Wednesday, August 10, 2005

Kamehameha Schools

Just received the following message from Jennifer Kanoelani Miyamoto, a Native Hawaiian attending school in California. For those unfamiliar with what is taking place in Hawai'i surrounding the Kamehameha School read on. Controversies such as this are important sites for those seeking to analyze how American idologies continue to colonize indigenous peoples. How discussions on "equality" and "democracy" take place in very narrow ways, yet to those within it seem to encompass the entire realm of possibility. For example, Bush's rhetoric on freedoms is actually incredibly narrow, despite the fact that whether you are on the right or the left in this country, you accept this wittled down conversation as if everything in the universe has been covered. For example, even Liberals who criticize Bush on his sowing the seeds of freedom, do not tamper with the bedrock notion that American does nonetheless have the corner market on it. Whatever anyone else has, its there, but no one in this country thinks its freedom.

Chamorros and other semi-American groups should be attentive to what takes place in Hawai'i. Its the front lines on the next waves of colonization and cultural destruction. Some might claim that Hawai'i is different since it is a state and therefore the Constitution music be respected, blah blah blah. But look around Guam, andyou'll see everyday conversations taking the same logic route. Where American colonizing conceptions about "rights" or "equality" about "democracy" about "freedom" all come into Guam and help develop new ways of destroying the indigenous people. Instead of them prohibiting the use of our language, stealing our land, destroying our culture, by just accepting American ideas about what a political society is supposed to be, we end up doing the job for them.

Before I ramble on too far, here's Jennifer's letter:

I read an update on Myspace and it triggered me to want to write this. I found out about this court decision through my family and I wanted to spread the word.

For those of you who don't know, Kamehameha Schools is a private school established by Princess Ke Ali'i Bernice Pauahi Paki Bishop, great-granddaughter and last royal descendant of Kamehameha the Great.

"Princess Pauahi had witnessed the growing influence and domination of foreigners and the physical and social decline of her people. During her lifetime she had seen Hawaii’s native population decline from 400,000 at the time of Hawaii’s European discovery to fewer than 45,000 people in 1878. Believing that education was the only force which could reverse the hopelessness of her people, three years after the 1880 census, Princess Pauahi created her Will as an instrument for change; among the seventeen articles related to her wishes after her death, one article, the thirteenth, contained instructions to create and maintain The Kamehameha Schools."

Similar to other areas of the United States where shameful political decisions are steadily overturning progress made towards educating minorities... in the State of Hawaii, On August 2nd, 2005 the U.S. Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals struck down the schools' 117-year-old policy of offering admissions preference to Hawaiian applicants.... preference that was clearly stated in Ke Ali'i Bernice Pauahi Paki Bishop's Will!!

Among Hawaiian Children and their Families it is an honor to be accepted to Kamehameha Schools because of it's legacy that extends for over 100 years (1887-present) FOR the Hawaiian people.

In the United States an individual's Will and Testament is considered a "legal" document. Princess Bernice Bishop's Will has been the guide for Kamehameha Schools. Here is the excerpt from her will regarding Kamehameha Schools:

Ke Ali'i Bernice Pauahi Paki Bishop (1831-1884)Wills and Codicils
"Know all Men by these Presents, That I, Bernice Pauahi Bishop, the wife of Charles R. Bishop, of Honolulu, Island of Oahu, Hawaiian Islands, being of sound mind and memory, but conscious of the uncertainty of life, do make, publish and declare this my last Will and Testament in manner following, hereby revoking all former wills by me made:

Thirteenth. I give, devise and bequeath all of the rest, residue and remainder of my estate real and personal, wherever situated unto the trustees below named, their heirs and assigns forever, to hold upon the following trusts, namely: to erect and maintain in the Hawaiian Islands two schools, each for boarding and day scholars, one for boys and one for girls, to be known as, and called the Kamehameha Schools.

I direct my trustees to expend such amount as they may deem best, not to exceed however one-half of the fund which may come into their hands, in the purchase of suitable premises, the erection of school buildings, and in furnishing the same with the necessary and appropriate fixtures furniture and apparatus.

I direct my trustees to invest the remainder of my estate in such manner as they may think best, and to expend the annual income in the maintenance of said schools; meaning thereby the salaries of teachers, the repairing buildings and other incidental expenses; and to devote a portion of each years income to the support and education of orphans, and others in indigent circumstances, giving the preference to Hawaiians of pure or part aboriginal blood; the proportion in which said annual income is to be divided among the various objects above mentioned to be determined solely by my said trustees they to have full discretion.
I desire my trustees to provide first and chiefly a good education in the common English branches, and also instruction in morals and in such useful knowledge as may tend to make good and industrious men and women; and I desire instruction in the higher branches to be subsidiary to the foregoing objects.

For the purposes aforesaid I grant unto my said trustees full power to lease or sell any portion of my real estate, and to reinvest the proceeds and the balance of my estate in real estate, or in such other manner as to my said trustees may seem best.

I also give unto my said trustees full power to make all such rules and regulations as they may deem necessary for the government of said schools and to regulate the admission of pupils, and the same to alter, amend and publish upon a vote of a majority of said trustees.
I also direct that my said trustees shall annually make a full and complete report of all receipts and expenditures, and of the condition of said schools to the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, or other highest judicial officer in this country; and shall also file before him annually an inventory of the property in their hands and how invested, and to publish the same in some Newspaper published in said Honolulu; I also direct my said trustees to keep said school buildings insured in good Companies, and in case of loss to expend the amounts recovered in replacing or repairing said buildings.

I also direct that the teachers of said schools shall forever be persons of the Protestant religion, but I do not intend that the choice should be restricted to persons of any particular sect of Protestants."

The Kamehameha Schools will appeal against the court decision but it will cost more money, which as we all know has been limited over the past few years. If the ruling stands it means that non-Hawaiians will be able to apply to the Kamehameha Schools.

Though I myself am not an Alumnus from Kamehameha Schools I am very passionate about protecting Princess Bernice Pauahi Bishop's vision and will. My Great Grandparents, Grandparents, Auntie and Father are alumni of this school therefore I understand it's honor and it's legacy.

You do not have to be of Native Hawaiian ancestry... but If you are against non-Hawaiians being able to attend Kamehameha Schools and upholding it's original vision... write me back and let me know if you would like to help fight against this. We will find some way, large or small to protect and uphold what was left for Native Hawaiian Children.... KU I KA PONO!!

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