Pacific American-News Journal
Iulai-July 1996 Volume 2 Issue 7
Breaking Down Walls Through Culture
by David Cooper, PAF.
The quest for self determination by Native Hawaiians
encompasses education, health, business, religion, language and
staying out of prisons.
Yes, staying out of prisons...not going in...and never
While Native Hawaiians make up approximately 20% of the
population of the State of Hawaii, their numbers in the Hawaii
State prison systems far, far exceed what is acceptable.
Why? The traditional Western answers explain the what and the
how, but the incidents leading to incarceration could have been
If culture was permitted to be a full part of their growing
lives; if philosophy, language, lua, family values and kupunas
were as muck a part of who they were as they learned to stand
tall, then this editorial would never have been needed, just as
surely as night follows day.
What we are learning from Alu Like is that when a cultural
reawakening program, in combination with counseling and
education, becomes a part of rehabilitation, only 3% of offenders
return. Without the program, the rate is 60%.
The walls of prison happen. But at what price for indigenous,
Mana, spirit, pride and culture make the walls disappear.
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Last modified: February 28, 1998
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