Note: Hale Pai is no longer being published. These archives of passed issues will remain available as long as there is interest. - Courtesy of San Jose Web


Hale Pai
Pacific American-News Journal

Iulai-July 1996 Volume 2 Issue 7

Breaking Down Walls Through Culture

by David Cooper, PAF.

The quest for self determination by Native Hawaiians encompasses education, health, business, religion, language and staying out of prisons.

Yes, staying out of prisons...not going in...and never returning.

While Native Hawaiians make up approximately 20% of the population of the State of Hawaii, their numbers in the Hawaii State prison systems far, far exceed what is acceptable.

Why? The traditional Western answers explain the what and the how, but the incidents leading to incarceration could have been avoided.

If culture was permitted to be a full part of their growing lives; if philosophy, language, lua, family values and kupunas were as muck a part of who they were as they learned to stand tall, then this editorial would never have been needed, just as surely as night follows day.

What we are learning from Alu Like is that when a cultural reawakening program, in combination with counseling and education, becomes a part of rehabilitation, only 3% of offenders return. Without the program, the rate is 60%.

The walls of prison happen. But at what price for indigenous, Native Hawaiians.

Mana, spirit, pride and culture make the walls disappear.

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Copyright 1996 Hale Pai Pacific American-News Journal
Last modified: February 28, 1998

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