Other People’s Pigs…

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“Native Hawaiian Chamber of Commerce.”

The title asserts kuleana that does not always align philosophically. Many Hawaiian-serving organizations deal with this, often dichotomous, relationship and work towards the “sweet spot” in the Venn diagram of proposed solutions.

Some solutions are straightforward, while others are more controversial and downright unpopular. The Red Hill water crisis, for example, is straightforward. Most organizations found themselves lending their full throated support for immediate long-term mitigation from the Navy. Ensuring Hawaiian-owned businesses receive their fair share of military and other federal contracts, on the other hand, is not quite as cut and dried an issue.

“I komo no ka haʻi puaʻa i ka paʻa ʻole o ka pā; Other people’s pigs come in when the fence is not kept in good repair.” – Pukui 1217

As Hawaiians, we must keep our fences in good repair, and we cannot afford to tend some areas of the fence and neglect others. Can we press for accountability from the Navy to shut down the Red Hill fuel facility while also continuing to fight for a seat at the table for military contracts for Hawaiian-owned businesses?

Not only can we, but we absolutely should! As Hawaiian businesspeople, we must advocate for livable wages for Hawaiians while also supporting the long-term sustainability of Hawaiian-owned, small businesses in Hawaiʻi. We can protect wahi pana (storied places) while supporting responsible tourism and development. We should be fighting for money owed to the Office of Hawaiian Affairs and the Department of Hawaiian Home Lands while also advocating for state procurement considerations for small businesses.

Every issue that affects our people, whether fought in county council chambers, at the state legislature, on Capitol Hill or at our most sacred places is a link in our fence that must be tended. It is not realistic to expect that any one organization or person can do all or be all to everyone all the time. If we all do a little, band together each of us tending our little section of the fence, we can do it!

Native Hawaiian Chamber of Commerce

The Native Hawaiian Chamber of Commerce continues to build a long-term cadence of civic engagement and advocacy to provide our members with more opportunities to tend the fence!

You may have engaged with our youth partners at KONO (Ka Leo o nā ʻŌpio) and their ongoing digital talk story sessions. You may have submitted testimony for one of the bills we are tracking. Whatever your interests, talents, skills or capacity there is a link in the fence for you. Join us at www.nativehawaiianchamberofcommerce.org and tend the fence today!