Dr. Keli'i Akina Addresses Native Hawaiians
Discusses Views on OHA and Hawaiian Sovereignty
News Release from Akina Campaign July 30, 2014
Finding the survey of candidates for OHA Trustee published by the Office of Hawaiian Affairs to be "very narrow," a group of journalists writing for Native Hawaiians conducted their own survey. As one of the first respondents, Dr. Keli'i Akina was invited to post his answers on the Akeakamai website (http://akeakamaihawaii.com/qa-oha-large-candidate-kelii-akina/). Here is what Dr. Akina has to say to Native Hawaiians on issues such as Hawaiian Sovereignty and the Office of Hawaiian Affairs.
1) Are you registered with Kanaiolowalu?
No, like the vast majority of kanaka maoli (Native Hawaiians), I have chosen not to register in OHA’s and the state of Hawaii’s Native Hawaiian Roll. Being Hawaiian can never be reduced to the political creed required of roll applicants (i.e., affirming the “un-relinquished sovereignty” of the Hawaiian people), nor can being Hawaiian mean the exclusion of others solely on the basis of race. This was not the Hawaiian way in the Hawaiian Kingdom. The Hawaiian Kingdom included citizens of many racial backgrounds who would unjustly be excluded today from the Native Hawaiian Roll. This practice will only divide and hurt the Hawaii our keiki inherit.
2) What is your view about Kanaiolowalu?
The Native Hawaiian Roll process, established by the Hawaii State Legislature, is an attempt to create an artificial tribe of Hawaiians that can lay claim to vast real estate holdings known as the “ceded lands.” This will not empower ordinary Hawaiians, but will allow so-called “tribal leaders” to exploit Hawaiians for land and the opportunity to conduct gambling operations as well as gain exemption from state and federal laws. OHA and the Roll Commission have deceptively hidden the fact that only 5% of all Hawaiians have actually signed up by importing the names of those who only registered for earlier lists like Kau Inoa, which did not require the affirmation of “unrelinquished sovereignty.”
3) What does Federal recognition mean to you and what is your stance on it?
Federal Recognition is an attempt to treat Hawaiians as a Native American Tribe for the benefit of a narrow political few who seek control of the “ceded lands,” the assets of Hawaiian trusts, and the opportunity conduct gambling operations in Hawaii and nationwide. This process has generally exploited most other Indian tribes and fails to recognize that Hawaiians never were, and are not today, a tribe. Rather than allowing “self-determination,” federal tribalism would force Hawaiians into a failed model for society.
4) What are your views of an independent Hawaiian nation?
Both according to the United States Constitution and the 1840 Hawaiian Constitution, laws and political structures are to be decided by the will of the people. Therefore, Hawaiians and all others in Hawaii need to be guaranteed a means by which the will of the people is heard and followed. All reliable surveys and public feedback in hearings for the Akaka Bill and the Department of Interior’s recent proposals, as well as the rejection of the Native Hawaiian Roll by 95% of Hawaiians, show that the majority of Hawaiians do not want to be a nation separate from the United States, nor do we want to be a tribe. We are proud to be Hawaiians, and proud to be U.S. citizens. This is the best future for our keiki.
5) What are your views on the job OHA is doing now to serve the community?
While there are good things OHA does, it is clear from the recent report of the state auditor that OHA is failing to use its resources to help enough Hawaiians in ways that make a difference. The amount of money wasted on political ventures such as promoting sovereignty has been over $25 million, all of which should be going instead to find solutions for housing, poverty, unemployment, health crises, and educational underachievement. Furthermore, OHA has mismanaged its financial base by risky asset speculation such as its Kakaako settlement deal which was based upon the false hope of changing development laws against massive high-rises on the Kakaako waterfront.
6) What is your vision for the future of na kanaka maoli?
Hawaii’s monarchs envisioned a great people who, along with all others of all races, prospered and succeeded in Hawaii. OHA should immediately cease to fund its political campaigns for sovereignty and invest the funds in programs that will truly empower Hawaiians to have the finest education, job readiness, health, housing, and economic opportunity. We need to promote the value of “Mai maka’u i ka hana, maka’u i ka molowa! (Don’t fear work; fear laziness)” as we empower a people to move beyond the offer of dependency and entitlements and become the great producers of a great society and economy.
7) What is your vision for the future of Hawaii?
I believe that the best future for Hawaii will be one in which the Aloha Spirit is lived, practiced, and exported to the world. Hawaii is the place where we nurture, honor and promote the values of the Hawaiian people. And it is also the place where we fulfill the dream of Martin Luther King, who dreamed of a place where people would be judged, not by the color of their skin, but the content of their heart. This is the Hawaiian way!
Visit teamakina.com for more information on Kelii Akina.
To view the full list of OHA candidates and to read more Q&A’s, visit akeakamaihawaii.com/ohaelections.
ABOUT KELI'I AKINA:
Keli’i Akina, Ph.D. is an educator, public policy spokesperson and community leader. He is running for the Office of Hawaiian Affairs position of Trustee-at-Large on a platform of “Uniting Hawaii.” All registered voters are eligible to vote in the election of OHA Trustees. Akina’s positions on issues can be found at www.TeamAkina.com.