Governors’ Interstate Indian Council (GIIC), Board of Directors
The Governors’ Interstate Indian Council (GIIC) is an organization created in 1949 with a membership of delegates from states in which substantial American Indian populations reside and is designed to promote cooperation and positive state – tribal relations. The GIIC has served as the national forum for delegates appointed by the Governors of individual states and who represent state Indian affairs agencies and organizations that convene for the purpose of information law exchange on issues relative to positive government-to-government relations. The GIIC’s mission is to improve and promote cooperation between states and tribal governments and to protect the political and economic self-determination of Native peoples.
Pacific Representative for the American Indian Alaska Native Tourism Association (AIANTA)
On February 12, 2013, the Board of Directors for the American Indian Alaska Native Tourism Association (AIANTA) approved my nomination as one of two Pacific Representatives. This is a great opportunity for all Native Hawaiians to network with American Indians and Alaska Natives to develop and implement programs that will help our communities build for the future while sustaining and strengthening our cultural legacy.
AIANTA is a 501 (c)(3) nonprofit association of Native communities and businesses that were organized in 1999 to advance tourism in territories under the controlled of Native peoples. The association is made up of member tribes from six regions: Eastern, Plains, Midwest, Southwest, Pacific and Alaska.
AIANTA’s Mission is to define, introduce, grow and sustain American Indian and Alaska Native tourism that honors and sustains tribal traditions and values. AIANTA serves as voice and resource for its constituents in advancing tourism, assist tribes in creating infrastructure and capacity, provide technical assistance, training and educational resources to tribes, tribal organizations and tribal members. AIANTA also serves as the liaison between Indian Country and governmental and private entities for the development, growth, and sustenance of Indian Country tourism.
Quality Homes of the Pacific
$500,000 project sponsored by OHA Trustee Rowena Akana . Pre-fab manufacturing plant, manufacturing steel constructed homes for under $60,000 per unit.
Hawaiian Registry Program
Data base program sponsored by Trustee Akana designed to register people of Hawaiian Ancestry.
Annual Commitment to Scholarships
$350,000 program created to help the Gap-Group. Project sponsored initially by Trustees Akana & Keale.
Native Hawaiian Revolving Loan Fund
Program created to help Hawaiian businesses by loaning them money for start-up or to improve their businesses. This program is funded by the Federal government and OHA with a dollar for dollar match. Sponsored by Trustees Hao, Keale and Akana.
Aha Opio Program
Leadership program for high school youth teaching them the importance of the government process. For one week these students are housed by OHA and they meet in the State capitol Senate and House chambers and learn how to be legislators by writing and passing legislative measures. Sponsored by Trustees Keale, continued by Trustee Akana.
Educational program for Native Hawaiian Kupuna (senior citizens). The Kupuna teach their skills, share their culture with other seniors as well as the general community. Program sponsored by Trustee Keale and continued by Trustee Akana.
$7 Million committed to this project for people who had land and could not afford general contractors. This project allowed the land owner to build his own house. Program sponsored by Trustees Hao and Akana.
Ke Kula Ni’ihau O Kekaha School (Kauai)
Hawaiian language school. English speaking children learn to speak Hawaiian. All curriculum taught in Hawaiian. Program sponsored by Trustees Hee, Aiona, Keale and Akana.
Kikala Keokea Subdivision (Big Island)
OHA supports with funding putting in infrastructure for Hawaiians who have been displaced by a lava flow. Sponsored by Trustees Trask and Akana.
Molokai Community Center
One stop center for Hawaiians. Center provides services to the Hawaiian community by housing OHA, Dept. of Hawaiian Homelands, Alu Like and others.
Sponsored by Trustees Hee, Aiona and Akana.
Masters Program in Hawaiian Language, Univertiy of Hawaii-Hilo
OHA funds this program by paying for the instruction of these classes to guarantee that there will be graduates who will elect to go beyond the under graduate degree in their education. Sponsored by Trustees Hee, Keale and Akana.
Hawaiian Immersion Schools
OHA pays the Department of Education to teach Hawaiian language in the Public School system making it possible for ALL students to learn Hawaiian.
Sponsored by Trustees Kealoha and supported by the Board of Trustees.
Hawaiian Homestead Loans
$20 million program funded people on Hawaiian homestead lands with funds to repair their homes, as well as, provided cash to those recipients who were awarded homelots but had no cash for their down payments. Sponsored by Trustees Hee, Aiona, Keale and Akana.
Kupuna Health Program
This program identifies the elderly who do not have health care and links them up to existing programs. The program also collects data so that a recommendation can be made to the Board of Trustees as to where OHA may concentrate on funding any gaps in existing programs so that our elderly will be fully covered. Sponsored by Trustee Akana. Also sponsored a granted a total of $300,000 to Lunalilo Homes to off-set to high costs of care for elderly patients.
Nawahiokalani’opu’u Sschool (Hilo)
OHA purchased this school for $1.4 Million. This school teaches academics only in Hawaiian from first to 12th grade. Sponsored by Trustees Hee, Aiona, Keale and Akana.
Habitat for Humanity
Housing project that allows beneficiaries to build their own homes. Sponsored by Trustees Keale, Hao, Hee and Akana.
First State Sovereignty Chair
Niu Valley Fee Simple Committee Chair
Instrumental in giving Niu Valley Homeowners the opportunity to buy their land in fee simple. Five members including myself, Alfred Wong, attorney, and Momi Cazimero. Responsible for converting Niu Valley from leasehold to fee simple: First community in Hawaii to successfully do this. Other members of the task force were Attorney Alfred Wong and Momi Cazimero with the legal assistance of Dennis O’Connor.
Federal Grant Reviewer
Fannie Mae Home Loan Program
Instrumental in forming the Fannie-Mae Partnership with OHA, Bank of Hawaii and First Hawaiian Bank to provide home loans for ALL Hawaiians. (First program like this ever for OHA). $135 Million committed to OHA for home loans for ALL Hawaiians.
Past President of the Culture and the Arts Program — Bishop Museum.
As President for two years of FAA Womens’ Club, started first State Aerospace education in Hawaii for high school student with aviation training in all aspects of aviation.
The Kennedy Center’s Millennium Stage – Hawaii’s Musical History
Special program sponsored by Rowena Akana, Smithsonian Institute, Kennedy Center and the Fannie Mae Foundation. Theme — Hawaii’s Musical History — Hawaii’s Contribution to American music. This program was put together by Rowena to help educate the Washington D.C. Community on native Hawaiian music.
More about the Millennium Stage
To Steal a Kingdom
Michael Dougherty, author of To Steal A Kingdom, has written a book that has become required reading for anyone who is serious about understanding the historical basis of today’s Hawaiian sovereignty movement. Curious readers wondering why Hawaiians are so angry with the government of the United States can find answers in To Steal A Kingdom. Rowena Akana has written a forward to this book. Read Rowena Akana’s Forward
Property Tax Exemptions for Kuleana Lands
Trustee Akana established a state-wide property tax exemption for Native Hawaiians living on Kuleana lands who are descendants of the original owners. The lands awarded to native tenants as a result of the land Mahele (division) enacted by King Kamehameha III in 1848 became known as “Kuleana” lands. Hawaiian families who had been caring for their Kuleana lands for generations were suddenly faced with sky-rocketing property taxes after luxury resorts and shopping malls sprang up around them. Trustee Akana recognized their plight and started a campaign to save them. Starting with the City and County of Honolulu in 2007, Trustee Akana was able to establish tax exemptions for Kuleana lands in the Counties of Kauai and Hawaii in 2008 and Maui in 2009. Thanks to Trustee Akana’s efforts, the heavy tax burdens placed on Native Hawaiian Kuleana land owners were finally brought to an end after one hundred and sixteen years.
- Provided grants to Hawaiian Focused Public Charter Schools: $4.4 million ($2.2 million/year for 2 years), plus 11 small grants of $24,999 each to support academic programs in Hawaiian Focused Public Charter Schools
- Provided grant to Ke Kula Niihau O Kekaha public charter school: $50,000 for emergency renovations
- Provided grant to Na Pua Noeau: FY04-05 $581,948 ($290,974 from State Legislature) for program for gifted and talented Native Hawaiian children, reaching 600 children in six islands; plus FY05-06 grant of $707,208 total, with $353,604 coming from State Legislature
- Provided grant of $300,00 over two years ($150,00 per year) to College Connections Hawaii for college preparation for 500 Native Hawaiian public school students
- Provided grant for OHA Olomana Program at DOE’s Olomana School at the Hawaii Youth Correctional Facility to bring in kupuna to teach incarcerated youth Hawaiian culture and values: FY04-05: 6/1/04-5/31/05 = $38,189, grant contracted and monitored; Action Item 6/28/05 = $100,000 ($50,000/year for 2 years)
- Continued to work with DOE to provide up to $500,000 per year to support Kula Kaiapuni, the DOE’s Hawaiian Language Immersion Program
- Provided college scholarships to 91 Native Hawaiian students for a total of $125,000 in FY04-05; Higher Ed Scholarship program also has granted funds to Native Hawaiian students in calendar year 2005: as of 12/01/05 = $90,000 for 45 regular college students plus $3,470 tuition only payments for 10 Niihau students at Kauai CC
- Provided grant of $305,000 to support the development and implementation of Hawaiian Studies courses and ceded lands research training at the UH Center for Hawaiian Studies at the University of Hawaii at Manoa. Five-year grant totaling $1,525,000.
- Provided grants to Olomana, Keaukaha Elementary, and Nanakuli High and Intermediate schools to fund programs that focus on computers, and literacy and math tutoring; grants total $161,000; plus grants to Hilo High, Hana High and Anuenue School for tutorial, music and sports programs
- Provided grant of $50,000 to UH Kuaana Native Hawaiian Student Development Services to train UH students to become literacy tutors and mentors to Hawaiian elementary students at Maemae Elementary School
- Provided funding of $24,999 to Kula No Na Poe Hawaii, an organization that provides educational activities for the Papakolea, Kewalo and Kalawahine Hawaiian Homestead communities
- Provided funding of $49,737 to Kauai Community College’s project Ka Hale Pono, which offers after-school tutoring, health education classes and life skills training to the Anahola Hawaiian Homestead community
- Provided operating funds of $91,700 for Akaula School, a small, private intermediate school on Molokai that serves a predominately Native Hawaiian student population
- Provided grant of $40,825 for the purchase of a van to assist with transportation for students at Kua O Ka La Public Charter School
- Contracted with UH-Hilo’s Na Pua Noeau program to redesign the current Aha Opio program into a multi-year, multi-event, multi-faceted youth leadership initiative
- Provided funds of $10,323 for classroom furniture and equipment to Kula Aupuni Niihau A Kahelelani Public Charter School, which serves Native Hawaiian students of Niihau families living on the island of Kauai
- Provided funding of $24,986 for Hawaiian language family days at Heeia Fishpond
- Provided funding to Waianae Coast Early Childhood Services to offer scholarships for Native Hawaiian keiki ages three to four to attend their Waianae Coast preschool and upgrade their facilities to meet federal requirements for a total of $62,490
- Provided funding of $49,500 to Pacific American Foundation for development, production and teacher training of “Kahea Loko,” a Native Hawaiian fishpond cultural practices curriculum
- Provided $500,000 in vocational education scholarships to Native Hawaiian students in trade training with the Building Industry Association ($125,000), Waianae Maritime Academy ($125,000), and Hawaii Technology Institute computer program ($250,000)
- Provided funds for two awards and the presentation banquet at the Native Hawaiian Education Association’s annual convention, scholarships for low-income Native Hawaiians to attend, and excellence in teaching awards
- Provided grant of $3,525 for six Native Hawaiians to enroll in an Asthma Educator-Certification preparatory class
- Provided funding for the University of Hawaii’s doctoral degree program in Hawaiian Studies
- Provided grant to Habitat for Humanity: $1.5 million ($300,000/year for 5 years) to provide mortgage funding for 75 families
- Monitored OHA Fannie Mae Program with First Hawaiian Bank and Bank of Hawaii, which provides mortgage loans up to 103% of purchase price to cover down payments and minimize closing costs. This remains as an option for Native Hawaiians that need this type of housing assistance. A total of 27 loans have been made under this program (since 2002).
- Provided two grants to Papa Ola Lokahi to (1) organize the traditional healers to discuss recordation of traditional information and certification of new healers ($25,000), and (2) gather traditional healers at Lapakahi, the historical site where Hawaiian healers throughout the islands gathered during Makahiki ($25,000).
- Provided grant in the amount of $16,000 to Native Hawaiian Workgroup of the Hawaii Uninsured Project to (1) examine the Native Hawaiian Uninsured population, and (2) update 1999 actuary study An Assessment: The Native Hawaiian Health Plan.
- Provided grant to American Lung Association of Hawaii for promotion of asthma program “Open Airways for Schools” ($50,000)
- Provided grant to Paoakalani Production to provide culture-based psychotherapy to Hawaiian youth ($24,800)
- Provided grant to Global Medilink Technology for Oral Health Promotion/Disease Prevention college level curriculum to help 100 students to become certified outreach workers ($24,725). This is part of a 100-hour certificate program statewide in all the community colleges.
- Provided grant to Koolau Community Health & Wellness Center so uninsured children and youth can have access to healthcare services ($36,126).
- Provided grant to Marimed Foundation for basic food literacy and nutrition for youth in substance abuse program and in recovery ($15,035).
- Provided grant to Pai Foundation to place 10 Native Hawaiian students in Harvard Medical School’s summer program ($13,200).
- Provided grant in partnership with U.S. National Institutes of Health and six (6) other states to co-sponsor the Pacific Region Diabetes Education Program conference ($7,708). Five Native Hawaiians attended the conference as part of the sponsorship.
- Provided grant to Papa Ola Lokahi for 4,500 Stop Smoking Kits ($24,800).
- Provided grant to the Department of Health to fund Nurse’s Aide training and Apprenticeship Program to increase the number of Hawaiians who would be certified to work in Long Term Care ($25,000).
- Provided grants totaling $80,000 ($40,000 from State Legislature) to several programs relating to the Native Hawaiian Diet and reducing risk factors for chronic diseases through nutrition and exercise.
- Granted a total of $300,000 to Lunalilo Homes to off-set to high costs of care for elderly patients.
- Provided grant to Lunalilo Home: $300,000 ($150,000/year for 2 years)
- Provided grant to Alu Like Adult Correctional Program to use Hawaiian culture to facilitate rehabilitation: $100,000 ($50,000/year for 2 years)
- Contracted with Alu Like to provide cultural program at Olomana, Hawaii Youth Correctional Facility: $100,00 ($50,000/year for 2 years)
- Provided grant to Hawaii Family Law Center, Ala Kuola program, for a domestic violence prevention/intervention program: $25,000
- Monitored grant to Alu Like, Inc.: $1.3 million ($600,000 from State Legislature)
- Provided smaller grants totaling $1.1 to organizations addressing substance abuse, transitional housing, domestic violence counseling and prevention, HIV/AIDS prevention and case management, culture-based programs for incarcerated youth, and transportation services for kupuna
- Worked with two organizations to address homelessness, Solidarity with the Homeless and the Waianae Homeless Summit
- Allocated $175,000 to address needs of paahao (incarcerated Hawaiians)
- Under Native Hawaiian Revolving Loan Program for business loans:
- Made 17 loans to Native Hawaiian businesses totaling $917,000 and creating or retaining 43 jobs
- Provided entrepreneurial training and technical assistance to 461 Native Hawaiians
- Contracted with 19 accountants, business consultants, and other professionals to provide assistance to Native Hawaiian business owners
- Made 62 Microloans totaling $240,000 and impacting 225 Native Hawaiians
- Made grants to 12 community-based organizations totaling $350,000 through our Community-Based Economic Development (CBED) program
Native Rights, Land & Culture
- Entered into a contested case at DLNR to protect traditional and customary rights of Hawaiians who use the Wailua River, Kauai
- Began 2-year study with U.S. Geological Survey to document actual water uses of kalo farmers across Hawaii to support future legal defense of water rights
- Worked with members of the Native Hawaiian Historic Preservation Council to ensure protection of land, water, other natural resources, and native rights
- Conducted 11 workshops statewide on the grant application process, reaching 360 Native Hawaiians
- Awarded $3.4million in grants to support 85 projects in providing services and programs to the Hawaiian community
- Awarded grants totaling $2.5 million included in subject areas above, plus grant totaling $150,000 to the Association of Hawaiian Civic Clubs to support each of its 48 clubs to help further their mission to promote Native Hawaiian participation in cultural and civic issues
- Completed preparation of Native Hawaiian Data Book for publishing in 2006 which will include for the first time an interactive web version as well as a hard copy version
- Acquired ownership of 25,000 acres of Native Hawaiian rainforest known as Wao Kele o Puna on Hawaii Island.
- Became the legal owner of the 1,875-acre Waimea Valley, also know as the “The Valley of the Priests,” a sacred place for more than 700 years of Native Hawaiian history and a cultural resource of the highest possible order. This effort was initiated by Trustees John Waihee IV and Rowena Akana.
Hawaii Disabled Veterans
- Assisted and advocated for injured Native and Non-Native Hawaiian soldiers in the Hawaii National Guard who were suffering under the policies of the Medical Retention Processing Unit (MRPU). The MRPU was a medical unit designated for soldiers or US Army Reserve (USAR) who were injured or developed severe illness while on active duty. The primary duty of the MRPU was to ensure that soldiers assigned received the proper medical care and were restored to full duty status before returning to their respective RC unit.
- After meeting with several soldiers and their family members, it was clear to Trustee Akana that the MRPU was not working as it was intended and changes were urgently needed. Tripler Army Medical Center was not following the plan. The limited treatment period was too short to heal many of the soldiers’ injuries and they were being routed out of the system quickly to make the 12 month deadline. There was no parity between regular Army Soldiers and National Guardsmen even though they both served on active duty.
- When National Guardsmen returned, they were told to go to Veterans Affairs (VA) if they were not finish with their medical treatment. However, they were not given their medical records and had to wait at least 18 months to be called by the VA. By that time, many of their injuries developed complications.
- Trustee Akana met with the Brigadier General commanding the soldiers, Hawaii’s Congressional Delegation, the head of Tripler Army Medical Center, and the new Secretary of Veterans Affairs Eric Shinseki in Washington D.C. to advocate on behalf of the injured soldiers and to change the unfair policies of the MRPU. Since this egregious treatment has been called to the attention of the VA and Hawaii’s Congressional leaders, the VA has now taken action to close the disparity between the treatment of National Guardsmen and regular Army Soldiers. Also, according to VA Secretary Shinseki, every Guardsmen and Soldier will be registered with the VA before they leave active duty so that there will be no waiting period for them to be listed on the VA benefit list.
- Thanks to Trustee Akana’s advocacy efforts, the MRPU has now been replaced by the more synchronized and balanced Warrior in Transition Unit (WTU). More information about WTU is available at the Army Personnel website, or www.armyg1.army.mil under the Warrior Transition Unit Consolidated Guidance (Administrative).
- Granted $1 million to KAWAIAHAO CHURCH, the historic Honolulu hale pule associated with Hawaiian royalty and the Native Hawaiian Community for more than 180 years.
- Granted a total of $300,000 to Lunalilo Home to off-set to high costs of care for elderly patients. Lunalilo Home is a care home for Hawaiians established by King William Charles Lunalilo’s will.
- Granted $150,000 to Lunalilo Home to restore King Lunalilo’s tomb. The sixth monarch of the Hawaiian Kingdom reigned for one year starting in 1873 and is buried on the grounds of Kawaiahao Church.
- In Fiscal Year 2010, granted an additional $100,000 to provide financial assistance to indigent Hawaiian kupuna not able to afford care at Lunalilo Home.
- Granted $2 million to BISHOP MUSEUM to assist with the restoration of the museum’s historic Hawaiian Hall, built in the 1890s.
- Granted $100,000 to the BISHOP MUSEUM for the E Ku Ana Ka Paia: Unification, Responsibility and Ku Images Exhibit, which reunified the three largest Ku Images in the world. This is of such significance that many in the museum and academic communities did not think it would ever occur. These images once stood upon Ahu’ena Heiau, in Kailua-Kona, Hawai’i and are said to have been worshipped by King Kamehameha himself. Each of the images are in the possession of three different museums.
- Granted $2.2 million to 14 Hawaiian-focused public charter schools, one of the largest single funding awards ever bestowed by the Office of Hawaiian Affairs.
- Kawaikini New Century Charter School – $55,250 to support curriculum development and a pilot project for 3rd and 4th graders on Kauai.
Treatment of Diabetes
- Provided much needed dialysis machines for Molokai Hospital to service patients island wide eliminating their need to fly into Honolulu for treatment. Also provided additional machines for patients living in Kalaupapa who had difficulty traveling.
- Supported a $34,350 grant to the American Diabetes Association of Hawaii for the Vision Project, providing a mobile retinal scan screening unit for early diagnosis and treatment of diabetes on all islands.
- Bay Clinic – $42,000 to support expansion of a diabetes self-management program in the Puna district, targeting high-risk Native Hawaiians.
- Aka’ula Middle School – $86,076 for PRISM, a culturally responsive educational program on Molokai.
- Boys & Girl’s Club of Hawaii – $58,650 to improve the new Youth Education Town (YET) with support for certification in LEED (leadership in energy and environment design) and Native Hawaiian-focused stewardship projects for youth on Oahu.
- Kihei Youth Center – $48,000 to support the MERITS after-school homework assistance program at the Kiehi Youth Center.
- Leadership Kauai – $25,000 for the annual Adult Leadership Program and Pi’ina Hoku Youth Leadership Program.
Culture & the Arts
- Family Support Services of West Hawaii – $57,500 to support Na Makuakane Maika’i O Hawai’i, a program to increase parenting skills for fathers through culturally-based practicesand program support.
- God’s Country Waimanalo – $61,000 to support a hands-on learning program in cultural activities, including: ka ‘aina (growing potted gardens), ke kai (ocean skill building), and mea ha’i’olelo (story telling/communications).
- Hale ‘Opio Kauai – $45,350 for implementation of Ke Kahua O Ka Malamalama, an afterschool program to engage students in Native Hawaiian cultural practices and values.
- Ka ‘Aha Hui Na’auao – $30,678 for Ka Papa ‘Oihana or Perpetuating Traditional Hawaiian Knowledge, Cultural and Natural Resources, an instructional program in traditional hale construction and wood sculpture.
- Ho’omanao I Na Wa I Huliau – $65,000 to support the traditions and culture of Native Hawaiians through the re-creation of visual images via photographs, written text, and storytelling.
- Keomailani Hanapi Foundation – $91,500 for the Native Hawaiian art education project, HOEA, including operational support and the establishment of a community art space and storage facility on the Big Island.
- Lyman Museum – $59,328 to support protection and restoration of Hawaiian cultural artifacts in the museum’s collections on the Big Island.
- National Tropical Botanical Garden – $62,522 for the cultivation of native plants in Ha’ena to be made available and used as resources by the Native Hawaiian community.
- Olowalu Cultural Reserve – $44,530 for reconstruction of the ahupua’a at Lihau, Olowalu, to perpetuate traditional and customary practices of Kanaka Maoli and protect natural resources on Maui.
- Waianae Coast Coalition – $100,000 to provide family conferencing and cultural classes and support the goal of establishing a Hawaiian cultural center for farming and monthly ho’ike.
- Kauai Economic Opportunity, Inc. – $58,745 to support the operation of the Mana’olana emergency homeless shelter on Kauai.
- Nanakuli Housing Corporation – $98,723 to assist Native Hawaiian families with home repair and/or replacement needs.
- Neighborhood Place of Kona – $99,648 to support the prevention of child abuse in rural areas.
- Partners In Development Foundation – $99,984 for Kokua ‘Ohana, a program to increase the number of licensed Native Hawaiian families providing homes for Native Hawaiian foster children.
- Young Women’s Christian Association (YWCA) of Kauai – $50,000 to support domestic violence intervention and sex offender treatment programs.
- American Lung Association – $28,843 for Maopopo Oli Hano, a school-based asthma education and management program on Oahu, Maui, and the Big Island.
- Ka Hale Pomaikau – $100,000 for the expansion of substance abuse treatment and recovery services on Molokai.
- Narconon Hawaii – $49,500 to support the outpatient drug rehabilitation program located in Kalaeloa.
- Pacific Health Ministry – $38,241 to support mobile and free blood pressure screenings, health assessments, and health referrals for low-income, elderly and homeless populations living on beaches and in transitional housing.
- Waimanalo Health Center – $100,000 to support Ku I Ka Mana, a Native Hawaiian mentoring program for Waimanalo Middle School students to increase knowledge of healthy living and make positive lifestyle choices.