The Office of Hawaiian Affairs hosted the first of a three-series summit to bring leaders within our Hawaiian community together to discuss strategies towards self-determination.
“ʻAʻole au i hele i kēia ʻano hālāwai ma mua no ka nui o ka hakakā” wahi a Bumpy Kanahele ma kona haʻiʻōlelo e hoʻonaʻauao ana i ka lehulehu no kona mau manaʻo ma ka ʻaoʻao o ka Nation of Hawaiʻi.
A wahi a Brean Nuʻuhiwa, ka luna paio hoʻi o ke Keʻena Kuleana Hawaiʻi, he kuleana ko lākou ma ka hoʻoponopono ʻana i kēia pilika ma kēia au hou. “ʻO ko mākou kuleana ma ke Keʻena Kuleana Hawaiʻi, ʻo ia hoʻi ka hoʻohui ʻana aku i kēia mau leo ʻokoʻa a manaʻo maikaʻi hoʻi i mea e ʻimi i kēlā ala e holo ai.”
“Ke hiki mai nei kahi wā kuʻikahi o kākou. ʻO kēia ka wā e lōkahi a alu ai ka poʻe.
He koʻikoʻi hoʻi hā ko kākou makaʻala ʻana, e nā Hawaiʻi, i ke ʻano o ko kākou hiki ʻana aku i kēia pahuhopu o ka hōʻoia hou ʻana i ke ʻea o ko kākou lāhui,” i paipai aku ai ʻo Derek Kauanoe, he haumāna e ʻimi ana i kona kekelē kauka ma ke kula nui o Hawaiʻi ma Mānoa.
“He koʻikoʻi hoʻi hā ko kākou makaʻala ʻana, e nā Hawaiʻi, i ke ʻano o ko kākou hiki ʻana aku i kēia pahuhopu o ka hōʻoia hou ʻana i ke ʻea o ko kākou lāhui,” wahi a Pōkā Lupenui, ka luna hoʻomalu hoʻi o ka Native Hawaiian Convention.
A ʻo kēia hana like ʻana ka haʻawina hoʻokahi a ke Keʻena Kuleana Hawaiʻi e makemake ana e ʻike ʻia e ko nā ʻelele a pau ma kēia ʻākoakoa ʻana. “ʻIke kākou, ua like ka hopena o kekahi me kekahi. ʻO ka pahuhopu ka puka ʻana o ka lāhui, ʻaʻole hoʻokahi wale nō kanaka.”
Eia naʻe, i ko Derek manaʻo, he haʻawina ko ke Keʻena Kuleana Hawaiʻi e aʻo ai kekahi. “Lana koʻu manaʻo e hoʻākea ʻia ko ke Keʻena Kuleana Hawaiʻi kuanaʻike ma kēia ʻimi like ʻana o kākou i kahi ala e holo pono ai kēia hōʻoia ʻana i ke ʻea o ko kākou lāhui Hawaiʻi.”
“ʻO ka noho aupuni ke ala e hele ai, ʻaʻole hoʻi ka hopena a kākou e ʻimi nei,” wahi manaʻo hope a Derek i hoʻopuka ai.
A ʻaʻohe hōʻole ʻana ko Breann i ka nui koʻikoʻi o kēia kiʻi nui. “Manaʻolana ko ke Keʻena Kuleana Hawaiʻi e ʻike ka poʻe ua loaʻa nō kēia hana like ʻana o kākou.”
“He kaulike ia hana. He paio mau kaʻu no ka pono o ke ʻea. A kohu mea, ke hōʻea mai nei ia wā,” wahi a Bumpy.
For almost 120 years, Native Hawaiians have attempted to assert unrelinquished sovereignty and reestablish a Native Hawaiian government. These struggles have polarized the issue of sovereignty amongst our people. In an effort to overcome this history, the Office of Hawaiian Affairs hosted a governance summit to bring together leaders of this movement to move forward once again.
“I never come to any of these meetings for years cause too much fighting!” Expresses Bumpy Kanahele in his intent to educate the audience on behalf of his position as a delegate of the Nation of Hawaiʻi.
According to Breann Nuʻuhiwa, who is the Chief Advocate of the Office of Hawaiian Affairs, it is their duty to mend this disconnect of our Hawaiian people. “OHA really sees it’s role as being that conviener, that facilitator to bring together all of these wonderful initiatives and all of these wonderful people with these great ideas into a room having them sit across the table from each other and say: “how can I add to this and how can we all move forward together?”
“The Hawaiian community and our state at large is approaching a very critical time in our history and also in our future. And now is the critical time to get involved, to care and participate in the process,” encouraged Derek Kauanoe, a University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa student pursuing his Doctorate’s degree.
“As poʻe Hawaiʻi or as Native Hawaiians, yes we should be concerned about these fundamental questions of what is the right to self-determination and how do we express it, how do we go out and assert for it?” says Pōkā Lupenui, Chirperson of the Native Hawaiian Convention.
This idea of working together is exactly what OHA wants participants to get out of this experience. “it’s really an understanding that everyone impacts everyone else and making sure that the betterment of the whole was really the focus as oppose to the betterment of the individual.”
However, Derek believes that ther is a lesson to be learned here by OHA as well. “What I hope will be the outcome of this three-day summit is that the Office of Hawaiian Affairs will develop or as some of what the other speakers have said talking about previous efforts, maybe redevelop a movement and expand it so that we can go ahead and move towards greater self-determination and self-governance.”
“We don’t want to emphasize governance as the destination but rather what we want to use it for to get where we need to go,” says Derek in his closing remarks.
And Breann could not agree more with the importance of the big picture. “What we’re hoping people see is that the vision is the same and that really, everybody is working together already, we’re just not aware of it.”
“It’s a fair process. I’m going to push on that table when that time comes for independence but until that time comes, which you know we all can make that happen, it seems like, it sounds like it’s real this time around,” says Bumpy.