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Posts Tagged ‘Jon Osorio’

Just click on the arrow and watch. It’s classic Jon. We show a clip from 1982, when he and Randy Borden were playing on the grounds of ‘Iolani Palace where he and scholar/poet/athlete/daughter Jamaica will be playing tomorrow. And thanks, Jamaica, for coming up with the “Hawaiian Dumbledore” sobriquet.

Jon reflects on the gains won through steadfast commitment and sacrifice by generations of Native Hawaiian activists and their supporters. He asserts the preeminent role of artists in animating humanity to embrace the changes required for our survival. Then he shows us how it’s done, by playing beautiful music.

Join us at ‘Iolani Palace Saturday May 14th, 2016  around 1 pm to hear Jon and Jamaica muse and music.  Arrive at 11 am to get in on all the activities of the first Manu o Kū festival. Wear a nature costume. Bring a picnic, or purchase freshly baked pizza from The Garden Oven food truck. It’s one of those events you’ll still be smiling about next week, and next year.

Manu o Kū Festival

 

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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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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.

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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.

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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.

AHA ALOHA AINA MURAL 198

In process, the AHA ALOHA AINA MURAL

Kalama.red

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

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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.

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

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Sketch for the mural.

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Refection and discussion were vital parts of the collaborative process.

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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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When Think Tech Hawaii‘s  Jay Fidell told me last Friday I could have a weekly show from 3-4 on my favorite day of the week, Fridays, I was elated, and grateful, to have a platform to actually dialogue Hawaiʻi issues I care about with knowledgeable, committed, community minded people.  No surprise to those of you who know me that I  soon called  dear friend, musician, and storyteller, Jonathan Osorio; a full professor at Kamakakūokalani Center for Hawaiian Studies,  and recipient of the 2010 Robert W. Clopton Award for Distinguished Community Service. He is also husband of Mary, who is as diversely wonderful in a galaxy of other ways, and father of 5 audaciously talented children.

Photo taken at Calvary by the Sea Lutheran church where the Osorios and I can usually be found on Sunday mornings.

Mary (green dress) and Jon (white aloha shirt) Osorio with friends visiting for a conference on Pacific Island Women this Spring.

What was a surprise, is that a few days after agreeing to be my first guest, he would be spending a very busy media week addressing the announcement by the US Department of the Interior, “. . . proposing a administrative rule to facilitate the reestablishment [sic] of a formal government-to-government relationship with the Native Hawaiian community to more effectively implement the special political and trust relationship that Congress has established between that community and the United States.”  Livestreaming on the internet today at 3pm HST on Think Tech Hawaii‘s digital platform.  Send us your questions via Twitter to @ThinkTechHI. And please, tweet responsibly, don’t tweet and drive.

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