Thursday, February 26, 2009

Bloody Inheritance!

Hawaiians are again being restricted from properly enjoying our inheritance. People such as attorney H. William Burgess and activist Kenneth R. Conklin have aggressively sought to label native Hawaiians as racially discriminatory for not offering all-inclusive access to our properties and heritage. The Governor seeks now to validate confiscation. Labeling Hawaiians as racist is an outrage - most of us come from multiethnic families, we ourselves most of us are multiracial, highly generous, and have 'calabash cousins' of assorted backgrounds. In fact, this dispute over who is Hawaiian and who is entitled to inheritance is a crass attempt to further erode, divide and break-up our extended Hawaiian 'ohana.

Let's look at inheritance on the mainland. The courts support inheritance; nobody presumes the right to force their way onto the properties of the Rockefeller families. More importantly, who is a Rockefeller? Old John D. Rockefeller married Cettie Spellman, outside his blood family, so by "blood quantum" the kids were only half Rockefeller. Their great-grandchildren, West Virginia Sen. Jay Rockefeller and the late Arkansas Lt. Gov. Winthrop Rockefeller (among others) have only one-eighth a Rockefeller bloodline. This didn’t interfere with their inheritance of wealth, property and family pride.

Native Hawaiians are being critically misled and deceived by blood quantum arguments. Perhaps we marry Kanaka Maoli, perhaps otherwise; those marrying into the wide world of non-Hawaiians should not feel compromised. As fully as other wealthy people, we can and must hand-down to our children an appreciation of heritage, family pride and individual identity. John D. Rockefeller Jr. was never led to feel himself a half-breed.

Wake up 'ohana! Over the years many waves of migrants have found Hawaii. Some joined our families or were otherwise invited to share our blessings. We can all enjoy a dynamic & loving community. But we'll not be forced from our heritage by arrogant colonists or treacherous repression. Stand tall!

(Dr. Bruce Henry Lambert)
former Kamehameha Schools Na Poki'i Hawaiian scholar
University of Oxford