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March 13, Statehood Commission Meeting

March 14, 2008

When Trustee Cataluna speaks, why does the sky open and what is that vast ear that appears?

Just after the Call to Order, at which time Kippen de Alba Chu asks if there are any comments to be made from the peanut gallery– which is usually the time I stand up and bring to attention something tangentially relevant to this project– Trustee Cataluna, stole my moment by declaring to Kippen that under no conditions were any activities to be planned at ?Iolani Palace. He went on to say it was inappropriate to plan any event regarding Hawai?i and statehood at the Palace. Reminding the Commission of the overthrow of Queen Lili?uokalani, the 36 sovereignty groups and the 85,000 members of Kau Inoa, he said that the use of the Palace for a statehood celebration would amount to “bloodshed.”

Bloodshed. A blanket of silence fell across the Commission. Bloodshed, an image that seemed to resonate in all who were there to hear it. In that one moment, the entire Commission understood the potential conflict that the statehood controversy encompassed. This statement was after all, directed to Kippen de Alba Chu, the director of ?Iolani Palace, who during the February Statehood Commission meeting said that he considered having a reenactment held at ?Iolani Palace.

Just a few days ago, Kippen was quoted as having said that “The festivities will highlight the islands’ accomplishments since 1959, and there also could be educational events to discuss the overthrow of the Hawaiian monarchy that eventually led to statehood,…There won’t be accommodations for those who reject the United States and claim Hawaii is still an independent nation.”.

Kippen?s statement created quite a backlash and several of the sovereignty activists expressed disbelief that he had said such. Apparently, he had promised the sovereignty people that ?Iolani Palace would play no part in the Statehood Celebration. It now seems unlikely that Kippen would want to do anything but wash his hands at the Palace. Towards the end of the meeting Kippen clarified that there were going to be no celebrations at the Palace.

Terri K. responded that Cataluna’s remarks perpetuated the stereotype of the “angry Hawaiian.” Being that most of the commission members are non-kanaka maoli, I think her remark was well-founded. Cataluna struck at the root of everyone’s fear.

When my moment came, I stood up and acknowledged that much of what was being submitted on the fifdififdi site was indeed congruent with Cataluna?s statement and officially supported his recommendation. Also, I wanted to let everyone know that we were launching the social-networking fifdififdi site at 39Hotel at the end of the month.

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