A Song of Unity
by Keli'i Akina, Ph.D., President/CEO, Grassroot Institute of Hawaii
Native Hawaiians are singing a new song, and it’s growing into a chorus!
Civil Beat recently featured an essay by a Native Hawaiian woman in which she voices what most Hawaiians believe but have been afraid to come out and say: “Maybe Hawaiians don’t want to be Native American Indians. Maybe we shouldn’t be pursuing a federal recognition path that tries to squeeze us awkwardly into the mold of American Indian tribes.”
This is precisely the position Grassroot Institute has promoted for years despite the opposition of a narrow but vocal segment of the public. Advancement for Hawaiians and all people will never happen through the placement of a tribal government between the people and their Constitutional rights and liberties.
The fact that most Native Hawaiians do not support the idea of a state-sponsored, race-based tribal nation can be seen in the failed efforts by the State through the Office of Hawaiian Affairs to enroll Hawaiians into a citizenship lists. A decade of attempts, four enrollment campaigns, and millions of dollars of tax-payer money have been wasted on an effort that has been ignored by 80% of the eligible Hawaiian population. It’s time for all people of Hawaii, Hawaiians by blood and Hawaiians at heart, to join the chorus of the Aloha Spirit - that Hawaii is a land of unity. E Pluribus Unum: from the many one!
Related: End of the Akaka Tribe? OHA Trustees Shut Down Hawaiian Roll Commission