Congratulations to all of the candidates who were elected to office in 2016. Campaigning is a grueling process but the real work is about to begin. I look forward to working with all of you in the 2017 Legislative Session to better the conditions of Native Hawaiians.
The Constitution of the Native Hawaiian Nation
On February 26, 2016, the majority of the Na‘i Aupuni ‘aha participants voted to adopt The Constitution of the Native Hawaiian Nation. As one of 154 individuals that participated in the ‘aha, it is very difficult to put into words what an awesome experience this was for me. Not only was this an important historical turning point in our history, but it was moving to see people who were often on opposite sides of an issue come together for the good of the whole and finally draft the governing documents needed to restore our nation.
Forced Land Sales Bills
During the 2016 legislative session, Kamehameha Schools led the charge against legislation that would have forced Hawai‘i’s landowners to sell leasehold lands to their lessees. If HB 1635 or HB 2173 had become law, private land developers could have moved in to condemn and redevelop historical lands that were passed down from generation to generation of Hawaiians.
Thankfully, on February 8th, KS announced that the House cancelled the hearing for HB 1635 and HB 2173, which effectively killed the bills. However, 2017 brings a new legislative session with new legislators who are unfamiliar with the issue. Let us all be makaꞌala (watchful).
Wishing our dear Princess a very happy 90th birthday
It was with great admiration and respect that I dedicated this column to honoring Her Royal Highness Princess Abigail Kinoiki Kekaulike Kawananakoa who celebrated her 90th birthday on April 26th. Age has not slowed her efforts to help the Hawaiian people and to preserve and protect in perpetuity the legacy passed down to the present generation.
“One Voice, One Message”
On August 24th, the BAE Committee and OHA’s CEO proposed a new policy called “One Voice, One Message,” which required that all external communications be submitted to the CEO for review and approval prior to execution or engagement.
If this policy were to be approved, Trustees will no longer be able to publically voice their opposition to any board decision without facing severe sanctions for speaking out against the majority. Thankfully, the proposal was deferred due to concerns about it being unconstitutional. I will continue to strongly oppose this undemocratic policy if it returns to the board table.
The U.S. Department of the Interior announces a pathway to nationhood
On September 23, 2016, the U.S. Department of the Interior (DOI) announced a “final rule to create a pathway for reestablishing a formal government-to-government relationship with the Native Hawaiian community.” It is now time for all of us to work together for the cause of recognition. While the board has NOT voted to accept the rules as written, 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.
May each of you have a joyful and merry Christmas surrounded by family and friends. Stay safe out there. Aloha Ke Akua.