Week 13

  • How do you think social workers should or should not participate in this discussion?  Do you think NASW Hawai`i should come out in support of one particular position?
    • I think social workers should definitely participate in this discussion. I feel like social workers take a stance on almost everything else human right’s related and that this issue is very, very important to the Native Hawaiian community. I don’t think, however, that this necessarily means taking a particular position. I think it’d be fair enough to say something along the lines of respecting Native Hawaiians’ wishes, whatever that may be, and respecting the right to self-determination.
  • What differences in language did you notice in the readings and in the video in regards to sovereignty, de-occupation, federal recognition, etc.?
    • I really thought this was a well-rounded panel of people. I was surprised to hear that they had a lot more in common than they had in opposition even though everyone’s stances varied widely. I would have thought that Dexter Kaiama, who supports de-occupation, would have been a little more… passionate… about his stance but even he had very sound claims. I thought it was funny when he said he wished he could get John Waihee on his team because people listen to him. As Dexter was going on about the legalities of the annexation and what happened 125 years ago, Esther kind of argued that it was not the way to get recognition. I loved how everyone had different approaches to similar ends. My favorite part of the entire video was when John Waihee said he hopes that everyone would win. He see the bigger picture in mind that there can be many means to an end, and a victory for one can be a victory for all and that Native Hawaiians need to be leaning on each other more and using the same tools.
  • How do you think you can and should participate in advocating around this issue?  Have you previously participated in advocacy work around this issue?
    • At first, I thought I shouldn’t participate in the issue. I’m not Native Hawaiian, and my family just got here a couple generations ago. As I’ve mentioned before in previous posts, I felt like I didn’t “have a seat at the table”. But didn’t someone say if you don’t have a seat at the table, you’re probably on the menu? I guess it’s about time I come around. Clayton Hee was talking about how race didn’t really matter. His mom, who is Native Hawaiian, said that if non-Hawaiians weren’t involved in the process, to count her out. Because the fact of the matter is that Native Hawaiians are not living in a Hawaiian only bubble. Dexter Kaiama also said the Hawaiian Kingdom comprised of many different races, that it was all inclusive and that even a haole like me could still be a Hawaiian national. After growing up with the Hawaiian Sovereignty issue, I still cannot fully decide how I can participate in the issue in a meaningful way.
  • Where do you personally stand on the issue?  Did the video and readings help clarify this?
    • I don’t even know if I stand on the spectrum. I am still taking in different accounts and if anything, the videos and readings just magnify how fragmented the Native Hawaiian community is on this, and that is the part that makes me sad. I have questions though about how sovereignty would realistically look like. For example, I just purchased a piece of land here on the Big Island. I purchased it legally, like any other real estate transaction, or so I thought… The family I bought it from consisted of several siblings fighting over the property and although we purchased it from the legal owner, there is a brother threatening to take us to court under the premise that because the overthrow was illegal, our land purchase is null and void. He has trespassed on our property numerous times and has even showed up at The Planning Department’s hearings to contest our zoning. Everyone thus far has written him off as a greedy sibling who feels like he didn’t get his cut and even The Planning Department shut him down very quickly. But I feel stuck because I don’t want to be in a position where my actions are directly hurting a Native Hawaiian’s wishes for sovereignty and yet, that is what’s happening right now. Even though I feel like we’ve been pono in all of our actions, should we relinquish this land based off of this gentleman’s annexation argument?  Also, I have Native Hawaiian friends who benefit from living in statehood and have things that would not be possible in a sovereign nation. For example, many of our friends are home owners through The Hawaiian Homes Commission Act. My friends’ kids can attend any private school of their choice through Pauahi Scholarships, including private preschools. What happens if we de-occupy and the state and feds pull out? Would we divert back to an agricultural economy and subsistence farming? Right now, Hawaii is a highly-coveted state for its pacific presence. If it weren’t a part of the US, how long would it be before someone like China came in and swooped us up?






4 thoughts on “Week 13

  1. HI Lauren,
    Thank you for your post. You brought up many points in your post that I didn’t discuss in mine so I was happy that you addressed them so I could weigh as well. Thank you for pointing out that (and especially at this time when so many Hawaiians have intermarried and have blended families) being Native Hawaiian and being a Hawaiian national are different still included in the Hawaiian Kingdom. I understood the Hawaiian culture to be very inclusive and tolerant of others especially all the immigrants who came and at this point are mixed into the very fabric that makes up our islands’ culture.
    I too find it difficult to weigh in on the discussion because I am not Native Hawaiian, but I agree with you that we do need to at least participate in the conversation. Thank you for sharing your story about recently buying property. I have gone back and forth on the doing so myself and share your concerns so have not committed to the process. I think you are obviously abiding by the current laws on these lands and have done all that’s in your power to do the right thing. It is hard when one feels connected to these lands too yet there is this underlying concern that one’s actions could be contested on some level. Yet your family has been here for generations and like I said above I do believe that you are part of the fabric of Hawaii now. Also it is evident from all your posts, the work that you do in the community, and your commitment to sustainability/food sovereignty that your values are in line with those of many Native Hawaiians. I don’t think that many more could reasonably be asked of you. Shine on Lauren.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Hi Lauren!
    I mostly wanted to comment on your last part of your post. I think you draw out an important point when it comes to Hawaiian sovereignty or the restoration of the Hawaiian Kingdom. We’ve learned in previous readings the importance of land to indigenous peoples. If the Hawaiian Kingdom was to be restored, how much of the land would be restored as well? What will happen to the people living on the current land. Not all Hawaiians agree upon what sovereignty will or should look like. More importantly, not all people agree upon what it means to be Hawaiian. Should you have to have Native Hawaiian blood to obtain land or be a citizen of the nation? There’s a lot of questions that need to be answered, but who should be able to answer them. Personally, I believe that the Kingdom of Hawai’i should be restored to the Hawaiian people. However, I’m not quite sure we’re ready for that. Until the people can agree on the characteristics of the restored Kingdom, it won’t be realistic to obtain national sovereignty.


    Liked by 1 person

  3. Hi Lauren,
    From what I have heard, one of the main concerns is how non-Hawaiians are going to be discussed within a sovereign nation and should be a major topic. We are mostly compromised of mixed races so most of us have a relative who is not native Hawaiian by blood but is still Hawaiian by lifestyle. How would the issue of property be resolved? I have no clue and that is also an important topic that is constantly debated in the community. Perhaps the focus would be only on crown lands but as can be established, there are vasts amounts of sugar cane lands that were arguably acquired by unethical processes. The intricacies of reestablishing a Hawaii kingdom is a task that many supporters have not entirely digested and yes, it is not as simple as some would surmise although there are factions that flat out argue that non-blood Hawaiians should not own property in the islands and can choose to stay as a citizen of the kingdom, or leave. I personally do not think that as a society,with such an exclusive/nationalist attitude would be good in any way for a Hawaiian nation and that puts me at odds with many sovereign supporters. But history speaks for itself (not the fake history) and supports the many advantages of diversity and the social prosperity it can offer.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Hello Lauren! Very intuitive post on the topic!

    As a “Part-Hawaiian”, I’ve been conflicted on participation because of my service in the Military and how the Native Hawaiians despise the Military for what happened. Additionally, since the initial “Ka’u I’noa” movement on having Native Hawaiians sign petitions to start the process of a sovereign government, it seemed there was a fall back because things were pushed to the next year, and the next year, and now you seldom hear anything regarding the actual logistics on establishing a Native Hawaiian Government. Protests still continue, however groups are dealing with issues as they arise but there is no “central” group established to actually work the cohesion between the groups.

    Another great point is that it was mentioned that it would be “inclusive of all inhabitants”, which would include Hawaiian and Non-Hawaiians, which shows that regardless of how much mistreatment the Hawaiians received, they still look to including everyone and expressing the true meaning of “Aloha”.

    Liked by 1 person

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