This is the first in a series of articles I hope to present to you with the help of an amazing woman -- Maggie Connor.
If her name sounds familiar, it's because she's a former member of our US Olympic ski team. She's a caring, spiritual woman who's opened my eyes about a huge injustice that deserves our attention and voice. It's the preservation of the Native Hawaiian culture. It's about restoring a proud people's respect and regaining their promised freedom.
Upon his deathbed, King Kamehameha, the unifier of the Hawaiian islands uttered to his son, "E ho‘okanaka." Be a person of worth.
Today, 200 years later, that is the Hawaiian motto.
Who among us hasn't dreamed of a pilgrimage to our 50th state, drinking up our tropical paradise of the breathtaking islands? They have everything from snow on their mountain tops to flowing lava spewing down to their sandy shores. And nothing is more idyllic than the flora of their dense rain forests. It's what technicolor dreams are made of.
It is, unless you’re Native Hawaiian – one of the indigenous peoples of the Paradise Islands. God help you if you are, because the United States has turned their back on these marvelous people. We've grabbed their lands. Taken their possessions. Defaced their holy and consecrated grounds. We've imprisoned their people. We've denied them access to their ancestors. We've broken our promises. We've legislated against their freedoms.
Please, "E ho‘okanaka.” Be a person of worth. At least listen to the Native Hawaiian cause, and if you are so inclined, add your voice to the OHA, the office of Hawaiian Affairs. They are just a click away: www.OHA.org