Hawaiʿi Health & Harm Reduction Center strives to foster health, wellness, and systemic change in Hawaiʿi and the Pacific. We serve many who are disproportionately affected by social determinants of health, including Native Hawaiians. Among our core values are compassion, integrity, respect, and a dedication to eliminating the stigmas and systemic injustices impacting the communities we serve and represent.
We firmly support the right of Native Hawaiians to maintain their identity through language, collective association, cultural and spiritual expression, and stewardship of Hawaiʿi’s natural environment.
Native Hawaiian identity has been subject to diminution, maltreatment, and marginalization since the advent of sustained contact with colonial powers. Historically this included the formal suppression of Native Hawaiian spirituality, culture, and language. Contemporary indicia of the ongoing dispossession of Native Hawaiians include relatively low levels of educational attainment; higher levels of chronic illnesses and behavioral health issues; lower life expectancies; disproportionate levels of housing instability, economic insecurity, incarceration and criminal justice system involvement; and continued underrepresentation in higher education, licensed professions, and elective politics.
Hawaiʿi’s natural resources remain an integral component of Native Hawaiian identity. These natural resources continue to be exploited for the benefit of select exogenous economic interests, often with adverse impacts upon ecosystem biodiversity. Government-sanctioned activities and policies that foreseeably impact Native Hawaiians should forward a heightened commitment to social equity to promote fairness and justice. Social equity includes the express provision of community benefits to those impacted by government-sanctioned activities.
We support the protectors of Maunakea and stand in solidarity with all indigenous people fighting to protect their cultural and natural resources.
Keli‘i Abordo, Medical Case Management Team Manager
As a Native Hawaiian, I cannot help but feel this tremendous ‘eha hurt in the pit of my stomach, in these past days, that is very hard to ignore. I feel a true connection to Maunakea and the people who protect her. I have visited Hawaii Island many times and have passed through her magnificent space. I have danced and chanted to her and for her. This is not about a mountain, this is about an ancestor.
This takes me back to my college days when we were fighting for gathering and access rights.
Holding vigils at State Capitol with chanting and dancing. Always peaceful and respectful. We did get our access rights.
Protecting Mauna a Wakea harkens back to the bombings of Kaho’olawe. Will government ever learn?
Fighting for Indigenous Rights is a very big part of reducing harm among the Native communities we serve, because equity breeds success.