In a July 21, 2012, ceremony filled with a spirit of hope, the Native Hawaiian Roll Commission (NHRC) began its public effort to reinvigorate the building of a sovereign Hawaiian nation.
Kana’iolowalu is a year-long effort to create a base roll of Native Hawaiians – a registry of individuals who will then be eligible to participate in the formation of a sovereign government, and also gather signatures from Hawaiians and non-Hawaiians on petitions declaring support for the reunification of Native Hawaiians and recognition of Native Hawaiians’ un-relinquished sovereignty.
Speaking at the signing ceremony held at Washington Place, NHRC chair, former Hawaii governor John D. Waihee, said Hawaii’s spirit of aloha and our history of interwoven cultures make building the Hawaiian nation not only possible, but imperative.
“We are collectively a people who are driven to do what is right, what is pono,” said Waihee. “This work only serves to formalize what Hawaiians and non-Hawaiians know intuitively – Hawaiian sovereignty while dormant at times, has been un-relinquished, and does not harm our community at large but rather enriches us all.”
Governor Neil Abercrombie, a steadfast supporter of Hawaiian self-determination created the roll commission and spoke yesterday of his personal commitment and his hope for the future.
“I proudly proclaim today the start of the Year of Kana’iolowalu and encourage all people of our Aloha State to join us in celebrating the work and goals of the roll commission,” stated Governor Abercrombie. “This is about building a better future for all of us with respect to the continuing development of a reorganized Native Hawaiian governing entity.”
United States Senator Daniel K. Akaka was the first person to join the roll and sign the petition, in honor of his efforts on behalf of Hawaiian self-governance.
“Native Hawaiians are on a long and difficult journey to regain control of our collective future, and transmit our culture, knowledge and values to future generations. Signing this petition affirms that as a state, we recognize the rights of Native Hawaiians, as the indigenous people of Hawaii, to perpetuate the culture of our island home. It is time to holomua, to move forward together, and to express our commitment to the future of Hawaii and her indigenous people,” Akaka said.
Others included in the July 21 ceremony included U.S. Senator Daniel K. Inouye, Lieutenant Governor Brian Schatz and NHRC members Na’alehu Anthony, Lei Kihoi, Robin Danner and Mahealani Wendt.
Kana’iolowalu contains an ambitious media component to share information with the public via broadcast, print and social media. The effort also relies on another, more traditional way of communicating – music. Palani Vaughn, Brickwood Galuteria, Kapono Ka‘aihue and Willie K are among those who composed original music played today in support of the reunification of Hawaiians.
Kana’iolowalu runs through July 19, 2013 with a goal to register 200,000 Native Hawaiians. Registration and signing of the petition can be done on paper or electronically. For more information and to access all of the Kana’iolowalu media visit the project website at www.kanaiolowalu.org.