ANAHOLA – Independence advocate Hanalei Henry Smith was a Hawaiian with
His family members and friends say Smith displayed that quality in
addressing an issue that was close to his heart: Sovereignty.
have joined militant Kanaka maoli (the aboriginal people of Hawai’i) to push
for the resurrection of the Kingdom of Hawaii. Instead, his family member and
friends said, he chose his own path, speaking for calm and reason and
initiating friendly discussion on the issue.
Smith, 64, died Sept. 17. He
had suffered an aneurysm last month.
A memorial service is scheduled for
Sept. 30 at Aliomanu River.
Because he was not physically able to do so
after the attack, he had his daughter testify on his behalf at a meeting on
Kaua’i related to federal legislation recognizing a relationship between the
United States and Native Hawaiians. Smith condemned the bill.
the court system to challenge the title of lands in Princeville, Kilauea and
Kealia owned by private developers, said Butch Kekahu, a close friend and a
Smith felt the overthrow of the Hawaiian monarchy in
1893 was illegal and believed the court system offered solutions, said
longtime friend and sovereignty advocate Michael Grace.
“He was more
legal-minded,” Grace said. ” He wanted to do things peacefully.”
late 1980s, Smith joined other Hawaiians in what they said at the time was the
peaceful occupation of a vacant Department of Hawaiian Homelands lot on the
mountainside of Anahola Beach.
Along with Grace and his wife, Sondra,
Smith served 45 days on contempt charges related to the occupation of the
State officials said the occupation was illegal and amounted to
trespassing. Smith and others argued the waiting line for the land was too
long and that they had the right to use it.
In 1996, Smith felt first hand
the pain of fighting for sovereignty and ongoing disputes with Department of
Hawaiian Home Lands.
His brother, Kahale Hilbert Smith, had a
long-standing dispute with the state agency over the workmanship of a DHHL home
he occupied in Anahola. In January 1996, he poured gasoline on the house, set
it on fire, barricaded himself inside and died.
The brothers were
“warriors,” said Sondra Grace. “They never stopped believing that justice could
come back to the Hawaiian people.”
At meetings, Henry Smith talked about
the need for the Kanaka maoli to be united to carry out self-determination, she
“Henry would help anyone who had questions about land titles,” Kekahu
said. “He reminded people that the title of the lands belongs with the Hawaiian
His father’s belief in independence and his notions of what was
right and wrong helped shape him, said Kamealoha Smith, a Hawaiian and Japanese
language instructor at Kapiolani Community College on O’ahu, and one of Henry
Smith’s eight children. “We grew up with his teachings that the nation was
whole. He influenced my decision in what I am doing now.”
Smith said, “was very committed to the children. Through him, we leaned about
ohana and aloha. I really appreciated my dad.”
Staff writer Lester
Chang can be reached at 245-3681 (ext. 225) and [