Restorative Justice for Hawai‘i’s First People: Selected Amicus Curiae Briefs in Doe v. Kamehameha Schools
ASIAN AMERICAN LAW JOURNAL, Vol. 14, 2007
29 Pages Posted: 9 Sep 2011
Date Written: 2007
In 2003, an anonymous plaintiff ('John Doe') filed suit in federal court against Kamehameha Schools, claiming that its 117-year-old admissions policy favoring indigenous Hawaiian children 'discriminates' against non-Hawaiians in violation of federal civil rights law. John Doe's attorneys called the policy 'categorical racial exclusion' and 'segregation.' They conjured up infamous images of George Wallace 'standing in the schoolhouse door to prevent the admission of qualified children simply because they have the wrong skin color and bloodline.' Native Hawaiians, on the other hand, decried the distortion of 'civil rights' to deny indigenous Hawaiians' claims to self-education and governance. For them, Kamehameha Schools offered no special privileges or 'racial preferences,' but instead provided a form of self-determination: 'We're not asking for a handout; we're asking to be able to take care of our own.' For Hawaiians, the Schools afforded a measure of restorative justice 'for a people in their own homeland who are suffering.'
Keywords: Native Hawaiian rights, Kamehameha Schools, civil rights
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