(May 1, 2008)
Yesterday a group of native Hawaiians took over Iolani Palace for approximately eight hours locking the gates and denying entrance of non-Hawaiians.
This was a form of protest against the overthrow of the Hawaiian government by the U.S. more than a century ago.
This photo (by Honolulu Advertiser photographer Deborah Booker) really affected me when I saw it:
"Mahealani Kahau, center right, spokeswoman and head of the so-called Hawaiian Kingdom Government denies a man access to a common walkway across the palace grounds after the group took over the government property to use as its headquarters. Kahau is pointing to a sign on an iron gate blocking the entrance, which states: Warning No Trespassing, Hawaii Kingdom Government. This is the law, she told Daniel Pelt, the visitor at the gate. Pelt responded: All of you against one haole boy? What is all of this aggression? Kahau answered that the authorities knew of the group's takeover and agreed with it. Then he left."--Honoluluadvertiser.com
The protest lasted for most of the day and ended peacefully, but the Hawaiian Kingdom Government group that organized the protest did claim they would be back on the Palace grounds today.
I have very mixed feelings about this situation.
Having been born and raised in Hawaii, I can tell you the Hawaiian people are a proud people...they are a strong people...and they want their islands back.
I understand that and I respect that.
Their lands were taken from them. They were forced to abide by a new set of rules.
I believe they deserve to be recognized for this and I believe they should get their lands back.
However, the above photo really captures what I feel would happen if they did get their lands back.
Hawaiians would rule (as they should) but everyone else would be treated like second-class citizens if allowed to stay in the islands at all.
It would be like taking a step backwards.
At the same time, I know the native Hawaiians must realize that if they kick all non-Hawaiians out of the islands they will have a serious economic problem...I mean...we're talking about a state that survives on tourism. I know they know that.
So....how can it work? And when will this animosity between the native Hawaiians and all others end?