Native Hawaiians sign roll call, form governing body - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

Native Hawaiians sign roll call, form governing body

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John Waihee John Waihee
Naalehu Anthony Naalehu Anthony
U.S. Sen. Daniel Akaka U.S. Sen. Daniel Akaka
HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) -

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - At Washington Place, the sounding of conch shells preceded a plea from the chairman of the Native Hawaiian Roll Commission.

"For all of us who aloha Hawaii, now is the time to stand and be counted," John Waihee said.

Last year Gov. Neil. Abercrombie created the five-member commission to oversee the registering of Hawaiians who want to participate in organizing a governing entity.

"For us, the goal is not just getting a number. The goal is engaging our community in making sure that our community moves along with us as we work towards self-governance," commission member Naalehu Anthony said.

In a taped message, U.S. Sen. Daniel Akaka told the audience "this is an effort that has been needed all these years."

Akaka, the key proponent of federal recognition for native Hawaiians, was the first to join the roll.

The commission has a year to gather signatures. In 2013 they'll turn them over to the governor.

"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," Abercrombie said.

Non-Hawaiians can also participate by signing a petition affirming they agree with native Hawaiian sovereignty.

"We need your help," Waihee said. "We cannot do this alone. This task was given to you as well as to us."

Opponents of the roll commission's effort say it will divide Hawaiians and ensnare Hawaii in the U.S. system.

"I would invite all groups to come and walaau and to talk story with us to understand what perspective we have and where we're coming from because it is meant to be the most inclusive thing as possible," Anthony said.

The project has been named Kanaiolowalu, the sound of coming together.

To register with the Native Hawaiian Roll Commission click HERE

 

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