For better than a year apparently, Chicago based business Aloha Poke Co has sent cease and desist letters to any business with ‘Aloha’ and ‘Poke’ in their name, according to tweets and reports. It seemed to have recently been boosted into a wider audience with a Facebook video though the actions by this company appear to have been ongoing for some time.

ChicagoEater.com published an article almost a year about about the cease and desist letters being sent to businesses. You can read it from this link.

In a follow up article on the same site, the founder of the company claimed, “Unfortunately, many facts about the company’s name have been left out of the conversation on social media…” and then seemed to not elaborate from the content of the article.

Finally, the Aloha Poke Co. felt that they apologized as suggested by another ChicagoEater.com article here. From the article: “Aloha Poke also claims they’ve sent out letters “in a cooperative matter” and haven’t resorted to suing a business or forced any restaurant to close.” Yet a small family business of Native Hawaiians in Alaska felt threatened even as they complied and changed the name of their business of “Aloha Poke Stop” to “Lei’s Poke Shop”.

The fact that Native Hawaiians felt forced to change business names when some of them were in operation prior to Aloha Poke Co. coming into being is tragic. “Aloha” and “poke” are intertwined in Native Hawaiian culture and “Aloha” most definitely belongs to them.

Would it not be easier for the colonizer founder to change the name of their company out of respect for Native Hawaiians rather than force the people from whom the term “Aloha” originates to stop using their language? Surely there are better names that celebrate his non-Native Hawaiian appreciation that doesn’t appropriate a culture that is not his.

Here’s a sampling of responses from Twitter from the hashtag #NoAlohaPokeCo:

The interesting about this argument is the fact that these cease and desist letters have been happening for almost a year.

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