by Andrew Walden
Mainland Indian Gaming tribes are expelling tribal members by tightening up their blood quantum so that the remaining members get a larger share of casino revenues. In California and across the country dozens of tribes have held ugly and raucous meetings at which thousands of lifelong tribal members have been summarily expelled by greedy tribal councils.
The Akaka Tribe hasn’t even formed yet--but the expulsions have already begun.
Three out of four Hawaiians—and their descendants--are being permanently excluded from the Roll for a state-recognized Akaka Tribe at this very moment. According to the Office of Hawaiian Affairs (OHA) they “will not be acknowledged by the state as a part of the indigenous, aboriginal, maoli population of Hawai'i.”
Set to a drumbeat of Kana'iolowalu Roll commercials on local TV, the OHA scheme to transform Hawaiians into reservation Indians without Congressional action is outlined in the August, 2013 edition of Ka Wai Ola. On page nine, highlighted in yellow, the OHA house organ explains:
Act 195, the 2011 state law that directed the Native Hawaiian Roll Commission to create an official roll of Native Hawaiians, declares that: 'the members of the qualified Native Hawaiian roll, and their descendants, shall be acknowledged by the State of Hawai'i as the indigenous, aboriginal, maoli people of Hawai'i.
This suggests that Native Hawaiians who are not on the official roll and are not descendants of anyone on the roll, will not be acknowledged by the state as a part of the indigenous, aboriginal, maoli population of Hawai'i....
For these reasons, OHA strongly supports Act 77, a 2013 law that protects the rights of all verified Native Hawaiians registered with OHA to be included on the official roll and to receive all the rights and recognitions of membership. Under Act 77, OHA will transfer all verified Native Hawaiians from Kau Inoa, Hawaiian Registry and Operation 'Ohana registries to the native Hawaiian Roll Commission to be included on the official roll.
Act 77 was signed into law because so few people were signing the Kana'iolowalu Roll.
Native Hawaiian describes any person with 50% blood quantum. Hawaiian refers to any person with any blood quantum.
According to the 2010 US Census there are 527,077 Hawaiians in the US. The Kana'iolowalu Roll reports as of August 9, 2013 a paltry 17,653 have signed up. 110,000 Kau Inoa names were gathered between 2004 and 2011. When added to an unknown number of Operation 'Ohana names from the early 1990s and 'Hawaiian Registry' names -- and duplicates are removed -- the total may be approximately 25% of the native Hawaiians enumerated by the US Census. The remaining 75% will then no longer be acknowledged as Hawaiian by OHA.
Kana'iolowalu Roll is headed by Right Star defendant Gov. John Waihee. Waihee was held civilly liable for looting 40,000 burial contracts as part of the Right Star scam. That is a better than two-to-one ratio of burial contracts to enrollees.
Under the 1978 Hawaii State Constitution the Office of Hawaiian Affairs was formed to:
“…hold title to all the real and personal property now or hereafter set aside or conveyed to it which shall be held in trust for native Hawaiians and Hawaiians (and) to manage and administer the proceeds from the sale or other disposition of the lands, natural resources, minerals and income derived from whatever sources for native Hawaiians and Hawaiians, including all income and proceeds from that pro rata portion of the trust referred to in section 4 of this article for native Hawaiians; to formulate policy relating to affairs of native Hawaiians and Hawaiians; and to exercise control over real and personal property set aside by state, federal or private sources and transferred to the board for native Hawaiians and Hawaiians.”
If Kana'iolowalu succeeds, all that loot will be divided up by a smaller number of beneficiaries.
Unlike a real Indian Tribe, the test to join the Akaka Tribe is political, not genealogical. In order to sign the Kana'iolowalu Roll one must declare:
"I affirm the unrelinquished sovereignty of the Native Hawaiian people, and my intent to participate in the process of self-governance."
This statement was not included in the earlier rolls so OHA is offering anybody who signed the earlier rolls the opportunity to withdraw their name by sending in a form before the September 15 deadline stating "I want to be left off the transfer list." A copy of the form is buried in the small print at the bottom of page 35 of the August, 2013 edition of Ka Wai Ola. Of course the 1000s of now-deceased persons whose names appear on the earlier rolls do not have the opportunity to withdraw.
Those who have not signed up have until January 15, 2014 to enroll but some are balking at the political test for membership.
As usual, sovereignty activists are encouraging Hawaiians to withdraw their names. But something different comes from former Honolulu Star-Bulletin editor Ian Lind August 7, 2013. Lind writes:
the roll commission has added its own wrinkle by requiring that people agree with an additional declaration that is not mentioned in the law. On the registration form, you are now asked to declare: “I affirm the unrelinquished sovereignty of the Native Hawaiian people, and my intent to participate in the process of self-governance.”
Frankly, I’m not sure what “unrelinquished sovereignty” means or why this is thrown into a registration process focused on “reunifying” Hawaiians. Minutes of roll commission meetings might shed some light on the issue, but aren’t made available on its website.
I’m sure that there’s a bit of politics, a hidden litmus test perhaps, behind the nuanced choice of words. It makes me wary, and I doubt I’m alone.
Hawaii sovereignty in the traditional political sense was essentially relinquished when the Hawaiian government was extinguished. And I don’t take it as a matter of faith that a sovereign Hawaiian governing entity will necessarily make things better....
Does that understanding of the world render me ineligible to register with Kana‘iolowalu, be placed on the roll, and participate in the future debates and decisions? Does the failure to register render one forever outside of the process? Answers aren’t readily apparent.
As a Hawaiian, that concerns me.
...if and when the creation of a self-governing Hawaiian entity picks up steam and, more importantly, resources, whether or not you’re on the official rolls could become a very big deal indeed.
Just who is considered “in” and who is left out has become a hot issue in many parts of the U.S. mainland, where American Indian tribes have been expelling tribal members now deemed “inauthentic,” an ugly process known as “disenrollment” that has been tearing apart families and communities.
And now “disenrollment” has come to Hawaii.