I would like to make an offer of settlement concerning Halloween in Lahaina's historic district.
There are various concerns that, if addressed properly, could result in a successful resolution to this situation.
If the case had been allowed to be justly heard last year, the plaintiffs would have made the following contribution. However, because there appeared to be no authentic willingness to dialogue and to listen, prior to the suit against Maui County and the LahainaTown Action Committee, it came to that and continues pending on appeal.
First and foremost, the way the county and LTAC are moving forward with Halloween and other similar events in Lahaina town, there is no talk about perpetuating what is Hawaiian and we are being erased and being termed as strangers in our own home.
We, meaning Na Makua O'Maui and the kupuna, request that from the Pioneer Inn, library and lighthouse, including Banyan Tree Park, down past Moku'ula to Shaw Street be barricaded off for any Halloween event. The Wharf Cinema Center, down to Burger King, may be barricaded so that the restaurants are accessible but that no cars or people can cross the street toward Moku'ula or Banyan Tree Park. In this way, the event/party on Front Street can continue and go up to Pioneer Inn and access the Wharf Cinema Center and Burger King and no farther. We would work together on the details of how to do this.
Just as important is that there be some kind of educational material or people at the endpoint informing tourists/partygoers why this is so. This then becomes an opportunity to educate visitors and residents about the cultural significance of the area. This begins a much needed process of the invigoration of cultural and historical awareness sorely needed in the Lahaina town district.
This will ensure proper respect and protection of the area and sacred and historic sites and education, which is also a requirement in an historic town district and is a stated part of the LTAC mission statement.
Such education will strengthen the Hawaiian community's sense of identity, restore the dignity which is being otherwise harmed, and would result in greater economic vitality by promoting that which is genuinely authentic for Lahaina. Promoting what is Hawaii will ultimately result in the ability to promote events in Lahaina dedicated to Hawaiian culture and history, which strengthens the cultural identity of Lahaina and can only help promote economic vitality in the area.
Without meaning to cause offense, the watered-down representation of Hawaiian culture being insincerely promoted and exploited for sale in many stores and activities does a disservice to that which should be promoted in Lahaina in an authentic way. An authentic embrace of the Hawaiian community stimulates the people of the aina and benefits them, the host culture, along with the foreigner and their economic needs and desires. Each will help the other to prosper, but only if the proper attention and investment is made in the proper order.
"Seek first the kingdom of heaven and its righteousness and all else will be added unto you besides." Is this not the Gospel teaching brought to our shores? Should we not all apply this together and receive the blessings promised us? This is what being pono means, and only by being pono will any activity bear good fruit. Let us be in integrity with one another first - not in an otherwise patronizing manner which is experienced as either lip service (insincere) or exclusively on one party's terms.
For a mutually respectful and supportive relationship to exist we need to have more of a sincere working relationship together - the host culture and those who have come to settle here. As such, we desire the Cultural Resources Committee to reinvent its role so that it can make a greater contribution to the process of educating our public, protecting the culture and values, and promoting more true Hawaiian events in Maui County. We would like the rules amended to create this to happen, to explore and decide how we would implement this, and to set a deadline for its execution and fulfillment.
* Richard Dancil is the head of Na Makua O'Maui and a plaintiff in the suit against Maui County and the LahainaTown Action Committee regarding the 2011 Halloween event on Front Street. An appeal in the lawsuit is pending. He has filed an injunction to stop this year's Halloween event. He lives in Kula.