HomeAsian AmericansNative Hawaiians ask for say in Lahaina rebuilding plans

Native Hawaiians ask for say in Lahaina rebuilding plans

The fire in Lahaina destroyed several Native Hawaiian cultural spaces and artifacts. Native Hawaiians are now calling on government officials to allow them a say in how the area is rebuilt.

During a news conference on Friday, Native Hawaiian leaders from Lahaina asked for space to mourn their loved ones and their land, Hawaii News Now reports. They say the rebuild is moving to quickly, leaving little time to grieve.

Leaders are also expressed their frustration over a lack of communication between the government and Native Hawaiians. They say they haven’t been consulted about rebuilding efforts.

“We don’t want to hear the governor’s office saying that we have a plan for Lahaina because none of us ever got to speak to the governor,” Kekai Keahi member of a Lahaina community coalition called Na Ohana o Lele, said according to Hawaii News Now.

Native Hawaiians are also concerned that outside developers will see the fire as an opportunity to snatch up their land, CNN reports. Multiple state agencies have offered support to residents who might be taken advantage of by predatory property developers. The state has also issued warnings to developers.

“My intention from start to finish is to make sure that no one is victimized from a land grab,” Gov. Josh Green of Hawaii said, according to Insider. “Do not approach their families saying they’ll be much better off if they make a deal. Because we’re not going to allow it.”

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