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September 2005

Hawai`i News

 

PROTEST
by Manono McMillan

On August 2, 2005 the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals panel ruled that the Kamehameha Schools admission policy constitutes “unlawful race discrimination.”

 

The Kamehameha Ruling
by Rochelle delaCruz

On August 2, 2005, the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled against the Kamehameha Schools and struck down school policy of giving admissions preference to students of Native Hawaiian ancestry.

 

Former Washington Senator Opposing Akaka Bill
By Rochelle delaCruz  

Two former Republican senators, Slade Gorton from Washington State and Hank Brown from Colorado are urging Congress to reject the Akaka Bill which would give federal recognition to Native Hawaiians.

 

 

PROTEST!

By Manono McMillan

On August 2, 2005 the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals panel ruled that the Kamehameha Schools admission policy constitutes “unlawful race discrimination.” The John Doe vs. Kamehameha Schools lawsuit arose when an anonymous non-Hawaiian student applied twice to the Schools and was denied entrance after revealing that he did not have Hawaiian blood. The three-member panel stated the private school violates federal civil rights law in their admissions policy by giving preference to Native Hawaiians.

The Kamehameha Schools were established under the 1884 will of Princess Bernice Pauahi Bishop to educate children of Hawaiian ancestry. As the last descendant of Kamehameha ali’i line, her intentions were to address the socio-economic inequities her people were experiencing in the 1800s. These inequities continue today and her legacy helps to remedy harm suffered by the Hawaiians since the overthrow of the Hawaiian monarchy.

The devastating news of the ruling prompted Hawaiians and non-Hawaiians to voice their outrage in support of the Kamehameha Schools. There were 20,000 who immediately protested in marches across the state of Hawai`i on August 6th. On August 17th a group gathered at the National Conference of State Legislators taking place in downtown Seattle, and 2,000 or more rallied in San Francisco on August 20th in front of the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals. I was one who rallied in Seattle and marched in San Francisco.

As a proud graduate of Kamehameha, I felt compelled to fly to San Francisco to extend my appreciation and support of the legacy that was gifted to me by Princess Bernice Pauahi Bishop. I arrived to the City by the Bay a day before the rally. My first stop was at the Hawaiian Cultural Center in South San Francisco where organizers disseminated information, presented historical information and briefed us on rally protocol. Following the meeting was a candlelight vigil held in Japan town later that evening. The Northern California Kamehameha Alumni Association took the lead in this gathering that was solemn, reverent, quiet, and emotional. Many representatives from the Schools attended including CEO Dee Jay Mailer, also a ’75 graduate of Kamehameha.

The United Nations Plaza, the site of the rally, began filling early the next morning with multitudes of red shirts that read Ku I Ka Pono – Justice For Hawaiians. After a pule (prayer) by organizer and ’83 alumni, Noelani Jai, and pre-march mele of Hawai’i Pono I, the march proceeded to the Court of Appeals building. Traditional Hawaiian chants filled the air and San Francisco displayed their support with honking horns and the shaka signs. It was AWESOME! The rally was a peaceful show of solidarity and unity. It was truly heartwarming to see the enormous turnout. Speeches were presented by CEO Mailer; Kamehameha Board of Trustee member, Nainoa Thompson; several alumni; and a non-Hawaiian Bay-area resident. The extremely organized, successful and enthusiastic event closed with post-march mele of Kaulana Nā Pua, the Kamehameha Schools Alma Mater and Imua Kamehameha.

As we marched through the streets of San Francisco, my thoughts reflected on my tutu (grandmother) from Moloka`i who signed the anti-annexation petition in 1897. (See September 11, 1897...Patriotism in Hawai`i .) She, along with Princess Bernice Pauahi Bishop must surely be saddened to see their intentions and their gifts under attack. I, too, am saddened. I ask, “How can a federal court take something from a private trust that does not accept any federal or state funds but yet extends its resources to the public schools? How can a bequeathal to the children of Hawaiian ancestry not be honored? How can a Princess that was born a non-American and died a non-American be “ruled” by an American court system?”

The Kamehameha Schools filed a petition on August 23rd for an en banc review. If granted by the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals, the 2-1 panel decision would then be reviewed by a larger 11-member panel. The 24 judges of the 9th Circuit Court now have until September 13th to call for a vote as to whether the larger panel will hear the case or to request the original 3-member panel to rehear the case.

Today as we await court decisions, I now hear and sing the Schools’ Alma Mater - Sons of Hawai’i - with greater pride and a stronger sense of meaning:

Be strong and ally ye, Oh Sons of Hawai`i
And nobly stand together hand in hand.
All dangers defy ye, Oh Sons of Hawai`i
And bravely serve your own, your father land!

Imua Kamehameha!

Manono McMillan was born and raised on the island of Moloka`i and is a graduate of the Kamehameha Schools. She currently resides in Bothell, Washington and is a radio co-host of the Hawaii Radio Connection in Bellevue/Seattle.

Click on a thumbnail to see a larger picture:

In Kailua-Kona In Seattle In San Francisco. In Hilo.

For more info:  

Kamehameha Schools : www.ksbe.edu

Alumni march site : www.justiceforhawaiians.net/home.html

9 th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals : www.ca9.uscourts.gov

 

The Kamehameha Ruling

by Rochelle delaCruz

On August 2, 2005, the 9 th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled against the Kamehameha Schools and struck down school policy of giving admissions preference to students of Native Hawaiian ancestry. Since then, thousands of Hawaiians and non-Hawaiians in Hawai`i and the continental United States have been protesting the ruling with marches, letters to newspapers and calls in to radio shows.

The appeals court said that the schools’ Hawaiian-first admissions policy violates the Civil Rights Act of 1866, the anti-discrimination law that has to do with slavery, segregation and the denial of rights to African Americans, enacted following the War between the North and the South (1861-1865.)

However, Kamehameha receives no federal funding and is a private school founded by the trust set up by the will of Princess Bernice Pauahi Bishop in 1884 when Hawai`i was still a sovereign monarchy. In 1893, Queen Lili`uokalani was illegally overthrown by a cabal of American businessmen and the Hawaiian Islands became a U.S. territory. Even though Hawai`i then became the 50 th State in 1959, there are many for whom the illegal takeover is still a source of contention. In 1993, an apology for the takeover was issued by the U.S. government, but so far, nothing else has been done. The Akaka Bill is seen by some as one way to rectify the illegal takeover but not all agree.

The rights of Native Hawaiians have been steadily eroding since the overthrow and this latest blow has been met with anger around the islands and elsewhere. On August 6th, there were protest rallies and marches on all of the Hawaiian Islands with a turnout of an estimated 20,000 Hawaiian and non-Hawaiian supporters of Native Hawaiian rights. In Honolulu alone, roughly 15,000 protesters gathered in front of ` Iolani Palace (where the Queen was held in house arrest over a hundred years ago) and marched to the Royal Mausoleum in Nu`uanu. Smaller groups also demonstrated on Kaua`i, Maui, Moloka`i and Hawai`i island and there were similar events in Oregon and on the East Coast. Most of the protesters wore red and carried the Hawaiian flag upside down to show distress.

On August 17th, there was a rally in Seattle and another march on August 19th in Hilo. On August 20th, an estimated 400 protestors marched past the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco. Attending the California event was Kamehameha School CEO Dee Jay Mailer who said, “We will not – we will absolutely not – give up our mission no matter what stands in our way.”

Attorneys for the non-Hawaiian who sued to attend the Kamehameha Schools tried to get the student enrolled before school started on Aug. 17th, but Kamehameha has requested a rehearing of the case by the full court. This in effect prevents the student from entering Kamehameha in time to begin his senior year.

Native Hawaiians are bracing themselves for more assaults on their birthrights as the American system is applied to their islands.

 

Former Washington Senator Opposing Akaka Bill

By Rochelle delaCruz
 

Two former Republican senators, Slade Gorton from Washington State and Hank Brown from Colorado are urging Congress to reject the Akaka Bill which would give federal recognition to Native Hawaiians.

In a letter published on August 17th in the Wall Street Journal, the senators warned that “the new Native Hawaiian entity could secede from the Union…(beginning) a process of splintering sovereignties in the U.S. for every racial, ethnic, or religious group traumatized by an identity crisis.”

Senator Daniel Akaka (D-Hawaii) who co-sponsors the bill with Senator Daniel Inouye (D-Hawaii) replied, “This bill does not create a new group of natives. We have always been here. In fact, we were here before the United States.”

Gorton also said that at the time the Senate formally apologized, he was concerned that Hawaiians would demand rights and reparations, and Senator Inouye reassured him they would not. But Gorton says the Akaka bill cites the U.S. government’s 1993 apology as justification for allowing Native Hawaiians to form their own government.

Inouye replied, “I am disappointed my former colleagues would take my comments out of context, then piece it together to support their own position and thereby impugn my integrity in the process.”

Senator Akaka also found himself clarifying after he stated on National Public Radio on August 16th that the outcome of the bill would be determined by future generations of the people of Hawai`i. In a statement he released the next day, Akaka said the Akaka Bill “has nothing to do with independence or secession of the state of Hawaii from the United States. I support addressing the legal and political relationship between native Hawaiians and the United States within federal law. I do not support independence or secession of the state of Hawaii from the United States.”

After five years in the making, the Akaka Bill is finally scheduled for a vote on September 6th when the U.S. Senate reconvenes. If it passes the Senate, it then must pass the House and finally, to President Bush for his signature.

Click here for more about the Akaka Bill.


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