From the Worldwide Faith News archives www.wfn.org
Hawaiians seek justice and redress
George Conklin <email@example.com>
20 May 1996 21:50:46
For Immediate Release
May 8, 1996
Director of Media Relations
American Friends Service Committee
Contact: June Shimokawa (808/988-6266)
or Ron Byler (215/241-7060)
Hawaiians Seek Justice and Redress for Hawai`i Sovereignty Movement
HONOLULU, HI - "The movement for sovereignty among native Hawaiians and the
actions of federal and state governments are on a collision course," say
Kaleo Patterson and Ku'umeaaloha Gomes who will speak in New York, Boston,
Washington, D.C. and Philadelphia, May 21 - June 1, 1996. The speaking tour
by Patterson, an ordained United Church of Christ clergyman, and Gomes, a
community organizer and activist, is sponsored by the American Friends
Service Committee (AFSC) and the American Missionary Association of the
United Church of Christ Board of Homeland Ministries.
"As more people learn how the independent nation of Hawai`i was illegally
annexed by the United States in 1898, the movement for justice and redress
broadens," says Gomes. As native Hawaiians reclaim their culture and
language, the dissonance of cultural values becomes apparent. For native
Hawaiians, a right relationship with the earth (`aina) is basic to living a
life that is right and just (pono), a relationship that the dominant culture
often does not nurture.
"The survival of the Earth depends on the survival of indigenous
people, who, for generations, have showed us how to care for (malama) our
life-giving land," says Kaleo Patterson. As a person committed to
transforming the church in society, Patterson views the issue of Hawaiian
sovereignty as part of a movement among the world's indigenous people to
restore reverence for creation.
Though President Clinton signed an Apology Bill (Act 103-150), in
November 1993 officially acknowledging U.S. wrongdoing, evictions of native
Hawaiians from public lands in Hawai`i continue. A recent eviction notice
to the Pai family, caretakers for nine generations of ancestral burial
sites, a shrine (heiau) and fishtraps within an area designated as a
national historical park by the National Park Service in 1978, has brought
an outcry from native Hawaiians.
In contrast, the Hawaii state legislature has just appropriated more than
twenty million tax dollars to fuel the tourist industry. A state-of-the-art
convention center, now under construction, is expected to bring even larger
conventions to the 50th state, and with it, a greater burden on the islands'
Kaleo Patterson has served as pastor for churches in Maine and Hawai'i,
currently serving on the ministerial team of Kaumakapili Church, one of the
earliest Christian churches formed among native Hawaiians. He played a key
role in initiating an Apology and process of Redress from the United Church
of Christ for that denomination's role in the 1893 overthrow of the Hawaiian
nation. He is also the director of the Hawaii Ecumenical Coalition.
Ku`umeaaloha Gomes is a community leader recognized for her passion for
justice and nonviolence. Gomes is leading an effort to replace a "native
Hawaiian vote" to determine the will of indigenous Hawaiian people for self
governance with a culturally-based consensus process. She is the director
of Kua'ana Student Services at the University of Hawai'i. Her work for
sovereignty, gay rights, access to health and education for the poor is
For more information, contact June Shimokawa, coordinator of the Hawai'i
area program for the American Friends Service Committee (808/988-6266) or
Ron Byler, AFSC director of media relations (215/241-7060).
- 30 -
The American Friends Service Committee is a Quaker organization which
includes people of various faiths who are committed to social justice, peace
and humanitarian service. Its work is based on the Quaker belief in the
worth of every person, and faith in the power of love to overcome violence
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