Archive for the ‘The Elephant on the Lanai’ Category

Alice Anne (Severson) Parker with Infant Daughter April

Alice Anne (Severson) Parker with Infant daughter April

With the sudden death of Justice Scalia and the spread of the Zika virus, honest discussion on the practical effect of laws and strictures affecting what women can/should and cannot/should not do with their person is essential.  In the US, access to contraception and health care has been fairly broadly available over the last 30 years. However, shootings at health clinics have made medical care and access to birth control for low income women and students in some areas potentially deadly.  Millennials are in their prime reproductive years and have no idea how frequently a pregnancy was fatal or maiming for their fore-mothers.

Alice Anne Parker, a dear friend and mentor has pushed boundaries limiting women for most of her septuagenarian life.  An incidental feminist, her life continues to invite us to question conventions, and embrace compassion  for ourselves and each other at a deeper level.  Tune in for our discussion today, February 19th, 3pm HST on Think Tech Hawaii.  If you’d like to join the conversation tweet us: @thinktechhi.

This livestreamed program will be available for later viewing within 24 hours. Check back on http://www.kauilucas.com.

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Michael Moore’s soon to be released movie  Where to Invade Next,  explores some of the positive aspects of Germany’s policies.  I’d been reading about it.  Then Ralf Loos, my dear friend since high school days, came to visit with his charming sweetheart Heike. They started telling me what life has been like in Germany over the last six months. Shocked, I asked him to join me on the show. He did splendidly talking live on camera, for the very first time in his life, and that in a foreign language! I asked him if he could write the blog post with me to give more context.

Although neither articulated it, they were traumatized by events at home.  A couple of weeks re-visiting friends and familiar places in Hawai’i was clearly beneficial.   An exhausted Heike was in tears one evening after Ralf and I had been talking about it too long.  That’s when I got an inkling of what it is to have one’s home invaded in the service of greater humanity.   And how a crisis of order and violence   will foment a reactionary backlash.

Ralf’s post

Merkel’s Open Border Policy

With the introduction of the EURO in January 2002, people in the EURO member states were promised that participating countries would become more prosperous, and the monetary union would create jobs for member states.

Instead, the majority of EURO member states  now have unprecedented unemployment rates, and most economies are stagnant, if not in decline. In the wake of the 2008 financial crisis, Europe’s monetary union suffered tremendously. European banks played roulette  every bit as enthusiastically as American banks and investors.  In Europe it was dubbed the EURO-crisis.

All leaders/politicians of EURO member states have failed to bring order or even improve the situation, despite promises. There are certainly a multitude of reasons for this predicament. One primary reason is that all treaties designed to guarantee the stability of the common currency were blatantly disregarded. The result of not obeying the rules of the game is obvious: chaos.

It seems Europe is eager for more chaos, not only in the financial arena, but socially as well. An excellent way to achieve chaos is to ignore international agreements on immigration. The European Union sanctioned the Schengen Agreement, which stipulates that all immigrants and asylum seekers need to be registered in the initial country of entry. In reality, migrants who arrived via Greece or Italy were NOT registered, and quickly channeled to other European countries. German chancellor Merkel’s unilateral decision to allow migrants into Germany without registration, significantly increased traffic.

Migrants into Germany in 2015 increased from an expected 400,000 to 1,000,000 – more than twice as many as anticipated. Chancellor Merkel’s unilateral decision took everyone by surprise. She put herself above the law and the Schengen Agreement. German police, the German Red Cross, and many other relief organizations– none were prepared. If there hadn’t been an extraordinary number of volunteers to assist in helping the migrants, the chaos would have escalated.

The repercussions of Merkel’s open-border policy are multifaceted on both domestic and international levels. Federal, state and local authorities are stretched beyond limits, paralyzed by this unfathomable influx. The current situation is most “un-German” as disorder and chaos reign – the German government estimates (!) that there are now 200,000 undocumented migrants.

Inequities have become an issue since German citizens have to pay their monthly dues for health insurance, but migrants receive free health care. Schools, gymnasiums and other buildings are requisitioned to house migrants, disrupting and degrading education. Students are forced to change schools as campuses are transformed into housing for migrants.

Of additional concern amongst European and German citizens is the right to family reunification allowing the subsequent immigration of additional family members. This law stipulates that approved asylum seekers have the right to have their family members immigrate to their new home country. It is realistic to assume that each asylum seeker will be followed by family members, also needing to be feed, housed, educated and cared for. The number of Germans discontent with this situation is growing the popularity of right wing political parties. Other countries dealing with this mass influx of migrants are experiencing similar developments.

The Schengen Agreement has been suspended by many member states.  Meaning, these countries have  reestablished pre-Schengen border controls.  All attempts to solve the migration crisis on a European level have failed. Member states have refused to accept quotas, which would allow distributing the migrants equitably between member states.

The parallels between the EURO crisis and the migrant crisis are striking.  So are the tunes that European politicians sing: “We must find a European solution!” This tune is still sung, but has lost all credibility.

The overall situation is dire and the cause of frustration for everyone involved. Member states have started (forced) deportation of migrants. For most migrants, life in refugee camps and improvised housing is frustrating. Few know whether they will be allowed to stay in Germany, or be deported in the months or years ahead. They live in limbo, and in many cases their high expectations will remain unfulfilled. Left unaddressed, this frustration easily turns into violence and hate.

Footnote: Which term should be used to describe the newcomers is debatable, migrant or immigrant. Both terms are accurate.

  1. Some are coming from the Middle East and Africa for economic reasons, wanting to move to a more affluent country, like Germany or Sweden.
  2. Some are migrants who want to come to Europe temporarily.
  3. Lastly there are asylum seekers, those who flee war zones in their home countries. It is unclear whether they want to stay in Europe only until the situation in their home countries have improved, or not.



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“The government [Kingdom of Hawai’i] was overthrown, not the country.” says  David Keanu Sai Ph.D., it’s  part koan, part wake up call. Not surprisingly, while serving in the US military,  Sai read Samuel Manaiakalani Kamakau’s Ruling Chiefs  for inspiration.   Hawai’i’s history being told from a foreign perspective, in a foreign language (English), has caused a Tower of Babel within and without the Hawaiian community for 123 years.

Frustrated in their personal quests for understanding, Sai and his cousin Kau’i Sai Dudoit rolled up their sleeves, and created a suite of educational materials: Ua Mau Ke Ea Sovereignty Endures: An Overview of the Political and Legal History of the Hawaiian Islands. If this material were as widely read/watched as Gavin Daws’s woefully antiquated 1968 book, A Shoal of Time,  the US Department of the Interior would not have needed to make a Ruling. The confusing, divisive, embarrassingly misguided efforts towards “federal recognition” for Hawaiians, etc. would not be happening.  The treatyless annexation, statehood, the Jones Act–all  obviate.  Scholars like Sai, and Dr. Kamanamaikalani Beamer with his 2015 Ka Palapala Po‘okela Award winning No Mākou Ka Mana: Liberating The Nation, bring fresh air to anaerobic academia with rigorous contemporary scholarship.

In addition to making the DVD version of Ua Mau Ke EaKau’i Sai Dudoit gave me the mother lode of Hawaiian educational web resources.  Unfortunately, she handed it to me hard copy and it has taken me ages to deal with entering, updating, and annotating the links. MAHALO PIHA Kau’i -This list is phenomenal!  Anyone who knows of other excellent resources, please comment and I will add them.

Ua Mau Ke Ea Sovereignty Endures: An Overview of the Political and Legal History of the Hawaiian Islands

A Brief History of the Hawaiian People (1891) W. D. Alexander

Hawaiian Neutrality: From the Crimean Conflict through the Spanish-American War (2015)

Territory of Hawai’i Dept. of Public Instruction, Programme for Patriotic Exercises in the Public Schools (1906)

Chronicling America– Historic American Newspapers

The Annexation Of Hawaii: A Collection Of Documents (University of Hawai’i)

Hawaiian Language Dictionaries  Note: change the CUSTOMIZE SEARCH menu from “Hwn Dict/Mamāka ” to “All Dictionaries,” why this is not the default is a great mystery and a frustrating impediment for novice scholars.

Papakilo – OHA’s Knowledge Well: various Hawaiian collections

Kipuka: OHA’s geographical information system (GIS) latest mapping technologies for native Hawaiian land, culture and history

Ho’olaupa’i: Hawaiian Language Newspaper Project

Forum for articles from newspapers with summary translations

Using Hawaiian Language Newspaper Articles for Place and Culture-based Geoscience Teacher Education and Curriculum Development

Articles on marine ecosystem management in Hawai‘i and traditional and introduced fishing practices. (SOEST/SeaGrant)

Hawai‘i Alive: a Bishop Museum led cooperative work sharing library and archives collections with the general public, especially teachers gathering resources to teach Hawaiian Language, History, and Culture in accordance with Hawai‘i Department of Education Content and Performance Standards.

Bishop Museum Online Data

Hawai’i State Archives Online

Kauai Historical Society Archives

Historical Timeline of Hawai’i Pae ‘Aina






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TODAY ONLY Hawai’i is My MainLand at 11AM ON Think Tech Hawaii.  Sunday marks the 123 anniversary of the overthrow of the  Kingdom of Hawai’i.  My guests, David Keanu Sai Ph.D. and Kau’i Sai Dudoit discuss educating the public, and a suite of materials titled Ua Mau Ke Ea Sovereignty Endures: An Overview of the Political and Legal History of the Hawaiian Islands.  Trailer:

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Still weeks behind in blog entries, but catching up. The goal is one every couple of days until my favorite four letter word: done! It’s not just because it takes so much time to research and organize a program, I’m also applying and interviewing for paid work, to support my volunteer habit. FYI, Think Tech Hawaii is a 501 (c)(3), all hosts are volunteers, and donations/sponsorship  are hugely appreciated.

The day after we livestreamed, I watched my interview with  Na’i Aupuni candidate Lilikalā Kameʻeleihiwa on ThinkTech Hawaii’s YouTube channel  — and was horrified!  During the first break, the promo was for the veteran Think Tech Hawaii program,  E Hana Kakou hosted by Keli’i Akina, who spoke of his affiliation with. . . the Grassroot Institute of Hawai’i!  I’ve watched Akina’s show before, and he’s got plenty of  good stuff, about the Jones Act, for instance.  It wasn’t until I saw this clip that I realized he is THE Keli’i Akina, of the GIH, which was attempting to halt the Na’i Aupuni Elections. AWKWARD.  After their motion was denied by the lower courts, as one of the Plaintiffs in Akina v. State of Hawai`i,  he filed an appeal to The United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit to halt the elections. And by now we know, they succeeded.

It wasn’t until the following Friday that I was able to talk to Think Tech Hawaii’s Tech Goddess, Zuri Bender, that I had an answer: completely random chance. She had NO idea about the lawsuit, or even that GIH had issues with the election.  Of course I don’t really believe in random chance, but I do believe that Zuri clicked on that “next” video file in complete innocence. Even if that startling transition from a really interesting, energizing discussion with Kameʻeleihiwa about the elections to a promo for the GHI hadn’t happened, this was going to be a challenging post.

I support most of what Dr. Kame’eleihiwa has to say, but not all.  We’ve never exchanged more than a few sentences at a time before; it was great fun to engage with such a charming and wickedly quick wit. The best parts of our interaction happened off camera. Before the show, I explained to her (she knows my family) that I couldn’t vote because I don’t have official documents which would qualify me, as described in an earlier post.

Knowing that she is one of, if not the greatest, living Hawaiian genealogists, I brought along great-grandmother Mary Lucas’s journal with handwritten moʻokūʻauhau. We only had a couple of minutes, but I learned that I have acestors from Maui and Hawai’i Island as well as O’ahu.   She started telling me stories about them, as she recognized the names, WOW.  That kind of information is precious and I would love to learn more.  She suggested I take her genealogy class next Spring.  I just need to find a paying job that allows me to take Friday afternoons off and attend HWST 341 Hawaiian Genealogies.

The reservations about Na’i Aupuni which Jon Osorio articulated so eloquently during an EXCELLENT panel  discussion (Jon’s portion starts at 29:00) on the Na’i Aupuni, I share.

There was an interesting follow up on another Think Tech Hawaii program with Jay Fidell’s (Executive Director of TTH) brother, Professor Gene Fidell and his students of Indigenous Law at Yale.

The truly remarkable thing was that Dr. Kalamaoka’aina Niheu M.D., philosophically aligned with Osorio, and Michael Lilly, Esq. of the Grassroots Institute of Hawai’i’, AGREED on nearly every point. I kid you not. I was in the studio, and as point after point Niheu and Lilly explained the flaws in the Na’i Aupuni process, I saw historically opposing ‘ike finding common ground. And THAT is what it’s going to take to ensure the Hawaiian Archipelago  finds environmental, economic and sociocultural thrivelyhood.

A joint Skype program between the ThinkTech studio in Honolulu and Yale Law School with guests Dr. Kalamaoka’aina Niheu and Michael Lilly, Esq. Counterpart guests at Yale are Gene Fidell and his class in Native American Law

A joint Skype program between the ThinkTech studio in Honolulu and Yale Law School with guests Dr. Kalamaoka’aina Niheu and Michael Lilly, Esq. Counterpart guests at Yale are Gene Fidell and his class in Native American Law

My desire that the discussion happen, but that the official process be reworked has partially come to pass with GIH’s opposition to the Na’i Aupuni elections being upheld,  As per a press release by Na‘i Aupuni, “it . . . will go forward with a four-week-long ‘Aha in February. All 196 Hawaiians who ran as candidates were offered seats, [152 have agreed to be delegates] to the ‘Aha to learn about, discuss and hopefully reach a consensus on a process to achieve self-governance.” Dr. Kame’eleihiwa is on the list, and already one of her desires has been fulfilled; that of a shorter process.

Convening the ‘Aha  without an election further strengthens arguments about the legitimacy  of Na’i Aupuni as a body representative. However, this ‘Aha could well lead to some substantive discussions and decisions which could then be vetted in a process which actually does have credibility, after the fact.

The process of Na’i Aupuni has already brought forth many new  voices willing to take leadership roles in the Hawaiian community, as well as galvanizing those who disagreed with the process, like Dr. Niheu M.D., and Osorio. A stand out among these young voices is Katie Kamelamela.  I had the distinct honor of spending five days on Kaho’olawe with this fine scholar, a doctoral candidate with degrees in Hawaiian Studies and Botany.  The above link to her candidate profile articulates in concise language a positive  vision for  Native Hawaiians and Hawai’i, including transition to reinstating an independent Hawaiian Nation. Go ahead, here it is again: Katie Kamelamela. While you’re there, take a look at some of the other profiles.

We still have to figure out the mechanics of vetting the ‘Aha, but we do have the advantage of technology.  My cell phone reads my fingerprint, measures my blood oxygen level, and can send photos of my driver’s license anywhere in the world. It is possible to have a secure on-line self-registry of Native Hawaiians, so those who live in Argentina and Tokyo as well as Missouri can participate.  There is no ha’ina ‘ia mai ana kapuana yet for this story. Stay tuned.




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During this holiday hiatus of the livestreamed Hawai’i is My MainLand on Think Tech Hawaii, I’m attempting to catch up on blog entries. Back on November 6th, before the Paris attacks I interviewed Stuart Scott and Anukriti Sud Hittle, both veterans of past COPs, climate change professionals, and on their way to attend.  I found their various approaches fascinating.

Scott left that night for Paris to get things organized for his documentary and other media events, a good month ahead-which means he was there during the attacks.  Here’s a link to his ClimateMatters.tv site with videos taped during COP-21. He interviewed a broad spectrum of individuals from Dr. James Hansen, who first testified before the US Congress on climate change in 1988, to officials from Kiribati and Tuvalu whose lives have already been permanently altered. Scott will be back on Hawaii is My MainLand in February.

Anukriti Sud Hittle returned in time for my last program of 2015. Her report left me feeling  fairly positive about humanity’s ability to address the most significant threat to life on Earth. Here’s the link to research and articles she and her husband Alex Hittle have published, including the Huffpost’s “U.S. and China Collude to Pollute to Gobble Up Global Carbon Pie.”  What really brought it all home was the humorous way she made the abstractness of the huge numbers more digestible.  Grab a bag of chips and a beer and enjoy the show!



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One of the dominant threads I pay attention to is the role of the unseen in the realm of the physical.  Somehow, when I am with other Hawaiians that kicks into turbo.  After Meleanna Meyer’s invitation to an art installation event last Thursday arrived, part of the KUʻU ʻĀINA ALOHA project at Mark’s Garage, I lost no time inviting her to speak about it the following Friday on Think Tech Hawaii.


It was the perfect follow-up to the previous week’s talk with Jon Osorio about the Department of the Interior’s announcement.

The talk with Osorio was distressing in many ways.   The current flurry of activity in labyrinthine processes facing Native Hawaiians seeking restitution, in some as-yet-amorphous dominion, for the loss of Kingdom, kin and culture seem devilishly calculated to distraction from the primary work of personal healing.  How can we work effectively together on political solutions when so many of us are in abject pain, poverty and disease?

The most potent message from Meyer was that holistic healing needs to happen on a personal level, as a first priority. Meyer’s multidimensional project, with David H. Kalama Jr. as Co-creator,  has been a vehicle for her transition.  Suddenly it all made much more sense.

I left the Think Tech Hawaii studio and drove out to Camp Mokule’ia, where Mary and Jon Osorio and 65 other members of Calvary by the Sea Lutheran (ELCA) gathered for our annual weekend-long retreat. The same group of artists– Al Lagunero, Meleanna Meyer, Harinani Orme, Kahi Ching, Carl Pao & Solomon Enos  – who made the mural exhibited at Mark’s Garage, also painted  a couple of them on the campgrounds.  As the weekend unfolded, the presence of Meyer and her collaborators, through the murals, provided a vivid backdrop for our community strengthening programs of yoga, dance, history, art, worship, etc.  As I mentioned in the conversation with Meleanna, Where is the place for Native Hawaiians to gather and learn about our culture, history, without passing entrance exams based on foreign systems of education?  Where is our place as a community to grieve the horrific 90% depopulation of Hawaiian people through the unintended (smallpox, syphilis, measles, etc) genocide of the 19th century? Why not build a puʻuhonua  where we can bury the iwi with proper respect, teach ourselves and the children Hawaiian culture?

Like the Kuʻu ʻĀina Aloha Project, some of this is already happening, especially in the Hawaiian immersion schools, civic clubs, hālau for arts like hula, canoe clubs.  Perhaps the best example of healing through learning about culture is the work of the Polynesian Voyaging Society.  It’s not surprising one of its founders, Myron “Pinky” Thompson had a Masters in Social Work, and dedicated his life to healing what he called the Hawaiian Sickness, but today we would call generational trauma. PVS’s work is certainly not limited to the Hawaiian community, and has become a powerful model globally.


The Beauty of Mauna Kea by Keola Beamer, performed by J. Osorio, B. Kau, T. Sprowls at Camp Mokulēia from Kaui Lucas on Vimeo.

Between Jon and Meleanna, a cohesive picture is emerging, which I endeavor to share. In the meantime,  take the time to participate in the life of your community, whatever it is.  And if that isnʻt your cup of tea, you can always be on the support team for projects like Kuʻu ʻĀina Aloha and PVS’s Mālama Honua Worldwide Voyage, making it possible for this critical work to be done.


In process, the AHA ALOHA AINA MURAL


David H. Kalama, Jr. Managing Partner, Kuʻu ʻĀina Aloha


The artist team included, including Solomon Enos, standing left, Al Lagunero, Kahi Ching, Harinani Orme, (not in picture) Carl F.K. Pao, seated left, Meleanna Meyer seated right.


Meleanna Meyer and Joe McGinn at the Aloha ‘Āina Unity March. Some times healing means taking the issues to the streets.


Sketch for the mural.


Refection and discussion were vital parts of the collaborative process.

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Today’s guests; Meleanna Meyer presents the newest phase of this groundbreaking healing work, an interactive installation at the Arts at Mark’s Garage.  Part of the Kuʻu ‘Āina Aloha project, a muti-modality approach to addressing the lingering impacts of cultural trauma birthed by the 1893 overthrow of the Hawaiian Kingdom.

Absent a Truth and Reconciliation process, the legacy of the overthrow continues to wreak havoc in the lives of  all who live in Hawaiʻi.  From incarceration, houselessness, chronic illness, and the usual post-colonial social ills in the Hawaiian community, to the Maunakea TMT debacle, the greater community of all who live here are in need of a healing process.  Meyer shares her journey.  Tune in at 3pm HST to Think Tech Hawaii.com

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What a day Friday was, from the tribute at Magic Island for kumu hula Leinaʻala Kalama Heine, to Think Tech Hawaii’s studio for premier of Hawaiʻi Is My MainLand.  Hula sister Mary Osorio, with whom I had the honor of being haumana to Leinaʻala, is married to Jon Osorio, the beloved musician, composer, author, scholar, and professor at Kamakakūokalani Center for Hawaiian Studies, at the University of Hawaiʻi.

The theme of the day was the recent Department of the Interior announcement regarding Native Hawaiians.  Jon and I discussed the convoluted issues around nation building within and without the carefully constructed box the proposed DOI rules have made to contain the government Native Hawaiian’s choose to create, 1) if they choose to create one, and 2) if the one they create meets the standards set by DOI. If you really want to do some homework here’s a link to the document, including instructions for submitting comments. It’s only 73 pages, and the summary is only a paragraph.

The pronoun “they” is used although I am part Native Hawaiian, because I don’t have official documents that “prove” it. Jon discussed Naʻi Aupuni‘s  complicated and conflicted role.  I admit after being a conscientious roll objector for decades I had a weak moment a couple of weeks ago when all the announcements about the up coming ʻAha  elections started getting louder. I called Naʻi Aupuni. “Why doesn’t your mother’s birth certificate say Part-Hawaiian? ” the nice Naʻi Aupuni staffer asked.
“Because in 1923 no one wanted to be Hawaiian,” was my too honest answer.

He thought I had an “unusual case,” and should try contacting OHA, which is also still enrolling Hawaiians. Last time I counted I had 50 some relatives within a 1 mile radius. We have lived, loved, and died in Hawai’i generation after generation, since before Captain Cook was a sparkle in his parent’s eyes. Tant pis that my great-grandmother’s handwritten family genealogy, in ‘Ōlelo Hawai‘i just isn’t good enough for the agents of the United States, the State of Hawaii, OHA, Kau Inoa, Kanaʻiolowalu and Naʻi Aupuni.

The biggest takeaway is that this whole DOI process is a red herring, and Jon needs to come back and continue de-mystifying the issues around Native Hawaiians and sovereignty.

Mary P.Bannister Lucasʻs Handwritten Geneaology

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