Uploaded on Jan 20, 2009
Security High At 'Iolani Palace Event
Native Hawaiian sovereignty groups gather peacefully
By Suzanne Roig
Advertiser Staff Writer
Native Hawaiian groups tested the state's new rules governing 'Iolani
Palace yesterday during their annual Sovereign Sunday event.
No one was cited and no one was arrested, but more than 20 state
Department of Land and Natural Resources enforcement officers were on hand
to ensure that a group of Hawaiians followed the rules.
The officers stood in a cluster while a variety of Hawaiian groups
occupied the Diamond Head makai corner of the palace near the Pohukaina
burial mound. Most were there to honor their culture and recognize the
start of the January 1893 overthrow of the Hawaiian monarchy.
One of the groups, Sacred Times and Sacred Places, comes to 'Iolani Palace
each month to care for the burial mound.
Officials removed three canopy tents erected by the groups, but did not
touch the Hawaiian flags, information displays or chairs or tables that
had been erected.
"We tried to be culturally sensitive, but we have our jobs to do," said
Guy Chink, a DLNR O'ahu Branch manager who led the enforcement team. "We
will issue a citation to the owner of the tents and if no one claims
ownership then the tents are considered found property."
No one claimed the tents, and no citations were issued. But there was a
lot of tension.
"In the past 11 years no one in that time has stopped us," said Baron
Chink, a member of the Sacred Times and Sacred Places organization. "We do
the work here, not DLNR. As far as I'm concerned we are the authorized
ones to enter, not the DLNR. We are not the interlopers here."
The new rules were adopted after two takeover attempts were made last year
by two separate groups. One takeover occurred in April and a second, in
which the group entered the palace and the 'Iolani Barracks building, led
to arrests in August. Both spurred the state Land Board to pass new rules
governing the 11-acre grounds. The rules bar unauthorized occupation of
The rules also spell out other prohibited activities on the palace
grounds, including harassing palace workers or visitors and interfering
with the public's use of the premises.
Under the new rules, no more than 25 people are allowed to gather, no
banners larger than a specific size can be erected and no tents are
allowed on the grounds without permits. Overnight camping also is not
The officers were on hand yesterday because of concern that there would be
a large demonstration on the palace ground, said Kippen de Alba Chu,
Friends of 'Iolani Palace director.
"They did this earlier last week too for another sovereignty group who
wanted to camp there the whole week," de Alba Chu said. "They are trying
to be consistent with each group and they are there there to make sure the
rules are adhered to."
"This is still our place," said Lynette Cruz, a Hawaiian independence
supporter. "Our job today is to remember who we are. We are not here to
take over the palace, but to honor our heritage."
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