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

Monday, May 28, 2007

Response To Threat Of New Litigation Against Princess Pauahi's Trust

Aloha kakou,

I've remained silent thus far, not wanting to give attorney David Rosen any more "air time" than he's already generated with his May 15 e-mail solicitation. However, I received his original e-mail seeking John and Jane Doe's for new litigation (forwarded by William Burgess of Aloha For All, and Richard Rowland of Grassroots Institute of Hawai'i) from over 20 sources in a single day a week ago. While Mr. Rosen may defend his unethical actions by arguing that he simply sent an e-mail to "a couple of supporters," he had to have known that those two individuals would generate significant publicity for his campaign. In the age of the internet, he should have fully expected his e-mail to be forwarded to thousands in a matter of days.

While I'm not surprised that new litigation is "in the works," it nonetheless hurt in my na’au (gut) to see how casually and unabashedly Mr. Rosen spoke of hurting Native Hawaiians (past, present and future). It was particularly disturbing to read his words, “There will be absolutely no cost to the Plaintiffs.” There will be plenty of cost to Native Hawaiians and our keiki, though, as valuable resources continue to be drawn away from their education and spent instead in defense of our Princess' trust.

Mr. Rosen now becomes one player in a long history of individuals who reside in the islands with no appreciation for their native hosts, only to take what isn’t theirs to begin with. The Kamehameha Schools (for all of its controversy) is a true gem to our people. It is the visionary makana (gift) of our last beloved Princess to her children, given even before our Queen was imprisoned and our nationhood robbed. While it is true that her gift was not given to all residents of what would eventually become the state of Hawai'i, Princess Pauahi's intent was not to exclude anyone but rather to ensure the inclusion of Native Hawaiians who had been pushed to the margins of society. She saw the rapid decline of our people (from well over 400,000 at the time of western contact, to fewer than 40,000 when she established her trust), and she felt a burden to assure our survival. In his recent Star Bulletin editorial, Mr. Rosen tried to analogize his actions to the fight for civil rights in U.S. history. But if Mr. Rosen honestly took the time to understand Hawaiian history, especially our unique history as the oppressed, indigenous people of Hawai'i, he would understand the vital role Kamehameha Schools plays in the restoration of na kanaka maoli in our homeland.

So while Mr. Rosen may state that he simply sent an innocent e-mail "to a couple of supporters," in actuality with the casual hit of his computer’s “send” button he hit Native Hawaiians on a wound that has never been allowed to fully heal. Along with my fellow Native Hawaiians, and our extended 'ohana of supporters, I ask Mr. Rosen and his colleagues: "When will the hitting stop?" Enough already.

And I urge all of us to add attorney David Rosen to the list of those we need to forgive before sundown today (Ephesians 4:26). As we know from the last "round" with the original John Doe and his attorneys, anger only hurts us.

Keeping our people in prayer,