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December 2005

Pacific Northwest News

Senator Inouye Speaks in Seattle

By NWHIT Staff


Senator Daniel Inouye from Hawai`i was in Seattle on November 11, 2005 to speak at a tribute to World War II Nisei veterans sponsored by Denshō: The Japanese American Legacy Project.

The Veterans’ Day event, held on the University of Washington Senator Inouye and Army veteran Paul Lugocampus, also featured the 15th Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Richard B. Myers, General USAF (Ret) and Washington State Governor Christine Gregoire.

As 120 Nisei veterans from the 100 th Infantry Battalion which includes the famed 442 nd Regimental Combat Team filed on stage to be honored, the audience of more than 1,100 greeted them with a standing ovation that lasted over five minutes.

The 100 th Infantry Battalion began as the Hawaii National Guard that was formed into infantry regiments after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor on Dec. 7, 1941. The 442nd was formed at the end of 1942 as an all-Nisei (second-generation Japanese Americans) combat unit.

The original plan was to train 3,000 men from the incarceration camps and 1,500 from Hawaii. Perhaps not surprisingly, only about 1,250 Japanese Americans volunteered from the camps. In Hawaii , where there was no mass evacuation, almost 10,000 volunteered – strong evidence of the negative impact the incarceration had on mainland Japanese Americans.”

“Considerable friction existed at first between the mainland troops (called “Kotonks” by the Hawaiians (see Who’s Hawaiian?) and the islanders (“Buddhaheads” to the mainlanders.) The Hawaiians resented that mainland soldiers were more likely to be assigned cadre positions, partly because they spoke standard English. Mainlanders saw the unrestrained manner of the islanders as loud, while the Hawaiians in turn viewed the more reserved style of the mainlanders as arrogant. Hawaiian pidgin prevailed in the unit’s motto: “Go for Broke,” meaning to “shoot the works” on the deal of a single card or throw of the dice.” (from Denshō: Tribute to WWII Nisei Veterans 2005)

At the reception following the program, Senator Inouye was asked about the status of the Akaka Bill. He replied, “We are going to do our best to get it passed. I hate to sound partisan, but all the Democrats are for it – every single member. The problem we are having is with the White House…(and) the Republican leadership.”

When asked further when it will come up on the floor of the Senate, Senator Inouye said he hoped to do it in the week following Veterans’ Day. But by the end of November, it had still not been voted on.

 

NA LEI PONO AND THE MEANING OF ALOHA

By Caroline Dupio
Special to Northwest Hawai`i Times

 
NA LEI PONO is a non-profit, grass roots organization begun by hālau hula based in Oregon and given its name by Kupuna Malia Craver. Na Lei Pono – the beloved righteous ones - is dedicated to live by the principles of Aloha as expressed by Kupuna Pilahi Paki:

Na Lei Pono dancers, photo from Na Lei Pono A is for AKAHAI – meaning kindness, to be expressed with tenderness;
L
is for LOKAHI – meaning unity, to be expressed with harmony;
O
is for ‘OLU`OLU – meaning agreeable, to be expressed with pleasantness;
H
is for HA`AHA`A – meaning humility, to be expressed with modesty;
A
is for AHONUI – meaning patience, to be expressed with perseverance.

Kupuna Pilahi Paki (1910 – 1985) was born and raised on the island of Maui. A well-known figure in the Hawaiian community, she was a spiritual leader and rights activist. In 1970, she was inspired to share the meaning of aloha at the Governor’s Conference on the Year 2000 in Honolulu. She told the attendees that “…in the next millennium, the world will turn to Hawai`i in its search for world peace because Hawai`i has the key…and that key is ALOHA.”

The Aloha Spirit Law is on the books as an actual law in Hawai`i, encoded in the Hawai`i Revised Statutes, section 5-7.5, acknowledging that The Aloha Spirit “was the working philosophy of native Hawaiians and was presented as a gift to the people of Hawai`i.” As a model law for the world, it can serve the greatest number for its greatest good. The world is in dire need to experience Aloha and to learn how to apply Aloha in our daily lives. People of Hawaiian blood, heart and spirit who grow up in Hawai`i ’s splendor are immersed in Aloha. The Aloha Spirit rubs off on you after you swim in the ocean, walk the `aina, eat the `ono foods, inhale the sweet flower scents and live the culture. And although we have moved far away from Hawai`i, that Aloha continues to live deep within our hearts.

Kupuna Pilahi’s grandniece Leilani Paki now lives in Portland, Oregon and belongs to Halau Hula `O Mahiai under the direction of Kumu Kaleialoha Mahiai-Hess. Through her hālau, Leilani became involved with Na Lei Pono, which gathers once a month to help stay connected and be updated on the latest news on Hawaiian issues. Na Lei Pono asks all people of Hawaiian spirit to help in their ambitious goal: to find every Hawaiian living here in the Pacific Northwest and register them in Kau Inoa (place your name), the on-going registry of all Native Hawaiians to eventually participate in the formation of a new Hawaiian government. If you are interested in helping us, please visit our website at www.mahiaihula.com for more information.

Caroline Dupio is the contact person for promotions for Na Lei Pono. For more information, call her at 360-882-8075 or email dupioc@katewwdb.com.

 

Sports Snapshot

By Paul Lugo

Rugby fans can take an instant tour of the South Pacific by walking the pitch sidelines and listening to the peculiar, twisting accent of New Zealand natives, the easy chatter of Tongans, Fijians, and Samoans. Here in Washington, rugby is mostly represented by the Pacific Northwest Rugby Union. Teams from youth through college, open amateur plus women’s leagues play during fall and spring.
Pene Taumua, photo by Paul Lugo

One of the stars of rugby in the Pacific Northwest is Pene Taumua. He is one of many Pacific Islanders who play the rough and tumble game. Pene played for the the Lā`ie Rhinos while living in Hawai`i. There his two sons were born: Moses who graduated from Kealakehe High, and Tavita, who still lives in Wahiawā. 

Off the pitch (rugby field), Pene is devoted to his family. He and his teamate Vili Taleapa are stalwarts of the White Center Assembly Church in Seattle.

More information can be found at: http://www.pnrfu.com.

 

Who's Hawaiian?

by NWHIT Staff 

The Associated Press Stylebook, the guide used by newspapers around the United States, has informed its member organizations that the term Hawaiian should be used only to describe members of the ethnic group indigenous to the Hawaiian Islands.

People from Hawai`i have always known that only Native Hawaiians can call themselves Hawaiian. But outside of Hawai`i, Hawaiian often refers to anyone from Hawai`i, Native Hawaiian or not. And for years, the AP Stylebook followed the same pattern without making the distinction between ethnic Hawaiians and residents.

But that has now changed and Jon Osorio, director of the Center for Hawaiian Studies, University of Hawaii at Mānoa, said that this is an important issue to Hawaiians who, as indigenous people, have a special place in Hawai`i that is distinct from other residents.

The AP Stylebook is based on dictionary definitions, and according to Webster’s New World Dictionary, Hawaiian is a native or inhabitant of Hawaii.

Perhaps Webster will now also do some revision.

 

Who Are NHOPI?

by Leo Pangelinan

Our Pacific Islander communities and educational advocates in Washington have been aware of the inadequate and misappropriated use of the term Asian Pacific Islander. For years, the social, educational and economic needs of the Pacific Islander community have been overshadowed and neglected by the perceived success of the Asian American population.

For the first time in 2000, the US Census collected and disseminated data on a "newly" created racial group - Native Hawaiian and Other Pacific Islanders [NHOPI]. As a result, we learned that there are 42,761 NHOPI peoples in Washington State, ranking 3rd after Hawai`i and California. The data also reveals a substantial gap between the educational levels of Asian Americans as a group in comparison to Pacific Islanders. For example, the college completion rate [bachelor's degree or higher] of Native Hawaiians is 16.8% of the total U.S. Native Hawaiian population between the ages of 25-34. The numbers are far worse for the other major Pacific Islander groups.

Although the federal government has made progress in directing its agencies to collect data on NHOPI peoples, our State agencies are slow to follow suit. Seattle Public Schools is the only known school district in Washington State that collects data on Pacific Islanders as a distinct ethnic group apart from Asian Americans. For the most part, the information provided today is a culmination of political activism from parents and community groups of the last twenty years. The problem, however, is that the method by which the district collects data on Pacific Islanders is inconsistent with federal reporting guidelines and does not differentiate between Native Hawaiian, Chamorro, Samoan, etc. Under current practices, Seattle Public Schools uses "Samoan" as a proxy for all Pacific Islanders enrolled in its district. Therefore, we are unable to learn about the academic achievement levels of Tongans, Fijians, Palauans, etc. as a distinct group in comparison to each other and other ethnic/racial groups. This proxy may have sufficed two decades ago to solve more pressing issues concerning the Samoan community; however, a change to this practice is long overdue to maximize student support from both educational institutions and community organizations.

Complete district level data for "Samoan" enrollment, drop-out rates, test scores, mean GPA by grade level, etc. for Seattle Public School’s can be found at the following link: http://www.seattleschools.org/area/siso/distsum.xml.

This data collection method is far from perfect, but nevertheless useful to identify some of the educational needs of Pacific Islanders in the Seattle School District. Similar, albeit politically correct disaggregated data should be available from all public school districts in Washington State.

If you are concerned about the enrollment and achievement levels of Pacific Islanders in your local school district, you may find some answers from the district’s superintendent or your school’s principal. By all means, let your educational leaders know that you are concerned about the advancement of the Pacific Islander community.

Despite the challenges of improving the method of collecting data on Pacific Islanders and student achievement, I am encouraged by the work of student leaders from high schools in the Puget Sound region. Many have found ways to create organizations and clubs on their campuses for cultural, social and academic support. This is a wonderful way for students to share and perpetuate the knowledge of their unique cultural heritage, values, and skills that are often non-existent in traditional history, social studies, and language arts courses. These organized gatherings are also opportunities for students, teachers, counselors, and administrators to learn more about Pacific Islanders and the contributions they can make to the overall learning environment.

These are pioneering times for our young leaders as they chart new impressions of Pacific Islanders beyond frustrating stereotypes. In the process, they will need the support and encouragement from their respective communities to effectively navigate the task of finding a space for their cultural identities and learning communities.  

Leo is a graduate student at the College of Education at the University of Washington, Seattle and an outreach counselor for the UW’s Office of Minority Affairs. He is available for comment and feedback via email – obo@u.washington.edu.

 

Gates Scholarships

It's that time of year again when I could use all of your help. Applications for Gates Scholarships for students starting college next September must be prepared and submitted by Jan.13, 2006. The application process is long and difficult but provides the best scholarship offered today. It covers all 4 or 5 years to get a degree and pays for tuition, books AND room and board. It covers all costs NOT covered by financial aide or other scholarships the students may have won.

I was surprised when talking to college students from Kamehameha who are attending college here in Washington last week, that some didn't know about the scholarship when they were applying for college and others thought it was too difficult to apply and didn't know the real scope of what was being covered.

Please take time to contact your local schools, friends and ohana about any Pacific Islander students who qualify for this scholarship and offer to help. The application requires inputs from a Nominator (usually a teacher or counselor) and a Recommender (usually a community person, friend or teacher who can give the applicant a good write up). Many applications from Pacific Islanders (almost 50%) are eliminated because they are incomplete. Often this is because the Nominator or Recommender portions are not there by the due date. This year with the two new Kamehameha campuses, the applications from Hawaiians should be doubled.

As a reminder, any applicant must have a 3.3 GPA, be starting as a freshman, be a minority, and must qualify for some financial aide. The application form can be found at www.gmsp.org. Hard copies can also be obtained from me or by e-mailing Ms. Bindi Patel at gmsoutreach@ocanatl.org. who will mail them to groups who need several copies to make it worthwhile. All high school counselors should also have copies.

Mahalo for listening again and a hui hou.

Reidar Smith
reidarsmith@comcast.net

A Community Response

 

Reidar and Committee to Recruit Pacific Island Students for Gates Scholarship:

I read your email and these are my thoughts. It’s difficult to understand that with the technological (internet) resources and counseling services available to students today, there are a limited number of Pacific Island (PI) students, who have taken advantage of the GFS.  Is it a question of access for them? It’s great to know the benefits of the GFS, but if the application process for access to those benefits is perceived by some to be cumbersome, intimidating, overwhelming and unduly challenging, then the disadvantages may outweigh the benefits of the scholarship, no matter how great they are.  I am interested if anyone knows the following re: Gates Foundation Scholarship, other grants and financial assistance available to PI students including the Gates Scholarship:

  1. Number of potential PI students throughout U.S., by state, who are eligible (potentially meet grade and income criteria) to apply for scholarship/grants etc.;
  2. Number of PI students who have applied to Gates Foundation Scholarship (GFS) and actually received award; (Based upon the Gates Millenium website,1,000 awards were given out in 2005.  How many recipients were PI students?)
  3. Number of PI students who applied in the past, frequency of application but did not receive award and for what reason(s);
  4. Number of PI students who don’t apply for whatever reason(s) i.e., complexity of lengthy application, untimely information, misinformation, no assistance, etc.;
  5. Identification of Number and Name of High Schools, Universities, Colleges and other educational institutions who promote and market GFS to PI students;
  6. Names of High Schools, Universities, Colleges and programs who provide any type of assistance to help PI students complete these types of scholarship applications.  For some, filling out a college application is a headache; for many families completing the FAFSA is a nightmare, let alone an application the size and complexity of the GFS!!
  7. Number of Kamehameha Schools students who have applied, received and were denied GFS;
  8. Steps Kamehameha Schools have taken to get more KS students to apply to GFS;
  9. Steps, if any, that the GFS Board takes to reach out and encourage to PI students and parents to apply; and,
  10. PI students who have benefited from program and information about what they are doing today.

I believe answers to the above questions may provide a view of the difficulty in obtaining more PI applicants, in addition to what you stated, i.e. missing deadlines, incomplete applications, lack of information.  It may also be that if low numbers of PI students are applying for the GFS each year and in turn, if very low numbers are actually receiving the award, this statistic in and of itself, may be a deterrent to others (both the applicant and nominator) who may feel that taking the time to complete a lengthy and cumbersome application results in a minimal return.  As Diversity Advocate for the Washington State Bar Association, I find this to be the case, in some instances, with minority law students.  Perhaps if the GFS can provide brochures and other promotional information on the number of minority students, including PI students, who have benefited from the GFS and what these students are currently doing with their degrees and career, this may provide inspiration and motivation to PI students and parents to want to apply. In any event, I will send out information to law schools at Gonzaga, SU and UW regarding the GFS and to encourage any minority student, particularly PI students to apply.  For more information about the WSBA Office of Diversity, please see http://www.wsba.org/wsbadiversity.htm.

Joslyn K. N. Donlin, JD
Diversity Advocate
Washington State Bar Association
2101 Fourth Avenue, Suite 400
Seattle , WA 98121-2330
Phone: 206-727-8216
Fax: 206-727-8319
joslynd@wsba.org

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