Nov. 28: Hawaiian Independence Day & Un-Thanksgiving Day at Alcatraz

Un-Thanksgiving Day, the Indigenous People’s Sunrise Ceremony at Alcatraz Island, is taking place even as I write. Several Kanaka Maoli (Hawaiian) activists are participating this year–they’re here in CA to spread the word about protecting sacred Mauna Kea, and more!

Today, November 28th is also La Ku’oko’a –Hawaiian Independence Day. 

Each observance counteracts destructive, colonial myths that cover up uncomfortable historical facts, allowing (mostly) white people and power structures to “rest easy” with continued persecution, exploitation, and bodily harm of (1) the native peoples of Turtle Island (aka North American continent); and (2) the native peoples of the Hawaiian archipelago, who happened to have had an internationally recognized constitutional monarchy–the Hawaiian Kingdom–that was taken by the United States through violence and deception.

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I wish I could go to this!

The True Story of Thanksgiving

I learned this history several years ago, when I first saw the Susan Bates article below, published on the Manataka American Indian Council website.

As a settler-colonist descendent of hundreds of New England colonizers, including Richard and Elizabeth Warren of the Mayflower, I have gone from deeply uncomfortable to deeply adverse to “celebrating” the American Thanksgiving, once I learned the truth. While my kids still lived at home, we continued to “celebrate” with a family meal, attempting (probably unsuccessfully) to emphasize personal thanks “for all we had” and downplay the shitty facts of our heritage. Now I wish we’d just chucked the whole thing as soon as we began to hear the truth about the holiday–it would have been more honest–but our family was already falling apart. A festive family meal with the children was one of our last pretenses of unity and “normalcy,” along with Christmas.

But even this futile attempt to justify our observance of Thanksgiving didn’t change the fact that the descendents of Richard and Elizabeth Warren, and possibly other ancestors of mine, were Plymouth residents and must have been in some way complicit in the 1637 massacre of the Wampanoag village (mentioned in the articles below). Richard Warren himself didn’t last long in the “new world”–he died in 1628. His first son, Nathaniel, was only twelve in 1637. I would hope that boys that young were not enlisted to help slaughter human beings, but who knows? And what may he have done in later years? Also, Richard Warren’s widow, Elizabeth, died in her 90’s. We often overlook the role of settler-colonial women in upholding and inciting harsh measures against indigenous people (and slaves)–so one of my creepy questions is, who was she and what did she advocate?

(FYI–My ex-husband’s family also has a long colonial settler history, though further south, in Kentucky and elsewhere.)

And so I have to recognize that like every other white person in this country, my family and I benefit from privileges which began with “manifest destiny” and genocide and which continue with legal, political, economic, and other systems and policies designed to destroy and disadvantage native people, and other people of color, in every possible way.


Here are several links to information about the true history of Thanksgiving.

Bates, Susan. The Real Story of Thanksgiving, Manataka American Indian Council website. You can also find two more articles on this page.

Blow, Charles M. The Horrible History of Thanksgiving, New York Times, Nov. 27, 2019.

Bugos, Claire. The Myths of the Thanksgiving Story and the Lasting Damage They Imbue, Smithsonian Magazine, Nov. 26, 2019. This is an interview with David J. Silverman, author of This Land Is Their Land: The Wampanoag Indians, Plymouth Colony, and the Troubled History of Thanksgiving (published Nov. 2019).

Rikert, Levi. Leonard Peltier’s 2019 Thanksgiving Message: “Walking on Stolen Land.” Native News Online. Nov. 23, 2019.


The True History of the Hawaiian Kingdom and the U.S. Occupation

This is a complicated matter, lasting over a century. For one of the best accounts, go to the Political History page of the Hawaiian Kingdom website.

Even here I have a slight personal connection as a junior settler-colonist. My father (now deceased), a PanAm pilot, moved my mother, brother, and me to Honolulu shortly after the 1959 fraudulent “statehood” vote. He probably sensed some kind of opportunity to exploit, but my father and mother were not happy together. They soon separated, bound for divorce. So we flew back to San Diego, leaving behind my father and that rather bleak cinderblock apartment on Lipe’epe’e Street in Waikiki.

Today a Time of Reflection

While native activists from Oceania and Turtle Island meet and make common cause–which is a joyous and wonderful thing–we settler colonists have our own work to do. It’s difficult to disengage from complicity, from the horrifying tendrils which link our lives to the larger abhorent structures destroying the entire planet now–not just “reservations” and “ghettos” and “houseless encampments” where those “other” people live (often with inadequate or polluted water, air, and soil).

So the first thing we settler colonists need to do is know the truth, understand the implications, and do whatever we can to disengage from complicity. Perhaps then we might be suitably prepared to assist in common cause with native peoples and work together to save this planet we all share.

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Resources: Saving Sacred Mauna Kea

Thursday, July 18 Update: Hundreds of Astronomers Denounce Arrest of Native Hawaiians Protesting Thirty Meter Telescope


Friday, July 19 Update: The resources below are from a pinned post attached to several live feeds from Mauna Kea.
ORGS TO SUPPORT:
KAHEA’s Aloha ‘Āina Support Fund, which prioritizes frontline logistical support for non-violent direct actions taken to protect Mauna Kea from further industrial development now: https://org.salsalabs.com/…/don…/aloha-aina-support-fund
HULI! https://actionnetwork.org/fundraising/huli/ or http://www.paypal.com/paypalme2/hulinvda
BAIL FUND: http://hawaiicommunitybailfund.org/
Maunakea tees from http://www.hifinest.com. with 100% of proceeds to go to HULI for frontline efforts of Maunakea PROTECTORS.

Dear Readers,

This is urgent. I appeal to my national and international readership on behalf of Mauna Kea.

In the spirit of solidarity and signal boosting for the Kia’i (Protectors) of Mauna Kea on Hawai’i Island, I want to share several resources for those who want to learn more and/or help from afar. The protection of Mauna Kea is a deeply emotional, cultural, spiritual, long-term justice struggle for the Kanaka Maoli (native Hawaiians). The struggle to protect this mountain from desecration and environmental destruction has been going on for decades. Decades.

I’m not posting ’cause this is a hot, new issue about to go viral on social media. This is not a new cause for me. As an ally, I’ve been peripherally involved in supporting the protection of Mauna Kea for at least sixteen years. (However my story is not important, except to me.)

Right now, our focus should be solely on the Kia’i and what we can do to assist them, and the Mauna, the sacred mountain. Here is footage of some of the arrests of thirty or so elders today. 

VIDEO: Kupuna Arrested, Saddle Road Closed – Mauna Kea Update

I’ll paraphrase what one of the Kia’i said on camera today: Mauna Kea is the piko, the center, right now. What happens there matters, more than you can know. Here are some things you can do and learn, which would be helpful.

Resources and Things You Can Do

First, Kapu Aloha. Learn what you can about Kapu Aloha and do your best to stay within that during your activism. Here’s a “101” video from ʻŌiwi TV that will inspire you. As a settler-colonist ally used to entitled and confrontational action (Berkeley-style), I have to say this is one of the most difficult things I’ve had to continue to learn. And I’m not “there” yet. But Kapu Aloha is essential and it is demanded in the sacred struggle to protect the sacred Mauna. How you do something matters as well as what you do.

Here is something more about Kapu Aloha, via Hawai’i Public Radio.

Learn what the issues are. KAHEA-the Hawaiian Environmental Alliance has several pages of important background. You could start here, with Sacred Summits.

Donate to a Legal Defense Fund. As I mentioned above, this morning about 30 or so kupuna (elders) were arrested by police. More arrests are sure to follow. Give to the Mauna Kea Legal Defense Fund which is operated by KAHEA–the Hawaiian Environmental Alliance, an excellent group.

Understand that Hawai’i has a law against desecration, including that which causes public outrage. Pay special attention to (2) below:


§711-1107 Desecration. (1) A person commits the offense of desecration if the person intentionally desecrates:
(a) Any public monument or structure;
(b) A place of worship or burial; or
(c) In a public place the national flag or any other object of veneration by a substantial segment of the public.
(2) “Desecrate” means defacing, damaging, polluting, or otherwise physically mistreating in a way that the defendant knows will outrage the sensibilities of persons likely to observe or discover the defendant’s action.
(3) Any person convicted of committing the offense of desecration shall be sentenced to a term of imprisonment of not more than one year, a fine of not more than $10,000, or both. [L 1972, c 9, pt of §1; gen ch 1993; am L 2002, c 198, §1]

Offer Prayers. This blog, HE WAHĪ PAʻAKAI: A PACKAGE OF SALT by Emalani Case, has twelve prayers you can say for Mauna Kea and its protectors. Prayers really help.

Do Lots of Other Things. Emalani Case’s blog also has a post which describes thirty things you can do to be helpful even if you can’t go to Pu’uhuluhulu and the Mauna Kea access road to stand with the others who are standing there now.

For example, #21 says: “Educate yourself and educate others. Learn about colonialism and settler colonialism so that you can recognize their tactics and call them out.” This is very important for those of us who are allies, but not Kanaka. We need to call ourselves out, whenever possible. It’s not easy. I’ve got over sixteen years worth of mistakes to learn from.

Follow Emalani Case’s Blog. And go ahead, read both the entries above. Seriously. You’ll learn so much.

Learn the historical, political, and land use facts of Hawai’i, which provides the  context of the struggle re: The Hawaiian Kingdom Blog. You could start with this one pertaining to the destruction of Mauna Kea’s summit which has already taken place.

KAHEA also has a timeline of legal actions pertaining to Mauna Kea, since 2011.

Watch Mauna Kea: Temple Under Seige —for free. This is a documentary about an earlier struggle to prevent desecration on the Mauna.

Learn the words to the chorus of this song, at least: Kū Haʻaheo E Kuʻu Hawaiʻi by Kumu (teacher) Hinaleimoana Wong-Kalu. Go to http://kanaeokana.net/portfolio-items/ku-haaheo-e-kuu-hawaii/

Use social media to stay up to date. Right now, the situation is changing moment by moment, day by day. You might want to check out some of the Facebook groups, like this one.

Wear the message that Mauna Kea is sacred. Here’s one link.

Finally, help me Signal Boost! Share any or all of the links above–or even this blog. “Likes” and shares will help get the word out. We need to get the info out and active. Let’s help each other to reach a mass tipping point in stopping the desecration that is so deeply hurtful to na Kanaka Maoli.

I will add more to this post as I find more links. For now, I hope this gets you started. Thank you so much for your interest and your help.

Protect Sacred Mauna Kea

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Design by Laulani Teale.

Mauna Kea-Facing More Desecration

Heartbreaking news. The Hawai’i State Supreme Court has ruled in favor of construction of yet another industrial-strength development on Sacred Mauna Kea. The heroic case presented by native Hawaiians and allies–the Protectors aka na Kia’i–against the development of this amazingly corrupt and disrespectful project consists of legal-based, fact-based, Hawaiian culture-based, and environmentally-based arguments which all demonstrated, without a doubt, the manifold adverse effects of this humungous building proposed for a delicate conservation district, atop the island’s aquifer, on top of one of the most sacred mountains in all the Pacific. Watch this beautiful documentary, Mauna Kea-Temple Under Siege, for background on an earlier struggle against the Keck Telescope.

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Amy Marsh, Mauna Kea Kia’i Encampment, Mother’s Day, 2015.

I am stunned and heartbroken by this news. It was my privilege to stand alongside my former partner in this struggle for almost fourteen years. He was and is one of the petitioners in the court case and constested case hearings which challenged this project. I have had a pretty good ringside seat for many years, knowing what this effort has cost him and the other petitioners. Not just in money, but in family time, self-care time, and the intense effects of constant stress and trauma on individual, family, and community health. Oh, I could go on. I could! But for the moment, I am just simply appalled.

But powerful money interests appear to have won for the moment. The combined influences of CalTech, the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation, and numerous public officials with now nicely greased palms, have formed a juggernaut determined to roll forward over sacred land.

And it’s not just sacred land. It’s Kanaka Maoli  (native Hawaiian) land which was taken and is held by force by the U.S. government, and which–in the opinion of the World Court of Arbitration at The Hague (Lance Larsen vs. The Hawaiian Kingdom)–is an unlawfully occupied nation-state (country) deprived of its proper functioning government. In other words, Hawai’i is not a legitimately acquired “state” of the U.S. and this is becoming more widely known both within Hawai’i and in the most influential circles of international law.


“I have come to understand that the lawful political status of the Hawaiian Islands is that of a sovereign nation-state in continuity but a nation-state that is under a strange form of occupation by the United States resulting from an illegal military occupation and a fraudulent annexation.”

–Dr. Alfred M. DeZayas, Feb. 25, 2018, written as a Memorandum of the United Nations Human Rights Office of the High Commissioner.*


So, TMT and just about everything else inflicted on Kanaka Maoli and descendents of Hawaiian Kingdom nationals (naturalized citizens) by the “fake state” government is a probably a war crime as per international law. Got that? The situation in Hawai’i is THE longest running occupation in recent world history, but most people don’t even know this. (See this news  and community meeting video regarding a local elected official’s efforts to take action on the war crimes issues.)

I will publish a link of the petitioners’ official response to this decision when I see it.


For more information on the Hawaiian Kingdom, see https://www.hawaiiankingdom.org

See also political history of the Hawaiian Kingdom.

* Source: Video of Presentation by Councilwoman Jen Ruggles, Puna, Hawai’i.

**This is an overs-simplified statement for me to make. Please see this page called Government Re-established.


“Biohazard” Section of this Blog Post

Now, I am not trying to “center” myself here, but I want you do know why I, a non-Hawaiian, care so deeply about this issue. (And yes, this is a “woo” blog but my spiritual life has always been mixed with my life as an activist, so political and social justice matters will appear from time to time.)

My long history of supporting Hawaiian independence and the struggle to protect Mauna Kea as an ally (and later as the partner of a native activist and cultural practitioner) was the result of various spiritual epiphanies and events that took place prior to, and concurrent with, my learning the truths of Hawaiian history and the political situation. I had been granted certain life-changing experiences in Hawai’i, and therefore I felt a duty to “give back” to the people and the ‘aina (land) in the form of activism and support. I didn’t always do things in the right way or with the right understanding of protocols and local ways, and to my sorrow I realize I was sometimes (often?) clumsy and off-putting in my enthusiasm, but I did try to help when I could.

My “wyrd” threw me a curveball when it upended my previously comfy residence in a San Francisco-centric world of punk rock, motherhood and marriage, anthroposophy and Waldorf schools, and environmental health activism. That “spontaneous combustion” I wrote about previously took place in this context of a “Hawaiian” connection (the nature and meaning of this event is still a central mystery in my life). My wyrd has now changed course, bringing me back from my love affair with the islands (and my island love affair), to purposeful encounters with other spiritual traditions and other urgent political and social justice issues. I’m in Pomo land, here on Turtle Island, and I stay aware of that as I adjust to my new surroundings.

But I don’t forget Hawai’i. And I don’t forget the Mauna. And I stay in solidarity, though with more distance now. I know the fight to protect this mountain and other sacred lands of Hawai’i is far from over. Please check out the Protect Mauna Kea Facebook group, and other groups supporting Kanaka Maoli struggles for independence, restoration of the Kingdom, and other social and political justice issues. Thank you.

#KuKiaiMauna #AoleTMT


Some of my contributions over the years included making websites for people and causes, writing articles, and raising modest sums of money:

“America’s Tibet,” Hawai’i Island News, 2004, with Kukauakahi Ching and David Ingham.

PDF of article in Slingshot, a publication associated with The Long Haul in Berkeley (however, I know better than to write “Hawai’ian” with an ‘okina. The editors didn’t consult me): 2005_Slingshot_1 

2005_Slingshot_2

2005_Slingshot_3

I originally designed and maintained this website for one of the Kia’i (Protectors). I also made a website for StopBombingHawaii.org but it seems to be gone now, or at least, I can’t find it. There is a Facebook group though, so please go there!

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Amy Marsh, circa 2015. T-shirt designed by Laulani Teale.

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