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Hawaiian Cultural Practitioner Laulani Teale calls for return of banner


by the City and County of Honolulu.  WE DEMAND IT BACK.
MAY 1st, 2012 9 A.M., Kapiʻolani Park

My name is Laulani Teale.  I am a Hawaiian cultural practitioner from Oʻahu.  Tomorrow, I should be helping my mother, a longtime lei maker and Hawaiian kupuna, to share our Hawaiian culture at the City and County’s Lei Day event at Kapiʻolani Park, as we have done for many years.  Instead, I will be raising my voice in protest at the event, along with others who have been abused by the City.  Here is why.

Yesterday, internationally-renowned mural artist Raul Gonzalez painted a beautiful banner in order to help the Hawaiian people to celebrate Kānāwai Māmalahoe, the Law of the Splintered Paddle, which was declared by Kamehameha I in order to protect the people of Hawaiʻi from governmental abuse, and enshrined in the Hawaii State Constitution.  I was the coordinator for this effort.  The banner was to be used tomorrow during the General Strike event at Thomas Square, to celebrate the efforts of (de)Occupy Honolulu, which will soon (as of May 5) be the longest-running Occupy encampment in the world, to de-occupy Hawaiʻi and make things pono worldwide.

The banner was taken by the City and County of Honolulu during a raid on the (de)Occupy Honolulu encampment this morning.  It was not tagged, and therefore illegally seized, in violation of the City’s ordinance 11-029 (formerly Bill 54), and also in violation of the 1st and 4th amendments of the Hawaii State Constitution, and Kānāwai Māmalahoe itself.  Another banner was also seized, which read “Ua Mau Ke Ea o ka ʻAina I Ka Pono”.  Ironically, this phrase, which is now used as the State motto, was first uttered at Thomas Square by Kamehameha III

We cannot support this kind of abuse.  We cannot pretend that Hawaiian culture is respected by the City and County, when it is not.  Illegal raids are taking place at Thomas Square and houseless encampments throughout Honolulu constantly.  The people of Keaʻau, many of whom are important cultural practitioners and caretakers of the land and sea, were brutally evicted from their homes this past month.  Kānāwai Māmalahoe  must be returned to its rightful place: protecting the people of Hawaiʻi.  Our culture -- and all the people of Hawaii -- must be respected, not stolen. 


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