State Legislature by four Native Hawaiian State Senators.  Senator Clayton Hee is known to have been the main driving force behind Senate Bill 1520.  Anyone who knows Senator Hee knows that he is an extremely strong supporter of Native Hawaiians, Native Hawaiian culture, Native Hawaiian rights, and the Hawaiian language.  This is not to say that Senator Hee doesn't have his fair share of critics, but that is not the issue for this particular posting.  Senator Hee also got the support of Senators Brickwood Galuteria, Gilbert Kahele, and then-Senator Pohai Ryan.  These four Native Hawaiian (Kanaka Maoli) state senators sought political recognition for their people and then introduced a bill that would eventually create the Native Hawaiian Roll Commission.  Click here to read a 2010 Honolulu Advertiser news article about Senator Hee's bill to end shark finning.  The article shows Hee's concern for Native Hawaiian culture.  Senator Hee introduced Senate Bill 2169 in 2010 that became Act 148.

The Native Hawaiian Roll Commission itself is also not composed of robots or machinery.  Instead, if you take a close look at the different commissioners, you will see that they are not just five Native Hawaiians.  The commissioners are known Native Hawaiian leaders with diverse leadership experiences.  

Lastly, the Native Hawaiian Roll Commission is using the same criteria that other recognized organizations (Kamehameha Schools) and other programs like the Department of Hawaiian Home Lands uses to confirm Native Hawaiian ancestry.  CLICK HERE to see video news clip explaining  ancestry confirmation.

This particular Native Hawaiian's opinion about "what" is defining what it means to be Kanaka Maoli is not grounded in reality.  Neither the state nor the federal government is "homogeneously defining what it means to be Kanaka Maoli." 

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