Posted by: kuhiovogeler | November 16, 2009

The Power Base

Today at Native Book’s Na Mea Hawai‘i there was a transformational discussion. Pōkā Laenui and Keanu Sai presented their views of “colonization” and “occupation,” a distinction of terminology which they have discussed many times before.

But this presentation was different.

Before the discussion began, eleven items were read as points of agreement between the two speakers, the organizers and the audience. Everything from the importance of the Anglo-Franco Declaration in 1843 to the anti-annexation petitions in 1897 was agreed upon before main discussion began. These items were therefore not part of the discussion. These items were a commonality, the foundation for the rest of the conversation.

Then, as Pōkā and Keanu spoke, it became clear that both agreed that Hawai‘i is occupied. Keanu stressed the legal arguments regarding occupation. Pōkā described the psychological and political discrimination inherent in colonization. Hawai‘i, according to Pōkā is occupied, but there is an aspect that is more pervasive, an aspect that Pōkā called colonization. Keanu contended that the laws of occupation and enforcement of responsibility on the occupant were the means for ending the occupation. Pōkā asserted that self-determination and de-colonization is the means for assuring independence for aboriginal Hawaiians and for non-native Hawaiian Kingdom subjects.

However, even in their differences, Pōkā and Keanu maintained that Hawai‘i is occupied, and they agreed to the points already affirmed at the beginning of the discussion.

This agreement on occupation and on the points stipulated at the beginning of the discussion is a power base on which to build our future. Agreement is key. It isn’t that Hawaiians can’t disagree: we can, and we should. The point is that, as we identify the points of agreement, disagreement becomes less of an obstacle.

We are not looking for consensus: that is not a country, or a government. Consensus often inhibits movement in any direction. Placing minimal contention within a context of mass harmony and accord moves the discussion forward toward a common goal. Moreover, the means is the ends. The method of discussion effects change.

In time, building on this sense of accord and harmony, we can restore our government, by maximizing our commonality, our common goal. In time, I believe we will restore our government.

Today, the people at this discussion, the organizers, and the presenters, Pōkā and Keanu, seemed to acknowledge that in time the goal of independence could be achieved. We all seemed to acknowledge that all of these things can happen in time.

All in time…





  1. Dear Kuhio, will you please post the 11 points of agreement for the benefit of those of us who didn’t attend today’s discussion?

    Also, you may be interested to attend a presentation I will make on Thursday at 7:30 p.m. at ‘Anakala Kekuni Blaisedell’s on how adoption of the Hawai’i Official Languages Act will confirm an end to Hawaiian cultural genocide. “Ke Pakaukau” — it’s a potluck gathering.

    • Aloha Malulani,

      Mahalo for your post and your interest. I don’t remember all of the eleven points of agreement off the top of my head. As soon as I receive them in electronic form, I’ll post them.

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