by Andrew Walden
Panicking because only 9,300 Hawaiians are signing up for Kana’ioluwalu -- the latest version of the Akaka Tribal Roll, wanna-be Akaka Tribal Chiefs spent the legislative session arguing amongst themselves over how to fake it. Their plan: Since so few signed Kana’ioluwalu, they will just graft 108,000 Kau Inoa signers onto the Roll.
The platform for their disputes started off in HB252, but in late March Sen. Malama Solomon (D-Kamuela) dumped geothermal permitting issues into the HB252 creating a “Frankenstein Bill.” This led others to ‘gut-and-replace” HB785—putting the Roll Commission text in place of a bill police had been counting on to clarify rules about service of process from out-of-state jurisdictions. HB785 is now sitting on Governor Abercrombie’s desk awaiting a signature. In the meantime, testimony and amendments to the bills shine a light on Akaka Tribal infighting and the various tricks OHA cronies proposed to cover up the fact that only 9,300 have signed up for the latest Tribal Roll.
Lela M. Hubbard, of Na Koa Ikaika has “spent over two decades working towards the establishment of our Hawaiian Nation and upholding Hawaiian rights….” but complains:
“…it appears that 1.8 million dollars has been squandered for the registration of 9000 native Hawaiians in 2012-13. We wonder how many of those registered are able to vote or will we be permitting the incarcerated who were signed up to vote to create our nation? Instead of facilitating junkets from Hawaii, registration should be conducted by residents of the areas on the continent. Actually, no further trust money should be expended on this Native Hawaiian Roll fiasco.”
Proposals to dump the entire DHHL waiting list into the tribal roll drew opposition from Hawaiian Homes Commission Chairperson Jobie Masagatani in Testimony April 2:
“The department is on record as a supporter of the Act 195, but we have concerns with new language in Section 2 of the proposed draft. This language that would automatically include in the roll any Native Hawaiian already verified as Hawaiians through the Department of Hawaiian Home Lands….it is important that our beneficiaries, and all Native Hawaiians, be able to make a choice to enroll. Since this amendment does not allow for a choice to be made, we respectfully request that you strike the phrase "or the department of Hawaiian Homelands” from page 3, lines 21 to 22.”
The DHHL list was not the only scheme to artificially boost the Akaka Tribal Roll. In further testimony, Lela Hubbard explains:
“We Hawaiians ourselves should be creating the roll, not a state entity. The state cannot arbitrarily dictate that the 100,000 plus Native Hawaiians registered with Kau Inoa must become a part of Kana'ioluwalu. The original application for Kau Inoa gives the applicant the right to opt out and to decide whether he or she wants to become a part of any other Hawaiian roll. When Hawaii Maoli turned over the Kau Inoa data it was clear by their contract that Kau Inoa signatories had the right to decide. The Hawaii State legislature does not have this right to dictate such action. That is an abuse of power, undermining personal decision making.”
OHA Testimony deferred to DHHL on the waiting list trick but supported rolling Kau Inoa into Kana’ioluwalu, writing: “The proposed language … will save years of person hours of work and Native Hawaiian trust funds by clarifying that the Roll Commission does not have to duplicate OHA's decade-long effort to register qualified Native Hawaiians pursuant to state law and OHA's own initiatives.”
Perhaps the most interesting testimony came from Kana’ioluwalu Roll Commission Chairman, former governor and Right Star defendant, John Waihee. In spite of the low sign up tally, Waihee apparently doesn’t want any lists dumped into his Roll. He explains in written testimony February 2: “…who is allowed to participate in Native Hawaiian self-determination efforts such as establishing a Native Hawaiian governing entity, should be determined by the Native Hawaiian community.” In April 1 testimony he adds: “The verification methods adopted by the Commission will assure that only ‘qualified Native Hawaiians’ participate in the process and are included on the certified list.”
Why would Waihee want to limit enrollment? As he explained December 7, 2012: “those who do not take the opportunity to register now will not be involved in forming the government ….”
Others in the Native Hawaiian community are not fooled. Opposition came in testimony from Juanita Mahienaena Brown Kawamoto April 2 who wrote:
I oppose this bill for the following reasons:
- The excessive amounts of monies spent on the Native Hawaiian roll call with such poor and minimum results clearly shows the lack of trust and understanding from the greater Native Hawaiian community concerning the Kana'ioluwalu program.
- The continuance to fund or encourage this program will only create a greater distrust in this project and waste more dollars on an issue that is not well received or supported.
- Funding. time and energy would be better spent on promises made when OHA was conceived and developed to educate our Native Hawaiian people about our rights to nationhood, genealogy, independence, or integration.
- Act 195 was not designed to become a vehicle for permanent legislation but as a entry level for OHA to design a better plan to gather our Hawaiian community through understanding and education
- Kana'ioluwalu is a poorly conceived program that works only to voice the control of the State of Hawaii and the chosen few.
- Good strong leadership will provide the native Hawaiian community with the desire to stand and be counted. We need to find the leaders who are respected and regarded for their wisdom, compassion and perseverance for the will of the people, that is what will bring our people together.
In spite of Waihee’s opposition, the final version of HB785 contains the language merging Kana’ioluwalu with Kau Inoa:
…including in the roll of qualified Native Hawaiians all individuals already registered with the State as verified Hawaiians or Native Hawaiians through the Office of Hawaiian Affairs as demonstrated by the production of relevant office of Hawaiian affairs records, and extending to those individuals all rights and recognitions conferred upon other members of the roll.
Grassroot Institute President Kelii Akina calls the low response to Kana’ioluwalu, a “Vote of No Confidence” and says, “Hawaiians are rejecting an effort to impose a narrow political agenda on their community.”
The Kau Inoa website states:
The first step toward establishing a new Native Hawaiian governing body has begun. Kau Inoa began on January 17, 2004 and is the registration of Native Hawaiians (in Hawaii and abroad) who will be a part of the new Hawaiian nation and receive benefits provided by the new government. Registrants may also declare their intent to participate in the creation of the governing entity.
All information on the Kau Inoa registration forms will be maintained by Hawai'i Maoli, a 501(c)(3) non-profit entity of the Association of Hawaiian Civic Clubs, a confederation of 50 civic clubs located throughout Hawaii and the continental United States. Hawai'i Maoli is the independent, non-governmental repository for all registration forms.
According to its website, to sign Kana’ioluwalu one must agree to the following:
- Declaration One. I affirm the unrelinquished sovereignty of the Native Hawaiian people, and my intent to participate in the process of self-governance.
- Declaration Two. I have a significant cultural, social or civic connection to the Native Hawaiian community.
- Declaration Three. I am a Native Hawaiian: a lineal descendant of the people who lived and exercised sovereignty in the Hawaiian islands prior to 1778, or a person who is eligible for the programs of the Hawaiian Homes Commission Act, 1920, or a direct lineal descendant of that person.
Kana’ioluwalu was launched July, 2012 with the goal of registering 200,000 Native Hawaiians by July 19, 2013. In light of their 190,700 person shortfall, HB785 extends that deadline.