APEX Express

APEX Express – 8.10.23 Kiki in the Constellation: Hui Kānaka Pōwaewae

A weekly magazine-style radio show featuring the voices and stories of Asians and Pacific Islanders from all corners of our community. The show is produced by a collective of media makers, deejays, and activists.

Tonight’s show features host Kiki Rivera. Storyteller for Empowering Pacific Islander Communities, bringing you an EPIC Talanoa. Kiki features Vernon Kapuaʻala of Hui Kānaka Pōwaewae, Hawaiian Football federation.

Show Transcript:

08-10-23 Kiki in the Constellation: Hui Kānaka Pōwaewae

[00:00:00] Apex Express Asian Pacific expression.

Community and cultural coverage, music and calendar, new visions and voices coming to you with an Asian Pacific Islander point of view, it’s time to get on board the Apex Express.Apex Express Asian Pacific expression.

Kiki: Good evening. You are tuned into apex express. We are bringing you an Asian American and Pacific Islander view from the bay and around the world. I’m your host Kiki Rivera. Storyteller for empowering Pacific Islander Communities, bringing you in EPIC Talanoa. Community and cultural coverage, music and calendar, new visions and voices coming to you with an Asian Pacific Islander point of view, it’s time to get on board the Apex Express.

Kiki: Tonight, we’re talking to Vernon Kapuaʻala of Hui Kānaka Pōwaewae. Uh, Hawaii national football team, improving the resiliency and wellbeing of native Hawaiians through football. Keep it locked on apex [00:04:00] express.

Before we bring on Vernon to talk about the Hawaiian national football team. I’ll tell you a little bit about myself, because this is the first time we’re meeting. I was born Kiana Rivera. But now I go is Kiki. I was born and raised on the island of Oahu Hawaii. In the district known as Lualualei.

It’s very hot, dry there’s lots of farms and it very visibly present military. My home was overlooking the beautiful valley and two giant Naval radio towers. Which was which when I was little, I was told that the radiation could give me leukemia. Luckily, I didn’t get the leukemia. Um, I was also raised by many native Hawaiians. I, myself am Samoan Filipino, but where, and who I was raised by greatly contributed to my identity.

There are lots of different opinions about Hawaiiʻs statehood and to each their own. And I acknowledge [00:05:00] that. I come from a family of settlers that benefit from. From America, from being American. And at the same time, I recognize that I was born on an illegally overthrown kingdom. So there’s part of me that doesn’t feel like an American citizen.

However. If you ask my mom, she’ll proudly say that she’s an American. But for myself and many others like me, the story of Hui Kānaka Pōwaewae is a story of hope. To me. It’s a story of liberation.

So enough about me, let’s hear from Vernon Kapuaʻala. of Hui Kānaka Pōwaewae.

VK: My name is Vernon Kapuaʻala. I am the president and CEO of Hui, Kanaka Powawae, which, translated in English is Hawaiian football, Hawaiian Football Federation.

Our primary responsibility is managing,[00:06:00] Hawaiian national teams.

Aloha. Well, Vern, you already said Hawaii National Teams. Tell us a little bit about what that means. So we, um, the idea of forming Hawaiian national teams came out of a dream, something that was in, the imagination. And really got, really got pushed, out into what is now the manifestation of that imagination and that idea and that dream. , One from a sense of kuleana, one from, the question of , what can I do? How can I serve our La Hui, , in a greater capacity? , so the concept of of Hawaiian national teams was birth.

Some of the problems that that plagued, native Hawaiians, I mean, we could have a whole show about the [00:07:00] problems, but the one that really kind of stuck out,

as maybe the common denominator in, you know, the high rates of teen suicide and the high rates of diabetes and all of those lists that, you know, aboriginal Hawaiians are at the top of. And it kind of came back, at least from our perspective to identity. And, you know, for youth identity is already, is already a tough issue, right?

But even more so now in, in this day and age . we kind of looked at the history of things , and in learning that history, learning about what the Hawaiian Kingdom was like pre 1893, , and then what it became, , By 1993, right. When, when Clinton had the, believe it was 93, the apology resolution.

Right. Apologizing for the illegal overthrow. What was happening in, in the kingdom era? What was happening pre [00:08:00] 1893? , our identity was at its strongest then as Hawaiians, because we as governing our country, we was leading in governing and governance in Oceania. We had trade, we had commerce, we had treaties.

We were thriving. You know, the people had universal healthcare for free. . We had, specialty healthcare for, women and babies, , and pregnancies and those things. We were leaders, not to mention the only brown country in the world at the time. And so our identity as Hawaiians, and when I say Hawaiians, I mean Hawaiian citizens, Hawaiian nationals, our degree of patriotism as Hawaiians and for Hawaiian Kingdom was at its highest. And then from there you can see the decline, right? So coming back to , this yearning that will grab ahold of most Kanaka, I imagine [00:09:00] of , what I can do for my La Hui.

I find myself in a place of, managing a lot of what we grew up playing as soccer, right? Americans call it soccer and managing leagues and, , various competitions scouting for the US youth national teams. It’s our identity. We are not only struggling with our identity, we’ve lost it there’s no connection for a lot of us to. That period and that heightened sense of who aloha. Right? Of aloha in the sense of not love of the land, but love of country. Right. , and , it came together. I was in this space where , we were serving and affecting a lot of youth and a lot of ohana throughout Hawaii.

But we decided, we wanna start shifting our focus to, to kanaka youth. And we wanna impact them. [00:10:00] We wanna change, the recipe that is being used currently by a lot of native Hawaiian organizations who are doing good work. Everybody doing work, all work is contributing, you know, all things work together for the good and.

For us, we feel that national identity, patriotism is missing from the recipe, of what we trying to do as, as a la hui to better our lives. Right. And so for me, it just made sense. What better way than using football? Using football to reclaim reinstill or actually instill if they’re youth, This sense of pride of country, of nationality, we felt we needed a symbol. What was gonna be the symbol that we could, as the La Hui get behind and [00:11:00] support, there’s nothing really in Hawaii to support on a in an international platform, in a, in an international space.

You get fans of, uh, , they go bows, right? Rainbow warriors, you get fans of, of high schools, which is high school sports in this, in terms of what we speaking on is huge. Right? But nothing about country to country. Mm-hmm. Except, except for those who may identify as Americans.

Kiki: So before we go there, what is national football or what Americans know as soccer? What is that looking like right now?

VK: In terms of Here in Hawaii or just on a, on a global scale?

Kiki: On a global scale.

VK: So if you didn’t know. association football is the term that was used when fifa, which is the governing body of the sport [00:12:00] globally.

They’re the ones that control the FIFA World Cups, also and futsal, which is the indoor version of football and, uh, beach soccer. Interestingly enough, they called that one soccer. Um, , and, It’s, it’s the largest, the World Cups is the largest sporting event in, in all the world. Ha. It happens every four years at the senior level, um, every two years at the youth levels.

what you’re talking about is country versus country, right? You’re talking about, um, in case you didn’t know, , right. Argent. National finally won his first World Cup with Argentina this past, , world Cup. And so we talking about sporting from country to country. And currently , the largest, uh, spectator base, the largest participation base, um, in terms of people playing football in the world, um, is massive, .

[00:13:00] Another reason why for me, being that this was my sport and deciding national teams was the best vehicle for all of this is because it’s how every country in the world supports and shows its patriotism is in football. Every country in the world is gonna have a football team, whether they’re recognized by FIFA or not.

, they’re gonna have a football team. , and you cannot say the same for every country in terms of other sports and then you start to talk about the Olympic side of things, right? There’s Olympic sports and all of those things. But you know, for sure, um, every country will have a football team.

And, uh, if Hawaiian Kingdom was still in effective control of its country, we would have a football team. Um, association football was first played, eh, right in around 1900, 19 0 3, [00:14:00] 0 4. In that, in that those years, um, Duke Kahanamoku played association football, um, found a picture online of him with the, his, Kamehameha School’s teammates.

Um, it was a, it was a small league that I believe had. Kamehameha School participated, uh, Honolulu, was it Honolulu College, which eventually became Punahou. I dunno if I got that fact right. And then this group of, of Scottish Scotsmen who kind of formed the league and they had a little, a little three team league going, um, and it was called the Hawaiian Association Football League.

And so I used, I kid around with people all the time. I tell , we would’ve been playing football already. Well, what you mean because we were that progressive as a country, right? We were back, back to when we had [00:15:00] electricity before the White House. Right? We were progressive and we were heavily influenced by the British, right?

In terms of many aspects of governing, of, , trade and commerce, and it would’ve eventually been, you know, the English accredited with the, with the invention of the sport. So it was just a matter of time and right there shows it, right? Those scotsmen brought it here, started a league and introduced Kanaka to football.

And so in terms of that on a global scale, , it’s celebrated. It’s heavily supported, just, it’s heavily participated in, and for us, for, for Hawaiian football and, and having this identity and this pride, to me it doesn’t get any greater than that any greater than representing. ’cause that was, that was what I had in my head.

It’s like, oh, imagine walking out on the field. Of course I was on the team, right? So we walk in on [00:16:00] the field and, we did an international walk and we meet in the center and they played the national anthems and we sing in Hawaii and the Hawaiian flag is being raised right? And then whoever, I don’t even know who was playing in that dream, which really doesn’t matter, right?

The fact is we was there representing our country, playing on the biggest. Platform ever. . Global football. Right. And so if we look at that from the perspective of building awareness, perhaps. Mm-hmm. For those that may not know what happened after 1893 in Hawaii up until now, why, uh, why Kanaka struggle so much?

Not just with identity, but with everything. Why? Why socioeconomically we’re the lowest race or we, we at the bottom, [00:17:00] essentially, we went from being the top to the bottom. Mm-hmm. And it happened to us systematically. Right. And by design.

Right, because that, that kind of, that kind of decline that happens that way doesn’t just accidentally happen. So you’re reclaiming the narrative. Mm-hmm. . By building a national. Hawaii national identity on the field. Mm-hmm. You open up the audience even more and you engage a greater audience, say with, with indigenous people, with, , Hawaii nationals like myself, who want to participate in rooting for their country, but don’t, , feel like they can identify with.

The U.S. So you’re giving us something to cheer for as well? Mm-hmm. Mm-hmm. That’s beautiful.

We’ll be back right after this break. Here’s some new music from the beautiful soul tree. [00:18:00] Keep it locked on 94.1 KPFA.

Kiki: Welcome back. You are tuned into apex express on 94.1 KPFA and 89.3. KPFB in Berkeley and online at K P F a [00:21:00] dot O R G.

You’ve just listened to Funky Thang by Soultree off of their album Gem. You can follow Soultree on Instagram at soul tree music. And you can also follow their music on apple and Spotify and all the different platforms.

So during the interview, I learned that my use of the word indigenous was controversial and I was corrected very graciously. But it reminded me that there are multiple realities. We live in balance as humans and as a person who lives at the intersections of being queer trans Pacific Islander, living in the diaspora.

I think it’s only fair to keep an open mind and heart for those varying definitions and how it lands or doesn’t land. On our bodies. Anyway,

Let’s get back to this conversation with Vernon Kapuaʻala

Kiki: can you describe a little bit what’s happening with football in Oceania?

VK: In terms of what’s going on in Oceania, Oceania is enjoying, some growth, in the sport. Many of the countries in Oceania didn’t become members of FIFA till , late sixties to the late seventies in that area. So really, really young in terms of. The development of the game, um, the development of the players, and certainly in terms of where they stack up against, the rest of the world.

out of the six confederations Oceania is pretty much at the bottom of it all. the, the big boy, if you will, currently in Oceania is New Zealand. which makes sense in many ways being that they’re the largest country in Oceania, well in the confederation and, most developed.

In, in, in many other ways, right? So they have the population, they have the economy, they have, um, a lot of things going for them in terms of ability and resources to, to develop sport. whereas once you start [00:23:00] going down, through the rest of the islands, Tonga and Samoa, both Samoa is Western and American.

Fiji, you know, economies change, uh, resources start to dwindle. We think it’s expensive going from, from Hawaii to the states or anywhere else for that matter. But it’s just as expensive for those countries to travel just within. Oceania. So if you can imagine their national teams have to spend a lot of money and need a lot of support just to get through to the other countries to get their qualifying matches in and some cases some of the countries in Oceania from what I hear, really struggle and sometimes end up not even being able to participate for whatever reason in a particular set of qualifiers or whatnot. And so certainly with not without its challenges, um, however they all get to field [00:24:00] national teams.

They all get to compete for the chance to qualify into a World Cup. Um, and the road for most of them is super tough cuz it always goes through New Zealand. In terms of who, who usually ends up either with a birth into the World Cup, whether it be the U 17 World Cup or the U 20 World Cup. The Men G 20 World Cup, , New Zealand was the number one out of there. And I believe Fiji’s U twenties qualified as well. So there was two Oceania teams in the U 20 men’s World Cup, which, I mean, think about that, right? That’s, that’s a World Cup. That’s the world stage.

And they, they got to be there competing, representing their country. And so when it comes to Oceania, um, with regards to Hawaii, We would be in Oceania because that’s where we belong. We’re a [00:25:00] oceanic country, right. Pacific. Sure. But when you break it all down, everybody like looked to the states. Right.

Actually, we looking the wrong way. We, we, we belong the other way. Right. So, you know, we’ve had, we’ve, we’ve been able to have some communication over the years with Oceania. It’s leadership and, talking about the idea of, or the dream of also one day becoming full FIFA members.

It would be as part of Oceania, we would become what would be the 12th full member of, of Oceania and a lot of the countries and their federation presidents were very, uh, keen as, as they would say on the idea of, of Hawaii being part those. And for them it’s a no-brainer when you talk to [00:26:00] all of those, like we, we have a great relationship with Maori football and when we talk to them, it’s a no-brainer where Hawaii belongs in terms of global football.

Do we belong in Oceania? , all that alone, if that could officially one day happen, like official recognition by FIFA in as part of Oceania, wonderful. We gonna go there anyway and compete. We gonna go there. It’s gonna start with Maori football, but eventually we’re gonna get with, um, and hopefully two.

You know, um, Tahiti comes to mind right away. Tahiti is, uh, keen on, on competing with us. We are gonna start developing, relationship with them, which is interesting, right? Cuz when you talk about other connecting , our culture’s connecting in terms of Maori, and, Tahiti. We’ve had other hoku, right?

Hoku right away should pop into everybody’s minds if they know about, the connections of the cultures. But to do it through football, it’s his story And it’s gonna be historic when we get there and actually do it so football growing, we want to become part of Oceania and official capacity, be capacity, but until then we just gonna, like everything else Hawaiian football is doing now, we just exercising our right to football,

so in terms of actually reaching fifa, that’s a tough one because there’s things out of our control. You know, we actually communicated with fifa, in our official capacity, via letter, asking if they would recognize recognize Hawaii as a country. That is under occupation.

And, long story short, we got two response. The first time they said no, we went back again and then they said no again. Yeah. Bob, several interesting things about our communications with fifa, number one, US soccer was, was carbon copied on [00:28:00] all the communications, so was Oceania, and so were all the Oceanic members.

So everybody knew we were doing this. And so, okay, back to the long story short part, they said no the second time, but it was less a no and more, uh, not at this time. So there was a, there was an open-endedness about it, And essentially it came down to, uh, our argument, the United Nations fifa, none of them can recognize a country like officially recognize a country. , they basically were saying we would need to be recognized country of the United Nations.

And our argument came back as the United Nations they know what our ability to recognize a country, countries recognize countries via treaties, which we have lots of them, right? Which is still in full force in effect. And so they said, well, basically a more competent body makes this ruling.

The answer for now is gonna be no. So we [00:29:00] took that as we are gonna have to get to some type of world and international court, probably the court of arbitration for sport, which FIFA uses and the International Olympic Committee uses to settle disputes between international organizations and private entities, et cetera.

And we had an opportunity to do it. This was back in 2018 to go to court. But after looking into it, number one, you’re going to court with FIFA who has endless resources and we have nothing. And at the time we never, even, at the time, we didn’t even have a program, a team. It was still just an idea. And we was like, yeah, let’s go join fifa.

You know, it was this crazy kind of whimsical. Thing and we threw ourselves into it for a few months, what is important is that this manifests so that we can start affecting, coming back to what the mission vision is, [00:30:00] is long-term impact through football.

Generational impact, on the Hawaiian community, using football. Eventually they’re gonna see us. And maybe as soon as July in Aotearoa when we go there and compete against Maori football during the FIFA Women’s World Cup, which is hosted this summer by New Zealand and Australia.

Coming back to, to Oceania would not only complete things for us, but complete it for the rest of Oceania as well. Not in a way of oh, they need us to to anything, but to me it would just strengthen. It would just further strengthen. Other Oceania countries to see the return of, of Hawaii, I think. Anyway, to there. Also keep in mind when we’re talking about Oceania, we’re talking about the Marshallese and we’re talking about Kirabati Tuvalu and, and on and on and on. Micronesia, federated states, all of that, right?[00:31:00] We can go on and on and on, but , the biggest difference is we are not asking America for permission because we don’t belong to them. They just happened to have effective control of our country. So our return and our membership to FIFA is not, contingent upon the United States permission.

So with this framing the only people that’s stopping FIFA is fifa.So here’s the thing, this has to do with the obvious might and power of the United States, or stand up to the United, keep in mind, the US was the one who led the charge to basically go and scoop up all set bladder and all the rest of that corruptness.

That was in fifa. That was the FBI driven. The FBI went in there and raided all those guys, cleaned out fifa. And hopefully for the better. I don’t know. Um, but that corruption and scandal, that ran rampant [00:32:00] through FIFA for many years. It was a US who went in and did that. And so I get it when not everybody, you know, in other governments and governing bodies and people of authority think about having to stand up against the United States.

I get that. Will FIFA do it? I don’t know. Mm. But you put us in a court, a competent body. We’re gonna win that argument. There’s nothing that can be said. The history has been proven again in the legal realm, in international law, in all of that. It’s undisputable, if FIFA is to do the pono thing, then we we’ll be members./

Kiki: That is Vernon Kapuaʻala, Allah talking about the Hawaiian national football team and their strive for recognition as a sovereign nation. And the struggle. Of qualifying for FIFA. We’re going to take another music break. Here’s one from the bay area, Filipina, rapper, and singer Klassy, featuring The Bar called One Take. Off the album. [00:33:00] Good Seeds produced by a beat rock music. And then you’re going to hear another one from soul tree. Keep it locked in.

Kiki: Thanks for joining us on apex express. That was ain’t that serious by the artist’s soul tree. And before that was one take by Klassy, you’re listening to your new friend, Kiki Rivera, bringing you a conversation with Vernon Kapuaʻala of Hui Kānaka Pōwaewae The Hawaiian national football team. That’s unifying the lāhui Hawaiʻi.  by reminding us of Hawaii’s complex history. Braddah Vern is going to let you know how you can support their mission from wherever you are.

VK: So they start supporting us by simple things like retweeting our, the release of our CREs or, or resharing, our national team, swag fundraiser just simple things like that.

Of course we are a nonprofit organization, so support financially, we welcome that. And we have means for you to do so on a small scale and on a large scale. And so we welcome all small, big, and small. Contributions, uh, to the organization. The work is, is great. The work has, you know, tripled and maybe even quadrupled just in the last year when we actually named our inaugural national team rosters until recently when we [00:42:00] traveled our U 16 teams to California to participate against American youth soccer teams.

Because for us, anytime we leave the islands, it’s international. And you can see the effect, the powerful effect, the, the team, the. On the field has to everyone who’s watching, including myself now. And I, this is like, I saw this, I saw this in the dream, but it wasn’t like tho that moment when we’re going there and just looking at the team and it took a while like it, and I don’t think I even really felt the full effects of it yet, but , it was palpable, what that meant. And the only sad thing for me about it, it’s not super sad, but we had on small contingency of ohana who didn’t follow, who was watching and getting all into it. Right? Like normal parents at youth sport games, right? [00:43:00] Come on, just yelling. Right? But they were like, let’s go Alapa.

Let’s, right. Na Alapa, we, we refer to our national teams as Na Alapa. It’s an ode to, um, the Alapa Regiment, which was the elite warriors, uh, Kalaniopuu, elite warriors. And they , they were known and revered and admired for their superior athleticism. And so using national teams and also, you know, club teams and whatnot, have nicknames.

Um, and so we decided we, we wanted to refer to our what is undoubtedly recognizable by anyone who con that’s the athleticism of our, of our Kanaka and Kalaniʻopuʻu’s. You know, basically Navy Seals was referred to as the Alapa regimen, so, so Alapa, um, to hear the parents yelling and cheering on the Alapa.

And encouraging in only ways that mothers can encourage their daughters on the field. Um, you know, uh, was was something, and then I think about all those fans that followed Argentina to the final at this past men’s FIFA World Cup. Cause anytime Argentina scored, you just heard the stadium erupt in California.

I heard the sidelines erupt both our team and the parents whenever we would score, which on the wi, which on the girls side was pretty often. Um, and then you, you multiply that. Wow. That’s incredible. Right? And that’s, that’s where the support of not just those. In the country, those in the islands, but those in the diaspora, right.

That going come in. We, we had one who lives in San [00:45:00] Francisco come up to watch the girls, the girls team, cuz she had a connection there to play. And I’m like, man, imagine if, if the rest of the, the diaspora knew that we were coming to Northern California to play with the Hawaiian national team. Who else might have shown up to support?

And certainly right as things go and grow and, and, and with your kokua, Kiki and your, your access to network, we’ll be able to let everybody know where we gonna be playing, when we gonna be playing and when they can come support national teams. So support, you know, financially support by learning the history of the Hawaiian kingdom.

And that’s why we calling it national teams and then support by coming and. And wearing the swag, right. Wearing the knowing where we gonna play and, and, and if it’s nearby coming by and watching. So all of those things like would, I would find so [00:46:00] incredible and, and I would be so honored to have that.

We we’re starting to gather players now from the diaspora who are finding out and reaching out and asking, how do I try out for the national team? That’s starting it. Starting That was gonna be my next question. Yeah. That, so if you, you want me to segue into that? Yes, please. So our most recent one via social media, maybe Instagram, not sure.

Um, who is, uh, kanaka and actually playing with, um, I guess has Filipino nationality and that’s playing with the, um, No, sorry. And I don’t, I don’t know if it’s Guam Nationality Guam or Chamorro. I, I, I know that Chamorro is a people, but anyway, she’s playing with the Guam U 17 national team, which is a na this is the part that really tickles my fancy, [00:47:00] is she’s reaching out to, to try for the Kanaka, for the Hawaiian national team, which is not recognized while already playing for the Guam national team, which is recognized.

Right. It’s like, it’s like, I, I, I’m so honored by that. But, so that’s one. We had a boy who, um, Ohana lives in Boston Plays club there recently. Um, verbally committed to Louisville, uh, men’s soccer, which is a, a pretty big D one college on the east coast. Right. Uh, and he got ahold of this and he. Contacted our technical director, Ian Mark, about I, I want to try out for the team, how do I try out for this team?

Like he wants to be on this team that’s going to Aotearoa Right, can do I have to fly there? He’s like asking all these questions and sadly we have to tell him, well, this team is, is set [00:48:00] for the most part, but the cycle starts again in August and runs till next July. Um, and so those are just a couple of examples.

Um, we currently have, uh, a player, Ryan Merchant who lives in, , Washington, uh, used to live on Maui, we know the Ohana, , for many years now. And he actually was selected for our 18 men’s team, which is going to Aotearoa, so he flies back for our national team camps. And, um, and activities. Uh, I think he’s been back for all but maybe one or two because of school, um, conflicts.

But that’s how much this means to him to have been selected. And, and the parents are just trying to make, [00:49:00] go through craziness to make it all happen for him to participate and, and pull his, his end of the load, right. Of being part of this team. So those are some examples about the diaspora. We are, we will be opening our, um, our national team registry.

We worked on one. It include. You know, we’ll gather basic information and it will include some questions about your history and references and and whatnot. Um, for players, number one. And then also for, um, we welcome volunteers and, , um, you people with skills. We need help. We need help across the organization.

As I mentioned before, the, the workload is growing enormously. And so we, we are finding that we needing people, , volunteers, we needing skilled volunteers like [00:50:00] administratively and, and tech wise , and all kinds of stuff. Not to mention, you know, on the ground. , another thing we are looking at doing this coming cycle, which again, the, when I refer to a cycle, it’s a cycle of programming that runs from August 1st to July 31st is, follows the school year.

Cause it, it, it’s, it’s simple. International football follows the calendar year. We didn’t wanna upset things too much with regards to access to our players and whatnot. So we decided to follow the school year like most American sports do. Um, just cuz it was simpler. Um, we didn’t wanna cause too many waves, right?

Because we were already causing waves in other ways, with our organizational mission and vision but so when I reference the cycle, that’s what I’m talking about. And we, and, and, and every year essentially younger players come in, we start ’em right around, we start looking at them [00:51:00] around eighth grade, uh, freshman year.

Uh, we start forming teams with, um, freshmen, sophomores, and, and then we’re just trying to build those teams into what gonna end up becoming our U twenties or G 20 threes and our full teams and. So one of the things we were able to do this past May in, um, Northern California when we connected with, um, um, Ian, our technical director, his, his, all his boys back there, um, they’re gonna actually start helping us to run scouting events in California.

So we’ll be able to at least start scouting in the diaspora, like our staff, our technical staff, Ian and our coaches on the ground in the states looking at players in the flesh right there on the field. So we excited about that piece. It’s something we’ve done throughout the [00:52:00] islands for the last two years, which is what got us to this point with these selections.

And we’re realizing, you know, it’s great for players to reach out and let us know. Uh, we also gonna have to get eyes on them and, and. And at the end of the day, determine Right. If it’s worth them coming out to events here in Hawaii, you know what I mean? So,

Well, thank you so much for all the things that you folks are doing, for us nationally , it is such a, an honor to know you folks and to be part of this. So, Mahalo, you’re welcome

Mahalo Vern. All right. So for native Hawaiians on the continent, I would like to know how you feel about the mission of Hawaiian football. Knowing something like this exists while being so far away from the Homeland. I do feel like it’s part of my [00:53:00] kuleana, my responsibility. To bridge the nation of Hawaii.

From the continent, wherever you are to the INR. So what are your thoughts? Email me at K Rivera. That’s [email protected]. So for me, I’m not so much into sports. Right. But what I, what really attracted me to Vern and his partner, Trish, is how they frame Hawaiian sovereignty as something that Is already present and has to be remembered and reclaimed and. I agree. If we, and by we, I mean, Hawaiian nationals and or Pacific Islanders in the diaspora. Are going to quote K Trask. By saying we are not American. Then how are we practicing? How are we practicing our own sovereignty? How are we practicing liberation?

Not to sound too cheesy, but to see it, we have to believe it right. And I think we can knock a pool. Bye. Bye. Is about being it about practicing. But that also takes so much unlearning and re-evaluating all the creature comforts that come with American citizenship by way of fake statehood. So, what are we willing to give up for true AI?

For true sovereignty. Anyway. I leave you with that.

For more information about Hui Kānaka Pōwaewae. I visit Hawaiian football.com. Or kanakapowaewae Instagram, where you can find all their latest news, including their trip to Aotearoa to play the Maori team and watch the FIFA women’s world cup. Exciting stuff. Mahalo Vernon, Trish, and the crew of Hui Kānaka Pōwaewae and Mahalo to you, our listeners.

For more information about empowering Pacific Islander communities also known as epic. Visit our website at https://www.empoweredpi.org/ And on Instagram as at empowered PI. And on Facebook. As at elevate your voice. It has been a wonderful honor to serve as epic storyteller and bringing you this story of how a football team is finding political recognition. Educating and grounding youth in culture and health through the sport of football. Not soccer. Football.

A story like this is a reminder that we are. In fact. Hashtag. Empowered PI. This is Kiki Rivera for Empowering Pacific Islander communities. Keep being the change you want to see.

Apex express is produced by Miko Lee, Paige Chung, Jelena Keane-Lee. Preeti Mangala shaker, Swati Rayasam, Hien Nguyen, Nicki Chan, Cheryl Truong And myself. Kiki Rivera who produced tonight’s show for the very first time. Thanks to the team at KPFA for their endless support. Have a good night. Aloha.


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