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Indigenous Land Rights

In collective Polynesian terminology, the land: aina, fanua, fonua,fenua, whenua, vanua, is “Tapu” or sacred. It is a stablizing and cohesive force that enables an indigenous people and culture, to reaffirm cultural beliefs,values,practices and kinship ties to each other as well as to the land itself.  For indigenous peoples and cultures, such as the Pacific Islanders, the land is their life’s blood. It is integral in the survival of the collective group, and not just the individual. LAND, is an integral factor that sustains our identity and survival, as a People and Culture. When I think of the word "Land", I think of the sacred yet significant aspect of the samoan vernacular in "fanua" and "ele'ele," which is womb, placenta and blood. Land is synonymous with Woman, Mother, the female life giving source,the womb of Life and Sustenance. We are nurtured, just as vulnerable new life in the womb is nurtured and sustained. We are connected to that source of life, like the placenta and umbilical cord we receive our life's blood, our sustenance and survival from our Mothers.

The Hawaiian people’s land rights claim is a rightful one. In essence, it is a claim that preexists and predates the "just laws" governing the ideal of  "individual land ownership. Like the ever changing, breathing and living Earth; indigenous cultures like that of the Hawaiians, must be allowed to thrive. It must find its just course and rightful niche in society. Culture is meant to be alive,to be experienced, lived and practiced daily. A living, breathing entity in its own right. It should not be relegated as some concept of the distant past, shelved and forgotten, to be found only in tourist venues, museums, and history's pages. More so, it should not have to be coerced into revival amidst a climate of social and political animus and apathy. 

The land rights of Pacific indigenous peoples, like the native Hawaiians, should not be treated as an anachronism. It becomes a societal issue and responsibility. It reflects the disintegration of social, moral and political contracts within the present governing institutions or society.

Comments

JaniceW's picture

Powerful argument

Welcome to PulseWire. It is a joy to have a member join us from the Hawaiian Islands and Pacific Rim. You have some compelling statements in this letter to the editor but for the purposes of My Story, it needs to be under 250 words. You have raised some interesting points here and I wonder if you have the time today to edit it down to a concise argument that states your views out of the context of the article to which you are responding.

We have few Pacfic voices here on PulseWire so I hope that you will continue to share your thoughts, ideas and dreams with us. I look forward to reading more from you as a voice of Polynesia and the Pacific. Welcome.

Pacific_Pearl's picture

Thank You

Janice,

Thank you very much for the "heads up" on my submission. I will work on trying to condense it ASAP, as well as keeping to the point. This was a Letter to the Editor for one of the local newspapers. Unfortunately, I never submitted it.

I am quite humbled and honored as well, to be a member of the PulseWire Community and Sisterhood of Women. Thank you so very much for the warm welcome. It is Appreciated.

michellee's picture

A warm welcome!

Hi,

I wanted to properly welcome you to our community. I am so glad that you joined and feel compelled to advance the rights of indigenous people. Many of us on PulseWire share your passion and I know you will find a lot of support here. A couple years ago I stayed with a friend who grew up on the beautiful island of Oahu, and it was so interesting to see how the touristy areas of Hawaii contrast with the "real" Hawaii. I would love to explore some of the other islands that are less popular with tourists. Let me know if you have any questions about the community and I will help to get you started. I look forward to hearing more from you on PulseWire!

Be well,
Michelle

Michelle
World Pulse Technology Associate

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