Grassroot Institute Applauds Trustees' Call to Halt Nation-Building
News Release from Grassroot Institute
HONOLULU, Hawaii—May 19, 2014—Two trustees of the Office of Hawaiian Affairs are now on record calling on the organization to move beyond its pursuit of sovereign Hawaiian nationhood. Peter Apo, in his recent blog entry, stated, "The core of OHA’s fiduciary duty, founded as a sacred trust for the benefit of Native Hawaiians and Hawaiians, is being threatened and undermined by the out of control distraction of nation building." Mr. Apo goes on to propose that OHA relinquish its role in nation-building, including, "cancelling the proposed ‘Aha and reducing the scope of activities of our Washington D.C. office."
Apo's statement echoes the earlier sentiments expressed by trustee Oswald Stender, in which Stender discussed the lack of interest in the Native Hawaiian Roll, concluding that, "there are other issues we should be working on rather than building this government that is not going to work.”
It is notable that both Mr. Apo and Mr. Stender called attention to the vast sums that OHA has spent in the nation-building process, questioning whether it was really the best way for OHA to fulfill its duty to help Native Hawaiians. Mr. Apo writes, "What good would it be to have a nation if our people are broke, homeless, uneducated and disabled and our most revered Hawaiian institutions struggle to survive? By focusing on improving these conditions of existence, Hawaiians will be strengthened and can make informed choices to pursue whatever forms of nation on which they can agree independent of OHA."
Neither Mr. Apo nor Mr. Stender condemned Hawaiian nation-building outright, but rather expressed their belief that OHA should remove itself from the process and leave the question of self-determination and nationhood to other groups.
Keli'i Akina, President of Grassroot Institute says, "We applaud the words of Trustees Peter Apo and Oswald Stender, especially their honesty and their ability to recognize the inherent problems in OHA's nation-building process. We call upon the other Trustees to step up and take the reasonable and responsible action of cancelling OHA's efforts to build a government-sponsored, race-based nation, and redirect their attention and funds to issues that will be more effective in addressing the needs of Native Hawaiians and our state."
Dr. Akina continues, "Grassroot Institute is on record pointing out the serious Constitutional and practical questions of a government agency attempting to establish a sovereign nation. We are deeply concerned that the Native Hawaiian Roll process has not served the real needs of the Hawaiian people and all citizens of the State of Hawaii.
"It is time to put an end to actions which divide Hawaii's people and to start working together to unify and strengthen Hawaii," Dr. Akina concluded.
About the Grassroot Institute of Hawaii:
Grassroot Institute of Hawaii is a nonprofit, nonpartisan research institute dedicated to the principles of individual liberty, the free market, and limited, accountable government throughout Hawai`i and the Asia-Pacific region. Read more about us at http://www.grassrootinstitute.org/
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About Grassroot President:
Dr. Akina is a recognized scholar, educator, public policy spokesperson, and community leader. In 2012, he was a candidate for the non-partisan position of Trustee in the Office of Hawaiian Affairs. Akina has decades-long experience leading non-profit organizations including Youth for Christ Hawai`i and the Center for Tomorrow’s Leaders. An expert in East-West Philosophy, he has taught at universities in China and the United States, and continues as an adjunct instructor at Hawai`i Pacific University and the University of Hawai`i at Mānoa. Read more: http://bit.ly/AkinaBioInfo