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Hawaii A Voice For Sovereignty In Rome and Kaua'i
A Film - A Movement For Sustainability Moving Throughout The World
Othila Media Productions
Contact: C. Colegrove
In Rome, Italy, the Native Hawaiian People raised awareness of their goal to keep their ancient culture and Hawai’i sustainable. They shared their indigenous knowledge through the documentary film, Hawaii A Voice For Sovereignty, a screening presented at the Pigorini National Museum of Prehistory and Ethnography on October 19, 2013. In the film they express a deep connection to their culture, the land and spirituality. They reveal their goals for sovereign rights and sustainability, “Our land and our spiritual beliefs are all one in the same. They can’t be separated,” the revered Charles Ka’upu explains in the opening of the film. The documentary continues to circulate the indigenous knowledge, and will screen on Kaua’i, HI., November 12th at the Annual Hawaiian Civic Club Convention at the Kaua’i Marriott Resort on Kalapaki Beach.
The people of Hawai’i express their needs for change since the overthrow of the Hawaiian Kingdom by anti-monarchial U.S. businessmen living in Hawai’i and the U.S. Marines on January 17, 1893. They want to renew water and land rights, the recognition of land patents awarded to their ancestors, and the sanctity of their heiaus (sacred burial grounds) to be secured from commercial development.
They are now speaking out in areas of the world through the medium of the documentary film, as it was meant to be when the Kanaka Maoli (the people of the land) made the decision to reveal cultural, social, and economic concerns during the intimate interviews for the film throughout most of the Hawaiian Islands. It is through the conscious act of sharing their mana and traditional knowledge, that a movement for sovereign and human rights for sustainability has expanded from the islands through their voices in the film, and is continuing as their silence is broken throughout the world.
As a messenger for the voice of the Hawaiian People in the film, the filmmakers goal, Catherine Bauknight is to help raise awareness of the issues faced by Hawaiians and to promote resolutions. This is her kuleana, and as a photojournalist she is presenting their story in their voice, to cultural, social, and political arenas to open discussions of conscious decisions for a sustainable future.
Since the private premiere at the Capitol Building in Washington, D.C., the movement of the film continues to connect people and break down borders. A series of screenings lead to the theatrical release of the film at the Laemmle Theater in Pasadena, CA. March 2012. The first of seven major awards presented to the film was “Best Hawai’i Film, Audience Award” at the Maui Film Festival, followed by the screening on the grounds of the Iolani Palace in Honolulu where Queen Lili’uokalani was held prisoner by the self- proclaimed government in her Palace. Screenings continued to the Maori Film Festival in New Zealand, the Red Nation Film Festival in Los Angeles, the American Indian Movement Film Festival in San Francisco, the Berkeley Film Festival and the New York International Film and Video Festival in New York City. The United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues Side Events in New York City, May 2013 was an important screening for global connection and the Annual Hawaiian Civic Club Convention on Kaua’i, HI. November 12, 2013 will bring it full circle back to Hawaii. There are plans for additional screenings in Europe including Paris in Spring 2014.
After watching the film with her students at the Pigorini Museum, Puja Cristina, Deepak Chopra Certified Instructor in Rome revealed, “About my people I only tell you this: Without understanding the meaning three of my friends are crying during the movie. They say that the faces they are watching seems of their family in a very strong way!”
They Native Hawaiians continue to educate themselves on lawful rights and are presenting their issues to the local court, the Hawai’i State Supreme Court, and even a case to the U.S. Supreme Court regarding the possible sell of 1.8 million acres by the State of Hawai’i, which the Office of Hawaiian Affairs opposed the sell of ceded lands, by the State of Hawai’i. "Ceded lands" refers to 1.8 million acres of Crown lands of the Hawaiian monarchy, which set aside lands for the crown and allowed chiefs and commoners to claim private title to land distributed by Kamehameha III, in 1846. After the overthrow of the Hawaiian Kingdom in 1893, those participants formed a Provisional Government January 17, 1893 - July 3, 1894, followed by a formation called the Republic of Hawai’i, July 4, 1894 - August 12, 1898. The self-proclaimed government claimed annexation and the Crown lands were ceded to the U.S. Federal Government. When Hawai’i became the 50th state on August 21,1959, the Crown lands were transferred to the state of Hawai’i. These and other land issues are points of discussion by the Native Hawaiians in the documentary.
“What happens to the land happens to the people” is a message shared by the Kanaka Maoli. Leaders of the Hawaiian community who are featured in interviews including Author, Haunani- Kay Trask, Professor Kaleikoa Ka’eo, Clifford Nae’ole,
Cultural Advisor, Richard Ho’opi’i, Musician, Senator Kalani English, and others as they discuss their culture, rich history, and future.
The message of the Native Hawaiians continue the movement into areas of the world through Universities such as University of Hawai’i, libraries such as The National Library of New Zealand, Kemehameha High School Maui, FNX T.V. Public Broadcasting, Comcast Programming, The Pigorini National Museum of Prehistory and Ethnography in Rome, and public screenings. It has been subtitled in Italian for a better understanding of the message for the people of Italy.
The voice of the Kanaka, stewards of the land is becoming of dire importance, as we face global warming, lack of clean water and non-contaminated food resources. Their ancient knowledge is a path to the future of a sustainable world.
“Highly Recommended. What emerges is a sense of the growing desire of the Polynesian Hawaiians to return to an embrace of spirituality and connection with the natural world, as well as a determination to right the land grabs and disenfranchisement of the past.” - Revue:
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Othila Media Productions