By: Trustee Rowena Akana
Tuesday, April 1, 1997
Source: Honolulu Advertiser; Letter to Editor
Your March 22nd front-page article on unsettled Maori claims makes an interesting contrast with your March 24th editorial urging our Legislature to stand up to the Office of Hawaiian Affairs when we assert our own claims on behalf of native Hawaiians.
Substitute “Hawaiian” for “Maori” in the March 22nd story and you have written a pretty good account of the shameful way Polynesian people were treated here as well as in New Zealand.
The ceded-lands trust was intended by the U.S. government to somewhat redress this treatment. While I agree that the 20 percent share mandated to us by the Legislature is an arbitrary allocation not specified in the Admissions Act, it is too little, not too much, given the fact that these islands were once ours, just like New Zealand was the Maoris’ and was taken by force.
In this context, it was unfair of you to characterize Trustee Frenchy DeSoto’s proposed solution to the state’s pleading poor as being unreasonable or even as a demand.
Has it not occurred to you that we Hawaiians, like one of the Maoris quoted in the article, also are tired of being the “good nigger, master?”