A Hawaiian group began distributing leaflets in Waikiki yesterday to educate tourists about the sovereignty of the Hawaiian people.
Activist Dennis "Bumpy" Kanahele and about 15 members of The Nation of Hawaii distributed their message near the Duke Kahanamoku statue from beneath a banner proclaiming: "We are not Americans, Free Hawai'i."
The handout includes a copy of the 1993 Apology Resolution that former President Bill Clinton signed in the 100th year after American businessmen overthrew Queen Liliuokalani.
It's not a Yankee-go-home message, said Kanahele.
"We want to get support from tourists and give them a basic political education that everyone needs, including people who live in Hawaii. Even though you're here for a vacation, at least understand there was an overthrow, understand why you see the Hawaiian flag being flown upside down."
Kanahele said the leafleting will continue and the next step will be "opening communication and discussion with the tourist industry."
"We need the Hawaii Convention and Visitor Bureau, the hotels to support us in the effort," he said. "The tourist industry has made billions off our backs, exploited our culture. We want to seriously ask them to support us. We're telling people that we need a constitutional convention just like Iraq and Afghanistan. It has to be run by the people."
Kanahele said the effort reflects his personal frustration at the stall in the sovereignty movement's goal to gain control of land and other assets.
"I tried to work within the system for the past five years. It doesn't work. I am against the government bureaucracy; the bureaucracy has made it impossible to unite."
He said, "The core of the message is the Hawaiian people need to get at the table with government and financial institutions."
Kanahele said "billions in assets are in jeopardy" and criticized the lack of state support for a plan to launch a native Hawaiian bank.
He said the plan hinged on a Bank of America loan for Hawaiian homesteaders, which was discussed in the late 1990s before the bank's local operation was sold to American Security Bank.
Seen at http://starbulletin.com/2004/01/14/news/story10.html