Why I support Bumpy Kanahele for OHA, and ask you to as well

So, in case you didn't notice, I'm supporting KANAHELE, Dennis "Bumpy" for OHA at-large.

I want to share some reasons from my personal perspective why I think it is very important that Bumpy be elected as an OHA trustee.

First, a bit of background. I first met Bumpy on Maui in 1993 shortly after the 'overthrow' centennial commemorations. I had never really learned about Hawaii's history before, even though I'd been here about nine years, and I was fortunate to have the opportunity for several extended conversations with Bumpy about it. Through his sharing of historical documents and his interpretation of them, the story that he told, he really opened my eyes to a new understanding of Hawaii's political status. The more I learned, the more convinced I became that the U.S. had never legitimately acquired the right to be in Hawaii, and that the Hawaiian state had never really ceased to exist.

I also met my wife-to-be Kekula around that same time, and she also helped educate me about the history and the movement. We soon started working actively with Bumpy and the Ohana Council, running the Maui office.

In 1994, we moved to Waimanalo and were involved in doing media and other support for the Makupu'u Beach occupation, and then when the village of Pu'uhonua O Waimanalo was formed we moved up there, where we lived for about a year and a half. (As testament to the lasting success of this village, the kids who were running around then have now graduated from high school, many with honors, and gone off to top colleges—and they're all fluently bilingual.)

During this time, we worked side by side with Bumpy on a daily basis, building the Nation of Hawaii, holding workshops and kupuna gatherings on all islands, working on a constitution and hosting a constitutional convention, building the hawaii-nation.org website, and many other activities. And dealing with quite a wild cast of characters in the process, including some people who offered a lot of good education on economics and banking among other useful topics.

After Bumpy's politically motivated arrest and prosecution in 1995, the momentum of our organized efforts was disrupted, and Kekula and I ended up moving back to Maui, but in less direct ways we have continued to support Bumpy and his efforts ever since, including being involved in the actions against Bank of America and First Hawaiian Bank for discriminatory lending practices. And I have continued to maintain the hawaii-nation email list until today.

So I have known Bumpy for over twelve years, and for a couple years I worked very closely with him on a daily basis, under some very intense and interesting circumstances. While I have worked with a lot of Hawaiian leaders and support many, I have always had deep respect for Bumpy and the very important role he plays and will continue to play.

So, given that background on our friendship: Here's why I support Bumpy for OHA, and ask you to do so as well.

1) Bumpy is one of the most real, authentic human beings, on a spirit level, who I've ever had the good fortune to meet. He is a truly good man, who cares with deep compassion about his fellow human beings, the earth, and our destiny on it. He is guided by strong moral convictions and the "big picture" in all of his decisions. And he is dedicated to peace and nonviolence.

2) Bumpy works with and listens to and consults with and respects and protects and upholds and cares for na kupuna o Hawai'i Nei. 'nuff sed.

3) Bumpy makes clear that his primary mission is to protect and support na kanaka 'oiwi, the Native Hawaiian people. At the same time, Bumpy is inclusive, both personally and politically. Because of his leadership, those of us non-kanakas involved in the Nation of Hawaii were made to feel totally welcomed and trusted as part of the family. And he has always emphasized the point that the Hawaiian country was, is and will be a multi-racial inclusive country based on nationality, not race; that racial division was imposed from outside; and that non-kanakas have an important role to play in the restoration.

4) Bumpy is both visionary and pragmatic. He thinks "outside the box" and allows his mind to be unrestrained by what we think is difficult or improbable, in order to explore possible solutions, see novel connections, and set long-term objectives. At the same time, he is able to be very realistic about the current context, and is willing to "work within the system" to achieve important short term goals with practical implications for the well-being of people's lives.

5) Bumpy is a great communicator, with both grassroots Hawaiians as well as with non-Hawaiians. He is able to take complex subjects--like international law or banking regulations or socially responsible investment--and explain them using analogies and illustrations that Hawaiians can easily relate to. This is a real gift he has. He also understands the grassroots perspective and will be a champion for that at OHA's table. He can also take Hawaiian perspectives on things and explain them in ways that us haoles can relate to.

6) Bumpy has an astounding depth of knowledge on a diverse range of topics that are relevant for OHA and for nation-building in general. Through self-education and by having valuable mentors in various subjects, Bumpy has become very knowledgeable in areas including international law and politics, plus many aspects of economics, from socially responsible investment to banking, and also health and wellness, which has been his main focus for the last few years (he's also a gifted healer). Check out his list of accomplishments and his bio to see what a diverse range of practical community efforts he's been involved with. And to see all the plans and research he has done and the kind of mind that he has, go look at the photo about two-thirds down this gallery page just below Ka Hae Hawai'i, and look at all the binders behind him—I wish I was that organized.

7) Bumpy has practical plans that he will seek to implement at OHA. First among these is a focus on economics and his banking proposal (see my previous post). OHA and other Hawaiian institutions have millions (with KS, billions) of dollars in assets that are in large part currently on deposit in other banking institutions (or invested in portfolios that have little relation to their missions, and which can also be applied in a more responsible, beneficial ways). These assets can be used to form a bank and then leveraged to much greater benefit in serving Hawaiian needs. Once this economic foundation is implemented, it will be much easier to address all the other social and economic issues -- health, housing, education, etc.

8) Bumpy is for independence and makes that clear and protects that right wherever he goes. Yet his position for OHA is not to push one particular political objective, but to promote education and debate based on informed analysis of the law and history, and for OHA to support a free and fair process so the people can move toward a goal of their choosing, rather than imposing a pre-determined agenda which is not what many Hawaiians agree with. He trusts the outcome once all the mana'o is out and the truth is on the table.

9) Finally, from a standpoint of pure electability, Bumpy has very high name recognition, which is a lot of what the OHA races in particular are about. He also represents a change from the status quo and a fresh voice that I think people are looking for in OHA right now, and he has a platform and proposals that resonate with people if they have a chance to hear his message. I think he can win one of those top three spots.

Now, having said my reasons why I support Bumpy for OHA, I am asking you my friends and readers to vote for him (which all registered voters can do regardless of what island you live on or whether you are Native Hawaiian).

But also to go beyond just voting for him.

I believe that supporting Bumpy and making sure he gets elected is one of the most important things we can do for the next two and a half weeks.

Please do what you can to get involved in his campaign!

Make a contribution online - $10 buys a radio spot. If you have a website or blog, make a link to his website. Write a letter to the editor. Contact his campaign and ask how you can help. Attend a campaign event. Download Bumpy's platform in PDF format and share it with those who no more Internet. Help post yard signs or wave signs. Help your ohana and friends (who are registered voters) submit absentee ballot applications by Oct. 31, and follow up to make sure the ballots get sent in.

Everything helps. Do whatever you can. One action makes a difference. Pick one thing and do it. If you have time, do more.

Let's get Bumpy elected to OHA!


Posted: Fri - October 20, 2006 at 12:57 AM    
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Published On: Oct 24, 2006 08:23 AM
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