The Council for Native Hawaiian Advancement (CNHA), an influential Native Hawaiian advocacy organization, began exploring legal options against Chicago-based business Aloha Poke Company for its exploitation of Native Hawaiian language and using legal threats against Native Hawaiian business owners who prepare the cultural dish.
Poke, a staple dish in the Hawaiian culture, literally means to cut crosswise into pieces. Typically poke is made with raw fish cut into cubes and mixed with seasonings and other ingredients.
“No one has the right to disenfranchise a culture and a people, as well as dictate what constitutes pono (proper) business practices,” said Kuhio Lewis, Chief Executive Officer of CNHA. “Hawaiian culture is not meant to be a commodity and the continued exploitation of it, our language and kanaka is absolutely unacceptable.”
CNHA is in the process of partnering with other Native Hawaiian organizations and businesses, with consultation from their legal team, to identify the appropriate course of action.
“Fear-mongering and intimidation tactics have no place in our culture,” adds CNHA Chairman, Hanalei Aipoalani.