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The Honolulu Advertiser

Posted on: Monday, June 13, 2005

Building a nation, one name at a time

Associated Press

Bradford Lum is of Irish, Dutch, German and Chinese descent, but it's the three-eighths of Hawaiian blood running through his veins that matters to him most.

Learn more

Native Hawaiian Registration Program: www.hawaiimaoli.org

That is why Lum and his mother, Lily, entered their names with the Native Hawaiian Registration Program, a database of people who can document their Hawaiian bloodlines.

Many Hawaiians believe a catalog of all living Hawaiians, estimated at 400,000 worldwide, is the key to founding a nation, or at least gaining federal recognition, for Hawai'i's native people.

"We need to be a nation within a nation," said Lum, a hula teacher in Honolulu. "But we're not even recognized as an indigenous people right now. ... I believe it's time to be recognized."

The registry project, called "Kau Inoa" or "place your name," is the third attempt to count Hawaiians since the 1990s. Many Hawaiians were inspired by the 1993 centennial of the overthrow of Queen Lili'uokalani and a congressional apology for the U.S.-backed coup that same year.

The Kau Inoa project so far has registered only 18,000 since starting sign-ups in January 2004, according to Hawai'i Maoli, the group funded by the OHA to gather and store the information.