Who owns aloha? Hawaii eyes protections for native culture

  • This Friday, April 12, 2019 photo shows Healani Sonoda-Pale, chairwoman of the Ka Lahui Hawaii political action committee, wearing a T-shirt saying “Aloha Not for Sale” in Honolulu. Hawaii lawmakers are considering adopting a resolution calling for the creation of legal protections for Native Hawaiian cultural intellectual property. (AP Photo/Audrey McAvoy)

  • This Tuesday, April 16, 2019 photo shows Michele Miyanaga preparing cubes of raw ahi, or tuna, at Aloha Poke Shop, a store in Honolulu that received a letter from Chicago-based Aloha Poke Co. saying the Illinois company had trademarked “Aloha Poke” and the Hawaii company would need to change its name. Hawaii lawmakers are considering adopting a resolution calling for the creation of legal protections for Native Hawaiian cultural intellectual property. (AP Photo/Audrey McAvoy)

  • This Tuesday, April 16, 2019, photo shows Aloha Poke Shop, a store in Honolulu that received a letter from Chicago-based Aloha Poke Co. saying the Illinois company had trademarked “Aloha Poke” and the Hawaii company would need to change its name. Hawaii lawmakers are considering adopting a resolution calling for the creation of legal protections for Native Hawaiian cultural intellectual property. (AP Photo/Audrey McAvoy)

HONOLULU — Last year, much of Hawaii was shocked to learn a Chicago restaurant chain owner had trademarked the name “Aloha Poke” and wrote to cubed fish shops around the country demanding that they stop using the Hawaiian language moniker for their own eateries. The cease-and-desist letters targeted a downtown Honolulu restaurant and a Native Hawaiian-operated restaurant in Anchorage, among others.

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