Aunty Frenchy DeSoto, a kupuna of the Native Hawaiian movement, a Wai’anae community leader and a staunch advocate for the clean up and return of Makua valley has died at the age of 81. As KITV reports:
Longtime Hawaiian activist Adelaide Keanuenueokalaninuiamamao “Frenchy” De Soto died Friday night at her Makaha apartment, according to family members. She was 81 years old.The eldest of her six children, former city councilman John DeSoto, said she had been hospitalized for four days, suffering from pneumonia and congestive heart failure.
She was also a leader of Hui Malama O Makua, a coalition of organizations that fought to end the U.S. Army’s live-fire exercises in Makua Valley on Oahu’s Waianae Coast.
In the 1970s, Aunty Frenchy was also a leader in the Protect Kaho’olawe ‘Ohana. Only weeks after the first protesters landed on Kaho’olawe in 1976 there was a rally at Makua valley in solidarity with the activists on Kaho’olawe. The fire of protest was spreading.
Movement leaders gathered at her encampment at Makua beach to discuss strategy. At the time a strategic decision was made to focus on stopping the bombing of Kaho’olawe first. Decades later in meetings of the Makua activists, she frequently reminded us that Kaho’olawe leaders promised to help Makua after Kaho’lawe was liberated and would wonder aloud where they were. At least she lived to see the end of live-fire training in Makua.
Aloha e Aunty Frenchy. Wai’anae has lost a fiery voice for justice, but her legacy lives on the movement for Makua.