Angry Aloha. Angry Aloha.
by Sen Sam Slom, SBN News & Views, June 25, 2014
Monday, I attended the U.S. Department of Interior's first of 15 scheduled public hearings on a rule proposal to decide whether the Federal Government should negotiate for a government to government relationship with Native Hawaiians. The Feds already have enacted more than 150 laws benefiting Hawaiians.
The visiting, suited, DOI panel members, got an earful for nearly 3.5 hours in the Capitol auditorium. More than 100 people testified. There was plenty of passion, anger, shouting, chanting, cursing, laughter and even a song ("Red Ribbons"). Several told the visitors to go home-and take "their" homeless with them. The visitors were threatened with violation of UN genocide treaties. Many speakers declared they were not Americans. Opposition to the federal government was nearly universal-except for OHA (a state agency) and a few Hawaiian civic organizations.
There was anger by those who argue the Hawaiian Kingdom never ended, even after the 1893 overthrow, and never negotiated a treaty with the U.S. They urged nation to nation negotiations instead. They wanted the Secretary of State, not Interior. Some didn't like to be called "Natives."
Most speakers wanted to end the "American occupation," and several simply wanted more money from the federal government. This event-an expensive vacation for more government officials and staff- underlies several points:
(1) it is an Obama political move to skirt the Congress on this issue;
(2) there still is no unified Hawaiian position,
(3) this is evidence of more unraveling of our vaunted "melting pot,"
(4) most Hawaiians, and others (including SBH), reject the phony government concept of making Hawaiians into a "tribe" for political purposes, and
(5) there is no Aloha for more deliberations and delays with the federal government.
This is a far cry from the 94% vote in favor of Statehood in 1959. And the pride in being an American that followed. Just in time for Statehood (Admissions) Day in August, a paid holiday not observed here anymore.