home imipono about
facebook flickr youtube twitter

DLNR attempts to thwart Hawaiians from Sovereign Sunday

Advertiser Staff
Published: Aug 17, 2009

go to original

State Dept.of Land and Natural Resources police officers take down a tent at
'Iolani Palace in Honolulu on Sunday afternoon.
REBECCA BREYER | The Honolulu Advertiser

Officials took away three tents from Hawaiian groups at 'Iolani Palace who were there yesterday to observe the anniversary of the overthrow of the Hawaiian government in 1893.

They did not remove the two flags or display material, tables and chairs brought onto the palace grounds. Yesterday, the small group of men and women were there to recognize the start of the overthrow, something they've done every year for the past 20 years.

"The state has never stopped us before," said Baron Ching, a member of the Sacred Times and Sacred Places organization, which oversees the maintenance of the burial mound on the palace grounds. "They said they'd arrest us if we go into Pohukaina.

"We're not the interlopers here. We come every month to malama this place. We are doing the job we've been asked to do."

The tensions ran high between state Department of Land and Natural Resources and the members of the sovereign groups. Before the tents were removed, the DLNR enforcement officers surrounded the group as they held hands, sang "Hawai`i Pono`i" and prayed.

"As long as there are less than 25 people gathering they can assemble," said Dan Quinn, state Department of Land and Natural Resources parks administrator. "Our officers are here as a precaution."

Under newly adopted rules, the items represented a violation of state Department of Land and Natural Resources rules governing the palace. The rules have been more stringently adhered to in recent months since a group of Hawaiians occupied the palace on Statehood Day in August.

Security high at 'Iolani Palace event

By Suzanne Roig
Advertiser Staff Writer

go to original

Native Hawaiian groups tested the state's new rules governing 'Iolani Palace yesterday during their annual Sovereign Sunday event.

Puanani Rogers, right, of Kupuna, Kaua'i, shared a hug yesterday with
Nancy Fan of Manoa at a gathering of Native Hawaiian groups on the grounds of
'Iolani Palace, with state Department of Land and Natural Resources enforcement
officers nearby.
Photos by REBECCA BREYER | The Honolulu Advertiser

Kahumanu Mook, of Waimanalo, prayed at 'Iolani Palace during yesterday's
gathering of Native Hawaiian groups

No one was cited and no one was arrested, but more than 20 state Department of Land and Natural Resources enforcement officers were on hand to ensure that a group of Hawaiians followed the rules.

The officers stood in a cluster while a variety of Hawaiian groups occupied the Diamond Head makai corner of the palace near the Pohukaina burial mound. Most were there to honor their culture and recognize the start of the January 1893 overthrow of the Hawaiian monarchy.

One of the groups, Sacred Times and Sacred Places, comes to 'Iolani Palace each month to care for the burial mound.

Officials removed three canopy tents erected by the groups, but did not touch the Hawaiian flags, information displays or chairs or tables that had been erected.

"We tried to be culturally sensitive, but we have our jobs to do," said Guy Chink, a DLNR O'ahu Branch manager who led the enforcement team. "We will issue a citation to the owner of the tents and if no one claims ownership then the tents are considered found property."

No one claimed the tents, and no citations were issued. But there was a lot of tension.

"In the past 11 years no one in that time has stopped us," said Baron Chink, a member of the Sacred Times and Sacred Places organization. "We do the work here, not DLNR. As far as I'm concerned we are the authorized ones to enter, not the DLNR. We are not the interlopers here."

The new rules were adopted after two takeover attempts were made last year by two separate groups. One takeover occurred in April and a second, in which the group entered the palace and the 'Iolani Barracks building, led to arrests in August. Both spurred the state Land Board to pass new rules governing the 11-acre grounds. The rules bar unauthorized occupation of the palace.

The rules also spell out other prohibited activities on the palace grounds, including harassing palace workers or visitors and interfering with the public's use of the premises.

Under the new rules, no more than 25 people are allowed to gather, no banners larger than a specific size can be erected and no tents are allowed on the grounds without permits. Overnight camping also is not allowed.

The officers were on hand yesterday because of concern that there would be a large demonstration on the palace ground, said Kippen de Alba Chu, Friends of 'Iolani Palace director.

"They did this earlier last week too for another sovereignty group who wanted to camp there the whole week," de Alba Chu said. "They are trying to be consistent with each group and they are there there to make sure the rules are adhered to."

"This is still our place," said Lynette Cruz, a Hawaiian independence supporter. "Our job today is to remember who we are. We are not here to take over the palace, but to honor our heritage."

Reach Suzanne Roig at sroig@honoluluadvertiser.com.

back to documents
©2008 Statehood Hawaii