OHA Plagued by Another Frivolous Lawsuit Filed by the Same People

By Rowena Akana
April 2002

Source: Ka Wai Ola o OHA

Arakaki v. Cayetano disenfranchises Hawaiians from their rightful entitlements.

OHA is faced with yet another lawsuit enjoining the State and Federal governments from giving Hawaiians their entitlements. On March 12, 2002, the Honorable Judge Mollway heard arguments on whether to issue a temporary restraining order against the State, OHA and DHHL, and had the good sense to deny such an order. However, the case will go on further to address the issue of whether OHA and DHHL are entitled to their entitlements.

This case comes squarely on the heels of the recently dismissed Carroll case. How many times must OHA and others go to court to address the same issues? The Arakaki plaintiffs argue that the original trust (without the Admissions Act amendments) is what governs and that does not mention using the ceded lands for the betterment of Hawaiians, and that the amendments which do allow ceded lands to be used for the “betterment of Native Hawaiians,” were improper. They argue that they have standing as taxpayers and beneficiaries of the original trust. This is pure blasphemy!

It is well within the jurisdiction of the court to hear a case brought by or on behalf of the beneficiaries of a trust for breach of fiduciary responsibility under Title 28 of the United States. This action is especially applicable where these rights are clearly granted by the Admission Act (Public Law 86.3, March 18, 1959) and the State Constitution which established the Public Trust and named the native Hawaiian as a beneficiary class. As required by the Admission Act the people of Hawaii constitutionally enacted the following:

“The lands granted to the State of Hawaii by Section 5(b) of the Admission Act and pursuant to Article XVI, Section 7, of the State Constitution…shall be held by the State as a public trust for native Hawaiians and the general public.”

“Any trust provisions which the Congress shall impose, upon the admission of this State, in respect of the lands patented to the State by the United States or the proceeds and income there from, shall be complied with by appropriate legislation. Such legislation shall not diminish or limit the benefits of native Hawaiians under Section 4 of Article XII.”

The Admissions Act was an act of Congress and can only be struck down by another Act of Congress or the United States Supreme Court.

Hawaiian lands have been given away, taken away, and sold until they own very little of what was originally theirs. Our people are still awaiting the day when they can own their own homes. This case should unite the Hawaiians to speak up and fight for their entitlements. This is why I believe so strongly in sovereignty–so those against Hawaiian entitlements cannot take them away. Wha’t next? Kamehameha Schools, Liliuokalani Trust and other Hawaiian trusts?