Raymond Pae Galdeira, Sr., passed away on Saturday, May 23, 2015, according to an email I received from one of his grandchildren. He had been living in Las Vegas for several years.
Galdeira was a key figure in The Hawaiians, a civil rights and Hawaiian advocacy group that played a key role in the growth of Hawaiian social and political activism beginning in the late 1960s and through most of the 1970s.
It was Galdeira and The Hawaiians who backed Big Island rancher Sonny Kaniho’s civil disobedience against leasing policies of the Hawaiian Homes Commission in May 1974.
It was two years before the first protest landing on Kahoolawe. George Ariyoshi was serving as governor but would not face election until later in the year. Hawaiians and part-Hawaiians were becoming increasing restive and politically active, with long-term problems of the Department of Hawaiian Home Lands becoming key issues for many.
Kaniho’s protest, backed by The Hawaiians, was part of the organization’s broader campaign to reform the commission.
These photographs were taken early on May 18, 1974, as Kaniho and supporters prepared for their protest. In the top photo, Galdeira is at the center, with the white shoes, explaining the plan for the landmark protest. Later that morning, the group moved up to a pasture in Waimea. Under the watchful eyes of employee’s of Larry Mehau’s Hawaiian Protective Association, the group removed a gate and entered the pasture, later driving up to a higher elevation.
And Galdeira smiles broadly in the bottom photo as arresting officer Leningrad Elarionoff, who later served on the Hawaii County Council, explains the situation. He took our names and identifying information, and we were later served with summonses to appear in district court in Waimea on trespassing charges.
The efforts of Galdeira and The Hawaiians eventually led then Gov. Ariyoshi to appoint of one of their own, Georgiana Padeken, as director of the department and chair of the commission. The move was seen by many as a turning point in the commission’s history.
In a statement while a candidate for OHA trustee in 2002, the late Darrow Aiona recalled this period:
During the early years of the Hawaiian Renaissance I was deeply involved with my active brothers and sisters Francis Kauhane, the late Georgiana Padeken, Pae Galdeira, Gard Kealoha, Doug Ng, Alvina Park and others as we challenged the Hawaiian Homes Commission to put more lessees on Hawaiian Home lands, even if the lands were not developed. Our activism is seen as having some bearing upon the eventual establishment of OHA.
Galdeira, Kaniho and others involved in The Hawaiians also founded the Hawaiian Coalition of Native Claims, which later became the Native Hawaiian Legal Corporation. Identified in a resolution adopted by the Association of Hawaiian Civic Clubs in 2003 as founders were Randy and Mel Kalahiki, Gail Kawaipuna Prejean, Roy Ula Kawelo, Steve Morse, Winona Rubin, Georgiana Padeken, Darrow Aiona, Alvina Park, Irene DuPont, Pae Galdeira, Sonny Kaniho, and Roland Mahiai.
If you’re a long time reader, some of this might look familiar to you. That’s because back in 2006, I noticed the obituary of Earl Pae Galdeira, and thought he was Pae Galdeira of the Hawaiians. I was relieved at the time to find out that it was his brother, but it provided an opportunity to look back.
And now, with Pae Galdeira’s passing, I’m doing it all again.