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A Letter of Aloha to the Lāhui Hawaiʻi

PC - Mengshin Lin for The Washington Post

E ka Lāhui kamahaʻo kū i ka lā welawela, aloha ʻoukou.

For centuries Kānaka have tirelessly advocated for our land and resources. With ʻike pāpālua we have warned for generations about improper land management practices, plantation legacies, unsustainable resource management, extractive economies, and the displacement of our people. So few have heeded our cries. And so on dry, arid, landscapes where sugar and pineapple plantations left behind an ecological crisis, we stand begging to see our streams flow, our native crops reintroduced, our ahupuaʻa systems restored. We have gone to the powers that be and asked them to listen, to open their eyes and turn the page. Unfortunately, no matter how we organize, no matter what we say or do, it seems that nothing can be done to render our lives believable.

Now as our people gather on the ashes of Lāhainā, it is our hope that they will see us and they will hear us. It was our people who warned them of a potential tragedy of this nature, and when fire came and took Lāhainā, it was our people who mobilized to help. Because that is what a Lāhui does for each other. Before the United States government could even think about responding, our people were there providing support and relief on the ground. We have initiated and led every effort to get relief to those in need, giving everything we can to those who have lost so much. We do not need any more proof that the state of Hawaiʻi is indeed a fake state, not only for legal reasons, but because they are fundamentally incapable of providing their people with safety and basic needs when it is most needed. It has never been more certain and clearer that our Lāhui not only lives - but thrives.

To the people and descendants of Lāhainā, we will follow your lead as we restore nā ʻāina o Lele. To the Kānaka and Kamaʻāina that stand in the hot sun on the outskirts of the ashes and ruins, we stand with you, listening to your needs, waiting for your call, and organizing to provide kōkua. To the state and federal governments, we are watching you. No one is better suited to protect, restore, and fight for Hawaiʻi than Kānaka. We will not stand aside and let this happen again.

The pride we have for our Lāhui is outshined only by the deep kaumaha we have for those who have lost so much. In the face of this insurmountable ʻeha, we must huddle close together and maintain our aloha for one another. There is no love like aloha, and there is no aloha like that which we have for each other and our ʻāina.

E ola loa ka Lāhui Hawaiʻi.

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