Speech by the Native Hawaiian Leader Haunani-Kay Trask for the 1993 Centennial Commemoration of the American overthrow of the Hawaiian Kingdom
Aloha, my people, aloha.
I want to talk today about the causes, both historical and contemporary, for the situation that we, the native people of Hawai’i, now find ourselves in.
If we go back in time to contact with the syphilitic Captain Cook, what we realize is that the first thing that was a gift of Western civilization was disease. The second thing that was a gift of Western civilization was violence — they tried to take our chief hostage, and as a result of that we killed him. That was called Justice. Death to the conqueror is justice, that’s what it is.
In 1848 the missionaries — the disease-laden racists — that’s a very good word. Racism. Racist. Race. Very very good words. These were racist people. They came here to colonize us because we didn’t have the right gods. Who were they to say we didn’t have the right gods? Who were they to say that? And what are their descendants doing today — Mr. Freddy Rice, taking away our entitlements. That is the geneology of racism. They came with racism in their hearts, they lived here with racism in their hearts, and they are still racists today.
And Hawaiians, do not be afraid to name the enemy. The enemy is racism. Your own people can practice racism. Your own people can tell you, as they always tell me, “Don’t be so angry!” Why not? Why not? Do we think Kamehameha was a peacemaker? Only when he defeated his enemies.
Don’t let anybody tell you not to be angry. We have every right to be angry. We have every reason to be angry. And we ARE angry. And the reason that we’re angry — the reason we are angry — is because this is OUR country, and they took our government and imprisoned our queen — right here she was imprisoned in her palace. And they banned our language. And then they forcibly made us a state of the racist, colonialist United States of colonial America. Do you have a right to be angry? Of course you do. Of course you do!
Never, never forget your own history. We don’t need to know what the haole is telling us. What we need to know is what really happened to our people. Who brought the disease? Who created private property? Who overthrew our queen? You won’t find any Hawaiians there. There were FOREIGNERS who overthrew our queen. There were FOREIGNERS who made us a state. There were FOREIGNERS. And they are still FOREIGNERS today. Rice. Conklin. Burgess. They are FOREIGNERS. This is OUR country Hawaiians.
And you have to stand up and tell the truth. That is our job. That is what the great Black American leader said. [chanting] “Tell the truth. Tell the truth.” His name was Malcolm X. We must tell the truth. And that is the truth.
Foreigners came. They conquered. They took our lands. They imprisoned our queen. And THEY divided us by blood quantum. THEY did. Isn’t it ironic that a HAOLE — Freddy Rice — Mr. missionary, whose illustrious ancestor overthrew Kalakaua and created the bayonet constitution that that racist man, who received so much of our land, now says that we are racists. IMPOSSIBLE! That is impossible!
You have to have power to be a racist. Number one. Do we have power? No. But Freddy Rice does. Ken Conklin does. Burgess does. They all have power. The power of white supremacy. The power of white courts. The power of a white country called the United States of white America.
I don’t understand why Hawaiians aren’t angry. I don’t understand it. Every time somebody tells me I’m so angry at 5 ft. 4, 120 pounds my answer to them is “And why aren’t you?” What is the matter with our people that they are not angry! It’s not enough to pray to the kupuna, to pray to gods. It’s not enough to participate in culture. Those things are important, but they are not important as politics.
Politics has to do with power. Who has it and who doesn’t. Do WE have power? No! If we have power, what are we doing here? They took away the queen’s land. They did. Who is “they?”
The city council. Hawaiians didn’t have city council. That was created during after the overthrow, during the Territory. That’s not OUR political form. Why do we have to be subjugated to them? Why do we have to be subjugated to the state? To the federal government? The racist Bush “bomb every dark person” federal government.
Why are WE, as native people, subjugated in our own land? Why are we made to be afraid? Because we are colonized. We live in a colony. The United States of America. All that military theft of our lands, our homelands, our ceded lands, all of that, all of that was done by the United States of America.
All you Hawaiians who think the United States is good think again. Take my class. Hawaiian Studies 390. Read the Blount Report. Read the report that shows what the haoles [white people] thought of us. They think the same thing today. That’s where we get Rice and Conklin and Burgess. These are your ENEMIES Hawaiians, your ENEMIES. When Kamehameha was getting ready to go to war, he didn’t sit there and think, “Oh gee I wonder if we should make nice. I wonder if I should go over to Kahekili and say hey, let’s have a little pa’ina [party].” No.
When you gonna make war, you get your facts down and you make war. The opposition knows that. Aren’t they making war against us? You bet they are. Who do you think is funding that war? The guy who owns the Advertiser that’s who. Whose illustrious ancestor overthrew the queen, created the Mahele. Learn your history, and then you will know which side of history you belong on.
And you do not belong on the American side. You do not belong on the Hawai’i state side. You belong on the side of your people –lahui Hawai’i [racially defined Hawaiians] — that’s the side you belong on.
And if people are upset, so what? So what? I’m so tired of people telling me I make them feel bad. Good! Ten flights a day. United Airlines. Beat it!
If this is our country then we have to ACT like it is our country. I don’t want to see people walking around at the University of Hawai’i walking like this [shuffling, downcast]. I never walk like that. And I’m only five feet four and a half inches. I never walk like that. If this is your country then BEHAVE like it’s your country. You tell those racist haoles “You’re a racist haole.” That’s the word we need to use. RACIST!
Racism. That is what is going on right here and right now in Hawai’i. The same thing that’s going on against Black Americans. The same thing that’s going on by Bush. Bush wants to bomb Islamic countries. Why? Because he’s a racist. Because Islamic people don’t believe in Christianity. Because they have their own region of the world, called the Middle East. Who bombed us? Wasn’t Hawaiians.
We need to think very, very clearly about who the enemy is. The enemy is the United States of America, and everybody who supports it. Rice. Conklin. Burgess.
You have to know which side of history you’re on, and who is there with you. They are not there with you, Hawaiians. They want to take every single thing away from you.
And now, let us go to the city council. Where is the position on the city council? They want the land. The queen’s land. Every time somebody says the queen was racist, I laugh. If she was a racist, why did she leave her entitlements to orphan Hawaiian children? Why did Bernice leave her moneys and lands to the Kamehameha Schools? Not because they were racists. But because they understood as ali’i their job was to care for their people — for lahui Hawai’i. And right now, right now what we have is another foreign entity named the city council, filled with FOREIGNERS, named city council persons, who want to take away our land. When your children say to you, “Auntie, why are they doing that?” “Mom and Dad, why are they doing that?” Your answer is “Because they are racists. Because they want to take every last entitlement that Hawaiians have, and replace our own people with FOREIGNERS.”
We have the largest diaspora in Hawai’i, which means people out-migrated. And who are those people? The native people of Hawai’i, that’s who they are. The native people. This is what is affecting us today is RACISM. And we have to tell it like it is. As Black people say, it’s not [inaudible], it’s racism. That’s what it is. You are not a racist because you fight racism. You’re a warrior, like I am. You are a warrior.
You name it. You name — you name the enemy. You name the enemy so your people know who the enemy is. The enemy is anybody who takes anything from Hawaiian people. I don’t care who they are. I don’t care what their position is. That is your enemy. And we need Hawaiians to understand that.
We need to have an analysis of the current situation and understand that. And once we understand that we will not be afraid to speak the truth. Malcolm X used to always say “Speak the truth brother, speak the truth.” What’s wrong with the truth? It’s the truth. That’s why nobody wants us to speak the truth. And that’s what we need to do. And that’s what the purpose of this rally is today. To speak the truth.
And the truth is, that racists are taking everything away from Hawaiians, and they will not be content until Hawai’i has no Hawaiians left. That IS the truth. And I don’t care what their names are. That is their intent. Ku’e! [resist] Ku’e! Ku’e! Mahalo nui. [thanks very much]
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