Experts Cast Doubt on the Viability of Hawaiian Nation-Building

The feasibility of both the state and federal push to create a sovereign Native Hawaiian nation was brought into sharp question today as two authorities with very different perspectives on the issue expressed their doubts as to whether either plan would come to fruition.

Hawaiian Sovereignty Sign

At a panel on Native Hawaiian issues sponsored by the Grassroot Institute of Hawaii and moderated by the think tank’s president Keli’i Akina, Ph.D., OHA Trustee Oswald Stender and former State Attorney General Michael Lilly fielded questions about the need to help Native Hawaiians, the justifications for Hawaiian sovereignty, and the probable results of the nation-building efforts.

Trustee Stender stressed the importance of providing Native Hawaiians with the tools necessary to improve their quality of life–especially in education and economic advancement. Stressing his belief that it was important to allow the people to determine whether they wished to form a Hawaiian nation, he expressed his private doubts as to whether it was practical or even likely to happen.  Trustee Stender clarified that his comments on the panel were not on behalf of the OHA Trustee board, but as a private individual.

Former AG Lilly agreed with Mr. Stender that there is a real value to organizations like OHA in their potential to help Native Hawaiians, but found the millions spent pursuing the Akaka Bill and nation-building process to be, “wasteful.” In addition, Mr. Lilly questioned the historical grounds for a race-based Hawaiian nation, pointing out that his own background (his ancestors were citizens of the Kingdom of Hawaii and loyalists to the Queen) highlights the inherent contradiction in creating a tribe from what was formerly a multi-racial government.

In reference to the effort by the Department of the Interior to recognize a Native Hawaiian government via administrative rule, Mr. Lilly noted that, “There never was a Hawaiian tribe with whom the United States entered into a treaty relationship. If there was such a tribe, then all the multi-ethnic peoples who were citizens of the Hawaiian Monarchy would be members of that tribe.  For the U.S. Supreme Court has held that a ‘tribe’ is a political and not a racial entity. The current effort to recognize a separate ethnic tribe by the Dept. of the Interior is unconstitutional because, under the Constitution, it is the Congress that has the plenary power to recognize tribes and ratify treaties. That power does not reside in the Executive branch of the federal government or with the various states. So the current effort aimed at creating a tribe of Hawaiians has no legal basis.” He then went on to express doubt that there exists sufficient support even among Native Hawaiians for the DOI’s effort to succeed.

Trustee Stender agreed with Mr. Lilly that pursuit of a “another government” is a waste of valuable financial resources that could be better used to meet the needs of Hawaiians.  He also expressed frustration that the federal discussion of Hawaiians as a tribe unnecessarily confuses the basic issue of protecting entitlements for Native Hawaiians, an issue unrelated to creating a tribe or government.

“Time and again, we see evidence that the nation-building process reflects a fundamental misunderstanding of what both Native Hawaiians and the citizens of this state really want,” stated Keli’i Akina, President of the Grassroot Institute of Hawaii. “We look to recognize the contributions of Native Hawaiians and demonstrate our respect for that culture. And we wish to help Native Hawaiians succeed, as we do with all citizens of Hawaii. However, the support simply isn’t there for the creation of divisive, race-based government. It is unconstitutional and counter to the spirit and history of our islands.  The money, time and energy spent pursuing political sovereignty could be better spent improving education and economic opportunities for Native Hawaiians. It is time that the federal government and the state stop trying to strong-arm us into supporting an unconstitutional Hawaiian nation and accept that there are better ways to advance the interests of the people of Hawaii.”

OHA to Inform the Public About the ‘Akaka Bill’ Via Two LIVE Television Specials

Media Release:

The Office of Hawaiian Affairs will present a series of two live television specials beginning this week to inform the public about the Native Hawaiian Government Reorganization Act of 2009.

Also known as the “Akaka Bill,” for its sponsor U.S. Sen. Daniel Akaka, this important piece of legislation is now before the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives.

“The Office of Hawaiian Affairs has long been in the forefront of supporting a measure that provides a process of federal recognition to Native Hawaiians and OHA will continue that role in support of the Akaka Bill,” OHA Chief Executive Officer Clyde Nämu‘o said.

“This is a complicated bill. We want to help both Hawaiians and non-Hawaiians alike understand what this bill means, answer people’s questions, and help everyone prepare for what we believe will be successful passage of this landmark legislation,” he added. “OHA stands ready to work with our Hawai‘i Congressional Delegation, the Obama Administration, the State of Hawai ‘i and our Hawaiian community. We appreciate the collective efforts and we look forward to the passage of this long overdue legislation. We are hopeful that the final version of the bill will be one that all parties can move forward with.”

OHA will produce two live television specials with community members and legal experts as panelists.

The first show, which will air on Thursday, January 7, at 8 p.m. on KITV, will feature community leaders as panelists including:

·      Lilikalä Kame‘eleihiwa, Professor with the University of Hawai ‘i Kamaküokalani Center for Hawaiian Studies.

·      Michael Kahikina, Legislative Chair with Sovereign Councils of Hawaiian Homelands Assembly.

·      Robin Danner, President and Chief Executive Officer of the Council for Native Hawaiian Advancement.

·      Bruss Keppeler, member of the Association of Hawaiian Civic Clubs.

The second show will broadcast on Thursday, January 14, at 7 p.m. on KITV and will feature the legal implications of the bill before a panel of legal experts.  Both shows will also be streamed live on

“We encourage the public to email their questions now to  Viewers will also be able to call in their questions on the nights of the shows.  We urge everyone to tune in. This will be an opportunity for the community to learn about legislation that has the potential to positively advance the lives of both Hawaiians and non-Hawaiians alike,” Nämu‘o said.

For more information, go to

New Version of Akaka Bill Proposed

New version introduced to specifically ban gaming, already illegal per Hawaii law

March 25, 2009

Washington D.C. – U.S. Senators Daniel K. Akaka and Daniel K. Inouye and U.S. Representatives Neil Abercrombie and Mazie K. Hirono today introduced a slightly modified version of the Native Hawaiian Government Reorganization Act that clarifies that gambling will not be permitted, in accordance with Hawaii state law.

The entire Hawaii Delegation made the following statement:  “As an indigenous people that exercised governance until the U.S. overthrow, Native Hawaiians deserve the same opportunity to preserve their culture, language and traditions as indigenous people on the mainland.  This change in the legislation should make the bill’s intent clear and remove any distractions from its thoughtful consideration.”

The Native Hawaiian Government Reorganization Act would provide a process for federal recognition of Native Hawaiians, similar to the government-to-government relationship provided to American Indians and Alaska Natives.  All forms of gambling are illegal in Hawaii and the Native Hawaiian Government will be subject to all state and federal laws.  The delegation reintroduced the bill with specific language prohibiting gaming in an effort to clarify that the intent of the bill is not to legalize gambling.  The gaming prohibition language was derived from legislation introduced in the 110th Congress (S. 310/H.R. 505).  Other than this one provision, the bill is identical to the version introduced on February 4, 2009.

For more information on the Native Hawaiian Government Reorganization Act, click here.

Message to The Brooklyn Born Kanaka Maoli (AKA BKNYKANAKA)

I got wind that Hilo blogger (RJ Mendoza) who goes by the Twitter handle BKNYKANAKA made the following comment on his blog regarding the post I made yesterday regarding the AKAKA Bill:

I find it pretty hilarious that two days ago someone is jumping up and down and lighting the fire that his child is in the running for Kamehameha Schools and then posts not one, not two, but three anti-Kanaka Maoli propoganda videos on his blog. But then again, like so many others, people are only Hawaiian when it is convenient.

My response to him:

If I am the person you are talking about… you might want to re-evaluate how you think I may feel about things. I find it interesting that you might be evaluating my thoughts on the issue without really asking me.

Apparently, you didn’t read the words in front of those videos I posted:
“Please remember, that often times I’m only posting clips that I find, and that I don’t often express my feelings behind some of the posts that I do write.  I’m just trying to share information and allow a place for people to discuss the issues:”

And in reply to your statement:
“people are only Hawaiian when it is convienent.”

Well… sorry dude… I will never be Hawaiian.  I’m only married to someone with a bit of Hawaiian in them.

I will never say or portray that I am Hawaiian.

I understand that the Akaka Bill touches many people personally and it doesn’t bother me that someone would assume something about me just because they read my blog.

I just thought I would clarify that many of my blog postings do not speak directly to my own personal beliefs on issues, and I’m only trying to bring issues to the front for many of us to read about.

Another thing that Mr. Brooklyn-Born Kanaka Maoli may want to understand before throwing people under the bus…

Is that not all Hawaiians Support the Akaka Bill.

I’ve never state whether I support it or not… and quite frankly, don’t know enough about the issues to stand on either side of the issue.

But just a reminder to BKNYKANAKA

I’m only married into a Hawaiian Family…  My son is the one with the Hawaiian Blood.  The primary reason why I want him to go to Kamehameha has nothing to do with his ethnicity… it has to do with the quality of education that Kamehameha Schools can provide compared to that of the public schools.

You can view his blog  “You can never come home again” for yourself.


I don’t choose to comment on his recent statements made today “Civil Unions Crap” … such as:

  • And I’m a (bad) Buddhist, mind you.
  • I love how the Mormons are the biggest opponents to this. Aren’t they the ones who encouraged polygamy
  • Why aren’t people asking the real important questions- who cares about The Flying Spaghetti Monster’s, God’s religious laws? Don’t impose your religious laws on me.
  • I don’t support gay marriage- I don’t support marriage in general.
  • I feel like crying when I see groups like the Holy Innocents Church, Temple Emmau-El, Unions, the Democractic Pary of Hawaii, the University of Hawaii Professional Assembly, retired Luthern ministers all strongly support the civil unions bill.

I guess this is just one beauty about writing your own blog… Is you are welcome to feel the way you want to as well as post what you want to write.

I just wish others would be more careful in assuming how I might feel about an issue over just one blog that I posted.

Hawaiian Enough? An Examination of How “Hawaiian” Will Be Defined With the Akaka Bill

Please remember, that often times I’m only posting clips that I find, and that I don’t often express my feelings behind some of the posts that I do write.  I’m just trying to share information and allow a place for people to discuss the issues:

An examination of how “Hawaiian” will be defined with the Akaka Bill


The Akaka Bill would deny even those who helped create the Kingdom of Hawaii a place in the new race-based government.


The sad truth about how the Akaka Bill would deny the rights of a true Hawaiian hero.