Hawaiians were protesting at the State Capitol Wednesday through marching, rallying and even through pounding taro.
Why were Hawaiians at the Hawaiʻi State Capitol on the opening day of legislator marching, rallying, and pounding poi?
Hawaiians were protesting at the state capitol on Wednesday through marching, rallying, and even through pounding taro. But, why protest through pounding taro?
According to Walter Ritte, a Native Hawaiian activist and Hawaiʻi SEED Board-member, “We are here because a lot of people were getting scared and upset about what the people were doing in this building. They were doing things that was not done in the open and they were doing things behind closed doors, and there were all kinds of problems they were doing things that were detrimental to our environment…So we come here today to say, NO, don’t do those things.”
One issue at the forefront was GMO. For Monsanto and other pro-GMO companies, GMO improves agriculture, increases jobs, and fights hunger. However others argue the opposite.
Food sovereignty activist Vandana Shiva says, “What could be more stupid then putting toxic genes into our food and thinking it is progress?”
Vandana Shiva, an agricultural specialist came all the way to Hawaiʻi from India, specifically to raise awareness about the negative affects GMO poses for Hawaiʻi.
Shiva says, “Because I see Hawaiʻi, not as a place where I come and people say Mansanto is the biggest employer but people say, this land its biodiversity our cultural heritage is our biggest employer.”
Paul Reppun, a taro farmer of Waiāhole Oʻahu says, “Its more than anti-GMO, this is pro-growing food. We need to start growing our own food, all of us do, and that is something that is true sovereignty to me. And that’s what we need to focus on.”
For Hawaiians and other peoples of the world, practicing food sovereignty is one way to protest issues that negatively affect the land and people.
Vandana Shiva adds, “Watching young people making taro this is future freedom. … For me children working with their hands, producing food is the highest liberation possible.”