March 2011 KA WAI OLA COLUMN
Native Hawaiians seek clarification on who are the indigenous people of these lands.
`Ano`ai kakou… I would like to thank OHA’s Beneficiary Advocacy and Empowerment Committee Chair, Trustee John Waihe’e, for appointing me as one of two “Legislative Liaisons” for the 2011 session. My primary duty is to gather information regarding legislative activities and other matters that may impact OHA and the Hawaiian Community. I look forward to putting my many years of lobbying experience and strong relationships with legislators to good use.
Two of the most important issues that I am working on are (1) Establishing state recognition for Native Hawaiians; and (2) Resolving the past due ceded land payments from the state.
The state legislature has supported the reorganization of a Native Hawaiian governing entity in the 2000 and 2001
sessions by adopting two resolutions. The state has also recognized the likelihood of a reorganized Native Hawaiian governing entity by providing for the transfer of the island of Kahoolawe and its waters to the sovereign Native Hawaiian entity upon its
recognition by the United States and the State of Hawaii (HRS, § 6K-9).
Senate Bill 1 (SB1), introduced by Senator Malama Solomon, suggests that one way for Hawaiians to succeed is to establish Native Corporations similar to those created for Native Alaskans. SB1520, introduced by Senator Clayton Hee, establishes procedures for state recognition of a first nation government similar to what is described in the Akaka bill, but at the state level.
OHA supports the intent of these efforts and we have offered our suggested amendments to both Senators for consideration. I urge all those who support this effort to also submit their comments and suggestions to both Senator Hee and Solomon’s offices. I also ask that everyone who is able to attend the Senate committee hearings on both bills appear in person to testify or at the very least submit written testimony to share their mana’o.
PAST DUE CEDED LANDS SETTLEMENT
SB 984, part of the OHA Package of bills, seeks to have the State resolve its long overdue debt to OHA resulting from public land trust revenues unpaid from 11/7/1978 to 7/1/2010.
If enacted, SB 984 will establish the debt at $200 million minimally and provide for annual payments of at least $30 million
beginning July 1, 2015 until the debt is paid. SB 984 would also require the State to pay interest to OHA beginning July 1, 2010.
Instead of cash payments, the state executive branch could also substitute land (having the fair market value of the cash for
which the land is being substituted) for all or any part of the cash payments. The transfer of land could start as soon as July
1, 2011 with OHA’s approval.
Senator Hee’s 2009 legislation, SB995, would have given OHA the right to choose from the following properties, among several
(1) Kaka’ako Makai;
(2) Kahana Valley and Beach Park;
(3) La Mariana and Pier 60;
(4) Heeia meadowlands;
(5) Mauna Kea: Mauna Kea Scientific Reserve;
(6) Waikiki Yacht Club;
(7) Ala Wai Boat Harbor Complex; and
(8) Kalaeloa Makai.
Even a few of these properties could generate all of the revenue OHA needs to operate indefinitely and would give our future
nation the concrete assets it needs to serve the Hawaiian population.
Aloha Ke Akua.