OHA is “Appalled” by Aloha Poke Co. Trademark Attempt

August 1, 2018, 1:32 PM HST · Updated August 2, 11:49 AM
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The Office of Hawaiian Affairs issued a statement today saying it is “appalled” by the Chicago-based Aloha Pokē (sic) Company’s recent attempts to “assert control over ʻŌlelo Hawaiʻi,” the traditional language of the native people of Hawaiʻi.

OHA CEO Kamanaʻopono Crabbe said the Office of Hawaiian Affairs is currently reaching out to key stakeholders to discuss possible solutions to what he called an “immediate controversy.”

Although the recent controversy is at the forefront at this time, Crabbe said “the commercialization and exploitation of Native Hawaiian traditional knowledge has been an issue for generations.”

He said that at the heart of the issue are trademark laws that he said “present substantial challenges for protecting our culture and promoting its pono (appropriate) use.”

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“After similar controversies in 2003, a coalition of Native Hawaiians adopted the Paoakalani Declaration—a powerful statement affirming the Native Hawaiian people’s collective right, as the creators of our traditional knowledge, to protect our cultural expressions from misuse by individuals who behave disrespectfully and inconsistently with our worldview, customs and traditions,” said Crabbe.

“Critically, the document declares the willingness on the part of Native Hawaiians to share our culture with humanity, provided that ‘we determine when, why, and how it is used,'” said Crabbe.

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