Nation of Hawaii struggles featured in 'Hawaii Five-0'

Nation of Hawaii on 'Hawaii Five-0' (8a)
Updated: Jan. 19, 2017 at 3:23 PM HST
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WAIMANALO, OAHU (HawaiiNewsNow) - The next episode of "Hawaii Five-0" may be more fact than fiction.

Producers say they wanted to tackle a real issue with a storyline that has relevance in today's world so they decided to feature the ongoing struggle of Native Hawaiians seeking recognition as a sovereign people following the overthrow of the Kingdom of Hawaii 124 years ago.

"Ka Laina Ma Ke One (Line in the Sand)," which airs Friday, is about a fugitive seeking asylum in the Nation of Hawaii.

The trailer for the episode features a standoff between the U.S. Marshals and the Five-0 crew, who have to inform guest star Lou Diamond Phillips that he doesn't have the jurisdiction to chase after a murder suspect in the area because the Nation of Hawaii isn't part of the United States.

While the storyline may be made for television, the issue is all too real -- and so is the Nation of Hawaii where it was filmed.

"The concept was to come up with a storyline that would allow the audience to understand more about the sovereign country within the state. So a diplomatic standoff felt like the right way into that world," said "Hawaii Five-0" producer Bryan Spicer.

"We really just wanted to tell a story deeply rooted in Hawaiian culture and share that with the world. The history of this Nation is not something that a lot of the world -- or even our country knows about -- so if we can create some awareness or discussion I think that would be beneficial."

That's exactly what advocate and head of state of the Nation of Hawaii, Bumpy Kanahele, is hoping for as well.

"The goal of this exposure is to bring awareness of our struggles to bring awareness of the overthrow may have been 124 years ago but today the manifestation of that damage still exists," he said.

"I want the world to know that Hawaiians have our own identity. We are Hawaiian Nationals. Our national sovereignty returned to us in 1993 when the U.S. apologized for the overthrow in law. We've done everything from that point on until today, which has brought us to the point where producers from Hollywood was interested in a story. It's kind of like a reality show for real."

The Nation of Hawaii has a long, complicated history.

In short, the area it calls home -- Puuhonua o Waimanalo -- was created in 2001 when the Nation of Hawaii entered into a lease agreement with the state with the understanding that if and when a government of and by Native Hawaiians is formed, it would become its land base.

Producers say they specifically timed the episode to air this week in commemoration of the 124th anniversary of the overthrow of the government of the Kingdom of Hawaii, which took place on January 17, 1893.

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