I would really like to hear everyone's mana'o on this subject, which is very "hot" right now. In my opinion, at this particular moment in time, a little really good mana'o could go a long way.
I want to see positive solutions that address all the issues at once and I think it can be done. I've been working on this a long time, and talking to many people. I have my own feelings about what should be done, but for now I just want to put out the issues that have been identified (I'm sure I've probably missed some, so please add to the list):
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1) Resources need to be protected. Everyone seems to agree on this.
2) The State of Hawai'i is concerned with liability/safety issues.
On the other hand, there is a major question as to whether these are made better or worse by current DLNR practices, since:
a) it is well known by all that there are many cultural practitioners who do not adhere to DLNR regulations. Some of these feel that their rights are protected by State laws (constitution aXII s7, PASH, etc.), and some do not acknowledge the State at all (or both).
b) there is no communication between DLNR and these practitioners, which means that the practitioners do not have access to possibly important information, such as impending landslides, etc.
c) efforts to keep practitioners out (fences, guns, etc.) may be creating additional hazards, which definitely add to safety problems and may add to liability as well.
3) There are mixed feelings about "Liability Waivers" on all sides. However, some practitioners are okay with signing a waiver of limited liability of their own design, as long as their rights are not affected.
4) "Licenses" don't work for many people, for many reasons:
a) there is a general feeling that the authority for cultural practice comes from Akua to ancestors or kumu to the current generation, and that for anyone outside of this line to "authorize" this sacred kuleana is culturally inappropriate.
b) there are major questions as to whether any body that could issue licenses could be trusted by both DLNR and 'aina practitioners, and/or whether this body could become corrupt.
c) many cultural practitioners are also involved in the sovereignty/independence movement, and as such, many will not recognize any kind of State palapala.
d) knowing many cultural practitioners, "we would probably lose the dang thing"!
5) There are problems between DLNR enforcement and practitioners right now. Some of these include:
a) a feeling that DLNR targets Hawaiian practitioners rather than more serious abusers such as large commercial harvesters or eco-tour companies.
b) lack of cultural knowledge within DLNR.
c) serious lack of legal knowledge about cultural rights by those enforcing the law.
d) jurisdiction questions, the most serious of these being the potential illegality of the state in the first place, the cumulative result of which is that many practitioners are not willing to follow State regulations or enforcement.
e) the current harvesting permit application process, which is culturally impossible for many practitioners to follow.
f) a general feeling that people are being harassed for being Hawaiian on the 'aina.
g) a general feeling that it is kanaka maoli who should have the kuleana to protect resources, not the State.
6) Many people feel that better communication is needed all around.
7) Many practitioners would like for DLNR to play a more active role in certain types of enforcement, such as in resource protection struggles between practitioners and commercial operations.
Pehea kou mana'o?