Saturday, January 17, 2009

Lingle held in effigy as Hawaiians converge



WAIKIKI – They have their differences among themselves, but all were united in their anger toward Hawaii Gov. Linda Lingle.

Thousands of Hawaiians and “Hawaiians at heart” marched in the streets of Waikiki today and converged in Kapiolani Park to commemorate the 116th anniversary of the overthrow of the Kingdom of Hawaii.

Even though a century has passed since U.S. forces came to the aid of a Hawaii provisional government and forced Queen Liliuokalani to abdicate her throne – and 50 years has passed since statehood – disputes between the Native Hawaiians and the state government are, if anything, becoming even more inflamed.

At most immediate issue is the Lingle administration’s appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court of a Hawaii Supreme Court opinion that placed a moratorium on the state selling ceded lands until an agreement could be worked out between the state and the Native Hawaiian people. That case is scheduled to be heard in Washington D.C. on Feb. 25.

Ceded lands are lands once owned by the Hawaiian monarchy but ceded to the state to be held in trust for Hawaiians. Ceded lands comprise 1.2 million acres of land on all Hawaiian islands - about 29 percent of the total land mass of the state.

Protesters carried a huge effigy of Lingle, along with signs saying “Lingle thou shalt not steal,” “Return stolen ceded lands” and “America get your ass out of Hawaii.”

Lingle could not be reached for comment today, a Saturday, but she has defended her administration’s actions in the past.

“Anyone who characterizes our taking this case to the United States Supreme Court as somehow being against Hawaiian rights is simply misrepresenting our position on the situation,” Lingle said in a Nov. 24 news conference defending the state’s stance. “The issue involving the ceded lands is an important one for the state because it affects all the people, the Native Hawaiians and non Native Hawaiians.”