Together we stand, divided we fall…Hawaiians must stand together, “Onipa’a”

By: Rowena Akana
September 2002

Source: Ka Wai Ola o OHA

In my last article I spoke about going to Washington, D.C. to attend the Roundtable discussions that highlighted the contributions made to America by American Indians, Native Alaskans, and Native Hawaiians.

In their discussions and speeches, both American Indians and Native Alaskans supported the Hawaiian effort for self-determination. The day after the Roundtable discussions a reception was held to honor native heroes who served in various wars. OHA and the Department of Hawaiian Home Lands sponsored the Roundtable discussions and the reception. The two-day event was a nice way to do some public relations. However, the organization hired by the OHA Chair and DHHL gave little or no credit to OHA for its sponsorships. Thus, the attempt to do PR for OHA was unsuccessful. We must be alert to organizations like CNHA who say they represent the people and the Hawaiian community, when in fact, they don’t.

Also, on the Washington scene, the Akaka bill seems to have hit a snag in the Senate with a few Republican senators including Senator Graham of Texas and Senator Kyl of Arizona putting a HOLD on the bill.

On the U.S. House side, Congressman Abercrombie continues to move forward thwarting opposition by Rep. Tom De Lay and a few others who are using the 14th amendment to delay the bill’s passage. I have every confidence in Rep. Abercrombie who was successful in passing the first Akaka bill which could have been much more controversial.

I believe it is very important to note that while we all have been trying to figure out a way to be inclusive and to be sure that ALL Hawaiians have an opportunity to participate in the process to form a nation, the SCHHA, and at least one other group, are planning to develop their own ROLL using the HAWAIIAN HOMESTEADERS TO FORM THEIR NATION. They do not intend to wait for the Akaka bill to pass, nor do they intend to include anyone else in their so-called nation. Their intention is to petition the Department of the Interior with their documents and use the DHHL lands as their land base. While this is not exactly a new idea, the fact that this group thinks that they can get away with it is ridiculous. They believe that Hawaii’s delegation will support this idea. Even if it were true, other Hawaiians will not support the continuation of a divided people. Once and for all we have got to take a stand together. DIVIDED WE WILL FALL. WE CANNOT BUY INTO THE IDEA OF BETTER TO LET SOME PEOPLE GET SOVEREIGNTY THAN NO ONE. Let us not be duped again. A smaller group will be easier to control and so will their assets. Come on, Hawaiians, it is time that we think for ourselves. We cannot let others scare us into a situation that will make things worse for Hawaiians. If recognition is good for some then it is good for ALL HAWAIIANS.

Let us begin to work together to unite for the cause of recognition. Let us begin to agree on the things that we can agree to and set aside the things we differ on and move forward together for the future generations of Hawaiians yet to come.

We cannot continue to let others decide our future. To those who say to us…it is better to let those select few move ahead Without the rest of the people, we need to say to them, “we will be one nation, one people, and we will decide who will be in our nation.”

Let us be as our Queen wished…..ONIPA’A, steadfast in what is good!

“I appeal to you… that there be no division among you, but that you be united in the same mind and the same purpose.”___I Corinthians 1:10