by Robert McCabe
Hawaiian elders representing each of Hawaii's islands convened at the Kaanapali Beach Hotel for a three-day meeting early this month to discuss the establishment of a provisional government serving an independent and sovereign nation of Hawaii.
The meeting, hosted by the Maui chapter of the Ohana Council, one of the many groups formed in recent years to promote the restoration of Hawaiian nationhood and sovereign rights, was described as a plenary session, the first of its kind, since the U.S. government officially apologized for its takeover of these islands more than a hundred years ago.
The purpose of the convention was to bring together the kupuna (elders) of Hawaii to discuss the formation of the `Aha Kupuna (Council of Elders) as the interim Government of Hawaii Nei.
Information and decisions regarding the meeting are being withheld for the time being, according to Kekula Bray of the Ohana's Maui Council who issued the following statement:
"We are not releasing information at this time. There will be a reconvening of the whole in 90 days. There will be additional sessions leading up to the `Aha Kanawai Kumu. We will be prepared to give information at that time."
The `Aha Kanawai Kumu, Bray explained, is a "coming together to form an organic document of principles and laws." Such a document will provide the foundation for the new government serving an independent and sovereign Hawaiian nation.
The March 4-5-6 `Aha Hui No Ea (plenary session) was attended by representatives of the many diverse Native Hawaiian organizations pursuing the sovereignty issue. These organizations include Ka Lahui, the Kingdom of Hawaii, Laie, and the Big Island's Free Association, as well as elders of the Ohana Council.
Regarded as one of the most important meetings so far held pertaining to the sovereignty issue, Bray said it brought together 500 people from all the islands.
Maui was chosen as the site for the conference "because the Maui Council offered to host it," Bray said.
"We are the only island where we are together on all levels, despite some differences of opinion, but our purpose was also to promote our togetherness and to emphasize a spirit of Aloha in which if love and understanding is spread, we will have an easier time accomplishing our goals," she added.
Before the conference started, Bumpy Kanahele of Waimanalo, a leader of the Ohana Council, stressed in an interview with this writer that the convention's main intent was to "get our kupuna together, so that we can unify and develop our nation."
He said also that the future of a new Hawaiian nation "rests with our elders," and that the Ohana's actions of the past, including measures regarded as highly controversial such as the distribution of leaflets to visitors asking them to stay away, served to stimulate the approaches now being considered.
"What's going to happen next is that we are all ready to pledge allegiance and alliance to the Kupuna and Akua, and we'd take it from there. We are also trying to put the horse before the cart, and we'll follow whatever it takes so we can unify and develop our country," Kanahele said.
He explained also that the process that are undertaking "in necessary so we can deal with the State government, and give them instructions on how to do things, because we understand they are illegal now. This process enables us to say this is our government. It gives us authority and jurisdiction, and it's the only measure left other than violence, which we naturally eschew because it's not the way of Aloha."
Kanahele said the government of a new Hawaiian nation would be based on cultural values dating from the time before western contact in 1778 and that the government of a Sovereign Hawaii would be led by the elders.
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