Native Village Youth and Education News
February 1, 2009 Issue 194 Volume 1


Hawaiian rights activists take land case public in Waikiki march
Demonstration held in conjunction with overthrow observance
By Michael Tsai Advertiser Staff Writer
Condensed by Gina Boltz, Director, Native Village Publications

Hawaii: Thousands of Hawaiians rights marched through Waikiki protesting attempts to overturn a Hawai'i Supreme Court ruling on ceded lands. The march was joined by dozens of halau, student groups and Hawaiian sovereignty organizations.

"This is a celebration of Queen Lili'uokalani and the legacy our ali'i have left for us," said Vicky Holt-Takamine. "While we come to commemorate the overthrow and how wrong it was, we're also uplifted by coming together to celebrate our cultural identity, and to acknowledge the struggles we face."

Last year, the Hawai'i Supreme Court ruled that the state could not sell or transfer ceded lands until Native Hawaiian claims to those lands were resolved. However, Gov. Linda Lingle said  the court's ruling confuses the state's title to ceded lands, so her administration  filed an appeal with the U.S. Supreme Court.

Gatherings have been held each Jan. 17 in observance of the overthrow of the Hawaiian monarchy in 1893. While the demonstration was peaceful, demonstrators weren't shy in expressing their dissatisfaction with Lingle:

 "I think the issue is pretty simple," he Edward Hu, 29 from  the University of Hawai'i's William Richardson School of Law.  "If there's property or land whose ownership is in question, the issue ought to be resolved before that property is sold... I don't see why Lingle has to appeal this. The highest court in her state has spoken."

"It's time to take a stand," said Dolinda Kaholi who pushed her 87-year-old mother in a show of solidarity. "It's time to take back our land. They want to sell it, but it's not theirs to sell."

"These lands are the lands our ancestors prepared for us to live on because they knew that things in the future might not be the way they used to be," said Frank Damas, 21, who marched with hundreds of his fellow Kamehameha Schools alumni. "Linda Lingle might think that she has good intentions, but she needs to realize that the land is the most important thing that Hawaiians have. Everything that we are stems from the land."

"I don't know all the details of the issues, but I absolutely support them," said 57-year-old Paula Kobos  whose father was stationed on O'ahu during World War II.

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