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Native Hawaiian advocacy group explores lawsuit over Aloha Poke

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Source: CNHA media release

HONOLULU, HI - The Council for Native Hawaiian Advancement (CNHA), a 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.


The Council for Native Hawaiian Advancement is a member-based Native Hawaiian nonprofit organization led and governed by a 21-member board of directors elected by its 160 due-paying members (Native Hawaiian organizations

and business owners). Its mission is to enhance the cultural, economic, political and community development of Native Hawaiians. CNHA coordinates the annual Native Hawaiian Convention and operates several initiatives, including its Policy Center, designed to increase the Native Hawaiian community's ability to effectively engage policy-makers at the state and federal levels.