Pacific American-News Journal
Kepakemapa - September 1996 Volume 2 Issue 9
A signal for Caution
Caution is the watchword to be gleaned from the results of the
Native Hawaiian Vote released.
The vote tally suggests strong sentiment in favor of a
convention to propose a Native Hawaiian government. But to say
that represents the majority opinion of Hawaiians or that all
hold the same vision is saying far more than we know.
Only 33,000 out of 82,000 ballots were mailed back. That is a
return of 40 percent, much lower than the 73 percent return in
the 1994 Office of Hawaiian Affaires election.
Whether because of apathy confusion, or a protest of the
Native Hawaiian Vote itself, the return suggests people may have
wanted more information. It may also suggest a clear division
within the Hawaiian community over holding the vote at all.
Additionally, about a fourth of the eligible ballots rejected
the idea of a convention. That is no small number in any
tally and should give pause to convention supporters.
The Native Hawaiian Vote tracks results of the Advertiser's
Hawaii Poll that suggest Hawaiians generally favor sovereignty,
but that they want to learn more about it and worry about its
One could draw the same conclusion from the latest tally. As
the process moves forward, everyone - Hawaiian and non-Hawaiian
alike - should bear this in mind and proceed with care.
Many Hawaiians are ready to move forward on the road to
sovereignty, but a significant number are choosing to tarry.
If the process of Hawaiian self-determination is to be truly
representative, then efforts must be made to bring as many as
possible to the table.
If the process is to be successful, it cannot end in isolation
or separation of Hawaiians from each other and the rest of the
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