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September 2005

From the Editor...


Rochelle delaCruz

I was in Hilo when the ruling against the Kamehameha Schools came in. Like many others in Hawai`i, I was stunned. How can someone’s last will be overturned, especially one from before the American takeover? So shall we sue the Rockefeller descendants for some of their wealth? And why would someone who has access to many other resources, want to take what little the Hawaiians have left? The anti-Kamehameha group is yelling about equality for all, but that is shibai. They just want access to Pauahi’s trust funds. Whether or not we are Native Hawaiian, we must get involved because this is not about race; this is about justice. I headed straight to my computer and fired it up. Here is my commentary that aired on Hawai`i Public Radio on August 10th.

A U.S. federal court just ruled against the Kamehameha Schools regarding its admissions policy which gives preference to Native Hawaiians, calling it unlawful race discrimination.

The Kamehameha Schools was founded by the great granddaughter of King Kamehameha I, Princess Bernice Pauahi Bishop, who died in 1884. Her will established the school, and the first board of trustees led by her husband Charles Bishop, implemented Pauahi’s intent that the school first serve children of Native Hawaiian ancestry. And so it has, in its one hundred and thirty year history.

Over the past decade, however, there have been several serious assaults on various programs for Hawaiians. This ruling last week by the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals is the latest from a handful of people in these Islands who want to dismantle such Hawaiian institutions as the Kamehameha Schools, under the banner of equality and justice for all.

Here are a few things to think about:

First, Princess Pauahi who established the Kamehameha Schools, was Hawaiian and an ali`i in the Kingdom of Hawai`i, with responsibility to the Hawaiian people. She was not an American nor even lived under the American system.

Second, less than 10 years after her death, the United States helped to illegally seize the Hawaiian Islands and overthrow its ruling monarch, Queen Lili`uokalani. If you find this difficult to believe, you may verify that in 1993, a hundred years after the overthrow, the U.S. formally acknowledged and apologized for this act of violence against a friendly nation.

So here’s my question: Given the ill-begotten way the United States came to control these islands, how can we expect it to be fair and just in these matters? Hawaiians had their own leaders and system of government, which were simply bulldozed by the U.S. So let’s stop pretending that this is about equality and justice, because once you learn the history of how Hawai`i became a U.S territory and then the 50th state, you will understand, that what this is about, is greed. Those who are now storming the Hawaiian-only policies, are no different from those who illegally overthrew the Monarchy. They look at what the Hawaiians have and they want it. Apparently all they have to do is take it…and the American system supports them. It is a repeat performance of the 1893 theft of these islands. To wrap it in a sanctimonious cloak of justice and equality for all, is sheer hypocrisy. Shame.


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