Okay, i’ve avoided it long enough. I’ve procrastinated, made excuses, pretended there was other things to do. I know some people I’ve promised answers about land titles in Hawai‘i are questioning my follow through. Afford me a moment, I have some twisted emotion around the subject.
Two years ago my two eldest and I immersed ourselves in Kingdom law. We were blessed to have amazing confidants and experienced alaka‘i (leaders) guide us through a dense time block of study. We even retreated to Hana sabbatical style and basically lived in a library setting. I was the last to the show. I was tying up loose ends with the 2018 election and they had already begun the immersion. I questioned, doubted, argued about the path that ought to be taken. In efforts to accelerate my understanding they sent me touring our isles. I saw corners and valleys of Hawai‘i that shook me to the core. There are grave issues to resolve and I wouldn’t wish the raw witness of it on anyone. The one fact I must sadly share, there are hungry Hawaiian children out there.
I returned and realigned my mind to accelerated strategies towards solutions. There are so many departments of thought and knowledge areas that need shared work. The ultimate consideration being land tenancy and the point blank fact that there is no clear land title in Hawai‘i and thus, the lands belong to the people. Quiet title is not a thing. It’s exactly as it sounds, sneaky quiet, unlawful and stolen. There is also, no title insurance.
Many have heard this, many know this and only a handful talk about how to administratively remedy it. With having so many laws in place, one would think it should be easy. Quite the contrary. And despite the contentious, dangerous and explosiveness, my family chose to take it head on. We chose this because the sense of place for so many Hawaiians has been lost. With drug use rampant, incarceration and recovery having failed so many generations, something had to give. So we gave and it’s been quite a year.
I hadn’t thought about it for years, I thought our wounds had healed. In 1997 my three daughters and I were driving through Ulumalu and a Ford 150 crashed into our Isuzu Trooper front and center. I saw it coming, so did my eldest in the front seat, she leaned forward screaming, unfortunately loosening her seat belt at the same time. No one died and no knew why. There was only 12 inches left in front of my steering wheel. The firefighters said they’d never seen anything like it. There was a strange quiet for a moment and when I looked out the window it looked like clouds. It was too quiet, I was scared to look but as I turned my bleeding broken nose it made them all cry. I’ve never been so happy to hear crying. Thank God, they are all alive.
A white Isuzu Trooper pulled up immediately and this sweet couple draped in white clothes took to calming my crying children. My friend who drove the big school bus pulled up and asked me my Moms number and a Fedex truck blocked the other direction. As the ambulance made its way to us, I looked for the white trooper, it was no where. I was confused, how could it pass the big bus, fedex truck? I broke my nose, my middle girl broke her arm, the baby, tight in her car seat, bit her tongue and had seat belt burns. My eldest in the front seat broke her femur and her pelvic bone. We lived at Ronald McDonald House on O‘ahu for months. It took years to recover but we survived.
The drugged up lady who hit us worked at Title Guaranty. This has been a long and contemplative personal journey. When I was crying and convincing my daughter about hope I didn’t have, I was processing. I was asking God why. I promised him that I trusted but I begged to not let me wait too long to understand. So many people were there for us, so many family and friends praying.
My everyday work is now about land title correction and reminding my elected leaders and the populace the same. Clarifying the law is celebrating the constitutional words of Mō‘i (chief) Kauikeaouli on a daily basis. We are not driving down dangerous roads, we are walking the Kings trail and talking as we meet each other. We will untangle this Title mess, we are setting the record straight and Hawaiians are making their way home. We have good title work ahead of us that gets easier everyday and restorative administrative answers on the way.
I apologize for my delay reply to the many title questions raised lately. I hadn’t thought about it for years, I thought our wounds had healed. And for those who express admiration for my families brand of activism, ask the Kingdom of the Hawaiian Islands Governor of Maui, Napua Hueu about the four nails she had in her femur. Don’t let her tell you the scars are bullet wounds like she used to tell the kids on the playground who teased her. She really is tough as nails.
Sincerest Mahalo to my co-workers and those many Kula Kaiapuni na Kumu and ‘Ohana that lifted us during that time, you still mean the world to us. Thanks for the listen and release.