Aha Moku who?
Much has been said about an Oct. 13, 2008, letter that was written to President Bush by a group of Hawaiians called the Aha Moku Council, asking him to not designate the Northern Marianas National Marine Monument.
This group is a creation of the Western Pacific Fisheries Management Council. The Aha Moku Council is supposed to organize and consult with Native Hawaiians who represent their ahupua'a, a traditional land division system in Hawaii.
The Aha Moku Council has not yet organized, nor have they consulted with any of the Hawaiian groups representing their ahupua'a on Hawaiians taking a position on the creation of the Northern Marianas National Marine Monument and yet, at the urging of WESPAC, sent a letter, purporting to represent the Native Hawaiian's position.
The letter that states, “When you created the Papahanumokuakea National Marine Monument, it was done without the participation of Native Hawaiian people.” It further states the name Papahanaumokuakea “was the name the your administration picked for the Monument.
”This is typical WESPAC misinformation. The name “Papahanaumokuakea” was chosen by the Native Hawaiian working group of the North-Western Hawaiian Islands Coral Reef Ecosystem Reserve Advisory Council. This Reserve was the precursor to the Monument.President Clinton in an Executive Order, designated that three members of this Council should be Native Hawaiians, with one seat reserved for a Kupuna or elder. WESPAC, on the other hand, has no such requirement to have a Hawaiian on its Council.
The Native Hawaiian Working group met over the course of more than six months to consider several names for the Monument. The debate amongst Hawaiians was fierce but amiable, ultimately choosing Papahanaumokuakea. Hawaiians were at the forefront of the creation of the Reserve and continue to be consulted and have a place on the Management Board of the Monument.
The largest group of cultural practitioners in Hawaii, Ilio ula o ka lani, has demonstrated its support for the Monument by having representatives fly to Washington on numerous occasions and by attending close to a hundred meetings on the process. On one occasion, organizing a 10,000-person march on Waikiki to show support for the process.
Please do not allow the misinformation of the eight people on the Aha Moku Council, created by WESPAC, who have not consulted with Native Hawaiians as described in their organizational documents, to influence the people of the CNMI. Check out the facts, consider your needs and the future legacy that you leave for the children of the CNMI.
WESPAC has a direct state in the matter and that is the reason for the misinformation campaign. Should President Bush and the people of the CNMI approve a Monument, then WESPAC loses jurisdiction over fisheries in the Monument. For WESPAC, it's all about them, and not about you or the resources of CNMI. Don't be fooled!
William J. Aila Jr.
Tuesday, December 2, 2008
There is a letter in the Saipan Tribute today written by Mr. William J. Aila Jr. from Hawaii.