Upholding Self-Determination: Ka Lāhui Hawaiʻi’s Three Elected Kiaʻāina Oppose Naʻi Aupuni and the US DOI’s Proposed Rules
(This article was originally submitted to the Community Voice column of Civil Beat, that published it on November 13, 2015.)
In recent weeks, individuals running as delegates for Naʻi Aupuni have attempted to represent Ka Lāhui Hawaiʻi. This response was prepared to correct the record and is submitted by the three Kiaʻāina (Governor) elected by Hawaiians statewide and on the U.S. continent.
Ka Lāhui Hawaiʻi is a native initiative for Hawaiian self-governance formed by and for Native Hawaiians without the interference of State or Federal agencies. Ka Lāhui Hawaiʻi is the evolutionary product of years of legal research, community dialogues, meetings, and workshops. We also have engaged in nation building with Native Hawaiians without State and Federal government interference. From 1987, we enrolled over 20,000 citizens from our islands and on the US continent, convened 3 Constitutional Conventions, held over 35 legislative sessions, conducted 4 general elections with the assistance of the League of Women Voters, ratified 14 treaties of mutual recognition and friendship with Inuit and Indian Nations, sent diplomatic liaisons to the United Nations, and sent delegations to Washington, DC, to lobby Congress on behalf of Hawaiian entitlements and programs. In addition, Ka Lāhui Hawaiʻi has actively testified on issues at the Federal, State, County, and community levels, published newsletters and other educational materials, and convened numerous community educational meetings on sovereignty and other critical issues facing our community like protecting sacred lands and advocating for water rights. Ka Lāhui Hawaiʻi has also conducted hundreds of community workshops in Hawaiʻi and on the US continent to exercise our peoples right to Self-Determination believing in the advancement of our efforts to be self-governing. To build on this long history of self-determination work and in honor of our citizens who have passed away, Ka Lāhui Hawaiʻi leadership stands in opposition to Naʻi Aupuni and the US Department of Interior’s (DOI) Proposed Rules.
The Naʻi Aupuni process violates the principle of Self-Determination as well as the 14th Amendment of the US Constitution. In effect, the process is a political ruse to disenfranchise Hawaiians, deny us our right to our traditional lands, territories, and resources, and sidestep our historic claims for reparations.
The International Human Rights Conventions and the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (applicable to and binding on the United States) defines Self-Determination as…“The right of all peoples to determine their political status and by virtue of that right to freely pursue their Economic, Cultural and Social development”.
Self-determination is not a right of governments or state or federal agencies. It is the collective right of “Peoples” including Indigenous Hawaiian Peoples. This means that the Hawaiian peoples are the only group that has the power to “define their political status” and, ultimately, determine citizenship in a nation of their own creation. Once the people have exercised this power, the nation formed has the right and authority to freely pursue social development through programs for housing, education and health. It has the right to freely pursue cultural development by preserving Hawaiian language, protecting sacred sites, and maintaining cultural practices. It also has the power to pursue economic development, including the power to tax, to trade under traditional treaties, and to engage in and license others to engage in business in order to raise revenues and be economically self-sufficient.
STATE AND FEDERAL INITIATIVES UNDERMINE SELF-DETERMINATION
SAC/HSAC/HSEC Were All Created by the State
In 1991, the State created the Sovereignty Advisory Council (SAC) in Act 301. As part of OHA’s budget, the State provided SAC with up to $200,000 to develop a plan to discuss and study the sovereignty issue.
On the heels of the 100th commemoration of the illegal overthrow of the Kingdom of Hawaii in 1993, the State established the Hawaiian Sovereignty Advisory Commission (HSAC) in Act 359. Under this legislation, the State appropriated $420,000 to hold “a referendum to determine the will of the native Hawaiian people to call a democratically convened convention for the purpose of achieving consensus on an organic document that will propose the means for native Hawaiians to operate under a government of their own choosing.”
The next year, the State amended Act 359 with the passage of Act 200 creating the Hawaiian Sovereignty Elections Council (HSEC). The State appropriated up to $1.8 million to HSEC to hold “a plebiscite in 1995, to determine the will of the indigenous Hawaiian people to restore a nation of their own choosing.”
Ka Lāhui Hawaiʻi and other community organizations opposed the SAC/HSAC/HSEC state driven initiatives, and called for a boycott of the process. We had grave concerns that this referendum or plebiscite would be used as evidence that the indigenous Hawaiian people relinquished their claims to their inherent sovereignty as a people or over their national lands to the United States, in direct contrast to our peoples history of resistance as acknowledged in the Apology Resolution, which provides that “the indigenous Hawaiian people never directly relinquished their claims to their inherent sovereignty as a people or over their national lands to the United States, either through their monarchy or through a plebiscite or referendum.”
After Ka Lāhui Hawaiʻi and other community organizations called to boycott the process for nearly two years, a month before the election was to be held, the State amended Act 200 by passing Act 140 in 1996. The new State law specifically changed the requirement that the plebiscite be approved by a majority of “qualified voters” to “ballots cast.” In other words, the State first created a process that required a majority of the approximately 85,000 Native Hawaiians to approve. However, the new law required only a majority of all votes cast in order to approve the plebiscite.
On July 15, 1996, HSEC sent out ballots to approximately 85,000 Native Hawaiians. 30,423 ballots were returned, of these ballots, 22,294 voted yes to the question “Shall the Hawaiian People elect delegates to propose a Native Hawaiian government.” Ka Lāhui Hawaiʻi and other community groups claimed a victory due to the low turnout. However, the State claimed a victory by looking at the majority of the ballots cast. Consequently, this State initiated process continued with Ha Hawaiʻi and ʻAha Hawaiʻi ʻOiwi.
The Native Hawaiian Government Reorganization Act (aka Akaka Bill)
Hawaiʻi’s Congressional delegation introduced the first version of the Akaka bill, S. 2899/H.R. 4904 in 2000, authorizing a process for the reorganization of a Native Hawaiian government and to provide for the recognition of the Native Hawaiian government by the United States. This bill had only 1 hearing in Hawaiʻi in 12 years. Over the next decade, Congress proposed multiple versions of the bill. But the changes and versions that followed were done in Washington, DC, without the input of the Native Hawaiian people. In stark contrast, the changes reflected input from state agencies like OHA and a select few individuals from the Hawaiian community who continue to push an agenda that excludes the vast majority of Hawaiians from the process. An estimated $30 million trust dollars was spent to support passage of the Akaka Bill. No accounting has ever been provided for the Hawaiian trust funds spent on these efforts.
The Native Hawaiian Roll Commission/Kanaʻiolowalu Was Created by the State
In 2011, the State established the Native Hawaiian Roll Commission in Act 195 to prepare and maintain a roll of qualified Native Hawaiians defined initially in the law as 1) “an individual who is a descendant of the aboriginal peoples who, prior to 1778, occupied and exercised sovereignty in the Hawaiian islands, the area that now constitutes the State of Hawaii; or 2) “an individual who is one of the indigenous, native people of Hawaii and who was eligible in 1921 for the programs authorized by the Hawaiian Homes Commission Act, 1920, or a direct lineal descendant of that individual.” The law also required that a qualified Native Hawaiian “has maintained a significant, cultural, social, or civic connection to the Native Hawaiian community and wishes to participate in the organization of the Native Hawaiian governing entity; and is eighteen years of age or older.” Funding for the Native Hawaiian Roll Commission was provided by the Office of Hawaiian Affairs while no other community organization was provided money to conduct any kind of educational campaign in opposition to this initiative.
As noted in a Civil Beat article by Trisha Kehaulani Watson, “within the first two years of implementation (between the signing of the Act in 2011 and September 2013), less than 19,000 Hawaiians enrolled, despite having a $4 million budget from the Office of Hawaiian Affairs.” To inflate this low enrollment, the State passed Act 77 in 2013 expanding the definition of “qualified Native Hawaiian” to include “an individual who meets the ancestry requirements of Kamehameha Schools or of any Hawaiian registry program of the office of Hawaiian affairs,” immediately swelling the roll to over 107,000 names. It is this roll that Naʻi Aupuni is using to conduct its election of delegates to a constitutional convention, or ʻAha. At the heart of self-determination is deciding to participate in any process and not have the State determine participation by defining a qualified Native Hawaiian.
The US Department of Interior’s Proposed Rules
The US Department of Interior (DOI) has issued proposed rules to create an administrative procedure for re-establishing a government-to-government relationship with the Native Hawaiian community. These proposed rules follow the Advanced Notice of Proposed Rulemaking issued last year where the vast majority of those who testified at public hearings expressed opposition to the DOI’s proposal. Nevertheless, thousands of identical postcards submitted as part of a concerted effort of political insiders intent on securing federal recognition was used to justify the DOI’s proposed rules. Interestingly, portions of the proposed rule would allow a roll of Native Hawaiians certified by a State of Hawaii commission like Kanaʻiolowalu that is being used by Naʻi Aupuni to determine participation when the large majority of the names on the roll came from different OHA lists and registries without the free prior and informed consent of those who signed on to those prior lists and registries including one registry that was used to qualify for OHA programs such as loans, grants and scholarships.
The record reflects that none of these initiatives came from the Hawaiian “Peoples” and all were in fact created by State and Federal bodies. SAC/HSAC/HSEC and the Native Hawaiian Roll Commission/Kanaiolowalu are all State bodies, created by State procedures. The Akaka Bill and the US Department of Interior’s proposed rules were drafted in Washington, DC, without any input from our broader community. None of these groups represents the Hawaiian Peoples. Consequently, these efforts cannot be viewed as legitimate reflections of the Hawaiian peoples desire for Nationhood or a valid expression of our peoples right of Self-Determination.
The record further indicates that for years the State and Federal Government have tried unsuccessfully to manipulate Hawaiians into approving a governmental structure that would limit political power or authority. As a result of this limited power, our peoples vast trust lands and resources would continue to be controlled by the State and Federal bodies that control them now.
OPPOSE NAʻI AUPUNI AND THE US DOI’S PROPOSED RULES
As Ka Lāhui Hawaiʻi did in 1996, we are once again calling upon the Hawaiian community and all Citizens to boycott State/Federal efforts to manipulate Hawaiian Self-Determination. We urge you to oppose Naʻi Aupuni, by refusing to cast a ballot in this election. We also recommend you submit testimony against the proposed US DOI Rules for the following reasons:
- As explained in the two US DOI memo’s released in late September 2015 (links are as follows: https://www.doi.gov/pressreleases/interior-department-proposes-pathway-re-establishing-government-government and https://www.doi.gov/sites/doi.opengov.ibmcloud.com/files/uploads/FAQs%20on%20NPRM%20Part%2050%209.29.15%20%281%29.pdf), the ‘Recognized’ Hawaiian Nation will not have any share of our peoples Ceded lands trust or Hawaiian Homelands but will be only given Kahoolawe Island. (Kahoolawe was used by the US as a bombing target for years and is still littered with bombs. No one lives there.)
- The ‘Recognized’ Hawaiian Nation will not have any of the powers the ‘Recognized’ Indian Nations have. It will not have taxing authority, the ability to zone or develop our trust lands for housing, education or health, etc. This means that some ‘Recognized’ native nations in the USA will have rights other ‘Recognized’ native nations are not allowed to have. A clear violation of the 14th Amendment.
- The ‘Recognized’ nation will not be able to access federal laws appropriating federal funds for other classes of Native Americans. For example, Hawaiian children removed from Hawaiian families will not have the protections of the Indian Child Welfare Act (the right to be placed with Hawaiian foster homes), etc.
- Hawaiian trust lands under control of the USA and State will continue to be under Federal and State control. Wardship will be maintained. Hawaiians will be “Beneficiary-Wards” of state & federal government and these entities will continue to control our trust resources.
- The vast majority of Hawaiian peoples are being disenfranchised by the process. There are approximately 577,000 Hawaiians in the US, less than 19,000 have been registered by Kanaʻiolowalu, and thousands have been added to a list without their free prior informed consent and approval. These numbers confirm that the overwhelming majority of Hawaiians are not included in this process.
- Hawaiians will forever be denied their right of Self-governance and Self-determination. The DOI Memos verify that once the US confers “recognition” on the Naʻi Aupuni Nation, the US will never again ‘recognize’ a Hawaiian Nation.
What Can Hawaiians Do?
- Inform/educate yourselves by reading the US DOI memos and exercise your best judgment for yourself and ʻohana;
- Get involved by submitting testimony to the US DOI opposing the Recognition Rules and limitations. Go to http://www.regulations.gov/#!submitComment;D=DOI-2015-0005-2438 to submit testimony;
- DEMAND that the United States Department of Interior respect our peoples right to “consultation” under the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. The United States should be in Hawaiʻi meeting with Indigenous Hawaiians on these issues. Previous “Hearings” were held for the public and Indian Nations with gambling casino’s on the continent but no “consultation” has been held specifically for Hawaiians in and throughout Hawaii;
- Support and Sign on to the Kū`ē Na`i Aupuni Petition. Go to http://protestnaiaupuni.com/ to sign on.
Kūʻē Naʻi Aupuni, Kūʻē Kanaʻiolowalu, Kūʻē OHA and US DOI
Remember the words of our beloved queen, Liliʻuokalani
Mililani Bernardette Trask
Josiah “Black” Hoʻohuli
Mililani Bernardette Trask is the first elected Kiaʻāina of Ka Lāhui Hawaiʻi, who served from 1990-1998. A longtime leader in the Hawaiian sovereignty movement, Mililani has advocated both in Hawaii and abroad to advance rights on behalf of indigenous peoples and is considered an indigenous expert to the United Nations in international and human rights law.
Josiah “Black” Hoʻohuli is the second elected Kiaʻāina of Ka Lāhui Hawaiʻi, who served from 1998-2002. A Nanakuli homesteader, Black is a longtime advocate of homestead beneficiaries to enforce the trust responsibilities owed to beneficiaries under State and Federal law.
Lehua Kinilau-Cano is the third elected Kiaʻāina of Ka Lāhui Hawaiʻi, who served from 2002. A graduate of Kamehameha Schools, she obtained her BA degree in Hawaiian Studies and JD from the University of Hawaii.
Posted by Rebekah
This is the link to the Big Island Video News’s “Good Friday on Mauna Kea, TMT Blockade Holds,” recorded by David Corrigan. http://www.bigislandvideonews.com/2015/04/03/video-good-friday-on-mauna-kea-tmt-blockade-holds/
Posted by Rebekah
- O‘ahu Caucus
- Military Downsizing
E hele mai kākou! The next Ka Lāhui Hawaiʻi Oʻahu citizens’ meeting is scheduled for 6 p.m., Thursday, October 16, 2014, at the Kamakakūokalani Center for Hawaiian Studies Building, Room 202, UH Mānoa.
Free parking is available on the road or at Kanewai Park. It’s $6.00 to park in the lot and adjoining parking structure.
Hope to see you all there!
Posted by Rebekah
A Ka Lāhui Hawaiʻi citizens meeting is scheduled for 6 p.m., September 16, 2014, at Kamakakūokalani Building Room 202 at the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa Center for Hawaiian Studies on Dole Street in Honolulu. Expected agenda items include discussion of plans to move educational outreach forward.
New to the curricula is a seven-step process for any indigenous peoples for achieving self-determination, as proposed in an article by Mililani B. Trask. The seven steps are:
- Community Education & Kuka on Community Goals & Process for Nation Building
- The Political Status Ballot
- Elect Delegates to Draft a Constitution
- Convention of Delegates
- Peoples Ratify Convention Documents
- Peoples Elect Leadership
- Nation Is Formed
The article is reprinted at this link: “The Seven Step Process.”
Posted by Rebekah
Here is a reminder that citizens may submit written comments to the US Department of Interior about the proposed rule concerning the “Procedures for Reestablishing a Government-to-Government Relationship With the Native Hawaiian Community.” The comment period ends on August 19, 2014. Please refer to the June 20 Federal Register entry that has easy-to-follow directions at the top of the page. Please read the Federal Register.
At this time, according to the July 22, 2014, notes of a Ka Lāhui Hawaiʻi meeting, “There is no official spokesperson for KLH. All officers in the last election and Mokuna have terms that ended many years ago. Citizens can only speak for themselves and say [they are] affiliated with Ka Lahui.” Please write the correct name “Ka Lāhui Hawaiʻi.”
A group of Ka Lahui Hawaii citizens submitted comments in Keaukaha last month to show that Ka Lahui (the nation) exists with a Constitution and a Master Plan. The testimony was given by Mililani Trask. If you are on Moku Honu (continental US), there is an option to deliver your comments in person in “Indian Country” on selected dates. Please refer to the Federal Register.
Ka Lāhui Hawaiʻi regroups
Ka Lāhui Hawaiʻi met on July 22. The next meeting is scheduled for 6 p.m., August 5, at the University of Hawaii Manoa Kamakakuokalani Center for Hawaiian Studies, classroom 202, in Honolulu.
Citizens are asked to submit their correct name and updated contact information by island by clicking on the Contact tab above and following the guidelines. Mahalo!
Posted by Rebekah
For the record, the U.S. Dept. of Interior will start a long series of public meetings “in Hawaii and Indian Country,” at 9 a.m., tomorrow, June 23, 2014, at the Hawaii State Capitol, to consider “whether and how the process of reestablishing a government-to-government relationship should move forward,” according to a June 18 Department press release.
The Dept. of Interior is soliciting comments and feedback on “Procedures to Reestablish a Government-to-Government Relationship with the Native Hawaiian Community,” Regulation Identifier Number 1090-AB05.
The complete schedule of public meetings is listed at the end of this post.
The Advanced Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (ANPRM), made available on
June 19 June 20 in the Federal Register, outlines “five threshold questions” that the Department of Interior wants addressed.
While attendance at consultation meetings is not required for public comment—other procedures are described in the press release at the bottom of this post— Native Hawaiians and others interested are encouraged to attend these meetings because they are the first and prime opportunity to be heard by the U.S. and because they will be educational in terms of what is legal under international law.
Leaders and members of the Native Hawaiian community and federally recognized Indian tribes, Hawaii state agencies, and the general public including citizens of Ka Lahui Hawaii are expected to comment. The questions stated in the June 18 press release of the Department of Interior, that were previously reported in this post, were updated in the June 20 Federal Register, that is, the questions are not the same. Please refer to the Federal Register.
The meetings are scheduled as follows:
Public Meetings in Hawaii – June 23 through July 8, 2014
Monday, June 23 — Honolulu – 9:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m.
Hawaii State Capitol Auditorium
Monday, June 23 — Waimanalo – 6:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m.
Waimanalo Elementary and Intermediate School
Tuesday, June 24 — Waianae Coast – 6:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m.
Nanaikapono Elementary School
Wednesday, June 25 — Kaneohe – 6:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m.
Heeia Elementary School
Thursday, June 26 — Kapolei – 6:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m.
Makakilo Elementary School
Friday, June 27 — Lanai City – 6:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m.
Lanai Senior Center
Saturday, June 28 — Kaunakakai – 1:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m.
Kaunakakai Elementary School
Monday, June 30 — Waimea – 6:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m.
Waimea Neighborhood Center
Tuesday, July 1 — Kapaa – 6:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m.
Kapaa Elementary School
Wednesday, July 2 — Hilo – 6:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m.
Keaukaha Elementary School
Thursday, July 3 — Waimea – 10:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.
Waimea Community Center
Thursday, July 3 — Kona – 6:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m.
Kealakehe High School
Saturday, July 5 — Hana – 1:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m.
Hana High and Elementary School
Monday, July 7 — Lahaina – 6:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m.
King Kamehameha III Elementary School
Tuesday, July 8 — Kahului – 6:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m.
Pomaikai Elementary School
Indian Country Consultations – July 29 through August 7, 2014
Tuesday, July 29 — Minnesota – 9:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m.
Mystic Lake Casino Hotel, Prior Lake, MN
Wednesday, July 30 — South Dakota – 1:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m.
Rushmore Civic Center, Rapid City, SD
Friday, August 1 — Washington – 9:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m.
Tulalip Resort, Seattle, WA
Tuesday, August 5 — Arizona – 9:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m.
Talking Stick Resort, Scottsdale, AZ
Thursday, August 7 — Connecticut – 9:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m.
Mohegan Sun, Uncasville, CT
To submit comments without attending a meeting, please see the Department of Interior’s press release in full (click on this link):
Posted by Rebekah
The three documents — “Constitution of Ka Lāhui Hawaiʻi,” “A Compilation of Materials for Education Workshops on Ka Lāhui Hawaiʻi,” and “Hoʻokupu a Ka Lāhui Hawaiʻi” the Ka Lāhui Master Plan for Hawaiian Sovereignty — are copyrighted by Mililani B. Trask on behalf of Ka Lāhui Hawaiʻi. Persons or groups wanting to use these materials, including the Constitution and Master Plan must first obtain the written permission of Mililani B. Trask and a Licensing Agreement.
Ka Lāhui Hawaiʻi has trained citizens who can conduct training for the community with these materials and who can assist with community workshops using these documents. Ka Lāhui Hawaii/Mililani B. Trask does not give permission for use of these documents and materials, in whole or in part, for any purpose except for uses approved in writing and subject to a Licensing Agreement as stated above.
Posted by Mililani B. Trask
HONOLULU–People who are Ka Lahui Hawaii citizens are planning to attend Kamau a Ea, a summit meeting on Native Hawaiian governance sponsored by the Office of Hawaiian Affairs from 8 am to 4:30 p.m., April 11 and 12. If you, too, would like to attend, email: email@example.com or call Trustee Hulu Lindsey’s office at 594-1898. You must be on the list to attend.
You may wish to review OHA’s “Facilitating Nation-building Plan” as well as the working document “Hawaiian Self-Determination: The Seven Step Process” drafted by past kiaaina Mililani Trask by April 8. Please email firstname.lastname@example.org for electronic copies of the documents and for more information about sharing your comments, suggestions, and other manao.
Posted by Rebekah
Can you kokua? We haven’t posted here for some time, but here’s an activity I think citizens and honorary citizens of Ka Lahui Hawaii can get behind.
A call for volunteers to type, in simple text manuscript form, pages from old Hawaiian language newspapers so that the content can be searchable with a computer was issued in late November 2011. The project, called the “ʻIke Kūʻōkoʻa Initiative,” is seeking 200,000 volunteer hours. As you may know, more than 100 Hawaiian language newspapers were published between 1834 and 1948.
If you have heard about this project and are anxious to help, please visit www.awaiaulu.org, scroll down, and hear the welcoming invitation from Kaui Sai-Dudoit and Puakea Nogelmeier. If you sign on and decide later it’s not for you, you can always cancel.
Although it’s true that one doesn’t need to speak Hawaiian to type it, it is an advantage. In addition, good eyesight, squinting, accurate typing, copyreading skills, and time = Success. Mahalo!
Posted by Rebekah