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Hale Pai
Pacific American-News Journal

Kepakemapa - September 1996 Volume 2 Issue 9

“ I Was Sick And Tired Of Being Sick And Tired”

By W.B. Laronal , Jr.

Michael P. Kahikina Hawai`i State Representative for the 43rd District, is currently the only elected State Representative born, raised, and residing on Hawaiian Homelands. The Representative has a homestead in Nanakuli Ahupua`a. This interview with Representative Kahikina is refreshing, controversial, and heartfelt.

It took place at the Nanakuli Community Ho'olaule`a (celebration) at Nanakuli Park. This Ho'olaule`a had all the food, crafts, and community service booths on the perimeter of the park. A large Banyan tree sits in the middle of the lawn fronting the community center.

On the makai (ocean) side of the park is a baseball field, we sat in the dugout next to the ocean. I adjusted my tape recorder and asked the first question with oluolu (pleasant) Hawaiian music coming from the stage area with the salt breeze air blowing from the sea.

WBL- Why did you get into politics?

MPK- I was sick and tired of being sick and tired of our community getting less for basic human services and educational opportunities from our government. We are losing too many of our Native Hawaiian kids in Hawai`i's public school system. In 1979, I implemented an alternative high school program at Queen Lili`uokalani Children's Center in Nanakuli, called Nanakuli Youth Agricultural Project to deal with Native Hawaiian drop-outs and defacto drop-out students. Our community historically have 65% of our teachers with less than 3 years of experience. We are the training grounds for these teachers, once their trained and get tenured, they leave. Also, historically 50% of our 6th graders will not graduate from high school! We have the highest teenage pregnancy, the highest alcohol, substance, physical abuse, and welfare recipients. Now, I'm not downing our community. This is the baseline data that is used to target our area as the most poverty stricken. I got sick and tired of being sick and tired of hearing people say our kids were only going to be criminals. (The distant sounds of laughter from some keiki [children] swimming at the beach fill the dugout.) I'm afraid of the way our men think its macho to screw as many women as

possible . I'm afraid of these social norms. We need leadership calling out for righteousness and responsibility!

WBL- How did you campaign?

MPK- During my campaigning I actually had people complaining that I talk too much about Jesus. Jesus this, Jesus that! But those same people don't complain about people who say, “F” this and “F” that. On top of that, these individuals are always complaining about all the violence they see in the community. We all can start to do this one thing to help stop the violence. Stop cussing, stop swearing, and don't use the “F” word. There's a story I tell people about my first year in office. I got a phone call from a guy calling me a crook cause I'm a politician, and my colleague in the House of Representative stopping me in the hallway and asked, “so what Bradda Mike, you think you're holier than thou?” I was about to apologize, but the Holy Spirit quickened me, and I asked him, “do you have the Holy Ghost in you?” He said no he didn't. So I replied, “ then I am holier than thou!” But ask me if I'm perfect? And I will tell you no because I serve a God that said in His Word ( Bible) “that if you confess your sins, He is faithful and just to forgive you and cleanse you from all unrighteousness.” And there is none that is perfect on earth. I don't know what standards you lead in your life. But Bradda Mike's standard is the B-I-B-L-E ( Basic Instructions Before Leaving Earth).

WBL- So what about the process of government?

MPK- There is no perfect government on this earth, but with all it's weaknesses, God bless America! Democracy is a process that only works with participation, if it don't work, it's because of lack of participation! You can protest against our system of government and not fear reprisals. As it stands, we are in a unique part of history as Native Hawaiians in seeking our inheritance right to self determination. In 1993, President Clinton signed into law a federal act called Public Law 103-150, which people refer to as the “Apology Bill.” It acknowledges the participation of the United States in the illegal overthrow of the Republic of the Hawaiian Kingdom. In this federal act, the federal government is asking the Native Hawaiians, what do you want to do?

WBL- So what do you propose?

MPK- As a beneficiary (Homesteader) of the federally created Hawaiian Homes Commission Act of 1921, I believe we have the vehicle to start reparations. The United States illegally overthrew the Republic of the Hawaiian Kingdom in 1893 and amended the Republic of Hawai'i constitution under Queen Lili'uokalani in 1898, that eventually created the Hawaiian Home Commission Act of 1921. This act that the federal government gave authority for “trusteeship” to the State of Hawaii in 1959, to “rehabilitate” the beneficiaries - Native Hawaiians. This Act violated the Native Hawaiians civil rights by creating two classes of Native Hawaiians with a “Blood Quantum,” qualifying and quantifying the Native Hawaiians needing at least 50% or more Native Hawaiian blood, traced through genealogy prior to contact with Captain James Cook, to qualify as a beneficiary of this program. The original intent by the author of this act, Prince Kuhio, was 1/32 blood quantum, but it was heavily lobbied by the sugar plantation operators and others to have the 50% blood quantum. “It is my belief that this action was intended to divide and conquer the Native Hawaiians and to control the lands. And guess what? Its working!”

WBL- What do you mean its working?

MPK- My analysis of the Native Hawaiian situation is the lesser than 50% blood quantum is yelling out loud, “What about me? I'm Hawaiian too!” and the qualified Native Hawaiians yelling also, “I'm tired of waiting on the waiting list!” These two classes of Hawaiians are in disagreement about how to resolve the situation.” I believe this is where reparations (ho'oponopono) can begin.

WBL- What do you mean by reparations?

MPK- To begin the healing process for Native Hawaiians, we use the federal act of 1921, the Hawaiian Homes Commission Act, along with Public Law 103-150, by turning the Hawaiian Home Commission Act into a democratic process allowing Native Hawaiians for the first time in history to elect their commissioners. Currently these commissioners are appointed by the governor, responsible to the governor, and not the beneficiaries. This does not serve the best interest of the Native Hawaiian. And further more, it is substantiated by the fact that 16,000+ people are waiting on the waiting list, yet to receive benefits from this program.

WBL- Is there something you want to close this interview with?

MPK- Ae (yes), I am not afraid of sovereignty and their are many trails to get there. My mana`o (thoughts) are just one of the many trails our goals of sovereignty. When the Lord called me out of the wilderness and said to me, “Open thy mouth, judge righteously, and plea the cause of the poor and needy” Proverbs 31:9. He also revealed to me that a government without Him (God) in it is vanity. In 2 Chronicles 7:14 it says, “If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land.” This is my prayer and hope that our Native Hawaiian people will truly stand for the righteousness of Akua (God) and to live the ways of our kupuna (elders), “Aloha kekahi kekahi” Love one another.

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

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