Officials and members of the public joined together at Washington Place last week for the historic signing of the Native Hawaiian Roll. In a 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. The signing was accompanied by a petition of signatures in support of the roll.
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 ceremony, NHRC chair, former Hawai'i Gov. John D. Waihe'e said Hawai'i's spirit of aloha and history of interwoven cultures make building the Hawaiian nation not only possible, but imperative.
"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," said Waihe'e.
Gov. Neil Abercrombie, a steadfast supporter of Hawaiian self-determination created the roll commission.
"This is about building a better future for all of us with respect to the continuing development of a reorganized Native Hawaiian governing entity," the governor said.
U.S. Sen. 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 Hawai'i, 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 Hawai'i and her indigenous people," Sen. Akaka said.
Others included in today's ceremony included U.S. Sen. Daniel K. Inouye, Lt. Gov. 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 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. Visit www.kanaiolowalu.org.