The raised issue is so stupid, I don't know if I should laugh or cry. Seriously.
I want to laugh out loud because it's so funny how bad the mis-information is. But, I also feel like crying because unfortunately, Native Hawaiians are buying the mis-information. But no worry beef curry! I'm gonna show you a reason why you shouldn't buy into the mis-information.
The Office of Hawaiian Affairs' August 2013 edition of Ka Wai Ola recently came out and Native Hawaiians are talking about it online. See the image from Facebook below.
Trish mischaracterizes this simple notice as a threat. We know this because in the image above, the first sentence she wrote is, "I find this threat against Native Hawaiians who choose not to register on the Native Hawaiian Roll Commission appalling." Then, she posts a photo of the notice.
Let's take a closer look at this notice and examine what it says. Unfortunately, it's a horribly written sentence. How do we know it's a horribly written sentence? It's too freaking long! I mean seriously, that one sentence is 7-lines long. Try count 'em! Okay, 6 and 1/2 lines long. I digress. Anyway, let's examine it.
"Native Hawaiians who choose not to be included on the official roll risk waiving their right, and the right of their children and descendants, to (yada, yada, yada)"
Let's stop with that and examine it before we continue with the rest of the obnoxiously long sentence. An analogy is helpful in determining whether or not this, so far, constitutes a threat.
My tūtū lady (grandma) used to give me "notices" all the time. Now, I can't accurately capture her "pidgin" voice when she gave me notices, but you'll catch my drift.
When she used to drive me to Kramers for get clothes when I was a kid, she used to say, "Kauka, if you don't put your seatbelt on in my car, you risk getting hurt if I get into one car accident!"
Did my tūtū lady threaten me every time she told me that? NO. Of course not.
What my tūtū lady did was simply explain what could happen if I made a certain decision and took a specific risk. Getting hurt from not wearing a seatbelt is an expected risk. It's a risk that we can reasonably expect to happen if I don't wear a seatbelt.
Continuing with the obnoxiously long sentence, the notice describes the risks of not registering with the Native Hawaiian Roll Commission which is:
- not being "legally and politically acknowledged as Native Hawaiians"
- not being able "to participate in a future convention to reorganize the Hawaiian nation,"
- as a result, "may also be excluded from being granted rights of inclusion, rights of participation (voting), and right to potential benefits that may come with citizenship."
Now for this second part, another analogy is useful.
For a few years, I lived in California and became a resident. But then, I came back home to the State of Hawaii. I had two choices to make. I had to answer the question, "Do I want to be a Hawaii resident again?" My second choice to make asked, "Do I want to become a registered voter in Hawaii?"
Guess what my tūtū lady told me? She said, "Kauka, if you not one resident of the State of Hawaii, you no can register for vote. If you no register for vote, you risk not being able to participate in either the Hawaii Democrat or Republican parties and develop ideas that will move this state forward. If you no register for vote, you no can pick your own representatives who will make laws for you at the capitol."
If I no register for vote, guess what? I cannot participate in the democratic process. Guess what else? This is how it is just about everywhere else.
Guess what my tūtū man told me when I started working at a job and he thought I had the option of joining a labor union? Tūtū man told me, "Boy, you should join the Union. Get small kine benefits when you join the Union. But Boy, always remember, when you get benefits, you also have responsibilities. Not fair you get the benefits without the responsibilities. That's like stealing.
Sometimes you not going like paying those dues, but by joining the union, the union cannot fight for you because you chose not to join. They going represent your best interest, because the business owners, they like pay you less than what you should be paid. But, boy remember this! If you don't join (or register) with the Union, then you choosing to not be a part of the union. That's okay if you no like be part of the union. But, it's not fair to everybody else who signed up to join the union, and who pay their dues, if you get all the same benefits as them without having the responsibilities of being a part of the group."
Reviewing the notice again, understanding what I risk if I don't sign-up, I can't possibly expect to not sign-up but still have the chance to do what people who actually signed-up get to do. I mean for real!
By signing up with Kana'iolowalu, I'm saying, "I want the government to know and acknowledge that I am a Native Hawaiian legally and politically." By signing up with Kanaiolowalu, I'm also saying, "I want a voice in and to participate in "a future convention to reorganize the Hawaiian nation." By signing up, I'm also saying, that "I accept the responsibilities of citizenship and voting, and, if any, benefits."
If I decide not to sign, I am effectively saying the exact opposite. If I don't register, I'd be saying, "I don't want the government to acknowledge my legal and political status as a Native Hawaiian." I'd also be saying, "I don't want to participate in a future convention to reorganize the Hawaiian nation." By not registering, I'd be saying, "I refuse the responsibilities of citizenship and voting, along with any other potential benefits."
I signed up. That was my choice. You can choose not to sign-up. That is your choice. You no can not sign-up and then hope to get the benefits that people who signed-up get. The world doesn't work like that. To think otherwise is to be delusional.
Did the Native Hawaiian Roll Commission/Kanai'olowalu put out this notice?
Trish seems to think the Commission or Kana'iolowalu put out this notice. try look to the left.
Laulani asked, "Who is putting this out?"
Trish answered, "Kanaiolowalu."
I don't know for certain, but I think the Office of Hawaiian Affairs put that notice out, not Kanaiolowalu. You know why? I'm going to show you some pictures about why I think Kanaiolowalu didn't make that notice.
On the back of the second page, get this one image (left). It's actually a Kanaiolowalu advertisement. On page 8, the newsletter get an official Kanaiolowalu registration form. (right).
Do you know what these two different images have in common that make it clear to us that it was made by Kanaiolowalu?
Both of the different pages above, have the Kanaiolowalu logo located on both of them. But, we don't see this logo on the newsletter page where the notice is found. Try look below!
The Kanaiolowalu logo can't be found anywhere here on this page shown above.
Ka Wai Ola has another page, shown right, with Kanaiolowalu related info too and that page also doesn't have the Kanaiolowalu logo.
What we have here folks is mis-information spreading by someone who is trusted by other Native Hawaiians. Mis-informing Native Hawaiians is wrong and hurts the Native Hawaiian people. To further support my belief that the "notice" wasn't put out by Kanaiolowalu, a close-up of page 9 of Ka Wai Ola shows that OHA is trying to let Native Hawaiians know what MIGHT happen if Native Hawaiians do not enroll with the Native Hawaiian Roll Commission. Please read below.
We have to be careful. Sometimes we can end-up working against ourselves.