TOURISM IN HAWAI'I:
ITS IMPACT ON NATIVE HAWAIIANS
AND ITS CHALLENGE TO THE CHURCHES
The Hawai'i Ecumenical Coalition on Tourism convened an historic conference on "Tourism in Hawai'i: Its Impact on Native Hawaiians and Its Challenge to the Churches." Over 75 people participated in the conference from August 25-28, 1989 at St. Stephenís Diocesan Center on O'ahu. Nearly half of these were Native Hawaiians from Kaua'i, O'ahu, Moloka'i, Lana'i, Maui and Hawai'i, who represented their church, religious and native organizations. Other representatives of church and religious groups in Hawai'i as well as national and international visitors constituted the rest. For the purpose of this conference, Native Hawaiians were identified as those who trace their ancestry prior to 1778 A.D. in Hawai'i.
The conference was initiated and organized by the Hawai'i Ecumenical Coalition Tourism, the Hawai'i Council of Churches, American Friends Service Committee, and the Hawaii Conference of the United Church of Christ in collaboration with the Ecumenical Coalition for Third World Tourism (ECTWT) and the North American Coordinating Center for Responsible Tourism (CRT). The fourteen international participants include representatives from ECTWT, CRT, the Third World Tourism Ecumenical European Net, the World Council of Churches (Program to Combat Racism), the National Council of Churches of Christ in the U.S.A., the Republic of the Marshall Islands, the Republic of Belau, the Republic of Fiji, Japan, the Confederated Tribes of the Warm Springs Reservation of Oregon, and the Haida Nation of North America.
A program of exposure and fieldtrips to see the realities of tourism in Hawai'i was organized for the international participants. At the conference itself, participants heard competent research on tourism in Hawai'i, agonizing testimonies from many Native Hawaiians who have been victimized by tourism as well as stories of successful native efforts in self-sufficiency and self-determination. The participants divided into seven groups whose discussions were reported back for plenary. Subsequent analysis and careful deliberation led us to the following conclusions:
A STATE OF EMERGENCY EXISTS IN REGARD TO THE SURVIVAL, THE WELL-BEING,
AND THE STATUS OF THE NATIVE HAWAIIAN PEOPLE ON THE ONE HAND AND THE NEAR
EXTINCTION OF THE PRECIOUS AND FRAGIL NATURAL ENVIRONMENT OF THE OTHER.
CALL TO THE CHURCHES
The churches have a moral obligation and responsibility to raise awareness in its congregations and in the State of Hawai'i about tourismís negative impacts and consequences on native Hawaiians. The churches are called upon to "wrestle against the principalities and powers" which exploit people.
Furthermore, the churches must examine their history of involvement in Hawai'iís past, and recognize their role in the loss of Native Hawaiian control over their land and destiny and in the overthrow of the Hawaiian monarchy. Such a recognition should lead to concrete actions on the part of the churches to rectify the wrongs which have been done.
Given these harsh and continuing realities, we, the participants of the conference, call upon the churches and religious institutions of Hawai'i, in consultation with Native Hawaiians, to initiate a process of reconciliation and reparations, as follows:
A. The return of public and private trust lands to the control of the Native Hawaiian people;Furthermore, we call upon the churches and religious institutions of Hawai'i to support the political claims of Native Hawaiians to establish a sovereign entity, separate from the existing State and Federal governments, in order that they may achieve self-determination.
An immediate ban on all resort and related developments in those areas designated as sanctuaries by Native
B. Hawaiians, and in rural Hawaiian communities such as, Leeward and Windward Kaua'i, Leeward and Winward O'ahu, Moloka'i, Lana'i, East Maui and the districts of North Kohala, South Kona, and Ka'u on Hawai'i; and
C. Technical, financial and other support from the State of Hawai'i to Native Hawaiian projects which encourage economic self-sufficiency.
II. PUBLIC WITNESS
We call upon the churches and religious institutions of Hawai'i to take a stand for social justice and engage in political actions, as follows:
We call upon the churches and religious institutions of Hawai'i to acknowledge and respect Native Hawaiian rights to:
A. Practice and participate in traditional ceremonies and rituals with the same protection offered all religions;We further call upon the churches to live in harmony with Godís creation of land, water, and air; and to integrate the Native Hawaiian culture into their religious services. Finally we call upon the churches to work towards the reestablishment of one day each week for rest and sanctuary in order to strengthen family relations.
B. Determine access to and protection of sacred sites and burial grounds, and public lands for ceremonial purposes; and
C. Utilize and access religious symbols for traditional ceremonies and rituals.
We call upon the churches and religious institutions of Hawai'i to:
A. Recognize the negative impacts and consequences of tourism on Native Hawaiians and other indigenous people of the world;
B. Support the actions of the churches and religious groups of Hawai'i in consultation with Native Hawaiians to initiate a process of reconciliation and reparations;
C. Contribute funds and support and the Hawai'i Ecumenical Coalition on Tourism to act upon the 1989 Hawai'i Declaration;
D. Together with the Hawaii Ecumenical Coalition on Tourism, invite the Ecumenical Coalition on Third World Tourism to consider holding the "Peopleís Forum on Tourism" in Hawai'i in 1993; and
E. Work with their own governments and businesses to stop further investments in the tourist industry in Hawai'i which have negative impacts and consequences on Native Hawaiians.
TOURISM IN HAWAI'I:
Its Impact on Native Hawaiians
Its Challenge to the Churches
Ecumenical Coalition for Third World Tourism
Center for Responsible Tourism
Hawai'i Council of Churches,
American Friends Service Committee
Hawaii Conference of the United Church of Christ
World Council of Churches (Program to Combat Racism)
National Council of Churches of Christ in the U.S.A.
Catholic Diocese of Honolulu
St. Andrewís Cathedral
Buddhist Study Center
Church of the Crossroads
United Methodist Church, Hawai'i District
Harris United Methodist Church
Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), Pacific-Southwest Region
Zentrum für Entwicklungsbezogene Bildung
Pohaku Fund, the Tides Foundation
Hawaii Ecumenical Coalition on Tourism
c/o AFSC 2426 Oahu Avenue
Honolulu, HI 96822 U.S.A.
Tel: (808) 988-6266 or 988-4876