The Office of Hawaiian Affairs brought the big issues of self-determination and sovereignty of our Hawaiian people to the table last December at their first Kāmau A Ea summit. Community leaders discussed varying opinions to find solutions to take the next step forward.
“The fact is that the lāhui, the Hawaiian national body, does have a diverse experience with this history,” says Jon Osorio, a professor of Hawaiian Studies at Hawaiʻinuiākea Center for Hawaiian Knowledge at the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa. “These are things that need to be talked about and say look! If you’re confused about these issues, if you find these things difficult to understand, understand that we’re all dealing with these kinds of things.”
An inspiring group of dedicated people returned recently to address these issues at OHA’s second Kāmau A Ea summit that was held at Kamakakūokalani Center for Hawaiian Studies at the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa. To their excitement, there was much progress made from the last time they met.
“I think what struck me most was really that people have come to a point where it’s no longer about who’s idea is more correct it’s really a question of can we work together is there value to draw from all of these different initiatives,” says Breann Nuʻuhiwa, Chief Advocate at the Office of Hawaiian Affairs.
Kāmau A Ea II consisted of breaking out into four different groups to discuss Hawaiian self-governance on the state, federal and International level so that this forward momentum is recognized in our Hawaiian community and in communities around the world.
Based on her experience working in her Native American community, Rebecca Tsosie attested to the success of these summits in seeking international recognition for indigenous peoples.
“I think that the summits, to me, represent a significant growth and energy and kind of a coalescence of thinking that I would actually describe as Native Hawaiian intellectualism,” says Rebecca Tsosie, who is the Regent’s Professor of Law at Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law, Arizona State University. “That’s a sense of pride that I have, that they see, that they acknowledge that and they’re willing to work together at a very sophisticated level.”
“I can walk away with comfort by the fact that we are doing the best that we can,” says Jon.
And together these leading representatives will be walking into the next step.
“So summit one was about bringing everyone together, summit two was about looking at a vision or multiple visions and summit three is going to be about really putting together some strategic plans for achieving those visions and seeing how we can all work together to put life and energy into all of the initiatives,” says Breann.