How many are aware that in Arizona alone there are 1,860 pa'ahao who are tried, convicted, sentenced and sent away from their homeland to this barren dessert? Some have been separated from the aina and ohana for 4 decades and no hope of returning home.
How many know that although there are legislative rights for these pa'ahao, there are ways that the PSD HI and the CCA facility can get around those laws and not do what is mandated?
While there are wonderful people with great concerns for the pa'ahao in Hawaii, they are missing their target margin when they forget that there are over 2,000 men and women who are native to Hawaii and removed from all association to their culture, family and rehabilitation.
My heart aches for the men & women who are here on the mainland and don't have the privilage of planting and nurturning and learning as those at home do. Granted they did wrong, committed crimes that need to be made accountable for, but here in the mainland these kanaka maoli are nothing more than warehoused humans, without hope of re-entering society as healed and wiser for their actions, after reading this article:
Aloha e Pa`ahao Hui, I wanted to share with you what I saw and heard on a site visit I made to the Women's Community Correctional Center in Windward Oahu last Friday with Peter Hanohano and Dayna Ciacci from OHA's Education Hale.
I wish now that I had taken a digital camera so I could show you photos of an actual growing model of the vision I believe we all share regarding a culturally appropriate way of helping pa`ahao 'rehabilitate' themselves. For about one year now, Warden Mark Patterson, his staff, and the women of the facility have taken the initiative of clearing and developing 122 acres of land between the prison and Kailua High School as a Hawaiian farm, complete with kalo lo`i, banana, mango, and a lei flower garden.
They have reached out and enlisted the help of community resources such as Winston Kong from Windward Community College to help with this endeavor. They have also enlisted the help of men from Halawa in clearing, digging the lo`i, and moving large pohaku to help set walls for the lo`i and create terraces on the portions of the hillside.
They also dug an imu and recently cooked 100 pounds of their kalo and a 400 lb. pig that fed the entire facility with poi and kalua pig In addition, Warden Patterson has worked out collaborations with the Kailua Hawaiian Civic Club and Dr. Chuck Burrows of the Kawainui Marsh Ohana in which he takes work details of the women to clean Ulu pò Heiau and the Marsh.
While on these details, Hawaiian Civic Club members and Dr. Burrows often talk to the women about the history and cultural significance of the heiau and Kawainui. There are plans to build a pà hula on the 122-acre site, traditional halau, and eventually develop the larger sections of the land for commercial kalo growing along with other products.
The women participating in the farming and work details are those who have reached the treatment stage in the facility. 'Ninety percent of them are here because of drugs. Most suffered some trauma in their lives. We often just let them walk around the farm and sit and meditate by themselves. They shed a lot of tears here, 'said Warden Patterson.
Family nights are held at the facility. A recent informal survey conducted by staff, showed that of the 250 women in the facility, about 130 are Hawaiian with an approximate combined total of 200 children.
On family nights, sections for the younger children are set up with games and activities. Tents and tables are set up where teenagers can meet with their mothers to talk, enjoy a movie, and eat popcorn and pizza. 'Most of the time, the kids aren't even watching the movie, just talking with their mothers, 'said the Warden. He was telling us this as we stood on the hillside looking down at the lo`i and gardens, feeling and seeing the same things the women do when they are working - the fruits of their hard work, refreshing , cooling tradewinds, warm sun on our faces, and Mount Olomana in the background. Rehab. Hawaiian style. At its best! Mahalo for letting me share. Malama pono. Stephen Morse
Are you aware that all of the Hawaiian Volunteers have been removed from their volunteer status? Since 2001 we have gone over 100 miles each week at our own expense to teach culture, language, spirituality to these kanaka maoli, then without cause we're told we no longer can minister to these pa'ahao.. When asking the question 'Is it because of being 'Hawaiian' ethnically that we are no longer allowed visitation rights..or is it only those who 'come from Hawaii' that are refused clearance?' they refuse to adequately respond so we are to only consider the reason that NO HAWAIIAN volunteers are to enter any private CCA facility is because we appear to have an 'activist' agenda other than religious purposes. As a Christian I will always be an activist in one way or another.
These kanaka maoli have no one to turn to in a time of need. The majority of these inmates don't have family or advocates that can afford to fend for them long distance, the laws insist that if they need attorneys to do pro bono work for their cases, the attorneys come from the state of their offense...it's a no win situation. Within those walls, no one is monitoring what is being done to our people, if they write letters, their letters are read and a red stamp 'mailed from Saguaro correction center' is stamped on the letter itself, letting you know that the outgoing mail is being censored. If there's information or anything discussed in these letters, it opens the vunerability for the inmate to be scrutinized and possibly sent to segregation.
The contract between the State of Hawaii and the institution may state that the pa'ahao are to be fed foods as prepared in their home state, but that doesn't mean it's every meal, as long as it's given once a month or in some cases if they offer a 'rice-bar' than they are within the contract. If the contract states they are allowed to celebrate 'Hawaiian Cultural Activities' they must choose between Christian or Hawaiian, if Hawaiian, then they are refused any Sunday Christian services, because under 'Hawaiian Cultural & Religious Studies' they determined that 'Hawaiian Religion' is a religious practice like being a Catholic or Buddist or Muslim. When housed in the 'Faith Pod' the men practice religious preference of their choice ie., Muslim, Buddist, Judism, Christianity etc., but they are taught only the 'Commands of Christ' and if the words are not acceptable for their specific religious teaching then they may blacken the words out and pen in whatever their choice of words would be...but God forbid that we teach ho'oponopono.
If the contract declares they are to have drug rehabilitation, and doesn't give an exact amount of time or number of inmates, then the program could be 125 persons per pod...if there are 2,000 inmates, and 70% are in for drug/substance abuse which equals 1400 pa'ahao, they have space for 250 per year to the program pod, it would take a single inmate 5 yrs and 6 mos. to access that program...they could either die or be released in that length of time, BUT, the contract is fulfilled and that's all that they care about.
If an inmate has a broken bone, and goes to the dispensary and is given attention, but may need to see a specialist, they do not have to provide immediate specialist attention, it could take up to 10 months before the inmate sees an orthopedic specialist, by then the bone could heal incorrectly and there would be no way to fix it correctly, and then the choice would be to not do anything and suffer the inconvenience, or to amputate the appendage and not have it bother you again....the options are not good.
So who does the inmate go to when faced with this situation? Who is the advocate, not even the parent of this pa'ahao can access their medical record, according to the HIPPA law...so Hawaii, have we thrown away our children? Have you forgotten your lost sons and daughters?
Now that you have some information, what can you do about it....I'll tell you...you can find attorneys who are willing to do pro-bono for these men and women, attain a list that I can refer to the pa'ahao so they can get some kind of peace of mind...that they will be able to not feel so hopeless, I pray that some will join me in being an advocate for the pa'ahao here at Eloy, Arizona...they are totally cut off from any local kine visits from volunteers who once brought them a touch of aloha,...for now I'm just one individual trying to do the best I know how for these lost children of Hawaii nei...help me to help them!
Abundant Blessings, Aunty Lillian