by Andrew Walden
Frustrated by lack of interest and high expenses, Trustees of the Office of Hawaiian Affairs voted November 7 to shut down the Kana‘iolowalu Native Hawaiian Roll Commission.
According to OHA, only 21,418 Hawaiians signed up for the Roll as of September 27, 2013. The Commission had burned through $3.3M of OHA resources and was demanding another $2.5M when the Trustees decided to pull the plug.
It has been nearly a year without any form of the Akaka Bill before Congress. It is always difficult to chart future political courses, but the OHA Trustees' vote looks a lot like the end of the road for the Broken Trust Gang, John 'RightStar' Waihee III, and their dream of constructing a tribal jurisdiction around themselves so they could steal the Hawaiian patrimony from other Hawaiians without fear of prosecution. Even Trustee John Waihee IV voted to close the roll commission. The views of Kauai-Niihau Trustee Dan Ahuna, the sole 'no' vote, are laid out below and seem to come from a genuine understanding of the history of the Hawaiian Kingdom--standing in sharp contrast to the 'politically correct' historical revisionism used to justify the decade-long push for the Akaka Tribe.
This is a huge victory for Native Hawaiians. Hawaiian affairs are returning to the channel created in the Hawaii Admission Act which holds that all of Hawaii is responsible for 'the betterment of Native Hawaiians.'
Here are the minutes from the November 7, 2013 OHA Trustees meeting and excerpts from columns in the December edition of Ka Wai Ola in which three Trustees and OHA's CEO discuss the decision and outline the path forward:
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OHA Board Meeting November 7, 2013
Approved 7-1-1 (Machado excused, Ahuna votes 'no')
Motion to amend, approve and authorize funding in the amount of $595,000 from OHA’s FY 2014 Fiscal Reserve Authorization for the FY 2014 Native Hawaiian Roll Commission Operating Budget and to include Trustee Robert Lindsey’s 10 recommendations as well as a two (2) week deadline for an exit plan and this approved amount will be the final funding for the Native Hawaiian Roll Commission.
Trustee Lindsey’s 10 recommendations are:
1. That Kana‘iolowalu present a clear Exit Plan to terminating Operations to the Office of Hawaiian Affairs within two weeks.
2. That if a Kanaka Maoli puwalu is to be convened that such a puwalu be convened and called for by the Office of Hawaiian Affairs and not the Hawaii Legislature and that all interested stakeholders and constituencies will be allowed to participate at a common table.
3. That the Office of Hawaiian Affairs will be a neutral party at such a puwalu whose kuleana will be simply to facilitate such a puwalu.
4. That the Office of Hawaiian Affairs in pursuing a model for sovereignty will take kuleana to educate and inform the general and Hawaiian community through various media including Ka Wai Ola and Kamakako‘i on the events of January 1893 when our Queen yielded her Government to the United States of America.
5. That the Office of Hawaiian Affairs will take kuleana to educate and inform the general and Hawaiian community through various media including Ka Wai Ola and Kamakako‘i on the U.S. Minister’s role in the Overthrow of the Hawaiian Kingdom.
6. That the Office of Hawaiian Affairs will take kuleana to educate and inform the general and Hawaiian community through various media including Ka Wai Ola and Kamakao‘i on the significant finding of Mr. Blount who was commissioned to investigate the Overthrow by President Grover Cleveland in 1893.
7. That the Office of Hawaiian Affairs will take kuleana to educate and inform the general and Hawaiian community through various media including Ka Wai Ola and Kamakako‘i on President Cleveland’s message to Congress in December 1893 on the Blount investigation.
8. That the Office of Hawaiian Affairs will take kuleana to educate and inform the general and Hawaiian community through Ka Wai Ola and Kamakako‘i on the Apology Resolution of 1893.
9. That the Office of Hawaiian Affairs will never negotiate away the inherent sovereignty of our people and our national lands, and
10. That the Office of Hawaiian Affairs will facilitate a discussion on all models of self-determination including independence and international recognition.
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Maui Trustee Carmen Hulu Lindsey: Kana‘iolowalu: Accountability and stewardship
As an elected trustee of the Office of Hawaiian Affairs, I have the responsibility and fiduciary obligation to ensure that our people’s trust funds are used prudently and in a manner that directly benefits them. It is important therefore that the community understands the reasoning behind decisions taken recently by the trustees with regard to funding Kana‘iolowalu, the Native Hawaiian Roll Commission.
By state constitutional provision, OHA is the lead state agency on matters relating to Native Hawaiians. OHA did not initiate or pass Act 195, which created Kana‘iolowalu. The state Legislature did, but then refused to fund this initiative. On July 7, 2011, Gov. Neil Abercrombie signed Act 195 into law.
“Preparing and maintaining a roll of qualified Native Hawaiians” and certifying that roll are the primary tasks of the Native Hawaiian Roll commissioners, who were appointed by the governor. OHA was required to fund the state initiative with Native Hawaiian trust funds, but was not authorized to direct or control the process by which the commission addressed and fulfilled its mandate.
OHA complied, hoping that a bona fide effort would bring about the registration of at least two-thirds of the Native Hawaiians in our state. The law set out a time frame for Kana‘iolowalu to achieve its mission: the registration of 200,000 Native Hawaiians by June 15, 2013.
On May 26, 2013, the commission indicated it had registered only 12,956 Hawaiians. Having failed to meet its goal, the time frame for registration was extended to Jan. 19, 2014. We were told on Aug. 2, 2013, that the number registered had increased to 16,585.
As can be seen from these numbers, the enrollment effort has fallen far short of expectations. The OHA trustees had approved $3.337 million in trust funds for the state initiative. This had all been spent by June 30, 2013. Where did these trust funds go and why was there so little to show for it in terms of results?
For the past several months, the Kana‘iolowalu commissioners have come to OHA seeking additional money. These efforts began on May 21, 2012, when OHA received a letter from the commission requesting another $2.5 million for the project.
Given the poor performance to date, three trustees and I voted not to continue further funding for the commission. But over the last several weeks, OHA trustees have faced increasing pressure to continue funding Kana‘iolowalu. Although the trustees rejected the commission’s requests, its budget demands continued to be placed on the agenda.
Finally, on Nov. 7, 2013, the OHA trustees voted to support a final allocation of $595,000 to allow the commission to end its effort and to publish a closing report. I supported this request only when the commission finally disclosed that they had in fact incurred over $200,000 in debts that needed to be settled.
At this point, I feel the commission has done all it is capable of doing. I think our people are confused by the many times they have been asked to register. I fear our people may have become distrustful of the process. Perhaps the media advertisements were not clear in defining the goals of the mandate. There may be all kinds of reasons for why we are where we are.
What remains clear is our people’s continuing desire to form a Hawaiian nation where kanaka can determine for ourselves what direction we will take for sovereignty. We need to demonstrate that we understand and are capable of addressing that desire in a more responsible way than the results of the commission have so far. ‘O wau iho no.
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Kauai-Niihau Trustee Dan Ahuna: We are Kanaka Maoli, the Voice of Hawai'i
...Today, there is no political unit presently governing Kanaka Maoli, and judging from the response thus far to the latest enrollment process, there may be far less interest in creating one than previously thought.
Kanaka Maoli monarchs ruled over anyone who was a member of their political community, not merely Kanaka Maoli. Long before the overthrow of the monarchy, the Kanaka Maoli royal family intermarried with British and American immigrants, and both immigrants and their mixed-race children held high positions in Hawaiian society. Non-native people began to serve in the king’s cabinet and western-style parliament as early as the 1840s, including Keoni Ana, who was Kanaka Maoli and half-British and served as kuhina nui (co-regent) beginning in 1845. Kanaka Maoli monarchs were hardly resistant to Western values; beginning early in the century they were themselves Christians and tried to spread Christian and Western traditions to all those on the Islands. King Kaläkaua toured the world in large part to attract immigration to his kingdom.
Kanaka Maoli are the past, present, future, Native, indigenous, aborigine, genuine, true, real, actual, very, really and truly living here, Hawai‘i. The past is the future, the future is the gift and Kanaka Maoli are the present....
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Oahu Trustee Peter Apo: To Raise a Beloved Nation
...I believe it is important to continue exploring all paths to restoring a form of nationhood. But I don’t believe that we have to wait to be blessed by the U.S. or the United Nations to begin to build the nation. First, we are already a cultural and spiritual nation toward which we moved decisively and quickly following the Hawaiian Renaissance of the ’70s and ’80s that had us marching in the streets and stridently demanding a process of reconciliation that led to the creation of OHA, a constitutional overhaul of native rights, a ceded land settlement, the set aside of ‘Iolani Palace and Kaho‘olawe until such time that a new governing entity is established, and a vibrant reconstruction of our culture in all its forms.
The nation is already defining itself and rising quickly, although the import of it all sometimes escapes us. OHA has already begun stitching together a national geo-cultural land inventory by buying back pieces of the nation in the form of culturally valuable properties such as Waimea Valley, 25,000 acres of Wao Kele O Puna, 500 acres of the Galbraith Estate in Wahiawä, 20 acres in Palauea, Maui, and more. Kana‘iolowalu (Act 195) moves us closer toward identifying a certified electorate, to be recognized by the state and the federal government, who could then form a citizenry to establish a new governing entity. The train has left the station.
A milestone toward the shaping of the nation occurred in November when the six major Hawaiian economic institutions gathered in a puwalu to seek ways to connect the dots and begin a dialogue of unification toward a common vision of a Hawaiian future. In the room were leaders of the Kamehameha Schools, Queen Lili‘uokalani Trust, Queen Emma Foundation and Hospital Systems, Lunalilo Home, Department of Hawaiian Home Lands and OHA.
The meeting was dynamic and produced a profound commitment to move forward together – as one people. If it’s true that a nation is defined by its institutions, then we are crystallizing ourselves as never before with the leadership of the six most fundamental institutions of the Hawaiian people, four of them descending directly from the ali‘i, and two emerging from the political reconciliation process. Now we need to push the envelope and move with a higher sense of urgency toward creating other institutions and programs to imbed in the fabric of the national tapestry such as a Hawaiian National Archives, an education system, a health system, a national institute of culture and the arts. Let the vision burst forth beyond the political boundaries and not be impeded by the absence of political recognition, for it will come in due time. The time to declare our nationhood is now. All we have to do is act like one.
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OHA CEO Kamana‘opono M. Crabbe, PhD: Transitioning to a New Corporate Building
This month marks the beginning of a new era for the Office of Hawaiian Affairs. Our O‘ahu office is moving to our new corporate building in Iwilei.
It is an opportunity for us to refocus on our core values and principles, and our mission and vision. We must refocus our efforts on Ho‘olu Lähui Aloha, to raise a beloved nation. We do that not only by working toward recognition for a Hawaiian nation, but we’re also working to build a strong and thriving people. That means advocating for systemic changes before the state Legislature and other governmental bodies. It also means providing grants to agencies serving Native Hawaiians, not only to serve as a social-service safety net, but to give people the tools to be the next visionary leaders of Hawai‘i....
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PDF: December, 2013 Edition Ka Wai Ola