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Rosemary I Patterson

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Another Theft from Native Hawaiias
By Rosemary I Patterson
Last edited: Saturday, July 18, 2015
Posted: Saturday, July 18, 2015

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Theft, Culture Clash, Invalidation of Belief Systems, Negative Judgement, even cultural and actual genocide all color Canadian and American interactions with Native peoples of North America.

 Since 1987 I have been following the politics and interactions between Kanaka Maoili (Native Hawaiians) and Americans in Hawaii.

 The pattern is always the same.  Some response by government officials to the injustice suffered by Native Hawaiians when essentially the American government deposed the rightful ruler of Hawaii (Queen Liliu'okalani) in 1893 followed by promises to at least ameliorate the damage (loss of land, culture, language, religion, self-worth, etc.), then reverse any positive action when big money-related issues become evident.

The latest clash concerns the development of a giant telescope on what Native Americans consider sacred land on a mountain (Mauna Kea) on the Big Island.  There are already many telescopes on the mountain and protesters consider the latest development desecration and are incensed that it is the Office of Hawaiian Affairs that is cooperating with the huge undertaking.  The Governor sees 1.8 Billion dollars (the amount of the investment) and although delaying the development for several weeks is now having the road up to the top becoming restricted access.  Again Native Hawaiians are being arrested and thrown in jail for protesting.

Already the Island of Oahu has become gentrified, affordable only for the very wealthy and even the last of the agricultural land being developed for another 12,000 homes on former sugar cane land that would have been returned to Native Hawaiians had the rules not been changed long ago to allow leases to the big five Plantation companies to become permanent.

Maui is going the same way with even the main street of Lahaina being turned into showcases for Designer Clothes, and extremely expensive art, and objects.  Gated communities for the very wealthy of the world threaten to make affordable housing a laughingstock.

Some of the ferocity of the latest protesting over the telescope is due to Hawaii becoming a showcase of marketing for the wealthy while scores of Hawaiian families live homeless on the streets.

The issue of the telescope accentuates the enormous culture clash in a place where traditional Native Hawaiian values (sustainable living, spirituality, family, making things right) clash with American values evidenced by people like Donald Trump (money talks, the right to individually make a fortune, and high end living). 





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Reviewed by Ronald Hull 7/19/2015
I understand the concern when money and power overrun native culture. All civilizations have their day and then fall by the wayside, regardless of their value to descendants.

On the other hand, Mauna Kea is one of those rare places where the science of astronomy can be advanced and it is not about wealth and power, but understanding our universe, a very spiritual thing. The mountain is a volcano and changing, growing the island, regardless of the spiritual understanding of Hawaiian people. I don't think people should be arrested and thrown in jail for protesting, but I think petitioning the government to change abusive plantation leases, returning land for native use, would be more productive than claiming spiritual value to a place that geologically doesn't care whether it's worshiped or not.

Reviewed by Jansen Estrup 7/19/2015
Thanks for the update, Rosemary, and the passion.

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