Molokai resident and long-time community activist, Walter Ritte, issued the following statement Friday on the recent deaths of two monk seals on Molokai. NOAA officials suspect foul play and are investigating.
The death of these Hawaiian Monk Seals on Molokai is an indication of a dangerous trend that must be stopped.
Our elders are saying that these seals are not Hawaiian.
Our young people are calling these seals an invasive species brought in by government.
The seals are now the easy targets of blame for the many ills of our depleting fisheries.
We need to stand up for the truth: These seals are not only Hawaiian, but have been here longer than the Hawaiians.
These seals are not invasive; they are like the Hawaiian people who are struggling to survive in their own lands. Hawaiians need to see themselves when they see a Hawaiian Monk Seal.
How we treat the seals, is how we can be expected to be treated as Hawaiians in Hawaii.