Mana`o from a Kanaka Maoli
Opinion by Leimana Naki
Imagine a country with abundant resources and no need for money. A country that provides free food, free shelter, free education and free entertainment to its citizens and residents. In this country, people never need to file taxes, spend another long day at the office or drive back and forth. All anyone must do is steward their `aina and malama themselves and their `ohana. They do this because they live in culture based on gratitude, love, respect and caring.
Long before the Kingdom of Hawaii was illegally overthrown in 1893, the good life was a reality for Native Hawaiian people. They lived a sustainable life rich in culture, natural resources and aloha. Fast forward to the present – Hawaiian culture on the brink of eradication.
People often judge and wonder why so many Hawaiians are on welfare, or why so many kanakas are plagued with alcoholism and unemployment. Well, maka`ala kakou! What do you expect when foreign powers rape a country’s resources, and strip native people of their culture, langue, livelihood, values, health and dignity. And then offer a pathetic attempt at an apology by way of welfare packaged processed chemicals disguised as food. The western values of isolation from family and community, worship of money and cheap plastic goods, alarm clocks, wind farms, Walmarts, undersea cables, liability insurance and a license needed to do pretty much anything.
Much of today’s Hawaiian generation are sad products of American society failing to achieve the so-called American dream. Our fishpond walls are in shambles. Our rich soil has been covered up by condos and hotels. Our beautiful island and fully sustainable ahupua`a system have been desecrated by light pollution, cars, noisy helicopters and now these capitalistic powers want to destroy what is left of our sacred land by proposing turbines an undersea cables.
Their pathetic attempt at abating us this time is their proposed “benefits” such as new community centers, power rebates, a trade school, a four-lane highway, airport improvements, profit-sharing, a performing arts center, and training programs for wind farm operators. These dangling carrots are designed to take our focus away from what is really being proposed – the destruction of native land and the slow but real genocide of the kanaka maoli and Hawaiian culture.
Molokai is Molokai because we took a stand 40 years ago. Imagine where we would be if we hadn’t. No matter how many masks Alexander and Baldwin put on, they hold the same kuleana. Our fishponds and land need to be protected so we have something left for present and future generations. Who owns the land? Who owns the water? The wind, our la`o ma`o ma`o is indigenous heritage in cultural, aboriginal, ancestral and kanaka maoli. The spiritual value of the land is the `ike we carry from our ancestors. Nobody has the right to take it away from us, end of discussion.