6. Supporting Self-Governance in Hawai`i

Listening to this program was very interesting and informative. I, personally do not know in detail what is happening with the political status of the state of hawaii. I can understand it only from the recent perspective of this class and what I know and can relate to it, from what is happening with Guam’s political status. The answers to the questions below are from my personal perspective and is not to offend or discriminate on anyone. I will just be expressing my interpretation of the situation.

How do you think social workers should or should not participate in this discussion? Do you think NASW Hawaii should come out in support of one particular position?

-Social Workers should 100% be a part of this process. They should however come from a neutral standpoint to help aid in the direction of the people of Hawai’i. I believe it is the duty of a Social Worker to facilitate the objective dissemination of information to aid in the process to self governance. I think NASW HawaiI Chapter should, if they are not already be a part of this process to educate the public on the future of Hawai`i.

Image retrieved from https://www.socialworker.com/feature-articles/practice/voting-is-social-work-voter-empowerment-national-social-work-voter-mobilization-campaign/

What differences in language did you notice in the readings and in the video in regards to sovereignty, de-occupation, federal recognition, etc.?
-The reading was very informative, there was some terms and concepts that I had to research to better understand. The reading went back and forth on stances in how to address situations or dilemmas within the state of Hawai’i or the Kingdom of Hawaii. While the video presented itself with a panel of individuals that have different interpretations of the direction Hawai’i should go. I found this very interesting, considering Guam also is going through this dilemma.
While engulfed into this reading I started to jot down notes. These note stuck out to me because in the context of the use of the words native, blood criterion, blood quantum and plebiscite. All of these words separate people living and have lived in one place for a very long time. The direction of the island should, go in one direction as ONE PEOPLE, but I don’t really see it happening until there is unification.

I only say this because we have this problem back home in Guam. Our people are divided in the direction Guam should go, and there is a huge population that just don’t care. So when we do choose where Guam wants to go, everyone on the island; whether they chose that direction or not, has to deal with it.
I believe it is necessary for everyone that is affected (resides on the island) should be a part of the direction of the Island. This can be achieved through education and outreach.

How do you think you can and should participate in advocating around this issue? Have you previously participated in advocacy work around this issue?
-first off, as an advocate you need to know about the issues. Then all the issues that are revolving around it. I have been around issues like this on Guam. I have exposed myself to all political status parties to better understand the assortment of direction the island can head to. I have learned that people do want the best for the island. Yet, there are still people amongst them that have individual or political gain from these directions.

Where do you personally stand on the issue? Did the video and readings help clarify this?
-first off, this is my own opinion, I am not a resident, nor am I an indigenous person from the Hawaiian islands. But I do believe that the people of Hawaii should have its own control and self governance. I do feel like there is a separation of people, and I believe that all people residing on the island are Hawaiians by virtue of calling Hawai`i home.
I have this perspective because I am a social worker and a indigenous CHamoru man. I support the people and the decision the people make for the greater good of the future as a COLLECTIVE.


Join the Conversation


  1. Shino,
    I also wrote in my blog that I thought the NASW should stay neutral on the topic and help the community progress in the direction of their goals. You mentioned how you’ve familiarized yourself with the different political status movements on island, I think that’s dope. I was definitely one of the people who fell into the “huge population who don’t care,” (don’t get mad, I’m working on it) it’s sad but true. I wish our people would come together as one to tackle this issue, but as long as there are still a huge number of us uncertain/uneducated in the different options to our island, I don’t see this happening.



  2. Hafa Adai Ray!

    I appreciate your view that social workers should objectively disseminate information surrounding self-determination or decolonization or de-occupation. I think that social workers positions, regardless of their relationship with the culture/people in subject, should be neutral but fully support the cause of the people— the betterment of their current conditions. After all, that is the goal of social workers.

    It sounds you are very well exposed to the different dialogue about decolonization on Guam. I also notice you frequently bring up how there are those “people amongst them that have individual or political gain from these directions.”

    Who are these people? And where are you meeting them?

    I also have done my best to expose myself to different platforms of information on all three political status options (since I was in high school) and always find something new to learn. But I never seem to feel to see what you see when talking with people. And I consider myself to be very observant. I have always understood why or what everyone’s goal was what it was— betterment for CHamoru people.

    I have however seen how people’s ego because more important than the cause but, never people who would have individual or political gain from the different direction.

    Lastly, I agree that it is necessary for everyone that is affected (reside on the island) should be a part of the direction of the island. I also agree that the best way to do this is through education and outreach. I agree that the greater good for the future for the “COLLECTIVE” is important.

    And I believe that a CHamoru only vote can do just that. CHamoru people, I believe have always been considerate, welcoming, and loving people. All our values are reflective of how we interact and affect the people around us on a daily basis. I believe that with those values, CHamoru people will always consider those who would not vote while making a decision.

    I also believe that the indigenous Hawaiian people also share the same value and choose what is best for the greater good of all. I don’t believe that all people residing on the island are “Hawaiians” by virtue of calling it home. I understand why but it fails to acknowledge (what I think) the historical and present injustices that inflicted on the NATIVE Hawaiian people.

    Thanks for your post!
    Sar ginen Guåhan.


  3. Hello Ray,

    Overall, I really appreciated your outlook of wanting Guam’s decisions for Guam’s future political status to be that of a result from a unified, collective standpoint. I liked how you expressed how there are people who just don’t care and that possible ways to help combat these aloofness and misconceptions of the different political status can be remedied by dissemination of information. I completely agree. I think more education needs to be shared with Guam with emphasis on importance of the different political status and what decolonization means on not just a political level, but the cultural level as well.

    Until the next blog,
    Aurea 🙂


  4. Hey Ray, I agree with your statement in which you said “I believe it is necessary for everyone that is affected (resides on the island) should be a part of the direction of the Island. This can be achieved through education and outreach.” I do believe that in order for this movement on Guåhan to be meaningful and successful it does mean having a collectivist approach. I think that by having this approach like what I have seen in regards to the movement with Mauna Kea, Guåhan’s quest in self-determination can be actualized. I think that’s how Hawaii has been successful in their reach with a global audience is in part to the “Kapu Aloha” that they have shown to everyone who is willing to stand with them. I’d also like to pick your brain sometime because I would like to know what your experiences are in learning about the different political status options. -Bella


  5. Hi Ray,

    I agree with you that as social workers we should learn what are the facts regarding the issues and be able to disseminate this accordingly and perhaps provide education if needed. Everyone is affected in the island so coming with a decision collectively is really important. I admire people like you with the determination and passion you have with indigenous concept. I can feel how you are able to relate to the Native Hawaiians and their political issues.

    Thank you for your great insight.



  6. It would be great to see indigenous people and people who live on the island who are not indigenous coming together. It just seems so difficult because it seems that people’s self interest come before working for those who are disenfranchised. Rich want to get richer at the cost to low income people. How do we get past this and work together? Dialogue is a great place to start. Education is important too. Is that enough? What else can be done or should be done? I do hope that Guam can take on this challenge and perhaps show us the way to go toward self determination. Mike


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