“Looks like a bomb went off there, it’s totally wiped out.”
That’s how the Council for Native Hawaiian Advancement’s CEO Kuhio Lewis describes the Maui wildfires.
Lewis says fire has destroyed Lahaina, which is significate in the history of Native Hawaiians as the capital of their kingdom where chiefs made decisions.
“What most people see as a cool tourist destination, this cool old town hangout, it has so much sacredness to it, our chiefs are buried there. This is also where we had our part of our immersion school our Hawaiian language revitalize program that has also burned. And the stories we are hearing of where families have to watch their loved ones parish right in front of them is just heart breaking. This emotional toll in addition to the cultural significance is a lot.”
Lewis has assessed the devastation firsthand in order to better help those in need.
“We’ve been very active on the ground to try and buy supplies. It’s been overwhelming from around the world people have been sending support, love, and I really feel through this we are going to get through this, that spirit of aloha that vibrancy that everyone they get to experience when they come to Hawaii will carry us forward.”
Last week, the organization launched a donation drive they’ve raised about $1.5 million from corporate donations and the community has matched funds bringing it to nearly $4 million.
“We’re going to need a lot of resources right now and these are things that FEMA might not cover, the state won’t cover. We’re already hearing families have been denied assistance from FEMA so we’re going to have to step up and fill the gap. We have containers arriving on the island to ensure people have food to eat, water to drink, clothes to wear they’ve lost everything. They don’t even have identification. They had to evacuate so quickly.”
Lewis says it’s going to be a long recovery.
As Guatemala’s turbulent electoral campaign draws to a close with runoff elections on Sunday, Indigenous women came to that nation’s capital for a “weave-in” to protest government interference in the elections.
Maria Martin has this report.
Dozens of Maya weavers knelt on the ground while working colorful fabrics on backstrap looms and their leaders recited the message they’d all come to deliver.
“Tejemos cuidadania, tejemos democracy, y tejemos comunidad.”
“While we weave culture, we weave democracy… we weave stories… we weave hope and joy… while the justice department weaves corruption and pimps for criminals.”
Spokesperson Iris Sactic of the National Movement of Maya Weavers said the women represented more than twenty different ethnic groups are protesting actions by Guatemala’s attorney general and some judges and prosecutors who have attempted to block Movimiento Semilla (Seed Movement) party candidate Bernardo Arévalo.
Arévalo surprised everyone by coming in second in the June first-round election.
Now polls show him leading — and if he wins next Sunday, it would be the first time for a center-left government in Guatemala in more than 70 years.
And these women, like many among Guatemala’s substantial Indigenous voters, have high hopes Bernardo Arévalo will make changes to help Guatemala’s marginalized Maya communities.
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