LETTER: Response To ‘Who Am I to Make a Comment?’

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I’d like to offer my letter in response to Lisa Malakauaʻs Who Am I to Make Comment? letter on Aug. 9, 2019.

I finally got around to organizing my thoughts on this troublesome letter. I hope to clarify some statements (in italics).

When this entire TMT protesting started, it was because the Native Hawaiians did not want another telescope placed on the Mauna. Too many scopes on the mountain they said—enough already!

—Yes, this is still the central issue. Please don’t lead others astray.

Once it became political and about the overthrow of the Hawaiian Kingdom and wanting to go on a public attack against our U.S. government, it then became an issue for Native Hawaiians, not the entire community.

—What’s tripping you up, Lisa, is your misunderstanding of nationality? The subjects of the Kingdom of Hawaiʻi were (are!) multi-ethnic yet nationally Hawaiian. One of the greatest feats of the U.S. propaganda machine/public education is the casting of the overthrow as an exclusively indigenous peoples harm vs. an inclusive country harm. There was, and still is, national harm to Hawaiʻi.


And, yes the illegal overthrow is at the front of the line of grievances with the U.S. government. Prior to 1893, amazing rise to literacy, Kanaka professionals everywhere, many Kanaka government leaders, and Hawaiʻi achieved recognition as an independent nation state (a momentous triumph that many in Hawaiʻi still don’t know about!). Post 1893, all the negative statistics that we, Kanaka, live in/through/with and are constantly reminded of. As stated many times over, we’re the evidence, not the crime.

So who am I to make such a comment you ask? First and most importantly, I am a citizen of the United States of America that is exercising her right to Freedom of Speech.

Actually, this has been a right in Hawaiʻi nei since 1852, under Mōʻī Kauikeaouli. The 1852 Hawaiʻi constitution states in Pauku 3: “E hiki no i na kanaka a pau ke olelo, a ke palapala, a ke hoike wale aku paha, i ko lakou manao no na mea a pau, a na ke Kanawai wale no lakou e hooponopono. Aole loa e kaulia kekahi Kanawai e hoopilikia ana, a e keakea ana paha i ka olelo, a me ke paipalapala.

English translation to Article 3: “All men may freely speak, write and publish their sentiments on all subjects, being responsible for the abuse of that right; and no law shall be passed to restrain or abridge the liberty of speech, or of the press.” Lisa, trust me, we know all about this right.

So it created a divide.


Visit the Mauna and spend time at the Puʻuhonua o Puʻuhuluhulu and you’ll quickly see and feel the movement toward unity, not division.

My husband selflessly served this country for our freedom, like so many other military soldiers that reside in Hawaii and this country.

Your late husband’s story is not unique. I’m sure every Kanaka family has some personal connection to service in the U.S. military. But being Kanaka, actively serving or having served in the military, and advocating for justice from the U.S. government regarding the overthrow of the Kingdom government are not at all mutually exclusive. Lisa, may I introduce you to Dr. Keanu Sai?

I say that if the Kanaka wants to continue to live in the past of when planting taro and building rock walls was the way of life, then that’s up to them. My comment of going back to ʻplanting taro and building rock wallsʻ was not to be taken in a literal sense or to belittle anyone, but to be taken figuratively—meaning staying suppressed in thought.

Kapu aloha. This is a racist statement that stinks of white supremacy. Furthermore, no one is going back to planting taro and building rock walls because we’re still here and have been doing so, living as Kanaka. And we are not less than or ignorant for being us.


So if the Native Hawaiian’s are truly serious about ʻsovereigntyʻ then protest against the government in a peaceful and private manner.

[eyeroll] We’ve been doing so. Lisa, please Google search kue petitions. Aloha ʻāina persists and will forever more.

But to publicly announce your hate for the U.S. Government is also an insult to the very ones that currently serve, have served and lost their lives serving for our freedom—and you’re right to protest.

Well actually, the 1852 Hawaiʻi constitution also covers the right to protest in Article 4. Wow, check the brilliance of these taro planters and rock wall builders!

Give back the U.S. Government their monies they issue to you every month, including your driver’s license and be done with them.

Many have already started to do so. But it has to flow both ways. The U.S. government, which includes the military, continues to profit greatly in Hawaiʻi post-1893. Lisa, will you ensure that the U.S. government financially reconciles with the Kingdom of Hawaiʻi and subjects?

So all I’m asking is that you too show some compassion (Kapu Aloha) and keep an open mind for those who aren’t necessarily in support of your cause.

Being critical does not mean being closed minded. And aloha is most certainly standing up for what is pono always.


Letters, commentaries and opinion pieces are not edited by Big Island Now.

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