OHA nation-building "full speed ahead"

In the Advertiser, Gordon Pang has a long article about OHA's "nation-building" initiative, similar to what was outlined in the Akaka bill but without "a go-ahead from Congress as a first step." It is worth reading the whole thing, but here's a few excerpts and comments...
It is within OHA's authority to take the lead in guiding the establishment of the new government, [OHA Trustee John] Waihe'e [IV] said. "We have the resources and we're the legally recognized representatives of the Hawaiian people. In that sense, it is our duty."

OHA administrator Clyde Namu'o also makes the argument that OHA is the only one with the resources. I question Waihe'e's assertion, however, that OHA is the "legally recognized representatives of the Hawaiian people." Since Rice v. Cayetano, OHA is elected by the entire population of the state. It can be said that OHA is set up to benefit the Hawaiian people, but in what sense can it be said that they are elected representatives of the Hawaiian people (either indigenous or nationals) when they are in fact elected by the population at large?

Further down in the article:
But [The Living Nation chairman Mel] Kalahiki said the OHA plan would likely preclude efforts to create an entity that would be entirely independent of the United States, the ultimate objective of his group.

"I feel there is a need to call for another proposal," he said.

Namu'o concurred that the proposed model is not geared toward secession from the United States.

"This government would always have to exist within the framework of the federal government," he said. If a majority of convention delegates were to push toward an independent nation, Namu'o said, those leaders would have to change the plan.

First, clarification of terms: independence is not secession. It is restoration of the effectiveness of a government of an occupied country that has never legally ceased to exist.

And once again, to clarify on the race/indigenous issue: the next line says the group Aloha for All "continues to oppose any plan that gives benefits for Native Hawaiians only." But Kalahiki and every other effort toward the restoration of effective independence are proposing a racially inclusive national population, consistent with the Hawaiian kingdom history.

The article then goes on to talk about the previous process of the Native Hawaiian Convention and Aha Hawai'i 'Oiwi, which grew out of the legislatively enacted Hawaiian Sovereignty Elections Council. Poka Laenui, chairman of the convention, notes that a proposal was developed for independence, but Pang writes: "But the convention ran into financial difficulties when both OHA and the Legislature cut funding..." Are these two points connected? Once it was clear that the majority of the convention delegates favored moving towards independence, is that when their funding support ceased? I know some of the delegates definitely felt that was the reason.

So if, as Namu'o says, "a majority of convention delegates were to push toward an independent nation" and "change the plan" would OHA still continue funding it? Seeing as how this is in fact what happened with the previous effort, this is not an idle question.

Posted: Mon - July 17, 2006 at 07:45 AM    
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Published On: Jul 17, 2006 08:04 AM
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