(BIVN) – Before the Office of Hawaiian Affairs meeting held in Hilo adjourned last week, Trustee Robert Lindsey announced he had a makana, or gift, for the elected board.
Staff handed out copies of Lindsey’s book, Sonny Kaniho: A Profile in Hawaiian Courage, which chronicles Kaniho’s efforts to bring about change and reform within the Department of Hawaiian Home Lands.
Trustee Lindsey told the board:
Sonny Kaniho was a guy who really called me on the carpet. He said, you know Bob, you talk a lot about being pro-Hawaiʻian, and I get this project I working on. And I need your help.
He was going to take on the Department of Hawaiian Homelands. He was gonna take on Parker Ranch. He was gonna take on one of my auntie’s and couple other big companies who were leasing homestead land that should have been in the hands of our people. And the humbug I had, was my wife and I lived in Richard Smartʻs compound at the time. Richard was my landlord. And when Sonny asked me for kokua, he didn’t even know what my relationship to the owner of Parker Ranch was. But he put it straight up to me: ‘Brother, I need your help, and I need it now.’
So I told Sonny, ‘You know what Sonny, can you give me a couple days? I better think about this.’ And that same evening that Sonny asked me for kokua, I called him at home in Honolulu and said ‘Sonny, I’m on board.’
And of course, within a week, my wife who was haole came home from work and I told her, eh, honey. Weʻre homeless. You know, we got kicked out from our Parker Ranch house. but you know what, when I reflect on that you know that was Sonny Kaniho was the one who showed me what courage was.
The OHA meeting was held within the Haleʻōlelo building on the campus of Ka Haka ʻUla O Keʻelikōlani on September 20th.