|<--||4. HISTORY & CONTEXT||CONTENTS||6. GOVERNMENT GIS||-->|
In order to set the ethnographic context of our work, we will give asuccinct introduction to the Nation of Hawai`i and the village it helped tocreate and in which we lived during our research in Hawai`i. This account ofthe Nation of Hawai`i is pieced together through conversations, interviews,book and newspaper research, and general 'ethnographic osmosis.' It combinesboth the creation story of the Nation itself from its point of view, as well asour own investigations and synthesis from various sources. This brief overviewis limited by many factors, but mostly in working with an area of suchemotional intensity and ferment as Hawaiian sovereignty, with a group asrecently emergent as the Nation of Hawai`i, there are bound to be many versionsof history and accounts of its current state. Also, as we are outsiders wewill inevitably have a limited perspective. Our purpose here is to give thereader a concise sense of the Nation of Hawai`i and its story; we do not havespace or presumption to do much more than that. While some of what we write isalso contained in our history section; 4.1.4 ; we repeat certain parts of it inthis context to help the reader better understand this intricate subject.
As an essential foundation in understanding the Nation of Hawai`i andHawaiian sovereignty, we would like to briefly describe what we have learned ofthe traditional Hawaiian relation to the "Aina," or land. From ourconversations, research, and overall impressions so far, we feel that theHawaiian people's relationship with the land forms a center of both "theHawaiian spirit," and the Nation of Hawai`i's continuing work. This point isimportant for Westerners, because the traditional Hawaiian relationship to theland is significantly different from the typical Western relationship to, andcommodification of land. The traditional Hawaiian practice of Malama Aina (care of the land) resulted in enduring self-sufficiency for the islands'nearly one million inhabitants, (near to present population levels), before thearrival of the haoles in the 18th century.
In a chapter entitled "Kalai`aina, the Politics of Traditional LandTenure," Lilikala Kame`eleihiwa (1992) emphasizes in Native Land and ForeignDesires the historical importance of Aina, or land, for Hawaiiansociety.
In Hawai`i, as in other parts of the world, control of the Aina has longbeen recognized as the basis for sovereignty. This was especially true intraditionally Hawaiian society before Kamehameha united the islands. At thattime, the ultimate control of all Aina was vested in the mo`i of eachisland, as he or she was the paramount Chief. Control of Aina is notthe same as ownership of Aina, in the Western capitalist sense. Intraditional Hawaiian society, Aina was given from one person to another,but was never bought or sold. If in Hawaiian metaphor, all Aina andproducts of the Aina - in fact life itself - proceed from theAkua, then "ownership" of the Aina and all wealth emanating fromthe Aina rightfully belong to those Akua from whom they proceed.(Kame`eleihiwa, 1992: 2)
That Malama Aina was woven into the fabric of Hawaiian culture mayexplain some of the strong feelings about the land among today's Hawaiians;passions that come from a deep and long experience not too far in the culturalpast. The transformations wreaked upon Hawai`i and Hawaiian culture followingthe arrival of Westerners and the overthrow of the Hawaiian Queen weresubstantial, and no change was more consequential than the forced change inrelationship between Hawaiians and their lands.
"In 1893 when the Hawaiian government was overthrown, the inherentself-governing rights of Native Hawaiians was severely restricted. NativeHawaiians also lost control of their traditional lands" (MacKenzie, 1991: 77).It could be said that the loss of control of and connection with Hawai`i'slands by its original inhabitants has been a pivotal challenge in the historyof the people of this archipelago.
The primary point that we wish to make in this introduction is that wehave found that the movement for Hawaiian sovereignty and sustainability isbased on a traditional Hawaiian relationship with and respect for theAina. Even though we will not go into depth with it here, we feel it isimportant to mention that the traditional creation story and identity of theHawaiians is bound up in a complex genealogy that connects the land, thepeople, the animals, chiefs and gods in a tightly woven fabric of meaning.Kame`eleihiwa hints at this when she writes,
...the world and everything in it would unfold in genealogical sequence,from creatures of the sea to those of the Land, from the Land itself to Godsand Chiefs, and so on until present time. The Chief's birth chant proclaimedhim or her to be an inseparable part of an ancient procession of life. It alsodefined the chief's the relationship with the Land....
Hawaiian identity is, in fact, derived from the Kumulipo, the greatcosmogenic genealogy. Its essential lesson is that every aspect of theHawaiian conception of the world is revealed by birth, and as such, all partsof the Hawaiian world are one indivisible lineage. Conceived in this way, thegenealogy of the land, the Gods, Chiefs, and people intertwine with oneanother, and with all the myriad of aspects of the universe. (Kame`eleihiwa,1992: 2)
The struggle for sovereignty is primarily a struggle for land, and in thesections that follow, we will first give a short background into the importanceof the land in the activism of the Nation of Hawai`i; then we describe theappointed leader of the Nation of Hawai`i, Bumpy Kanahele; finally, we discussthe Nation's use of information technology to further its cause, including itsinitial explorations of GIS' potential to support sovereignty andsustainability.
Two hundred years of colonialism have marginalized the indigenous peopleof Hawai`i to the extent that many don't have any land to live on, and areforced to live in cars and on beaches in tents. A few large landowners,the State (excluding Hawaiian Home Lands), and the military own 51.2 % of theland in Hawai`i. (Department of Geography, University of Hawai`i, 1983: 152)In recent years, protests against this disenfranchisement have grown, both asisolated incidents and as a coordinated movement for sovereignty. On the beachat Makapu`u in 1993 and 1994, a struggle by homeless Hawaiians (called"houseless" by the Nation) took place which would have implications for theState and all Hawaiians. Beginning as a group of Hawaiians forced onto thebeach by expensive living conditions, the settlement grew in 1993, and Makapu`usoon became the focus of the attention and organizing activism of the OhanaCouncil, at the time a significant player in the sovereignty movement. Membersof the Council, including its leader Pu`uhonua Kanahele (also known as Bumpy),began educating and organizing the people at the beach to understand theirrights as Hawaiians in an historical perspective, and how these rights werebeing pursued by a movement for Hawaiian sovereignty.
As this was going on at the end of 1993, U.S. Public Law 103-150 (U.S.103rd Congress, 1993) was passed by Congress and signed into law by PresidentClinton. Shortly thereafter, international legal expert Professor FrancisBoyle gave testimony as to the importance of this bill for the Hawaiian people,asserting that this law was a public admission of the lack of legal basis forU.S. jurisdiction in, and governance, of Hawai`i. Boyle gave the Ohana Counciladvice on how to create their own independent nation, based on his recent legal work with emerging nations in the Middle East and the Balkans. Thusout of the Ohana Council was born "The Nation of Hawai`i," which declaredIndependence on January 17, 1994, exactly 101 years after the overthrow of theHawaiian Kingdom.
The State, already in a standoff with the people at Makapu`u, grew firmerin its position as people planted taro fields, gardens, and seemed to bepreparing to stay over the long term. Their intention was to build a Hawaiianfishing village modeled after the traditional village of Kaupo that existed inthe area more than 100 years ago. "In May, 1994 occupants of the village weretold to dismantle their growing village or face eviction. Water was shut offto the site in an effort to force the campers out" (Krauss, 1995: D1).Struggles over water broke out - first the State blocked access to the mainwell, then the people got into it, then it was cemented, then broken into, andeventually the State began to arrest people who tried to access it again.
Hawaiians have suggested to us that as this was a popular spot fortourists, and a highly visible eyesore and embarrassment for the state, itentered into negotiations for compromise. In late spring of 1994, the OhanaCouncil emerged from negotiations, having secured an agreement with the StateDepartment of Land and Natural Resources to let the group relocate inWaimanalo. The pact resulted in access to use 69 acres of state land at thebase of the Koolau mountains for educational and cultural purposes.
The state created a road up a long forested hill, clearcut a part of theforest, put in facilities for water access, and the people at Makapu`u movedonto their new land in June 1994. Houses, tents, and shacks sprung up, and thevision of a new village was born.
Coming off the somewhat harsh environment of the beach, the people beganin earnest to create a new life in the forest clearing. Gardens and fruittrees were planted, work proceeded to restore an ancient lo`i forgrowing taro, and an office was created. The original vision was to create anetwork of sustainable villages supported by traditional agriculture,appropriate technologies, and cottage industries, which would support a renewedrelationship with the land and traditional Hawaiian culture.
Named "Pu'uhonua o Waimanalo," (one interpretation is "Refuge of GoodWater"), the village is about one half mile past the "Dead End" sign at the endof Waikupanaha road, one and a half miles outside of the town of Waimanalo. Aswe drove in for the first time in February, 1996, we were struck by themagnificence of the rugged Koolau mountains rising out of the forest justbeyond the village, creating a spectacular backdrop of muscular, verdant,sculpted rock. A dirt road winds up a hill lined with small houses, banana,papaya, and palm trees for about a tenth of a mile, then makes a circle arounda 1,000 square foot neatly cut grassy space with children's playgroundequipment on one side. The community kitchen, office, and a few more houseslie just beyond this area, and further still in the forest is a house and aseveral tents. A bit further lies the ancient lo`i, which the villageis in the process of restoring to grow taro and vegetables and meet some oftheir food needs.
Dinners are served in the community kitchen five nights per week, andcooking and cleanup duties are done by villagers on a schedule. Weeklymeetings occur Tuesday nights after dinner, preceded and concluded with prayerin the Hawaiian language, at which people discuss issues relevant to nativeHawaiians, village life, sovereignty, and other subjects. There are about 40people living in the village now, and many work at outside jobs, so that duringthe day the village is fairly quiet, but for the sounds of the trade winds,birds in the trees, children playing, chickens, and the occasional barking dog.In the evening as people return from work, often Hawaiian or other music playsfor an hour or two, and people gather at the community kitchen to "grind"(local expression for "eat") and watch their children play on the swings andslides of the lawn. The ethnic background of the village is mostly of Hawaiianancestry, though there are several people of other ethnic backgrounds.Governance is by an elected council of villagers.
Enduring images of village life for us will include children playingtogether on the lawn or roaming the village (and often into our house) lookingfor fun, dinners in the community kitchen, afternoon parties with the communityon the beach, and working in the lo`i with Uncle George Kamakahi, who at74 years of age, gets up at 4:30 a.m. most mornings to take the public bus 45minutes from Waianae across the island to Waimanalo, walking 2 miles to thevillage, then working until noon or 1:00 restoring the taro patches of thelo`i, and finally making the return journey home to Waianae.
Citizenship in the Nation of Hawai`i is not a prerequisite forliving in the village, though most people there today are Nation citizens andmany drive cars with "Sovereign" license plates.
Pu`uhonua "Bumpy" Kanahele is one of the most controversial figures in thesovereignty movement. Bumpy was appointed to his position as Interim Head ofState of the Nation of Hawai`i by an inter island council of kupuna(elders) in the fall of 1994. Prior to this, Bumpy worked in the musicbusiness on Oahu, and as already mentioned, was active in the Ohana Council.
On January 2, 1995 an article in the main newspaper of Hawai`i, theHonolulu Star-Bulletin, recognized Bumpy as one of ten people who made thebiggest difference in Hawai`i in the previous year. The subheading to his nameand picture reads, "His actions turned sovereignty into more than just aconcept" (Burlingame, 1995: A-7). The article goes on,
Some talk, others act. Dennis Pu`uhonua "Bumpy" Kanahele moved the Hawaiiansovereignty issue from an abstract debate into the real world in 1994, earninga host of admirers and detractors along the way.
Kanahele is "a very unique character," said friend A`o Pohaku Rodenhurst.Other sovereignty groups "play the political arena, attend meetings, talk therhetoric but don't test the laws, but Ohana Council is ... the boldest group.It's testing the (legal) waters." (Ibid: A-7)
The first things we noticed about Bumpy upon meeting him in February 1996were that he is a substantial, dark, muscular Hawaiian man with a wide band ofintricate Polynesian patterns tattooed on his bicep, and an easy, smilingdemeanor which put us at ease very quickly.
The next thing we noticed was the black object strapped to his ankle. We learned that this device was the primary condition of release fromprison following the mistrial declared in his fall 1995 trial for "harboring atax evader." Every evening Bumpy gets a call, puts the phone close to theankle device, and a tone emitted into the phone confirms to law enforcementofficials that he is in fact at home. Thus Bumpy walks around with anelectronic leash, put on by a state that he considers illegal, and is forbiddento go to most beaches, stores and restaurants, and the village he helped tocreate. But as he says, "it keeps me humble, brau!!!"
Yet surprisingly to us, another thing that became clear very quickly whenspeaking with Bumpy was the lack of hatred, bitterness, and resentment whichone might expect to find in someone who has had the Hawaiian experience ofoppression and pain at the hands of foreigners. Bumpy told us that for him,ultimately sovereignty is something that one experiences inside: nationalsovereignty begins with personal sovereignty, which, he asserted, starts inone's own heart with forgiveness, and communion with "Akua" (God). Theinclusiveness that this lack of bitterness and resentment seemed to allow wasremarkable, we thought, and was reflected in Bumpy's constantly positive anduplifting nature among people; even people who were antagonistic to him.
One thing that surprised us at first was that some of Bumpy'sclosest aides are white haoles, and Bumpy repeatedly emphasized that hisgroup's movement for a new Hawaiian nation is committed to nonviolence, and isinclusive of all kinds of peoples, so long as they will follow the eventual newlaws of the land: the Nation's policy is to grant full citizenship to peopleof all ethnic backgrounds who are presently residents of Hawai`i. "We allowfor different opinions to co-exist" Bumpy told us. This affirmation ofdiversity seems central to the work of the Nation of Hawai`i, as it is forBumpy's daily work. "People wouldn't have to give up their personal propertyor their homes," Kanahele told us, "nobody owns the land, not even the Hawaiianpeople."
Bumpy is a deeply spiritual leader who feels that his work andactions are guided by Akua . In a speech at Iolani Palace at the onehundred and first anniversary of the monarchy's overthrow "Ohana Council"leader Dennis "Bumpy" Kanahele told the crowd that "The proclamation [ofindependence] came from upstairs, it didn't come from (me) ... it didn't comefrom (Ohana Council) per se, it came from Akua, from the spirit"(Yoshishiege, 1994: A8). Another suggestion of this spiritual commitment inhis leadership came in an interview in which he was asked,
"If an autonomous Hawaiian Nation is re-established, what will protect it from foreign invasion? What is to stop another powerful country from stepping in to do business in paradise just as the United States did all those years ago?" Kanahele's answers are more spiritual than geopolitical. "It is the unique spirit manifested in the 300,000 living Hawaiians that will hold the new nation harmless," Kanahele says. "To destroy that spirit," he says, "would be to annihilate the heart of the body and would lead to the demise of the human race." (Dixon-Stong)
The Nation of Hawai`i is widely regarded as one of the most radicalsovereignty groups, and its goal is to create a completely independent,sovereign nation with international treaties and embassies, as existed before the Hawaiian monarchy was overthrown in 1893. Most fundamentally, this wouldentail a shift from ownership of land and resources by a few, to control of thesame by the many. The independent nation model is in contrast to other modelsof other sovereignty groups, such as Ka Lahui Hawai`i, which advocates a"nation within a nation" model, similar to that of Native Americans in theUnited States. Bumpy's view on sovereignty is summarized by Gillingham (1995),
"The problem today in Hawai`i is that everybody has their own definition of sovereignty," Kanahele said. "There is only one sovereignty" Kanahele said - "the control of our land and natural resources." Misunderstandings and a lack of knowledge are what Kanahele said keep native Hawaiians from achieving their goals of independence. "Basically, our people don't know their stuff," Kanahele told the gathering. "It's time you know what you are talking about." (Gillingham, 1995)
Bumpy has been an active educator on sovereignty issues, and told us thateducation about sovereignty is the greatest single need in Hawai`i right now.He said that he feels a great improvement in general understanding aboutsovereignty from five years ago to today, and that the people of Hawai`i areslowly readying to govern themselves. Aides to Bumpy have told us that hispersonal research and explorations into laws, titles, and obscure documentshave moved the whole sovereignty movement along substantially, and that Bumpyis always reading, researching, and sharing his latest findings with people.
In July of 1995, Bumpy was arraigned to be tried in September over unpaidparking tickets, a strategy he had deliberately chosen in order to challengethe legitimacy of the state by invoking U.S. Public Law 103-150 and other laws.The village had existed for over one year, Bumpy had been named one of the tenmost influential people of 1994 by the Honolulu Advertiser, and by allaccounts, the Nation of Hawai`i was gaining momentum. Then, on August 3rd,Bumpy was arrested by 15 FBI agents at an airport as he got off an inter islandflight: he was charged with harboring a tax fugitive in an incident involvinga Hawaiian tax protester that had happened nearly two years earlier.
Held for weeks without bail, Bumpy was eventually tried in a Honolulucourt. The village and its office mobilized for a full scale battle thatincluded many core people at its height. By the accounts we have received,what followed was an exhausting ordeal, which while well-covered by the localmedia, was virtually ignored by media outside Hawai`i. Bumpy and the Nationrepeatedly tried to raise sovereignty as an issue but were rebuffed by thejudge. The case eventually ended in a mistrial, (the Nation feels thishappened because it was becoming clear that there was going to be no convictionfrom the jury).
We arrived just two days after Bumpy was released from statecustody with the "beeper" on his ankle, and as we later found out, we missedaltogether the intensity of the village in its period as center for activismand support of Bumpy during his trial. We first stayed in one room of theoffice building, which just a few months earlier had been active withcomputers, fax machines, a copy machine, banks of phones, desks, books, maps,file cabinets, and many busy people attending to the work at hand. Now theoffice was mostly deserted, as Bumpy was now out of prison and possibly free offuture litigation, and many of the aides and active members of the Nation staffwere busy rebuilding their lives after the trial which had taken so muchenergy, money, and time.
Even as we write this, tonight on the local news came a lead story aboutevictions of "squatters" at Makua beach, on the west coast of Oahu. We hadheard about the whole thing earlier from village folk who went there toprotest, (and several were voluntarily arrested). The state finishedbulldozing the last "debris" from the beach, and sixteen people arrested twodays ago were released with a trial date of July 12. The television reportalso pointed out that it had been two years after the creation of Pu`uhonua oWaimanalo, and the settlement of the Makapu`u beach situation.
Some of the differences between then and now it seems to us, are first,that Cayetano, the current governor, has said that he would absolutely not havesettled the Makapu`u situation as his predecessor did and would not and did notgrant further extensions to the eviction at Makua, and second, that there wasno organized community resistance to the eviction of the level that the OhanaCouncil managed. The struggle for life, culture and land continues inHawai`i.
Between his wife and three children and his extended ohana or family and all the demands of his office, we found Bumpy to be a verybusy man. The Star-Bulletin quoted him as saying, "I don't have a moment to myself, but it is well worth it. We are talking about developing a country here" (date and author unknown).
As we ponder the transition to an alternative vision for Hawai`i'sfuture, the opportunities for a harmonic blend of the past and the futureabound. Hawai`i's traditional agriculture and aquaculture were some of themost advanced in the world, multiplying nature's productivity manifold in trulysustainable reciprocal systems. The knowledge and use of these systemsremains, and the movement to clear the fallow taro patches and restore theunused fishponds is growing.
At the same time, innovative future technologies that make appropriate useof energy and resources have a great potential in Hawai`i. The availability ofsuch technologies in increasing, and Independent Hawai`i will seek to take fulladvantage of these, both for their own sake here at home, and also as a modelfor the rest of the world. (Crawford 1995: 1)
Kanahele said he hopes to continue the pattern of global networking."Before, all we had was this," he said, holding up a fist. "Now we've gotcomputers, now we've got better ways." (Pai, 1994: 1)
In this section we share our experiences of, and reflections on, theNation of Hawai`i's GIS initiative and use of information technology in lightof the theoretical and contextual foundation built into previous chapters.
Our first experience of the Nation of Hawai`i in Hawai`i was by fax. Onehot morning in early August, the black machine by our Santa Monica apartmentwindow quietly issued an hours-old headline fed by digits sent from an island2000 miles away, in the middle of the Pacific Ocean. If Bumpy's arrest anddetention by fifteen FBI agents made for an unsettling message, perhaps it wasan appropriate method of introduction to the technology-savvy sovereigntygroup. We soon learned that the Nation of Hawai`i has made extensive use ofinformation technology almost from its inception, and as we would soon findout, it was not difficult to stay informed about the latest news from theNation, if we read our email and checked the Nation's Web page consistently.
From its Web page, we got our first substantial impression of the Nationof Hawai`i; its history, its political positions, and its visions of thefuture. Having followed or been involved with social protest movements in thepast we were both impressed by the following paragraph from a Web-posted paperwritten by husband and wife Scott Crawford and Kekula Bray-Crawford, Directorof Communications and Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Nation of Hawai`i,respectively:
Hawai`i is one example today of a peaceful self-determination process, in which the de facto occupying governments - the United States and the State of Hawai`i - have conceded their illegitimacy and are willfully engaging the re-emerging Nation of Hawai`i in a peaceful process of transition. No guns have been fired, no bombs have exploded, yet the people's assertions of their rights to freely determine their political status are being heard and taken seriously, and are being put into effect as an operational model of self-governance. Our ''weapons'' are Macintoshes with fax/modems, firing off international law and self-determination information, and with that the movement has successfully and peacefully advanced. (Crawford and Bray-Crawford 1995*)
This global activism made possible by information technology captivatedour imagination, and we were challenged to open up our focus on GIS to includethe wider context of tools and technologies being used in this "informationage." How would these technologies work to create possibilities for freerexpression, self-determination, and empowerment? The Crawfords emphasized tous that in the case of the Internet, the medium is not the message; rather,(amidst a growing colonization of the Internet by corporations) theproliferation of indigenous or other marginalized groups using it makes themessage once again the message.
From our base in Los Angeles, we assisted the Nation when we could - wewould type in newly published press articles faxed to us from Hawai`i, and thenemail them to the Nation for posting to their Web page. Despite the constantpresence of Bumpy's trial in Hawaiian media, we rarely found any mainlandcoverage. It quickly became clear that what we witnessed in the Fall of 1995was the successful creation, using the World Wide Web, of a new space, a newterrain, for representation, for occupation, for communication. Scott andKekula again,
One criterion for independence, for being a sovereign country, is having aterritory. In cyberspace, the parallel could be drawn of a virtual territory,the presence on the WWW, the Home Page being the capital and all the relateddocuments being the territory. A number of recognized countries have such aterritory in cyberspace, and increasingly unrecognized nations are mapping outtheir own cyber-territories. (Ibid:*)
What was so remarkable for us was the realization that when we finally didarrive at the headquarters of the Nation, in Waimanalo, Oahu, we found thatwhile the Nation had successfully occupied and settled on the land under thevillage of perhaps 45 people, we also had a sense of the virtual space createdby the Web page, which included pictures of the lo'i and informationabout the village in a context of political and historical information, whichhas touched the lives of thousands of people all over the world in its firstyear of existence! The irony is that the server, itself no doubt innocuous andinert looking, projects a virtual identity that can convey the Nation'shistory, vision, and other information (including images and sounds), perhapsmore quickly and efficiently than could be obtained by actually visiting thevillage, and finding someone to ask about these issues. Of course, there ismore reality to reality - than on a Web page, but we mused on these issuesoften while living in the village.
Scott Crawford told us that the Web site is a direct outgrowth of Bumpy'sphilosophy about the importance of education for building a solid foundationfor sovereignty. Scott said that in the days before the Web, Bumpy wouldphotocopy the latest law or insight he had researched (he is alwaysresearching, said Scott) and he would go to meetings and distribute theinformation to all people who would listen. Now Bumpy has a world audiencewhich can access this material at any time and from nearly any place.
The Nation's Web Page has a "guest book" for people to sign in and leavetheir impressions and comments. This provides an excellent way of getting afeeling for how people react to the page. The following are samples of "guestcomments" from Hawai`i and the US mainland. Full names are left in the "guestbook", though they are abbreviated here.
It feels like being estranged from family. I miss Ohana, but I am too ashamedto speak up. If there is anyone out there who reads and understands this,please let me know. My email address is ... Aloha
Best of Luck!! I'm so homesick right now I can't stand it!
Before going to Hawai`i, we corresponded with the Nation constantlythrough email, and the Nation utilized this medium extensively in communicatingwith its primary international legal counsel, Professor Francis Boyle ofUniversity of Illinois - Champaign-Urbana. Through their use of email todistribute trial updates and other information, the Nation communicated withsupporters around the world, and made it clear to us that "territoriality isnot necessary to create community." (Crawford and Bray-Crawford, 1995*) Wecertainly felt like we deepened our sense of empathy with the Nation throughthis communication; we also felt like we slowly began to know the `peoplebehind the usernames' of the Nation.
At one point Professor Boyle created a list of legal documents toprovide a foundation for Bumpy's trial. The Nation needed a couple ofavailable students to research this list, and since we had some time rightthen, we were asked by email to do the legal research. We spent a day at theUCLA law library photocopying and assembling the materials, and creating abinder which we then sent off to the Nation in Hawai`i.
As a result of this visit to UCLA, we discovered the free Web accessoffered to students, which was significant to us since the phone time at the LAoffice was often scarce. We began to do Internet research into GIS andindigenous people, and were consistently amazed at how much information andcultural sharing the Web could lend itself to. On the Web, a page contains"links" that allow a user to easily "surf" (browse) to other related sites: asingle page can provide links to scores of indigenous sites. One importantsite for indigenous people is the Fourth World Documentation Project, which isamassing a wealth of legal, historical, and cultural materials relevant toindigenous peoples, that can be viewed and downloaded over the Internet. Thereare sites for Lakota, Navajo, Inuit, and many more indigenous groups, as wellas for GIS related companies, agencies, university departments, magazines,conferences, etc. Mailing lists, bulletin board services, and newsgroups canalso be important sources of information and research.
An example of this information abundance came one afternoon when I hadreluctantly left the warm LA sun and gone into the far recesses of the maplibrary, in the basement of the main research library. Doing research on theWeb, I discovered a site that advertised current weather reports and images, soI requested the weather report and image for southern California. Lo andbehold, an image showed high clouds and the forecast predicted a good chance ofrain. I muttered to myself that the image must of course be showing the cloudsfrom yesterday, and then turned to look out of the one small, tinted, dustywindow and blinked hard. I saw that there were high clouds - the day hadchanged significantly in the two hours I had been inside, and it was the Webthat alerted me to this! I think that was one moment among many that for me,the "information revolution" sunk in. (Christopher)
One of the things that attracted us to this project was the Nation ofHawai`i's commitment to the creation of a fully sustainable government. It hasbeen emphasized to us often that the Nation of Hawai`i doesn't merely have anarticulated vision for sustainably managing the land and resources of Hawai`i,but that it emphasizes and strives for the original, Hawai`i as indigenouspeoples' way of relating to the land. Crawford writes about the high prioritythat sustainability has for sovereignty,
The future relationship of humanity to our natural environment is at the rootof the movement for Hawaiian independence.
The true meaning of sovereignty is control over land and natural resources:the land, the water in the land, the ocean (including a 200 mile ExclusiveEconomic Zone) and the air we breathe. We know well that the indigenousapproach to "managing" these "resources" is fundamentally different from theWestern colonial approach, emphasizing balance and reciprocity versusdomination and exploitation.
At the heart of Hawaiian values is the concept of "Malama `Aina," loosely,"to care for the land." (Crawford, 1994: 1)
For Nation of Hawai`i members we have spoken with, the main issuewith regard to sustainability has come again and again down to values. What isreally important, and sacred; money, material "comforts," and getting what wecan from the land while we can get it?; or preserving the health of the landand the health of the human communities it supports? Thus the Nation ofHawai`i's commitment to a fully sustainable society may come as a surprise tooutsiders, but from what we could tell, to them such a commitment is merely anobvious way to live in integrity, which emerges out of their deep culturaltradition.
One of the cornerstones of the Nation's vision of gradual, non-violentreassertion of sovereignty is the creation of sustainable communities aroundthe Hawaiian Islands, where traditional native practices could be reestablishedin the context of appropriate technologies of the present. The first villagenear Waimanalo, Pu'uhonua o Waimanalo, celebrated its second anniversary inJune of 1996. The name of the village was interpreted to us as "Refuge of GoodWater" and belies the cultural significance of water to the Nation. The waterflowing down from mountain rains and mountain springs is indeed good water - wegot our drinking water by walking up through forest to the source of the streamthat runs down the hills near the village.
It is difficult to relate in words the insights and deep feelings thathave been conveyed to each of us by people of Pu`uhonua o Waimanalo on thesubject of land and water, and the importance of caring for them as the basisof human health. Working in the Nation's ancient lo`i besidekupuna (elders) were experiences we will never forget.
Nor will we forget the experience of swimming several times down at theWaimanalo beach. In reading Ponting's (1991) A Green History of theWorld this spring we learned that "One of the most basic problems for everysociety has been to dispose of human excrement and urine whilst at the sametime securing a supply of drinking water that is not contaminated with thesewastes" (Ponting, 1991: 347). To our regret, we must report that in the middleof the largest ocean in the world, on the most remote island system in theworld, the issue is all too relevant. We often swam at a beautiful beach aboutfive miles from the Nation's village, and were disturbed to learn that theoccasional orange-yellow film on the surface of the water was in fact what wefeared: the combination of primary treated sewage and clear ocean water. Poorplanning resulted in an overflow from the local sewage plant every time itrained. In addition to sewage soaked surf, underground storage tanks leak intogroundwater tables all over Hawai`i (Rohter, 1992: 78), and a report on lastnight's local public radio news (5/9/96) said that as many as a quarter ofHawai`i's drinking systems don't meet federal standards.
Clean water is precious all over the world, but perhaps especially so inHawai`i, an island system surrounded by at least 2000 miles of salty Pacificocean water in all directions. One indication of this is that the word inHawaiian for abundance is wai wai, which translates as "water water."Another is the topological fact that even in a fairly humid region just twentydegrees north of the equator, each island has very wet areas and very dryareas. Keeping kukae ("feces," as well as pesticides, fertilizers, andother toxins) from drinking and ocean water has not always been the criticalproblem that it is today in Hawai`i, as indicated by the name of the townnearest this beach: "Waimanalo" (which again, has been interpreted as good,potable water).
The Nation's GIS initiative was born out of the meeting of the architect,computer system designer, entrepreneur Alan Crutchfield with businessman,carpenter, Nation of Hawai`i supporter David Po in Maui in 1992, when Alan wasthere designing a house for a client. Alan and David had a strong connection,and each introduced the other to many interests and friends. Soon Alan wasdeeply involved with Hawaiian sovereignty, and was dedicating time, energy, andvisionary, entrepreneurial projects toward supporting the activities of theNation.
One of Alan's deep passions is conceiving and considering fundamentaltechnological, social, and linguistic structures toward facilitatingsustainability and cultural regeneration. A long-time interest of his has beenexploring the use of GIS for sustainability, citizen empowerment, and thefacilitation of local economies. Alan began exploring the possibility for anext-generation GIS in the early 1990's with the collaboration of associatesand friends, and very shortly realized that this could represent a tool whichcould make a big difference in the prospects of an independent Hawaiian nationfor continued self-determination and sustainability. In 1994 he was namedMinister of Technology to the Nation of Hawai`i, and began to focus more andmore attention toward making the next-generation GIS not only useful to theNation, but also economically profitable. At this point we refer the reader toour methodology section, where the rest of this story is told, from when we metAlan in early 1995.
From our work with Alan Crutchfield in Los Angeles, we feel that theessence of this GIS initiative is to make comprehensive information aboutHawai`i accessible to its citizens by creating an immersive model of theregion, for the purpose of addressing economic and environmental problems on amore local level through distribution of information to citizens, and tolawmakers. Through this initiative it is hoped that the long-term quality oflife in the region will be enhanced by the creation of a more sustainableculture, and a "micro-regional economic envelope."
Mapping the Islands of Hawai`i in a special manner which will give a focusedaccess to groups who typically would never come near the information capable ofbeing presented by a GIS and its inherent levels of sophistication. This willillustrate how or why not a GIS system can become utilized as a critical pillarin the building of new and better realities. If successful as a studythat then goes on to support the development of real tools, a regional modelGIS will not only generate a new and perhaps more true framework of the realitybehind and beneath the Hawaiian situation, which is freed of foreign agendasand manipulation of the appearances of things through the media, but will alsogenerate a whole new level of potential for conceptualizing the possibility ofliving again in harmony with that land. (Alan, personal communication)
When we first embarked on the mapping project with Alan, we had beenfascinated by a vision. This vision was to create an immersive, networked GISdatabase-model of Hawai`i. Our excitement was based on the potential of socialempowerment and increased sustainability we felt was inherent in such a GIS.We had only just begun to explore the power of maps and their ability tocommunicate clearly large amounts of data in a visual way, and were excited bywhat we were learning. Alan explains:
This form of multilayer display (of a GIS system) is capable of making obtusestatistical and progression based information clear to nearly everyone, becauseit engages as the principal ingredient of conveyance, something with which allhuman beings are familiar: maps and how they represent a physical place. Assuch, this technology provides a potential resource for mass empowerment byvirtue of its ability to make information reaccessible. (Alan, personalcommunication)
Alan's vision was to create nothing less than a three dimensional model ofthe Hawaiian islands that one can "fly" through. To give a description of thismodel, first imagine perceiving the Hawaiian archipelago from an altitude of25,000 feet, and then descending down upon Maui where vegetation, towns,landforms, and roads could be seen just as a satellite or airplane would viewit, depending on your altitude. With the touch of a button, you can invoke awide variety of data layers, from the location of power lines, votingdistricts, landfills, native species, pollution sources and much more.
(The capability of GIS to let us "visit" places without physically going there...) This characteristic of GIS to be particularly interesting andmeaningful to people because they can recognize features, their neighborhood,surrounding communities, etc. relates the principal character of the GISexperience, that of having access to large amounts of interesting and usefulinformation that educates and can entertain people about who they are and whatthey are experiencing, and how this is the same or as different as everyoneelse. It is this general and heightened local interest among other featuresthat possibly can make GIS related technologies one of the first advanced hightechnologies to become accessible to the mainstream public. Along with it willcome a demand for information and a reconsideration of the rights of thegeneral public to obtain information about the regional envelopes in which theylive. (Alan, personal communication)
Imagine "flying" along in a three dimensional computer model over Maui, andcoming upon the pristine northwestern beaches of Maui, where a new series ofcondominiums were planned. A little "hyper-bird" might alert you that at this"place" there is hypertext information to peruse. Clicking on the bird, upwould come ethnographic information on the struggles of the native people ofthat area as they resisted this development. Click This is why theMalo birds died. Click. Or on Molokai'i, there might be information onthe native people and how they are dealing with the feral pig populationsupported by environmentalists. Click. This is why endangered speciescan no longer find a mate. Click. Up comes graphical information ontypical weather patterns. Click. Up comes information on recentelections on Maui. Click. What did Kapuna Auntie Helen say about whatused to happen at this sacred place? Click.....
This endeavor was not primarily about building a model for commercialpurposes. It began as the building of a tool for information management thatcould serve as the backbone for the emerging independent Hawaiian nation tomanage the Hawaiian archipelago in a comprehensive and sustainable way. Alandescribes the context of this comprehensive modeling tool in the followingway:
In its initial stages, this tool is taking the form of an intelligent map-baseddata communications network that combines advanced forms of visualization,communication, large variable economic simulations and immersive media worldbuilding tools, in order to create a new form of economic process model of an"immersive Hawai`i" (we do not believe in the term virtual because it impliesthe non-real). This system rests on top of layer-based families of robusteconomic and environmental process simulation architectures, which in turn tieto actual diverse data sets distributed all across the islands, and to selectdata resources abroad. (Alan, personal communication)
The GIS system that we are talking about here is not a regularworkstation as we know it from standard systems used by business and governmenttoday. The vision behind this GIS system is founded in the possibility ofconnecting it to a set of communications tools that will enable the dataflow tobe "alive" and dynamic in a degree that has not yet emerged in real-timemanagement situations. Alan describes this characteristic:
As a principal stimulus for modes of government, commerce and life managementtypified by dramatic increases in direct participation of a regional communityas a whole and a deemphasis of "data and resource mongering factionalism,"network capable GIS systems can play a pivotal role in the engineering ofpositive progressive changes in areas in need of change, in order to respond tocritical regional problems. In order for this powerful next generation tool tobecome utilized for anything along these lines however, it will have to bereordered, remade and rerendered into some form which is optimized for its useby a regional community and economy as a more general communications resource,rather than it merely serving some isolated planning office as a means ofillustrating their figures. If done well, this tool along with its network,can become a decisive influential agent in the ongoing stimulus and channelingof change. If information is power, then network accessible GIS is perhapssimply the most viable means of its distribution. (Alan, personalcommunication)
One foundation of this system is a communications shell that will link theGIS to public users through visual and auditory interfaces through the use ofadvanced voicemail systems and interactive TV interfaces, linked to highpowered networked supercomputers. Technology exists today which makes itpossible to connect users to the GIS through their TV for a minimal fee of afew hundred dollars if the appropriate network is in place; the Internet isanother possible access route. This feature will take the traditionallycentralized, highly skilled, and expensive use of GIS to a new level ofaccessibility and thereby create a new potential as a tool for empowerment ofthe citizens rather than of social control by a central government. In otherwords the communication shell will have the possibility of distributinginformation that citizens may need in order to take initiatives themselves, ona local basis. The goal is to support transformation at a grassroots leveltoward a more sustainable life region.
A primary reason that this type of system is so necessary, Alan feels, isthat currently there are often serious restrictions against free citizen accessto information around the world. 'Data mongering factionalism' is a tendencyof many businesses and governments. This GIS initiative places a very highvalue on distributing information toward the creation of an educated, informedpopulace which could assist in the process of managing and designing their ownlives and regional affairs, rather than being at the effect of someone else'splans or schemes.
In many places in the world, if not most places, much of the information whichcan be placed into a networked GIS system is generally not made available tothe public. Part of the reason for this is expense and the lack of acommercial interface between map suppliers and information users, but the majorreason worldwide is governmental restrictions against the release of certainparticularly useful (translated powerful) forms of information. (Alan, personalcommunication)
We will explore the important issue of information access below, but nowwe will give an example from some of our discussions with Alan and otherresearch of how GIS is proposed to aid in sustainable management. One of theways Alan helped us to understand the essence and relevance of GIS was by theexample of tracking the flow of sewage from toilet to treatment and back to theenvironment and all the elements of influence, from sewage pipe quality topeoples' eating habits. We have learned that a central challenge in Hawai`i,as in most other densely populated areas of the world, is not only keepingclean water clean but doing it in a growing scale of society with increasedcomplexity: Hawai`i no longer has only its own sewage to take care of, butadditionally a population of about 8 million tourists a year. According toAlan, this may be where GIS can come in as a tool and process to conduct thenecessary planning to, among other things, keep feces out of the waters of theland and ocean, and manage a complex island society.
The application of GIS to help society successfully deal with sewagebecame more clear for us in our meanderings through the World Wide Web, as wecame across a self-described environmental watchdog group called Friends of theEarth (FOE), based in the UK. In a 1994 paper by FOE activist Rob Atkinson ofthe environmental organization Friends of the Earth, entitled "GIS: A Catalystfor Positive Change," a relevant example is given of the critical usefulness ofGIS with relation to sewage and water.
...(discharging) industrial effluent into the sewage system. In is estimatedthat around 90% of Britain's industrial waste is disposed of in this fashion.As a result sewage sludge is often so badly contaminated it cannot be used asfertilizer or even incinerated, and much of it is dumped at sea, where thecontaminants reappear in the food chain. One day society will besophisticated enough to correlate such activities with fisheries, diet andepidemiological studies as a matter of course. The scale of the consentedcontamination is extremely worrying (1.2) billion litres per day, including,for example, 2.6 tons of cadmium per day. Data about the actual dischargesthemselves are kept secret, so there may well be companies exceeding thoseconsents. The sewage treatment industry might argue that these are privatecommercial matters, but ultimately the public has to suffer the consequences:cost of sludge disposal, contamination of seas, fisheries and rivers. The costto the economy of fertilizer use is also ultimately born by the tax-payer andconsumer. It will take a GIS, and better data than currently available, toanalyze the real environmental, economic and social costs of such systems.Systematic analysis identifying the local context is probably the only way tocreate sufficient awareness to force positive change. (Atkinson, 1994: 3;emphasis added)
Atkinson's statement raises the question of how GIS is currently beingused by the City of Honolulu and the State of Hawai`i for managing the fragileecosystems of the archipelago. Since the Nation of Hawai`i does not exist in avacuum, in addressing the question "How can GIS be used for sustainability andself-determination by an independent Hawaiian nation" it is essential to alsoexplore the context current of GIS use by the "official" government in Hawai`i.Having discussed the historical background of the Nation, its use ofinformation technology, its commitment to sustainability and its GISinitiative, we now look at several GIS offices at the State and City levels,and ascertain what lessons and insights into GIS' potentials and pitfalls canbe gained.
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