Legislative Session 2002 a vital “next step”

By Rowena Akana
December 2001

Source: Ka Wai Ola o OHA

As chairman of the Legislative and Government Affairs Committee, my primary focus in the next legislative session will be to work with legislators to resolve the 20-year old dispute over the ceded land revenue due Hawaiians. We do not intend to address issues which will extinguish any future claims including fishing, gathering, or sea mining rights. The focus is to reassert Hawaiian rights and entitlements that were settled in previous negotiations.

Hawaiian rights have been whittled away by a series of court cases. The United States Supreme Court decision in RICE invalidated the Hawaiians-only vote for OHA. The Hawai’i Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Act 304 invalidates the basis for trust income. This puts OHA in a crisis situation. With the clarifying section of Act 304 invalidated, the court has no statutory guidance, and the income stream of OHA has been crippled. On the horizon is a possible damaging rule in the anticipated challenge to the constitutionality of entitlements for Native Hawaiians. Staying under the aegis of the state has and will run Hawaiian entitlements into the ground. The Hawai’i Supreme Court has emphasized that the state still has an obligation to the Hawaiians. Yet the income stream for OHA has trickled to a stop. The best thing for OHA would be to gain independence from the state and to run the affairs of Hawaiians for Hawaiians. This would remove the stain of unconstitutionality from Hawaiian programs and would allow us to economically develop the lands agreed upon in settlement to make Hawaiians once and for all self-sufficient. Further, it would be the beginning of the building of a nation.

If the state and OHA cannot come to a decision as to a settlement, OHA may have to revisit Act 304 and come up with a formula for payments due to the Hawaiian. However, it must be remembered that after the World Trade Center attacks, our state coffers have less monies and may not be able to offer Hawaiians enough. We must also remember that Act 304 only entitled Hawaiians to a 20 percent revenue share of land fees. This has been a source of great irritation towards the state for the past 20 years. OHA has tried to collect the 20 percent formula since 1980 which has also been the cause of the disputes resulting in several lawsuits. Resolving the land issue once and for all will be beneficial to all concerned. We must not call a settlement on land a global settlement. The term global is far-reaching and really has no meaning between OHA and the state on any kind of settlement.

Several years ago, OHA was in negotiations with the state for a land and cash settlement. Forces in OHA were against this, thus scuttling the negotiations. The misunderstanding of the term “settlement” in the negotiations was considered a settlement offer from the state as a global one. The term “global” was loosely bantered around so that it scared people into thinking it was forever on all issues. They failed to understand that a settlement with OHA over land issues would be beneficial to Hawaiians because we would be able to develop programs for Hawaiians without the worry of whether the state would continue to contest the 20 percent formula or disagree with OHA over what kinds of state income on leases should be exempt from the formula, such as the University of Hawai’i.

I look forward to working with the legislature and constituents as the legislative chair to try to resolve some of the critical issues that have beleaguered OHA for 20 years. I urge you to continue to lend your support towards this goal.

Accomplishments During Chairmanship of the OHA Board of Trustees

By: Trustee Rowena Akana, Chairman
October, 2000

Source: Kai Wai Ola o OHA

With all of the battles, sword crossing, and legal maneuvering this Hawaiian agency has experienced during the last few months, it is important that we not lose sight of the positives that the Office of Hawaiian Affairs has accomplished.

Our office has been instrumental in reaching the Native Hawaiian community and serving the beneficiaries of this trust, despite the hardships that this office has had to endure.

Among the accomplishments achieved during my chairmanship of the Board of Trustees of the Office of Hawaiian Affairs:

* We created a half-time Community Affairs Coordinator position for Lanai.

* Gladys Brandt became director of OHA’s Education Foundation

* We rectified errors discovered in our investment profile, creating a new income formula

* We passed a policy that required a two-thirds vote for all unbudgeted items

* We established a policy for bonds by which our fixed-income managers would not be allowed to invest in below yield investments

* We approved ll grants totaling $425,428 for projects ranging from transportation to Hawaiian immersion schools to prenatal programs for hapai Hawaiians. Just six months ago, our grants department was nine months behind schedule. Now, it is almost a full year ahead of schedule

* We authorized OHA’s continued participation in the Kukui o Molokai, Inc. water case.

* We signed a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) with the state for improvements to the Queen Kaahumanu Highway in Kailua-Kona.

* We voted to appropriate more than $500,000 for the renovation of Ke Kula Niihau o Kekaha immersion school, which will provide classrooms and a cafeteria on Kauai.

* We approved a two-year extension of the administrator’s contract and clarified his responsibilities in order to streamline operations.

* We resolved four workers compensation claims that have been pending for more than a decade.

* We awarded $10,000 to OHA’s Education Foundation for operations.

* We hired a personnel manager to align OHA with accepted employment practices.

* We appropriated more than $500,000 for a legal “dream team” to represent our interests in Rice vs. Cayetano.

* During our trips to Washington DC, we learned of a presidential health directive for Pacific Islanders and Asians. We were instrumental in inserting language into the executive order that added our people to the list of ethnic groups eligible for funds and recognition. The order defines a Pacific Islander as “the aboriginal, indigenous native people of Hawaii and other Pacific Islands within the jurisdiction of the United States.”

* We implemented an investment policy with the purpose of reviewing our trust asset allocations.

* We developed an Individual Development Account Program (IDA).

* We approved a MOA for an H-3 Interpretative Center in collaboration with state and federal governments.

* We approved funds for the Saddle Road MOA improvement project on the Big Island.

* We appropriated $120,000 for the Molokai Dialysis Treatment Center and $7,200 in transitional funds for home kidney dialysis machines.

* We also welcomed former Department of Hawaiian Homelands Director Kali Watson to our ‘ohana as a crucial player in the ceded lands negotiations.

* Preparations continue for the October Puwalu Conference. We want to educate everyone about self-determination. All Hawaiian groups will be invited. We have hired a specialist to assist with this historic event.

* OHA, the Bishop Museum, and the Smithsonian Institution are planning an exhibit in Washington highlighting the history of our people, scheduled for about the time the Supreme Court will hear Rice.

* Our steadfast commitment to our kupuna is the basis for a Native Hawaiian Health Task Force to be implemented by the end of this year.

* We launched a successful initiative in Washington DC, winning Hawaiians and the state the support of US Solicitor General Seth Waxman in Rice vs. Cayetano. He filed one of two dozen briefs urging the Supreme Court to consider constitutional OHA’s election.

* We approved amendments to S. 225, a federal bill extending the Native American Housing Assistance and Self-Determination Act to Hawaiians.

* We awarded $116,996.00 in grants for Native Hawaiian projects.

* We appropriated $1.2 million to guarantee a loan supporting Hawaii County Department of Water Supply’s application for federal funds for road construction and clearing homestead lots in Kikala-Keokea.

* We approved funds for initiatives in alternative education.

* We voted to support the Dollars-to-Classroom Act.

* We amended the Native Hawaiian Health Care Improvement Act to widen its scope.

* We included in our money monitor’s contract a provision for a “wrapped” fee.
* We resolved our Ho’oulu Mea Kanu native plant project to the ANA for funding.

* We approved more than $574,000 to the Native Hawaiian Legal Corporation to assist beneficiaries in bringing claims against the state for the breaches of the Hawaiian Home Lands Trust.

It is my sincere hope that the Hawaiian community will unite during these
extraordinary times. It is important to keep focused on the positive, so that we can continue to strive forward together as a people.

Racism Comes to Hawaii Vis-à-vis Freddy Rice

By: Trustee Rowena M.N. Akana
April 2000

Source: Ka Wai Ola o OHA

Mr. Rice’s attorneys are riding high on the hog vis a vis their 15th amendment win in Rice vs. Cayetano. However, what the media has not reported is that Mr. Rice was the pawn used by the white, racist, and elitist group Campaign for A ColorBlind America (CCBA) to further its agenda to reverse any affirmative action initiatives and laws regarding the protection of native peoples’ rights.

The CCBA has written briefs that helped to overturn at least 10 Supreme Court cases about minorities and Native Americans. With the Rice case under his belt, CCBA executive Marc Levin announced that the organization would now pursue the elimination of other Hawaiian trusts and entitlements. CCBA is motivated by their belief that by the year 2020, minorities will control all of America, and whites will no longer be the controlling class. For this racist group, being a member of a minority group and being oppressed is unfathomable.

Echoing Mr. Levin’s sentiments is former attorney John Goemans, who plans to continue his fight to infiltrate the 50th state with overt racism and white supremacy. Although he is no longer licensed to practice law in Hawaii, Mr. Goemans has publicly stated that he intends to use the Rice victory as ammunition against programs that the Hawaiian people hold dear. Mr. Goemans says he is planning these attacks because “…all government programs, state and federal, for native Hawaiians are race based, presumptively unconstitutional, and up for challenge.”

With that said, it should not come as a surprise that CCBA is aiding Mr. Goemans in his quest to strip our people of what is historically due to us. According to the CCBA’s website (http://www.equalrights.com), it “assisted Goemans with his appeal to the Ninth Circuit Court and filed an amicus brief at the Supreme Court.”

Mr. Goemans, along with others who challenge Hawaiian entitlements, should refer to the U.S. brief filed in the Supreme Court on behalf of OHA and the state that declares that Hawaiians are equal to Native Americans and Native Alaskan peoples. Therefore, any entitlements that Hawaiians enjoy cannot be considered race-based, but rather, political status entitlements as the native people of this land.

The Rice ruling underscores the need to build consensus on the issue of self-determination so that OHA can move forward as an agency that is “quasi- sovereign” rather than an arm of the state. One of the methods by which self-determination can be accomplished for our people is through federal legislation that would afford native Hawaiians the same special status as Native Americans now enjoy. We Hawaiians are at a juncture where we are able to restructure a nation that takes into consideration what is best suited for us. We have progressed insofar as to possess the ability to hold jurisdiction and control over our resources and lands. We do not need the state to decide these things for us.

Our Hawaiian voices need to be heard at the state legislature, and in the U.S. Congress. We must get involved in the legislative process, or risk having this process decided for us. To have others decide for us, strips Hawaiians of autonomy and the ability to decide for ourselves what is best for us.

This ruling should be a wake-up call for not just Hawaiians, but for the entire state. As a state, we need to stomp out any hint of racism. And as a Hawaiian community we need to tell our story and get the message out so that history will not be repeated for our future generations.

OHA Chair issues statement on the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision

By: OHA Chair Rowena M.N. Akana
March 22, 1999

Source: Office of Hawaiian Affairs, Media Release

HONOLULU–As you all are surely aware, the United States Supreme Court has agreed to hear the appeal in the case of Rice vs. Cayetano. This comes as no surprise, however unpleasant. This case has been doggedly appealed to the highest court in the land, which I am hopeful will let stand the previous decisions by District Court Judge David Ezra and 9th Circuit Court of Appeals justices. It is especially worth noting that Senator Daniel K. Akaka has echoed this sentiment in an earlier statement today. As noted by our distinguished senator, The Ninth Circuit correctly determined that the OHA voting restriction “is not primarily racial, but legal and political.” I fully agree with Senator Akaka that the Supreme Court should without hesitation affirm that principle. Additionally, we share the view that this is a political question better left to Congress, the State of Hawai’i, and Native Hawaiians.

If there is a silver lining regarding the Supreme Court’s willingness to take this case to another level, it is that we once and for all will end the incessant challenges by Mr. Rice to the rights of the indigenous people of these lands. I am confident that our Attorney General will represent the interests of the Hawaiian people to the fullest extent. I will do what I can to assist our Attorney General to ensure that we never allow the clock to be turned back to a time when the rights of the minority, indigenous people, were trampled under foot of the majority.

Land and Sovereignty

By: Trustee Rowena Akana
February 3, 1999

No two words have so captured the attention of this archipelago’s residents as “land” and “sovereignty”. Despite developments since the 100-year anniversary of the 1893 illegal overthrow of the Hawaiian Monarchy, as well as the United States’ apology and admission of the illegality of the overthrow, many people do not grasp what either word means or will mean for their future.

The general goal of sovereignty advocates is the transfer of control of Hawaiian Home Lands and ceded lands directly to a native Hawaiian government. Currently, the state and federal government hold in trust about 1.2 million acres of land for the benefit of Hawaiians. Yet, the first people to these lands have seen very few benefits.

Hawaiian Home Lands are scattered tracts comprising about 197,075 acres, which Congress set aside in 1920 for native Hawaiian homesteaders. Ceded lands are the remains of an estimated 1.8 million acres of public, private and crown land illegally annexed by resolution from a provisional government to the United States in 1898.

Hawaiian land, once farmed communally, is now some of the most expensive real estate on Earth. Housing prices, driven up by mainland retirees and foreign speculators, are out of reach for Hawaiians living, working and raising families in the islands.

Hawaiian waters, once kept in ecological balance with humans through a complex kapu system, are now oversold to the highest bidder, or treated as a toilet for raw sewage.

Hawaiian culture, once a living history of genealogy, geography, and spirituality, was nearly obliterated by Calvinist missionaries and is usually obscured with tourist-pleasing luaus.

Today, 70-80,000 people (depending on the source) – of Hawaii’s more than one million residents are full-blooded Hawaiians. One fifth, or about 225,000 people claim some Hawaiian blood. Yet Hawaiians remain the poorest, sickest, least educated, worst housed, and most frequently imprisoned segment of Hawaii’s population.

Since Kamehameha the Great, foreigners have enjoyed some measure of control over Hawaiian land. The concept of land ownership was foreign to Hawaiians. How can you own what belongs to God? The king and his chief provided land grants to the people–some of them outsiders, who chose to grow large tracts of crops to be sold overseas, rather than to be eaten at home.

In 1825, when 12-year-old Kamehameha III ascended to the throne, the Council of Chiefs adopted the western practice of inheritance after the death of a king. However, foreigners, protective of their agricultural interest, sought more secure forms of land tenure. They and their governments applied considerable pressure on the young king.

In 1840, the year he drew up Hawaii’s first constitution, Kamehameha III granted the right to property by declaring that all land belonged to the chiefs and the people, with the king as trustee. In 1848, true ownership of land came to Hawaii, when the king accepted a land apportionment plan, called the Great Mahele, or division.

The Mahele completed the transition from a feudal redistribution land system to a fee simple land ownership system, by dividing the land among the king, government, chiefs and the people. The land was split into three parts: about 1 million acres of crown lands to which the king held title; 1.5 million acres of government lands for public use; and, the remaining 1.5 million of Konohiki lands set aside for individual ownership by the chiefs and the people.

The Mahele was an unmitigated disaster for the maka’ainana, the people of the land, or commoners. While the king intended to make available one-third of Hawaii’s lands to maka’ainana, they received much less than one percent of the total land. The maka’ainana’s land holdings and rights were further diluted in 1850, with the passage of additional legislation which authorized ownership and conveyance of the land, regardless of citizenship.

The stage was set for a massive land grab by Westerners. In the next half century, with a population no larger than 2,000, Westerners took control of most of Hawaii’s land, and manipulated the economy for their own profit.

Many Native Hawaiians pleaded with their last elected monarch, Queen Lili’uokalani, to protect the sovereignty of Hawaii. At the urging of her people, the queen attempted to regain some of the monarchy’s power, which had been lost during the reign of her predecessor and brother, King Kalakaua through the Bayonet Constitution.

Her efforts to change Hawaii’s Constitution and cabinet unnerved a group of the wealthiest American merchants and sugar planters. These men wanted to be part of the United States to avoid high import tariffs. So, backed by a contingent of 162 U.S. Marines, the businessmen imprisoned the queen, and took over the islands, including the acreage that was supposed to be available to the maka’ainana.

Despite Lili’uokalani’s steadfast belief that the United States government would honor its treaties with the Kingdom and reject the provisional government, Hawaii went from a sovereign nation to an American colony in five years. In 1898, under President William McKinley, Hawaii was annexed to the United States constellation, along with Puerto Rico, Guam and the Philippines.

President Grover Cleveland, who had opposed the coup, but failed to reverse it, wrote after leaving office: Hawaii is ours. But as look back upon the first steps in this miserable business, and as I contemplate the means to complete this outrage, I am ashamed of the whole affair.”

Meanwhile, the provisional government sold chunks of crown and Konohiki lands to fellow merchants and planters. When the islands were annexed illegally to the United States, Hawaii’s government acknowledged that this acreage (now 1.8 million acres) belonged to Native Hawaiians, and ceded it with the stipulation that it be held in trust for Native Hawaiians. The federal government summarily lopped off about 20 percent of the land for its own use, mostly for military bases and parks.

By 1920, the plight of the true inhabitants, Native Hawaiians, had become desperate. The population had dropped as much as 96 percent. Some scholars estimate that a one-time population of 1 million Hawaiians in pre-contact Hawaii had plummeted to 40,000.

However, a bill was being prepared that would allow Native Hawaiians to lease a small sliver of their former land. The Hawaiian Homes Commission Act began as a well meaning effort by Prince Jonah Kuhio, the Hawaiian territorial delegate to Congress, who saw urban slums and disease rapidly killing off Hawaiians, and hoped that returning Hawaiians to their aina, their agricultural land, could save them. In 1920, he said: “The Hawaiian race is passing, and if conditions continue to exist as they do today, this splendid race of people, my race, will pass from the face of this earth.”

No sooner did Prince Kuhio float his plan in Congress than it was co-opted by pineapple and sugar planters, who saw it as a way to secure their own uncertain futures. Their leases on 26,000 fertile acres were about to expire, and a general homestead law threatened to transfer their lucrative holdings to other hands.

So the planters struck a deal with territorial politicians: Get rid of general homesteading, allow us to keep our lands, and in exchange, you may allot 200,000 acres of “fourth class” lands to native Hawaiians for homestead. This land was arid, inaccessible, soilpoor, without infrastructure, and otherwise unfit for cultivation. Before long, Hawaiians abandoned agrarianism, and the bulk of homestead awards became simple house lots.
The sugar planters ensured that the Hawaiian Home Lands’ first executive was an ally. Its executive secretary was George Cooke, of Castle & Cooke, one of the Big Five plantation powers. The planters even pushed the 50 percent Hawaiian blood requirement, believing that interracial marriages would dilute the native population to extinction.

After statehood in 1959, responsibility for managing the homestead program was transferred from the federal government to the state Department of Hawaiian Home Lands (DHHL). Because the state failed to appropriate sufficient funding, until recently, the DHHL’s main source of revenue to manage and improve the land was income from general use leases granted non-Hawaiians on land “not immediately needed” for homestead. As a result, DHHL leased more land to non-Hawaiians than to Hawaiians.

For decades, the administration of the Hawaiian Home Lands trust went unquestioned. Subsequent investigations revealed mismanagement of the trust by both the federal and state governments. DHHL estimates that territorial and state governors issued between forty and sixty executive orders, which set aside Hawaiian Home Lands for military use. In 1978, a federal district court ruled that all governors’ executive orders were illegal.

In 1984, Governor Ariyoshi rescinded nearly thirty of these illegal acts, covering 30,000 acres. The Hawaii Attorney General also decreed that the U.S. Navy’s occupation of 1,400 acres of prime homelands near Honolulu was a “fundamental breach of trust”.

Rather than evicting the offending land users, which included state and federal agencies, the DHHL opted for monetary settlements totaling less than $10 million.

As of June 30,1997, only 6,428 homestead leases were awarded statewide, representing a mere 20.5 percent of the total Hawaiian Home Lands property. Meanwhile there are an estimated 29,162 qualified applicants on the Hawaiian Homes waiting list, many of whom have been waiting for forty years or more. Many have died waiting.

In 1959, when the Admissions Act turned responsibility for the remaining 1.5 million acres of ceded lands over to the new State of Hawaii, the federal government “retained” several hundred thousand acres for its national parks and military installations. Today, more than 100 facilities crowd the eight Hawaiian Islands, a land area approximately the size of Rhode Island and Connecticut combined. All the military bases occupy some ceded lands, and at least six occupy Hawaiian Home Lands, without consent or compensation.

Responsibility for these ceded lands rests with the Department of Land and Natural Resources (DLNR). For the state’s first twenty years, DLNR managed ceded lands without scrutiny. Among other abuses, it allowed use of ceded lands by other state departments without compensation. It also executed a slew of summary land swaps.

State and federal laws already mandate that Hawaiians receive priority for water, to support development, traditional agriculture, and gathering rights over subdivisions, hotels and golf courses — promises seemingly forgotten. The state’s Commission on Water Resources has ignored the “Hawaiian Rights” clause of the water code, the clause that guarantees adequate reserves of water for current and foreseeable development of Hawaiian Home Lands.

At the 1978 Constitutional Convention, the state admitted that it was derelict in its duty to provide for the Hawaiian community. The Office of Hawaiian Affairs (OHA) was created to receive 20 percent of all revenue generated by ceded lands for use for the benefit of Hawaiians.

Between 1980 and 1990, instead of 20 percent, OHA only received about $12.5 million in such proceeds. In 1993, OHA received $129 million from the state in settlement of those claims, including interest for back payment of monies owed by the state from 1980 – 1990, during the Waihee Administration.

In 1994, OHA initiated litigation to require the state to pay OHA past due amounts owed to Hawaiians that were not included in the $129 million settlement. In October 1996, Judge Heely granted OHA’s motion for partial summary judgment. The State filed an appeal. In December 1998, the Hawaii Supreme Court directed the parties to try to resolve the matter expeditiously. Negotiations continue.

As indigenous and first people to these islands, Hawaiians have essentially been under siege since foreign contact. In November 1993, President Clinton signed a Joint Resolution, which recognized the illegal procedure by which Hawaii was annexed to the United States, and apologized to Native Hawaiians on Behalf of the United States for the Overthrow of the Kingdom of Hawaii. This legal recognition has offered Hawaiians a unique opportunity to lead a renewed battle for the resurrection of the powerful principle of sovereignty. Sovereignty is not a foreign concept to Hawaiians, to Native Americans, or to states in general.

To the great nineteenth century orator, Stephen Douglas, states incorporated legally into the Union were co-equal and sovereign unto themselves. In his celebrated debates with Lincoln (echoing the Declaration of Independence, which states that “these United States are, and of right ought to be Free and Independent States”), Douglas said:

“THIS GOVERNMENT WAS MADE UPON THE GREAT BASIS OF THE SOVEREIGNTY OF THE STATES, THE RIGHT OF EACH STATE TO REGULATE ITS OWN DOMESTIC INSTITUTIONS TO SUIT ITSELF, AND THAT RIGHT WAS CONFERRED WITH THE UNDERSTANDING AND EXPECTATION THAT INASMUCH AS EACH LOCALITY HAD SEPARATE INTERESTS, EACH LOCALITY MUST HAVE DIFFERENT AND DISTINCT LOCAL DOMESTIC INSTITUTIONS, CORRESPONDING TO ITS WANTS AND INTERESTS.”

Native governments have formed under the federal government through the Department of the Interior. There are hundreds of recognized nations within the territorial United States, in which the United States is but one. The others consist of American Indians. If it is OK for American Indians to form sovereign nations, why not Hawaiians? Failure to do so would, in fact, be discrimination against Hawaiians.

As indigenous people, Hawaiians are seeking recognition from the federal government of their right to sovereignty and self determination. Hawaiians have no desire to be dependent on the state or federal government. If Hawaiians had control of their lands, they could take care of their own people. They would not be a drain on the economy. There would be no homeless Hawaiians.

Fundamental to any sovereignty concept is control over land. Hawaiians have never prospered on land held on their behalf, but outside their reach. Lands at issue consist of the 1.2 million acres currently under the control of the state and federal government, as well as lands set aside as Hawaiian Home Lands. Hawaiians are not talking about privately owned land.

Entitlements

By: Trustee Rowena Akana
December 11, 1998

In his inaugural speech on December 7th, Governor Cayetano made a pledge to the Hawaiian community, “…And I pledge here and now that I will leave no stone unturned in settling the state’s differences with OHA over ceded lands. Before the end of my term we will reach a settlement which is fair and just to all, Hawaiian and non-Hawaiian.”

In the short time that I have been the Chairman of the Board of Trustees, I’ve made it clear that one of my priorities is to seek what is fair for our people. We’ve waited much too long for the State and Federal governments to lend credibility to their words. I am hopeful that the governor’s words are not empty words to be added to the pile of rhetoric dating back to the annexation in 1898, when 1.8 million acres of government and crown lands were taken. A Joint Resolution of Annexation provided that money from the ceded lands would be used solely for the benefit of the inhabitants of the Hawaiian Islands. Since that time we have waited for them to make these words credible. Hawaiians can no longer afford to wait for the governments to keep their words. It should be clear to everyone by now that unless we make things happen, waiting cannot be one of our options.

The Organic Act which established Hawaii as a U.S. Territory, also provided that ceded lands would be used for the benefit of the inhabitants of the Hawaiian Islands.

As we work toward achieving fairness from the State in negotiations on the Heely rulings, we must be equal partners in these negotiations.

Some suggest that compromise is the key. I whole-heartedly agree. OHA and its beneficiaries have compromised. That’s why we receive only 20 percent of proprietary revenues instead of 100 percent. That’s why the state forced Act 329 upon the Hawaiians. An Act which capped OHA’s revenue at $15 million for two years, while the state worked out its fiscal problems. The cap expires on June 30, 1999. The State is not any closer to any real negotiating numbers than they were two years ago. How serious do you suppose they are in negotiating a settlement with OHA? Some public comments made by the Governor are troubling. He said he was very comfortable with the $15 million cap. Also troubling is the fact that Calvin Say, (the new speaker of the house) had decided not to name a Hawaiian Affairs Committee because, he said it wasn’t important enough! The biggest issue facing the legislature is the ceded land claims! Calvin Say has put Hawaiian Affairs in the hands of the Judiciary Chair (Ed Case, Rep. Manoa). This is the committee that will hear Hawaiian bills and have the ability to change the laws of the land. They want to make sure that they create a bill that will statutorily stand up to muster. So in one fell swoop, they can destroy OHA and the 20% revenue share of cash entitlements. This maneuver is so blatant that the house leadership is confident that they can wipe us out.

I am happy to see that the Governor is publicly moving his position from not being able to afford what OHA is claiming to be its rightful share of revenues from ceded lands to a position of settling our differences.

In advocating for Hawaiian ceded lands and entitlements, OHA must put its best team together to represent us. People who are akamai and experienced. Recently, the Board of Trustees approved a team consisting of myself and Trustees Clayton Hee and Mililani Trask as primary team members.

We trustees must have you alongside us as we journey to our eventual and rightful end: Justice. From now on, it will take all Hawaiians to stave off the attack.

Privatization: Good Deal or Sellout?

By: Trustee Rowena Akana
March 6, 1998

Another Opportunity for the People…. To Lose!!

Governor Ben Cayetano is calling for privatization of the State Historic Preservation Division. His suggestion calls for the firing of Historic Preservation Division staff, and reassigning their work to archaeologists who would be hired by developers to review their work. What a sweetheart deal this is…for the developers and consultants. It will save the State money primarily because the State is removing itself from most of the process, but it sells out their responsibility to monitor and prevent actions that are culturally and environmentally insensitive. These suggestions to “pass the buck” by the Governor, Legislators, and Joe Souki have once again placed the general public and the Hawaiian people in the loser column.

Allowing developers to hire their own hand-picked archeologists is tantamount to saying that all developers are not only honest and honorable, but culturally sensitive to the historic importance of our Aina. Does H-3 ring any alarm bells for you? We have a history of developers trying to brush aside any considerations for the history and culture of these islands.

“Letting developers hire archaeologists to review their projects is like ‘letting the Mafia police the Mafia,'” said Patrick Kirch of the University of California, Berkeley, in a recent Honolulu Advertiser article. Giving this kind of power to developers could lead to abuses that would allow high rise condos and shopping centers to be built on sacred refuges or burial grounds which are so important to Hawaii’s history. This form of privatization has some serious drawbacks, but the greatest concern is that it will diminish the quality of historic preservation work in Hawaii and allow greater destruction of Hawaiian sites and burials for the sake of development. The opportunity for the developer to skew the review in their favor is great since he is the employer of both the consultant doing the study, and the consultant reviewing it for adequacy.

The State has previously shown its tendency to avoid its statutory responsibilities in the handling of the burials program within the Department of Land and Natural Resources (DLNR). For the past two years OHA has funded two positions, including all the fringe benefits, for the burials program although the statutes mandate positions for this program, and the Legislature provides funding for it. Why is OHA funding positions for which the State has responsibility? Perhaps it’s another form of privatizing. Again, the State is passing the buck. There have been attempts to permanently move this program to OHA, but by doing so the program would lose its purpose because OHA has no enforcement powers. Moving this program to OHA would be detrimental to its existence unless the Governor and Legislature work to grant OHA enforcement powers, as required by statute.

In November 1997, I criticized the effort by the Governor and DLNR to privatize small boat harbors. In the article, I pointed out that WestRec Marinas lobbied the Governor and Michael Wilson, hoping to get a consulting agreement with DLNR to manage small boat harbors for the State. My concern then was for the people. What would happen to the local fishermen and the submerged lands in the harbor when boat harbors became privatized?

My concern is still that of the people of this state, and of the Aina. Whether the Governor privatizes the State Historic Preservation Division or the management of small boat harbors more public input is needed before being seriously considered.

Over the last two years I have watched what appears to be a very sinister move on the part of the administration and certain legislators to create commissions and divisions of the State government to divide and parcel out sections of ceded land so as to remove them from the main corpus of ceded lands. We only have to look at the bills being introduced into the Legislature to see this. Upon statehood in 1959, the State Constitution named two beneficiaries of Hawaiian lands: the Native Hawaiians and the general public. Therefore, it is my view that the general public should be as concerned as the Hawaiian people are that the State government does not breach its fiduciary responsibility as trustees to the public land trust. In the 1998 general elections we must tell these legislators that they can no longer mismanage our tax dollars and then cover their tracks with the use of ceded land.

Makua: Target State Not Military

By: Trustee Rowena Akana

Source: Kai Wai Ola o OHA, August 1997

Last month, the U.S. Marines had planned an amphibious landing at Makua Beach. The five-day exercise was to begin with an amphibious assault on the beach, followed by live-fire training in the valley. The community was outraged, and rightly so. The Wai’anae Coast Neighborhood Board, Hui Malama o Makua, Pastor Kaleo Patterson (organizer of the demonstrations leading up to the day of the scheduled landing) and the Hawai’i Ecumenical Coalition rose to protest the intrusion of the military onto sacred land at Makua. The protest caused Governor Cayetano to meet with Admiral Prueher (commander-in-chief, Pacific Command), and a meeting with representatives of the community ensued. The military changed its plans and landed at Bellows Air Force Station instead. While Frenchy DeSoto proclaimed this a major victory, this was anything but a victory. All it did was postpone the inevitable.

The military has not ruled out future training activities in the area which is held sacred by Hawaiians. Using live ammunition, and firing into a beautiful sacred valley in the middle of thriving communities is insane. Would the military try this in other states for 65 years? Let’s see if other communities in America will allow them to do this.

The people of Hawai’i must become more involved in what our state officials are doing on our behalf.

One could argue all day about being ready for war, but let’s be realistic. If there is a third world war, no one would be fighting in hand-to-hand combat. The fight would be a nuclear one and none of us would have to worry about Makua Valley, or anywhere else.

In 1964, the state leased Makua to the Army for $1 for 65 years until the year 2029. The lease allows the military to use the beach for maneuvers, but in doing so, it infringes on the community’s public access rights.

During 1ast year’s legislative session, the governor and the legislature decried the poor condition of state finances and how departments and programs would have to tighten down to run more efficiently with less money. But while they are selling the sob story of “no money,” they, at the same time, give away prime lands at $1 for 65 years, denying us -the constituency and beneficiaries – our fair share of revenues: 20 percent – OHA beneficiaries; 80 percent – general public beneficiaries. This debacle allows potentially millions of state dollars to be lost.

The protest at Makua raises questions, not only about access, but about state accountability in meeting its responsibilities to the public trust.

* Shouldn’t there be a review of state land leases? Because of the state’s rationale for low lease rent, an impartial third party should do the review.

* For how much of our valuable ceded lands are we not receiving proper compensation? When potential revenue is allowed to slip away, we get short-changed in education, human services, health and other benefits.

* Why weren’t access requirements considered in the lease of Makua? The state must let the military know that it cannot lease valuable land for bombings, live ammunition firing and training. Although the governor met with Admiral Prueher to change the landing site, this wasn’t resolved when the lease was given in 1964. The target of protest should be the administration, not necessarily the military, because the state can revoke the lease at any time.

* The state doesn’t own lands; it is the trustee for these lands. Shouldn’t it be more accountable for their management of these lands?

It’s time we (the public) demand that the state take its responsibilities seriously as trustee of our public trust. We have allowed them to mismanage our lands for too long! Should we be considering hiring private counsel to investigate the state for their mismanagement of our public land trust?

We Still Don’t Need the Whale Sanctuary

By: OHA Trustee Rowena Akana

June 16, 1997

Governor Cayetano’s recent decision to enter into an agreement with the federal government permitting the creation of the federal Hawaiian Islands Humpback Whale Sanctuary was a big disappointment. This past May, the Board of Trustees of the Office of Hawaiian Affairs voted unanimously to oppose the sanctuary. We shared the doubts that prompted Mayor Linda Lingle and other leaders to urge Governor Cayetano to veto the plan, and we also had reasons of our own.

Our Board has a duty to protect the public trust’s resources derived from public lands, including the submerged lands, the water surface, the water column, the seabed and all flora, fauna and minerals they contain. The legislation then before the governor, and in its present state, guaranteed us no protection with respect to the federal government’s use and control of these resources. As fiduciaries, we could not assume that the federal government would always exercise its authority over the sanctuary are in a manner consistent with the best interests of the Hawaiian trust. The Governor knew this, but unfortunately paid no attention to local concerns. Now OHA is saddled with “co-stewardship,” as the federal government’s Environmental Impact Statement calls its shared dominion over the submerged ceded lands comprising the sanctuary. OHA, of course, had enough problems dealing with one “steward,” let alone two.

My own opposition to the sanctuary goes beyond issues involving ceded lands, sovereignty and Hawaiian rights. I’m concerned with the potential for destruction. Like many modern scientists, the Hawaiians of the pre-contact ahupua’a knew that interference with nature’s delicate balance could wreck havoc with the environment. So traditionally they managed the entire eco-system rather than a single species. The wisdom of their ancient practices has been conf1rmed again and again. Recently, for example, I spoke to Colin Kippen, a Native Hawaiian judge for the Squamash Tribe in Oregon, about what happens when a single species reproduces to dominate its environment. Judge Kippen has listened to tribe members complain of the damage caused by an over-population of whales in sanctuary waters. He has seen where whale fecal matter has contaminated and destroyed clam beds and other sources of revenue Pacific Northwest fishermen, including Native Americans, used to depend on. The animals are so crowded that, tragically, they are beaching themselves in desperation.

In a press release, Governor Cayetano defended his decision to bring this disastrous situation to Hawaiian waters by, among other modifications, claiming to limit the sanctuary’s boundaries to half of what was originally proposed. Just how the limits will work is unclear given legal protections in place already. As an endangered species, the humpback whale cannot be approached within 300 feet in its habitat. Existing law does not confine that habitat to the 600 miles designated by Cayetano. Rather, the habitat moves with each whale which therefore enjoys a de facto floating sanctuary with or without the recently signed agreement between the state and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. To date, there have been no complaints that either boaters or fishermen have violated this space.

Why then was this unnecessary State-Federal partnership forced on us? The only justification seems to be the $800,000 to one million dollars for research and study projects. The Governor claims this chump change will, somehow, provide the State with an economic boost!

The Governor made the wrong call on the sanctuary by listening to the wrong people-green nazis, out-of-state marine biologists and animal rights extremist–rather than the Hawaiians who have worked, protected and loved these waters for generations. We need to remember this disregard for public opinion and to look for a change in 1998.

Privatization of Small Boat Harbors…Citizens Beware

By: Trustee Rowena Akana, 1997

Source: Ka Wai Ola O OHA

During the 1997 legislative session, HB 1547 HD2 SD1 CD1, signed by the governor as Act 106, created a task force in the Department of Land and Natural Resources (DLNR) to evaluate the feasibility of and to make recommendations on a community-based management pilot program for one or more small boat harbors. This bill originally established a three-year pilot program to convert one such harbor into an independent, privately managed marina in accord with an operating agreement with DLNR. Public reaction caused legislators to rewrite the bill into a vehicle which reviews the prudence of community-based management of small boat harbors. Were they trying to slip one by us?

The state’s small boat harbors are important assets constructed, maintained, and operated for the purposes of recreation, landing of fish and inter-island commerce. As centers of economic activity, they produce revenue. Currently, they are regulated by DLNR, and are subject to many rules. The original HB 1547 would have allowed an exemption to the rules.

Hoping for a consulting agreement with DLNR to manage small boat harbors, WestRec Marinas, a California marina management firm, lobbied the governor and Michael Wilson to effect legislation which would privatize small boat harbors. Fortunately, WestRec is subject to Chapters 76-77. This setback is probably temporary as the legislature is known to have made exceptions to civil service laws in the past, and may do so again if pursued by interested parties.

Makes me wonder what the real story is behind Act 160 and WestRec Marinas. This firm has been under scrutiny in California, and has defaulted on a $2.5 million mortgage in south Florida, two marinas in Washington and another in Maryland. I would question its credibility.

In Hawaii Fishing News, Rick Gaffney’s article, “Every User A Loser For Sale: Hawaii’s Small Boat Harbors,” points to the governor’s enthusiasm for privatization of small boat harbors and whether his enthusiasm is fueled by companies like WestRec. Money may be the bottom line in privatization, but the governor, Mike Wilson and the legislature need to be concerned about the taxpayers who use these facilities. The real question is what happens to local boaters and fishermen when small boat harbors are privatized? Will they be able to fish off the banks of the harbor?

Rick Gaffney asks, “Do you think akule fishing would be allowed in a privatized small-boat harbor? No Way!” I hope the governor, department heads and legislators will provide solid answers to many questions that have been unanswered or not asked. And what of the submerged lands in the harbors? Will the state look out for Hawaiian interest? If privatization occurs, then management controls everything.