State launches Native Hawaiian registry
The yearlong effort seeks people eligible to help work toward self-governance
By Rosemarie Bernardo
Honolulu Star-Advertiser, Jul 21, 2012
Kana‘iolowalu, a campaign of the Native Hawaiian Roll Commission to create a registry of Native Hawaiians who will be eligible to participate in the development of a governing entity, kicked off Friday with a ceremony at Washington Place.
More than 100 people attended the launch. Attendees included lawmakers, Office of Hawaiian Affairs trustees and members of the Royal Order of Kamehameha I and ‘Ahahui Ka‘ahumanu.
Enrollment began Friday and will remain open until July 19. A petition is also available for non-Hawaiians who want to support self-governance for Hawaiians.
Print and television ads are expected to begin soon to inform the public of locations where registration forms will be available. The commission’s goal is to register 200,000 Native Hawaiians in the state and abroad. There is no blood quantum requirement.
Registration can be done online at www.kanaiolowalu. org. The self-governance petition open to non-Hawaiians is also available on the website.
Former Gov. John Waihee, chairman of the Native Hawaiian Roll Commission, spoke at the ceremony, where he honored Queen Liliu’okalani.
“This is the home of Queen Liliu’okalani, and it was (due to) her action and our kupuna’s steadfast refusal to yield the sovereignty of the Hawaiian people that we today can refer to ourselves as their beneficiaries,” said Wai¬hee.
He called on non-Hawaiians for their support.
“We need your help. We cannot do this alone,” Wai¬hee said. “This task was given to you as well as to us, because without your support, there is no way that we can see self-governance returned to the Hawaiian people.”
Attendees stood and applauded as Wai¬hee called for the community to unite to work toward the goal of self-recognition for Hawaiians. “The message is simple, really simple, and it is this: For all of us who aloha Hawaii, now is the time to stand and being counted, unrelinquished, undeterred, united.”
Gov. Neil Abercrombie choked up as he addressed the crowd.
“Never from the day I was blessed to arrive on the shores of Hawaii did it occur to me that it would be my charge in life to be a catalyst in this transformation. I’m filled with resolve to do my best with every fiber of my being to be worthy of that charge,” Abercrombie said.
In July 2011, Abercrombie signed Act 195, which would work toward establishing a Hawaiian governing entity. The legislation also created the Native Hawaiian Roll Commission, comprised of members appointed by the governor to develop and oversee the process of enrolling Hawaiians in the registry.
U.S. Sens. Daniel Akaka and Daniel Ino¬uye did not attend the ceremony, but addressed attendees via a prerecorded video.
The registry was an effort that was needed all these years, Akaka said. “This is something that will make a huge difference.” Akaka, who is of Hawaiian and Chinese descent, was among the first to register online. Both Akaka and Inouye also signed the petition in support of self-governance for Hawaiians.
Colette Machado, chairwoman of the Office of Hawaiian Affairs, said the registry is what the organization has been waiting for. OHA encouraged those who signed up for Kau Inoa to be part of the Kana‘iolowalu registry as the next step toward self-recognition.
Kau Inoa was initiated as a registry of Native Hawaiians on Jan. 17, 2004, the anniversary of the 1893 overthrow of the kingdom of Hawaii. OHA hosts the registry website.
“It’s been unfortunate that over the last 12 years, there’s been challenges to question the Native Hawaiian indigenous people, the kanaka maoli. And we want fair treatment or equal treatment like the Native Americans and Alaskan Natives, to be recognized by the federal government,” Machado said. “This is just the first step.”
HOW TO SIGN UP
Kana’iolowalu is a yearlong campaign of the Native Hawaiian Roll Commission to create a base roll — a registry of Native Hawaiians who will be eligible to participate in the formation of a sovereign government. Registration opened Friday and will remain open until July 19.
Anyone of Native Hawaiian descent age 18 and older is eligible. Registrants must show a copy of their birth certificate to show lineal descent. There is no residency requirement and no blood quantum requirement.
People can register online at www.kanaiolowalu.org. A petition also is available on the website for both Hawaiians and non-Hawaiians to sign to support self-governance for Hawaiians.