Hawaiian Cultural Education Threatened

Brief History

Bernice Pauahi (say: pow AH hee) Bishop was a Hawaiian Princess, and in her Will she established a school system for the education of Hawaiian youth. The schools are known as the Kamehameha Schools (say: Kah MAY ha MAY ha), in that they are named after King Kamehameha I, who was the King that united all the Hawaiian Islands under one ruler. The provision of her Will was that the schools were for the education of Hawaiian children in contemporary education and in the religion, language, crafts, and sciences--in short the Hawaiian culture.

Bernice Pauahi Bishop did this for reasons that are best summed up by the words written on the Kamehameha Schools website: "Princess Pauahi had witnessed the growing influence and domination of foreigners and the physical and social decline of her people. . . Believing that education was the only force which could reverse the hopelessness of her people. . . Princess Pauahi created her Will as an instrument of change."

The Will of Princess Pauahi, in speaking of the use of her Trust, states that one of Its purposes is, "To devote a portion of each year's income to support the education of orphans, and others in indigent circumstances, giving the preference to Hawaiians of pure and part aboriginal blood." Preference one understands is tied to limited physical facilities, and it does not matter what racial background you may have in your ancestry as long as there is at least one verifiable Hawaiian ancestor.

A recent IRS ruling has stated that this policy does not conflict with the Civil Rights laws of the United States, and would not therefore deprive the Kamehameha Schools of their IRS status as a valid educational institution under their policies.

The Petition

Currently the trustees of the Kamehameha Schools not only been reserving admission placement for only the highest test scorers, but they have now begun to admit people with no verifiable Hawaiian ancestry--that effectively prevents an equal number of those of Hawaiian ancestry from learning their language, religion, and culture. This violates the Will of Princess Bernice Pauahi Bishop, and, if allowed to continue, will continue to deprivethe Hawaiian people of the Hawaiian culture on what they have left of their homeland.

Currently there is a petition being circulated all over the world asking the friends of the Hawaiian people to compel by petition the trustees of the Kamehameha Schools to change their policy to bring it into alignment with the Will of Princess Pauahi, and thereby to provide for the education of children of Hawaiian ancestry in their culture. It would seem to be a given that this matter will go to the courts, and, perhaps, all the way to the Supreme Court.

The Future

For more information, contact Reverend Charles "Uncle Charlie" Maxwell at radio station KNUI Am900 on Maui. He is the host of the Friday-weekly radio show, "Talk Story with Uncle Charlie" , a former Maui police officer, and one of the driving forces behind the media effort to bring attention to this situation.

You can also reach Mr. Maxwell at Kale@moolelo.com (Kale is pronounced KAH lay), and his website is http://www.moolelo.com.

Hieronimus & Co., Inc., P.O. Box 648, Owings Mills, MD 21117 USA
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