Native Hawaiians march in Washington

WASHINGTON D.C. — Several hundred Hawaiians and supporters marched in the

nation’s capitol Saturday to raise awareness of the Hawaiian sovereignty

movement and call for return of native lands.

Chanting “I ku mau mau,” or

“Pull together,” the group marched down Pennsylvania Avenue from the U.S.

Capitol to the Ellipse across from the White House.

The two-day

demonstration, which also included a 24-hour prayer vigil and talks at the

Smithsonian, was a success in terms of drawing national media attention to the

plight of Native Hawaiians, said organizer and Kaua’i resident Butch

Kekahu.

“The coverage was great,” he said. “The more people who know what

we’re doing, the better. We must continue.”

The march itself was

“colorful and lively” with many of the supporters dressed in traditional kihei

and kikepa, and it drew a lot of support from tourists, cars honking and from

police officers, spokesman Riley ‘Ehu Cardwell said.

“It was beautiful and

we won some hearts along the way,” Kekahu added.

One sad note: one of those

in the Kaua’i entourage died shortly before the event. The name of the man,

said to be from Koloa, has not been confirmed.

“We honored at the march,”

Kekahu said.

Another focus of the march, the organizers said, was

unification of all the different Native Hawaiian sovereignty

groups.

Unification was important in 1998, when the first Aloha March was

staged, but it is “absolutely critical” now, said Cardwell.

Kekahu said he

needs to sit down with Hawaiian sovereignty leaders “because we’re not going to

do this another 107 years.”

“It’s now or never.”

After returning home

Sunday, he said he will give himself some time “to see how we’re going to work

this out with the Hawaiian sovereignty leaders in Hawai’i.”

He said his

goal is to “see how much we can do in three to five years.”

AP contributed

to this report

Pulling togetherAloha March organizer and founder Butch

Kekahu led a procession of about 300 Native Hawaiians and supporters down

Pennsylvania Avenue in the nation’s capitol Saturday in an attempt to raise

awareness about Hawaiian sovereignty. (Photo by

Mollie Bigger)

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