Hawaiians Unite

"A ia hoi, nani ka maika'i a me ka oluolu, O ka noho lokahi pu ana o na hoahanau!" "Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity!" Psalm 133:1

Sunday, March 04, 2007

From my heart...a response to John Doe's Petition to the U.S. Supreme Court

Aloha pumehana kakou,

I write with a heavy heart this evening. I'm sure you know that John Doe's attorneys filed their petition with the U.S. Supreme Court in the case against Princess Pauahi's estate. I have spent two days in deep prayer - unsure of how to respond to something so misleading and hurtful (albeit expected). Then this morning before taking communion with my church 'ohana, Ke Akua told me once again to forgive John Doe's family and their attorneys, and others who have set themselves against the preservation of our people. Indeed, forgiveness is the key that unlocks His forgiveness of our own wrongs committed against others, and makes possible the kind of faith that Jesus said can even move mountains. I urge you to join me in asking Ke Akua to give us HIS aloha and forgiveness in the face of this ongoing legal battle.

What about this petition? They have attempted to tell the Supreme Court that the primary issue in this case is "race discrimination." In this attempt, they've engaged in misrepresentations, revisions of history and wrongful application of laws which were (ironically) intended to protect America's marginalized - and all in the name of their pursuit of a color-blind America. It sounds lofty ("color blind" - who wouldn't stand up and say "Amen!"?) Of all people in the islands, Native Hawaiians understand the importance of equal protection, and the danger of failing to bring everyone, regardless of the color of their skin, into full participation in society. We have paid the price for Western society's failure to include us for too many years.

The fundamental flaw in their legal reasoning, though-- the case law and statutes they seek to apply -- is that these laws have nothing to do with aboriginal peoples like na kanaka maoli (Native Hawaiians), Native Alaskans, or Native American Indians. Rather, the laws which apply are those relating to treaties between sovereign nations, and those regarding the rectification of wrongs committed against the original inhabitants of land now encompassed by the United States of America. They do not apply to the private trust of a monarch, set aside for her peoples' preservation, and established when we were yet a sovereign nation. The Ninth Circuit Court ruling will not harm any other school or student in America because there is no other state whose very history hinges on the overthrow of a sovereign monarchy.

But more than the deficits in their legal reasoning, John Doe's attorneys fail to appreciate the moral implications of their tenacious pursuit of a ruling in their favor: how can they continue to pursue the private gift of a beloved Princess whose sole purpose was PONO - namely to uplift our people from the cycles of poverty, disease and other societal ills thrust on us by Western society? This kind of blind pursuit of equal protection of the laws at any cost has too high a cost for na kanaka maoli, the aboriginal people of Hawai'i. If Kamehameha Schools loses its primary tool (i.e., the admissions preference) to ensure it is serving Princess Pauahi's intended beneficiaries, then those beneficiaries lose. And if we fail to survive as the host people of the islands, everyone loses. Including the John Doe's.

But I have faith that Ke Akua will provoke circumstances to help us prevail in the end - that He will use this to make us stronger as a people - stronger in lokahi, stronger in character, and stronger in faith. Join me in praying for the Kamehameha Schools legal team, especially this month as they respond to the petition within the required 3o-day timeframe. Pray that the Supreme Court justices, when they have both John Doe's petition and Kamehameha Schools' response in their hands, will say "'A'ole no, John Doe!" Pray with me that they will understand this case has nothing to do with race, and everything to do with remedy (i.e., making pono what was done to the aboriginal people of Hawai'i in the wrongful overthrow of our government against our will.)

And pray that until the day this case is pau, we will never lose hope that Ke Akua can, and will, move this mountain.

Together with you for His glory and our Princess' legacy,

("I will lift up mine eyes to the mountains, from whence cometh my help. Where does my help come from? My help comes from the Lord, who made heaven and earth. He will not allow your foot to be moved; He who keeps you will not slumber. Behold, He who keeps His children shall neither slumber nor sleep. The Lord is your keeper; the Lord is your shade at your right hand. The sun shall not strike you by day, nor the moon by night. The Lord shall preserve you from all evil; He shall preserve your soul. The Lord shall preserve your going out and coming in, from this time forth, and even forevermore." Psalm 121)