December 2014 Ka Wai Ola Column
`Ano`ai kakou… Let me begin by expressing my warmest Mahalo to all those who supported me in the General Election. Your kokua has allowed me to return to OHA to serve you for another four-year term. A very special Mahalo nui to Ke Akua for his divine guidance and love that he has bestowed upon me and my family.
I would like to offer my warmest Aloha to Trustee Oswald Stender who is retiring from OHA after 14-years of service to our beneficiaries. I would also like to congratulate newly elected OHA Trustee Lei Ahu Isa and welcome her to the Board of Trustees. I look forward to working with her to fulfill OHA’s mission to better the conditions of Native Hawaiians.
Campaigning can be a grueling process, but now the real work shall begin. The time has come for all us to come together in spirit and put some meaningful effort into re-establishing the political relationship between Native Hawaiians and the Federal government to re-organize our Native Hawaiian Governing Entity. Once done, we will be able to protect all of our Hawaiian trust assets from the constant threat of lawsuits. This is why I have always supported state and federal recognition.
As I traveled around the state, I spoke to many people who were confused about the process towards nationhood. I can only conclude that OHA has not done enough to educate the public. This situation has to change. Trustees are going to have to speak up about the many positive results that Hawaiian Nationhood would bring for both Hawaiians and non-Hawaiians. I assure all of you that, after listening to your mana’o, I will do everything that is humanly possible to address your concerns.
What is also needed is your participation. You must challenge EACH Trustee to be accountable to you. It is unfortunate that you cannot assume that Trustees will do this on their own. Like any organization, from time to time, especially when one faction has been in power for too long like it has been at OHA, “the people” need to become actively involved. Otherwise we will risk having to deal with complacency and the abuse of power.
What we face today as Hawaiians is no different than what has occurred over the past 100 years. We are still fighting off assaults on our culture, the deterioration of our rights to our lands, and attacks from racist organizations.
Let us begin to work together for the cause of recognition. Let us begin to agree on the things that we can agree to and set aside the things we differ on and move forward together for the future generations of Hawaiians yet to come.
As we close out the year of 2014, I would like to wish each of you a very safe and happy holiday season, and may the Lord in his grace bless each of you and your families and take you safely into 2015. Have a Merry Christmas and a very Happy New Year!