Sunday, July 29, 2012

Native Hawaiian Roll Commission

As we've mentioned before, America has one of the biggest Pacific Islander populations in the world primarily because several Pacific Islander communities are indigenous to land that is now part of the United States.  This includes the Samoans of American Samoa, and the Chamorros of Guam, and (the largest of the three) Hawaii's Native Hawaiians.

Unlike the other two major indigenous groups from the 50 States (American Indians and Alaska Natives), Native Hawaiians lack federal recognition. Hawaii's elected officials -- Democrat and Republican alike -- have tried to remedy this inequity on a national level, but after over a decade of Congressional inaction, the State of Hawaii took matters into its own hands.  Now, while Hawaiians and their allies continue to pursue federal recognition, Hawaii is already in the process of organizing a state recognized Native Hawaiian governing entity.

Hawaiians took another major step in that direction last week, by launching a year-long campaign to create a roll of Native Hawaiians who will be eligible to participate in the state-recognized governing entity. I was proud to sign up and register my son through the online form here (link).

When affixing my (electronic) signature to this roll, I couldn't help but think of my great-great-grandfather, a Native Hawaiian saloon owner from Maui, who was one of the tens of thousands of Hawaiians to sign the "Ku'e" petitions reaffirming their support for the Hawaiian Kingdom, which had recently been overthrown.  While I never met him, I was filled with pride when I saw his signature on the microfilm at the National Archives.

It took a lot more guts for him to sign his petition -- the men who overthrew the Kingdom now regulated his saloon -- than it did for me to join the roll.  Still, I hope that generations from now, my family will take some pride in how our 'ohana was part of restoring recognition for our people.

For my fellow Native Hawaiians reading this, I urge you to register, and pass the information on to your 'ohana. For those who aren't Native Hawaiian, but want to support this effort, you can affirm your support on this petition (link), or register your organization as a sponsor or supporter of this campaign (link).


--  To learn more about the Native Hawaiian Roll Commission, click here: LINK

Friday, July 20, 2012

Pacific Islander America: Arkansas Continued

Last week we blogged about a New York Times article regarding the Marshall Islander community of Northwest Arkansas, which is the largest outside of the Pacific.  Those who have been following our posts shouldn't be surprised that the U.S. claims some of the largest communities of Polynesians, Micronesians, or Melanesians: after all, this nation has one of the largest Pacific Islander populations in the world.

One anecdote in the New York Times article was about the fact that Marshall Islanders have trouble with basic language barriers, such as the driver's license test.  This column, from the Arkansas Times, goes into more detail about that: LINK

While driver's licenses are important (especially in rural communities where driving is necessary for work), I wonder how the community is preparing for the higher education needs of this growing population? What higher education recruitment, retention, and graduation programs are in place to help Arkansas's Marshall Islander Americans succeed?


Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Pacific Islander America: New York Times reports on Arkansas's Pacific Islanders

Earlier this month, the New York Times wrote a feature on Arkansas's growing community of Marshall Islanders, which is the largest anywhere outside of the Pacific Islands.  

You can read that article here: LINK

For our earlier blogs on Arkansas's Pacific Islander population, click here: LINK


Sunday, July 08, 2012

How Many Pacific Islander Executive Officers work at Fortune 500 Companies?

Recently, LEAP (Leadership Education for Asian Pacifics, Inc.) published a study on Asian and Pacific Islander representation among the Executive Officers and top earners at Fortune 500 companies (America's 500 largest companies, ranked by revenue). In promoting the report, LEAP focused on their finding that Asians and Pacific Islanders are underrepresented in the executive boardrooms of the largest, wealthiest companies.

Specifically, they determined that only 2 percent of the executives and top earners at Fortune 500 were Asian or Pacific Islander.

Those of who regularly read our blog could guess my first question: of that 2 percent, how many were Native Hawaiian or other Pacific Islander? Is this one of those studies where we can't answer that question, because the organization or researcher didn't bother to distinguish between Pacific Islanders and Asians?

LEAP didn't just distinguish between Pacific Islanders and Asians; actually they went one step further.  If you read their report (available here), you'll see that they break down exactly which Asian sub groups and Pacific Islander sub groups were included in that 2 percent (99 top executives total). Here are the figures:
  • Asian Indian: 51
  • Chinese: 24
  • Korean: 11
  • Japanese: 8
  • Pakistani: 2
  • Vietnamese: 2
  • Filipino: 1

Description: 2011_LEAP_FORTUNE500_Figure5.jpg

Don't see any Native Hawaiian or other Pacific Islanders? That's because they didn't find any. According to this study, there are no Native Hawaiian or other Pacific Islander executive officers or top earners working for the Fortune 500.

That's not to say that Native Hawaiians and other Pacific Islanders aren't founding and running successful businesses across the nation.  Census data shows that between 2002 and 2007, the number of Native Hawaiian and other Pacific Islander-run businesses grew by over 30 percent. During the same five-year-period, the value of theses businesses grew by over 50 percent.

This mix of evidence suggests -- at least to me -- that Pacific Islanders are starting, managing, and growing businesses in the U.S., but this is happening on the small-businesses level.  As for the biggest businesses (at least the biggest 500), Native Hawaiians and other Pacific Islanders are woefully, and completely, unrepresented.

  • Here's a link to the LEAP report: LINK
  • And here's the Census report on Pacific Islander American businesses: LINK

Tuesday, July 03, 2012

Huffington Post blogs on Hawaiians in California

As we've mentioned before (we'll link to some of the earlier posts at the bottom of this one), California is a place that many Native Hawaiians and other Pacific Islanders call home.  This is both a modern and historic phenomenon: Hawaiians have been living in what is now California for over a century-and-a-half.

As mentioned in this recent Huffington Post blog post, a team of writers and researchers have written a book about the lives of California's Native Hawaiian community.  I haven't read the book so I can't speak to its merits, but I'm pleased to see someone take up the topic.  Learn more or get a copy yourself by following this link: LINK


If you read the book, let us know what you think!

Also, if you're looking for other literature on the history of Native Hawaiian pioneers living in the West Coast, here are two other options: "Kanaka: The Untold Story of Hawaiian Pioneers in British Columbia and the Pacific Northwest" and "Leaving Paradise: Indigenous Hawaiians in the Pacific Northwest, 1787-1898." 

Here are some previous blog posts on California's growing community of Native Hawaiians and other Pacific Islanders:

  • Pacific Islander America: California: LINK
  • California updates terminology in law to teach students about Pacific Islander American history: LINK
  • California passes new law to improve data on Pacific Islanders and Asians: LINK
  • A few more stories: Pacific Islander America, California: LINK