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January 2009

From the Editor...

 

Rochelle delaCruz

from the editor…

Another Year Gone By

2008 turns into 2009…how did this happen so quickly? But let’s be grateful that we can leave 2008 behind – I know of no one who wants to remain in that sorry year that ended with the highest of highs (the election of a new president who offers hope) but the lowest of lows (financial crises affecting everyone.) When Roy Niiyama of Olympia sent in the dramatic photo taken by his sister Charlene Hatada in Hilo, it spoke more eloquently than pitiful words ever could and showed us how to say goodbye to the old and welcome in the new. So with a sigh of relief, we turn the page.

We’ve been trying to get a story to you about some of the new challenges to Native Hawaiians in the Islands. Then one day I read in the Honolulu Star Bulletin, a commentary by Derek Kauanoe on the status of ceded lands. You might remember Derek from earlier stories he wrote for us regarding Native Hawaiians in law school. He grew up here in Lacey, Washington where his parents George and Ku`ulei still live but Derek returned to the Islands to enroll at the University of Hawai`i. We contacted him and when he agreed to write us an update regarding the controversy surrounding what some call “stolen” lands, we also learned that he recently graduated from the William Richardson School of Law at Mānoa and is active with the Kupu`āina Coalition. Hats off to Derek for going home and committing himself to work on modern-day challenges facing Hawaiians and the Hawaiian Islands!

In addition to the struggle to keep ceded lands, there are other pressing issues in the Islands such as water rights, high-end development on agriculture-designated lands, invasive species. The Kamehameha Schools continues to face challenges by self-serving attorneys and parents trying to muscle in on Pauahi’s legacy. All of these add to the general overall concerns about the widening gap between rich and poor, maintaining a clean environment and protecting endangered species.

So as we’re sitting pretty up here in the Pacific Northwest, safely enjoying our oven-roast kalua pork and favorite nahenahe music, let’s make a New Year’s resolution to figure out ways we can contribute to the well-being of our Islands. I got some ideas of my own…how about you? ~RdC

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