Thu - September 24, 2009

OHA downsizing, changing strategy

Advertiser reports:
The Office of Hawaiian Affairs will eliminate 28 of its 178 positions as part of a new strategic plan outlined yesterday.

The layoffs are expected to save OHA from $500,000 to $750,000 and are part of a shift to a more "results-based" strategy.

OHA plans to set specific goals, such as raising the level of Native Hawaiian incomes to meet or exceed non-Hawaiian incomes in the Islands.

The plan also calls for turning over OHA assets to a new Hawaiian government that could result from passage of the so-called Akaka bill in Congress, which would grant federal recognition to Native Hawaiians.

"That's fairly controversial," OHA administrator Clyde Namu'o said yesterday. OHA's trustees "see OHA as eventually going out of existence and being taken over, if you will, by this Native Hawaiian entity. ... That is a strong statement about how the trustees view the future for Native Hawaiians."

Star-Bulletin also has an article.

From OHA's website: PDF of press release, Strategic Plan brochure, and video of press conference

Posted at 01:48 PM     Permalink      

Mon - September 14, 2009

Current status of Crown & Government Lands

Prince Jonah Kuhio Kalanianaole

Never concerned about Hawaiian Blood quantum? 
Perhaps you should be now…

Come and learn about the current status of the Crown and Government lands case before the Hawaii Supreme Court and its implications for all of Hawaii’s community.

Date: September 19, 2009 (Saturday)
Time:         6:00 pm to 8:00 pm

Where:      Kamakakuokalani, Center for Hawaiian Studies; Halau o Haumea, 2645 Dole Street, Honolulu

Featuring panelists: Jonathan Osorio, Mililani Trask and Keeaumoku Kaiama

Posted at 08:11 PM     Permalink      

Tue - August 25, 2009

Sonny Kaniho Passing

I'm late on posting this, but Sonny Kaniho passed away August 14. As Ian Lind writes
Sonny Kaniho was one of the giants in the modern Hawaiian rights movement who gained fame by quietly, and then not-so-quietly, protesting the failures of the Department of Hawaiian Home Lands to make land available to Native Hawaiians.

Ian has some great old photos of Kaniho's 1974 Hawaiian Homelands protest and trial.

Posted at 12:27 PM     Permalink      

Fri - May 8, 2009

Native Hawaiian Recruitment for Law School

Time: May 16, 2009 from 8:45am to 12pm
Location: William S. Richardson School of Law - Classroom 1
Organized By: Ka Huli Ao

Ka Huli Ao Center for Excellence in Native Hawaiian Law is continuing the effort to increase the number of Native Hawaiians admitted into the William S. Richardson School of Law. Ka Huli Ao will accomplish this by providing classes to prepare aspiring law school applicants for the Law School Admission Test (LSAT). This program has shown to be successful. Applications are due May 15, 2009.

Posted at 05:13 AM     Permalink      

Wed - May 6, 2009

State, OHA, 3 plaintiffs settle ceded lands suit

Advertiser reports:
A deal on the sale of ceded lands was reached yesterday.

The state Office of Hawaiian Affairs and three of four Native Hawaiian plaintiffs agreed to settle their 15-year-old lawsuit with the state over ceded lands in the wake of the Legislature's passage yesterday of a bill requiring Hawai'i governors to get approval from lawmakers before selling ceded lands.

OHA and the other plaintiffs had sued to block the state from selling portions of ceded lands — 1.2 million acres held in trust by the state — until claims by Native Hawaiians to those lands are resolved.

The measure, Senate Bill 1677, requires a two-thirds vote by both chambers of the Legislature before most ceded lands can be sold.

OHA and three of the four individual plaintiffs reached "an agreement on a set of steps that will resolve all or almost all of the lawsuit filed by OHA and the private plaintiffs in 1994," OHA said in a statement.

Yet to be resolved is the issue of how much OHA should receive from revenues derived from ceded lands. A bill to address this issue failed last Friday.

University of Hawai'i professor Jonathan Osorio, one of the plaintiffs, did not join in the settlement.

Posted at 09:50 PM     Permalink      

Fri - March 27, 2009

Kawananakoa blasts OHA and DHHL

Abigail Kawananakoa criticizes OHA and DHHL at Prince Kuhio Day event, KGMB has report and video. She "also spoke out on the ceded lands controversy. She says she has the proof to show Hawaiian land was never given to the United States and plans to go to Washington DC to argue her case to the Supreme Court."

Posted at 08:54 PM     Permalink      

Thu - February 26, 2009

He Ho'a Akoakoa Lokahi: A Convergence for Unity!

Rec'd via email...

From: Andre Perez <>
Date: Wed, 25 Feb 2009 20:04:11 -0800 (PST)
Subject: ***Kanaka Alert*** He Ho'a Akoakoa Lokahi

He Ho'a Akoakoa Lokahi: A Convergence for Unity!

Calling all Hawaiians and Supporters to build unity and solidarity for the strength of our Lahui and for an interactive educational experience and kukakuka session on pressing issues concerning our Lahui and what we can do about it.  

This is a time and place for us to share our feelings and ideas to raise consciousness and awareness concerning the US Supreme Court Case on Hawaiian Lands and Office of Hawaiian Affairs' current initiatives including: Akaka Bill, Nation Building, Kau Inoa, and the Stolen Lands Settlement with the State of HI.

This SATURDAY, February 28th, 2009.

MEET @ Queen Lili'uokalani's Statue (behind State Capitol). 
9 a.m. to Noon.

BRING Ti leaf,
WEAR black,
and let's BUILD and STRENGTHEN our LAHUI together.

A Hui Pu production!
**Please share with you contacts.

Contact: Kelii Collier
 Andre Perez

Posted at 12:13 PM     Permalink      

Fri - January 16, 2009

OHA again proposes settlement for past due payments

Advertiser reports:
The Office of Hawaiian Affairs will try again this legislative session to pass a bill seeking to resolve past due claims on income and proceeds generated by the Public Land Trust.

This year, however, they will not be going to the Legislature hand-in-hand with members of the Lingle administration as it did last year.

The Public Land Trust consists of those 1.2 million acres of ceded lands transferred to the state in the Admissions Act, excluding those lands under the Department of Hawaiian Home Lands. It amounts to about two-thirds of all ceded lands, which refers to the crown and ceded lands that were taken over at the 1898 overthrow.

OHA and the state have long agreed that the agency is owed a portion of the proceeds generated by lands once owned by the Hawaiian monarchy. In fact, the state now pays OHA $15.1 million annually.

What’s been in dispute is how much OHA should have received in the 30 years up until July 1, 2008.

As it did last year, OHA is seeking a settlement valued at $200 million.

And under the plan unveiled at a press conference today, OHA once again is asking to gain title to two parcels of land – in Kaka‘ako Makai and along Banyan Drive in Hilo. The two parcels carry an assessed value of $127.2 million.

But recognizing the state’s financial straits this year, OHA leaders said, it will ask for the remaining $72.8 million to be decided and transferred next year.

A key change in this year’s proposal is that it does not propose any resolution of so-called “future” claims beyond continuation of the $15.1 million annual settlement. Extinguishing future claims was a key concern raised by Native Hawaiian groups who opposed last year’s plan.

“The Legislature’s support and enactment of the bill is essential to put to rest the 30-year old past due ‘disputed’ revenue claims on income and proceeds from the Public Land Trust,” OHA board Chairwoman Haunani Apoliona said.

Update: The above is from the breaking news version yesterday, here's the full article with more details published today.

Posted at 12:25 PM     Permalink      

Tue - January 13, 2009

OHA bill seeks moratorium on sale of ceded lands

OHA has a press release with (PDF of the bill and MP3 of the news conference).
The Office of Hawaiian Affairs announced today it has drafted a bill for introduction to the 2009 session of the state Legislature that will enact public policy for a moratorium on the sale and exchange of ceded lands.

The decision by OHA Trustees to move forward with this legislation emerged following the state administration's appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court of the unanimous ruling by the Hawai'i Supreme Court that prevents ceded lands from being sold or transferred until the "unrelinquished claims" of Native Hawaiians to those lands are settled.

Here's the Advertiser article and Star-Bulletin article.

Posted at 08:22 AM     Permalink      

Sun - January 11, 2009

Kamehameha Schools' endowment loses $1.7 billion

Advertiser reports:
The value of Kamehameha Schools' endowment plunged by more than $1.7 billion in four months due to the meltdown in the nation's financial markets.

The charitable trust said the value of its investments portfolio and real estate holdings fell 18 percent, to $7.7 billion, between June 30 and Oct. 31.

The declines reverse a stellar 2008 fiscal year when the trust's endowment increased by $367.9 million to $9.44 billion.

Posted at 07:14 AM     Permalink      

Sun - January 4, 2009

Kupu'āina Coalition live-streaming webcast Monday @ 5:30

Date: Sat, 3 Jan 2009 21:55:51 -1000
From: "Kupuaina Coalition" <>
Subject: Kupu'aina Coalition ALERT!

Aloha mai kakou,

Please see attached flyer. If you can kokua by forwarding this e-mail and flyer to all your contacts, that would be greatly appreciated.

Kupu'āina Coalition organizers Davis Price and Derek Kauanoe will be hosting the organization's first live-streaming webcast of 2009. Kupu'āina Coalition webcasts can be watched live on Mondays at 5:30pm Hawaii Standard Time at

This week, Davis and Derek will discuss the upcoming information session scheduled for January 7, 2009, elements of the "ceded" lands case now pending at the U.S. Supreme Court, and the ongoing struggle to protect these lands, the legacy of our ali'i. In addition, Davis and Derek will respond to questions sent via e-mail on the webcast. Questions should be e-mailed no later than 1pm HST on Monday to

Kupu'āina Coalition
Kupuaina January 5 Webcast.pdf

Posted at 12:27 AM     Permalink      

Fri - December 19, 2008

Justice Department supports state in ceded-lands dispute

Advertiser reports that "The state's view that Native Hawaiians do not have a claim to land that belonged to the kingdom of Hawai'i before it was overthrown in 1893 is getting support from the U.S. Justice Department."

Posted at 05:58 AM     Permalink      

Thu - December 11, 2008

Anger on ceded-land stance escalates

Advertiser story on opposition to the state's position on the SCOTUS so-called "ceded lands" that were never ceded case.

Posted at 07:57 PM     Permalink      

Tue - November 25, 2008

OHA's stock portfolio plummets 27.9%

Advertiser reports:
The stock investment portfolio for the Office of Hawaiian Affairs shrank by 27.9 percent during the first 10 months of 2008, 12 percent during October alone, OHA officials said.

The immediate impact is a hiring freeze, but the agency may be forced to cut money for programs in future budgets.

Posted at 08:43 AM     Permalink      

Mon - November 24, 2008

Rally today at capitol to oppose "ceded lands" case appeal

E kala mai for the late notice, but Kupu‘aina Coalition is coordinating a rally this morning, Monday November 24, 11:30 a.m. at the State Capitol to protest the Lingle administration's appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court to overturn a previous State Supreme Court decision that banned the state from selling or transferring so-called "ceded" lands until Native Hawaiian claims against the government are “settled.”

Wear red!

For more info contact 808-489-5316 or visit

Here's an Advertiser article on the rally.

Here are an action alert fact sheet and a flyer in PDF:
Action Alert Fact Sheet.pdf

Rally Flyer Pale Final.pdf

Update 11/28: Late update with some news articles on the rally from Tuesday... Star-Bulletin article and Advertiser article. From the latter:
About 300 people converged on the state Capitol yesterday and urged the Lingle administration to back off its legal claim that the state has the right to sell ceded lands.

In a case that places the state against the state Office of Hawaiian Affairs, Gov. Linda Lingle and her administration are appealing a unanimous ruling by the Hawai'i Supreme Court in January that the state cannot sell or otherwise transfer ceded lands until Native Hawaiian claims against the land holds were resolved.

"The administration's decision to appeal has the potential to adversely impact the way the people of Hawai'i deal with issues affecting Native Hawaiians locally," the groups of Native Hawaiian supporters said in a statement. "A U.S. Supreme Court decision threatens what our state Legislature and state courts have already decided — Native Hawaiians have a valid unsettled claim to ceded lands. ... The Lingle administration's appeal threatens the future of the Hawaiian community and is in direct conflict with the administration's reported support for the Native Hawaiian community."

Posted at 09:42 AM     Permalink      

Tue - November 18, 2008

Center for Excellence in Native Hawaiian Law Blog

Rec'd via email...

Date: Tue, 18 Nov 2008 05:45:56 -1000
From: "Derek Kauanoe" <>
Subject: Happy Aloha Tuesday

Aloha kakahiaka (Good Morning),

At the request third-year law student Mana Moriarty, readers can now subscribe to our daily postings.

Today's posting focuses on a breaking story and on-going investigation regarding mortgage relief fraud where so-called companies are claiming to be affiliated with the Hawaiian sovereignty movement and promising mortgage payment relief through bonds. 

Also find out which law student will be sitting in with Brickwood Galuteria and Kimo Kahoano this morning on their morning radio show. 

read more (and subscribe) at

Derek H. Kauanoe
Community Outreach Fellow
Center for Excellence in Native Hawaiian Law
2515 Dole Street
Honolulu, HI 96822
(808) 956-8411

Posted at 07:40 AM     Permalink      

Thu - November 6, 2008

BEYOND ELECTION 2008: What’s at stake for Native Hawaiians

November 6, 2008
William S. Richardson School of Law
12:45pm - 1:45pm in Classroom 3

What’s at stake for Native Hawaiians

Come and hear how elections at the county, state & federal levels will impact Native Hawaiians and our island communities.

Featuring Senator Colleen Hanabusa, president of the Hawai‘i State Senate, and Esther Puakela Kia‘āina, Land Asset Manager for the Kamehameha Schools

Download the flyer for more details... Flyer1.pdf

Update: Live streaming now

Posted at 11:31 AM     Permalink      

Mon - November 3, 2008

Vote for Colin Kippen for OHA

For those voting tomorrow in Hawaii state elections, I'd like to encourage your vote for Colin Kippen for OHA at-large. I think he has the best chance to clean up OHA and bring some accountability to their financial management in terms of expenditures for the Akaka bill lobbying and other issues. He's been endorsed by Bumpy Kanahele and other Hawaiian community leaders. And he has my endorsement as well.

Posted at 11:17 AM     Permalink      

Sat - August 30, 2008

OHA seeking participation of independence leaders in summit

FYI, last month OHA sent out letters to "activists and organizations who are pro-independence and/or expressed opposition to the Akaka bill and federal recognition" inviting them to sit on a planning committee for a summit "to exchange positions and hear each other's perspectives, seeking a common ground where possible." I know others who received the letter as well, but Bumpy made his public so I'm posting it here (along with a follow up letter) just so folks are aware what OHA is up to in this regard. I have no idea what kind of a response they've received and if anyone has agreed to sit on this committee.


Posted at 10:51 AM     Permalink      

Mon - August 25, 2008

NHBA Meeting: Reconciliation for Native Hawaiians?  OHA v. HCDCH and the Ceded Lands Trust 9/5

Rec'd via email...

From: Karen Jones <yuklinalu001 @>
Date: Tue, 19 Aug 2008 17:18:25 -1000
Subject: NHBA Meeting w/Sherry Broder and Bill Meheula:  Reconciliation for Native Hawaiians?  OHA v. HCDCH and the Ceded Lands Trust

The Native Hawaiian Bar Association
cordially invites you to Pa`ina and Conversation with
Sherry Broder and Bill Meheula:  Reconciliation for Native Hawaiians?  OHA v. HCDCH and the Ceded Lands Trust

      DATE:       Friday, September 5, 2008
      TIME:       12:00 noon to 1:30 p.m.
      PLACE:     Ali`i Place, 1099 Alakea Street
                      Conference Room, 20th Floor
       COST:       $10 for Hawaiian plate lunch (lunch pick-up from 11:45 a.m.)
       RSVP:       By Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Click here for Bios and Registration form...

Posted at 09:53 AM     Permalink      

Wed - August 6, 2008

Kamehameha Schools sued again over Hawaiian admissions policy

Surprise, surprise.... Advertiser reports:
A lawsuit filed today against Kamehameha Schools is once again challenging its admissions policy that favors Native Hawaiian children.

The lawsuit, filed on behalf of four children and their families “seeks an end to the ‘Native Hawaiians only’ admissions policy,” of the schools, a statement by lawyers for the children said.

Attorneys Eric Grant of California and David B. Rosen of Honolulu said the federal District Court lawsuit filed today “is essentially identical to the earlier lawsuit filed on behalf of ‘John Doe,’” which the schools settled last year.

Posted at 04:42 PM     Permalink      

Sun - June 22, 2008

Judge rules for OHA in blood quantum suit

Advertiser reports:
A federal judge has ruled in favor of the Office of Hawaiian Affairs' policy of assisting all Native Hawaiians, not just those with 50 percent or more Hawaiian blood.

U.S. District Judge Susan Oki Mollway on Friday ruled in favor of OHA trustees and dismissed a lawsuit that claimed OHA could only spend money on Hawaiians of "not less than one-half part" of Hawaiian blood.

The lawsuit was filed by five men, each with 50 percent or more Hawaiian blood, who said OHA has too many beneficiaries and that money from what's known as the Public Land Trust — established under the Hawai'i Admissions Act of 1959, which admitted Hawai'i as a state — can only be used to benefit those who have at least 50 percent Hawaiian blood.

Mollway said in her ruling that "the Admissions Act is not so restrictive."

Earlier, in documents that indicated how she would eventually rule, Mollway wrote: "OHA trustees have broad discretion" in deciding how to better the condition of native Hawaiians.

OHA maintains that its mandate is to assist all Hawaiians, regardless of blood quantum.

Walter Schoettle, attorney for the plaintiffs, yesterday said of the ruling: "It's wrong, and we're going to appeal to the 9th Circuit."

Star-Bulletin also has the story.

Update: Here's the ruling (h/t Steve Laudig): Day v Apoliona Ruling on MSJ 20 June 2008.pdf

Posted at 08:38 AM     Permalink      

Fri - June 13, 2008

Airdates - Issues That Matter: Hawaiian Roundtable

Rec'd via email from Lynette...

Poka Laenui and Lynette Cruz talk about the Hawaiian roundtable discussion held at the OHA board room on June 5. Next one is scheduled for Saturday, June 21, 10 am @ Jarrett Middle School Cafeteria. Please join us, and also forward to others who might be interested.

Issues That Matter: Hawaiian Roundtable
6/19/08   Thu               3:00 pm  Channel 53
6/20/08   Fri                 3:00 pm  Channel 53
6/25/08   Wed          11:00 pm  Channel 49
6/26/08   Thu               2:00 pm  Channel 53
6/27/08     Fri          4:00 pm Channel 53

Posted at 08:15 AM     Permalink      

Wed - June 11, 2008

Blood Quantum: Suit vs. OHA may be dismissed; Akaka bill may have quantum

From KPUA:
HONOLULU (AP) — A U.S. District Court judge is deciding whether to once again dismiss a lawsuit filed against the Office of Hawaiian Affairs.

Judge Susan Oki Mollway heard arguments yesterday in the case that pits OHA against five Native Hawaiians.

The five are seeking to stop OHA from funding programs for those who have less than 50 percent Hawaiian blood.

They say the state agency breached the public land trust by paying for programs for all Hawaiians, regardless of their blood quantum.

Mollway threw out the case in 2006. But it was reinstated last August by a federal appeals court.

On Friday, Mollway issued an "inclination" statement, indicating she was leaning toward siding with OHA and its motion to dismiss the case.

Meanwhile, in a related article at
OHA's attorney said a Native Hawaiian government established by the pending Akaka Bill will have to define its membership.

"That entity would have its rules and its rules will probably have a blood quantum," Klein said.
Even if most Hawaiians oppose a blood quantum they might be forced to accept it because under the Akaka Bill, the U.S. Department of interior must accept the Hawaiian entity's rules and it might demand a blood quantum similar to most Native American tribes.

Posted at 11:40 AM     Permalink      

Sun - June 8, 2008

29 states urge U.S. Supreme Court to hear Hawaii ceded lands case

Legal Newsline reports
Twenty-nine states have asked the U.S. Supreme Court to accept an appeal by Hawaii Attorney General Mark Bennett, who wants the high court to overturn a recent state court decision that prevents Hawaii from selling or transferring ceded lands.
In that case, the state justices ruled that the 1993 Congressional Apology Resolution prohibits the state from selling, exchanging or transferring any of the more than 1.2 million acres of ceded land until it reaches a settlement with native Hawaiians.

Urging the U.S. justices to hear the case, Washington Attorney General Rob McKenna wrote for his and the other states that the Hawaii Supreme Court "misconstrued" the Apology Resolution.

Update 6/10: Star-Bulletin has the story.

Update 6/12: related S-B editorial.

Posted at 07:07 PM     Permalink      

Fri - June 6, 2008

OHA to provide $90M to Hawaiian Homelands

Advertiser reports:
The Office of Hawaiian Affairs said it will channel $90 million to the state Department of Hawaiian Home Lands in a historic partnership to deliver up to 500 residential lots to Native Hawaiians across the state.

The agreement, unanimously approved by OHA's board yesterday, will about double the production of lots on which Hawaiians can begin to build homes in the next 12 to 18 months.

Star-Bulletin also has the story.

Posted at 07:22 PM     Permalink      

Mon - June 2, 2008

Army Corps seeks greater Hawaiian input

Maui News reports:
The Army Corps of Engineers is in the early stages of creating a self-imposed mandate to formally seek out the input of any and all Native Hawaiian groups before it makes decisions on aquatic and watershed permits that could significantly impact the islands and the ocean.

During a scheduled five-hour forum Saturday at Maui Community College, Corps Regulatory Program Manager Farley Watanabe said that the federal government is in the process of revising its regulations for who it must consult during the complicated and often long permitting process.

And the Army Corps wants Native Hawaiian organizations — from nonprofits and state agencies to ohanas, lineal descendants and individuals — to be included in that process for the first time, Watanabe said.

It goes into implications of the Akaka bill since Native Hawaiians "are not certified with the U.S. Department of Interior as a American Indian tribe or Alaskan corporation," and the problem with only three organizations—Office of Hawaiian Affairs, state island burial councils and Hui Malama—are recognized for providing input with the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation.

Posted at 10:13 AM     Permalink      

Tue - May 13, 2008

Native Hawaiian Chamber Mtg 5/22 w Van Dyke

Rec'd via email from Native Hawaiian Chamber of Commerce...


Professor Jon Van Dyke
Noted legal expert and faculty member of The William S. Richardson School of Law, University of Hawaii
Professor Van Dyke will discuss:
'Litigating the Claims of the Native Hawaiian People'
Based on his recent publication:
'Who Owns the Crown Lands of Hawaii?'
Professor Van Dyke's discussion will center on the basis for the claims of Native Hawaiians, how they have been handled by the courts, and what the impact of the Akaka Bill would be.

Thursday, May 22, 2008
11:30 - Registration and networking
Noon - Lunch and Presentation

First Hawaiian Bank Board Room
30th Floor, Diamond Head
Parking validated for 2 hours

Members: $20 per person
Non-members: $25 per person
Seating is limited to 30 persons. Reservations will be taken on a first come, first served basis. Late reservations may not be accommodated.

RSVP: Pauline Worsham at 808.951.5373 or
Please mail checks to NHCC, P.O. Box 597, Honolulu, Hawaii 96809
Please reply by Monday, May 19, 2008.

Posted at 11:03 AM     Permalink      

Tue - May 6, 2008

Land settlement negotiations at impasse

Advertiser reports that negotiations over the so-called ceded lands (Hawaiian national lands) settlement are at an impasse:
Just days after the end of the legislative session and a failed attempt to reach an agreement over how much ceded-land revenue is owed to the Office of Hawaiian Affairs, the key parties involved appear to again be at loggerheads.

This time the issue is over what should happen next. While Gov. Linda Lingle says her administration stands by the existing proposal, lawmakers and OHA want to go back to the bargaining table.

Lawmakers did not approve an agreement reached between the Lingle administration and OHA that would have given the agency three parcels of land valued at $187 million and $13 million cash, as well as a minimum of $15.1 million in ensuing years.

But in the waning days of the session, legislators tacked onto the state budget a nonbinding proviso requiring the Lingle administration and OHA to resume negotiations on the 30-year-old dispute.

Meanwhile, Lingle on Friday told reporters her staff will not return to the negotiating table with OHA leaders.

Posted at 08:56 AM     Permalink      

Wed - April 30, 2008

State appeals "ceded" lands case

The state attorney general's office has a news release and a petition for writ of certiori (both PDF) " that the State has asked the United States Supreme Court to review and overturn a Hawai'i Supreme Court decision which held that the State cannot sell or transfer ceded lands."

Star-Bulletin reports:
Hawaii has a "sovereign right" to sell and transfer lands previously owned by Hawaii's kingdom, the state told the U.S. Supreme Court yesterday in an effort to lift a legal ban on the property deals until claims by native islanders are resolved.

In papers filed in Washington, D.C., state Attorney General Mark Bennett urged the nation's highest court to overturn a Hawaii Supreme Court decision that led to an injunction freezing any transaction of former royal land pending compensation to native Hawaiians.

Bennett contends Hawaii gained the right to manage more than 1.2 million acres of ceded lands, or about 29 percent of the islands' total land area, when it became a state through the Admission Act of 1959. He said the state court's unanimous ruling on Jan. 31 misinterpreted the Apology Resolution, which Congress passed and President Clinton signed into law in 1993 to acknowledge the illegal overthrow of Hawaii's monarchy.

Labeling the apology "symbolic," Bennett disputed the court's 5-0 decision that the resolution serves as a bar on the sale, exchange or transfer of ceded lands by the state.

OHA, which originally brought the case, is "disappointed" by the state's appeal, and "OHA attorney Jon Van Dyke called the ruling 'well-researched' and said he believes the U.S. Supreme Court is unlikely to take up the case..."

Advertiser reports:
The state has appealed a major Hawai'i Supreme Court decision that blocks the state from selling or transferring former Hawaiian monarchy lands.

State Attorney General Mark Bennett yesterday filed paperwork in Washington, D.C., asking the U.S. Supreme Court to reverse the unanimous state court decision, issued Jan. 31.

That decision held that the state cannot transfer ownership of 1.4 million acres of former monarchy lands, now called ceded lands, pending resolution of claims by Native Hawaiians to those lands or revenues they produce.

The Hawai'i opinion, written by Chief Justice Ronald Moon, was based in large part on language in a Congressional Apology Resolution passed in 1993 to mark the 100th anniversary of the overthrow of the Hawaiian kingdom.

Moon wrote that the Apology Resolution and related state legislation impose upon the state a "fiduciary duty to preserve the corpus of the public land trust, specifically the ceded lands, until such time as the unrelinquished claims of the Native Hawaiians have been resolved."

Bennett, however, said the Moon opinion "is based on a wholly incorrect reading of the legal effect of the Apology Resolution" and unfairly blocks the state from "prudently managing" the ceded lands.

The decision "strips the state of its basic sovereign right to control and manage the lands it owns," Bennett said in a news release.

The Hawai'i Supreme Court opinion reversed a lower court ruling from Circuit Judge Sabrina McKenna in a suit filed against the state by the Office of Hawaiian Affairs and four individual plaintiffs of Native Hawaiian ancestry.

Here's the court's opinion placing an injunction on the sale or transfer of so-called ceded lands, which were never actually ceded.

Posted at 08:39 AM     Permalink      

Thu - April 24, 2008

Kamehameha Schools seeking return of $2M from suit

Advertiser reports:
Kamehameha Schools is trying to get back as much as $2 million of the $7 million it paid last year to settle a lawsuit that challenged its admissions policy favoring Hawaiian students, according to legal papers filed in federal court in California.

The reason is a breach of confidentiality regarding the terms of the settlement.

Posted at 10:11 AM     Permalink      

Tue - April 8, 2008

Settlement bill back on table for next year

Advertiser reports that OHA's proposed settlement for Hawaiian national lands is back on the table for this legislative session.

But Star-Bulletin reports that:
The proposed $200 million Office of Hawaiian Affairs settlement appears dead for this year's legislative session.

Senate President Colleen Hanabusa said yesterday that OHA trustees voted to urge the Legislature to pass a bill directing OHA to spend another year in negotiations.

Update: I obviously didn't read the Advertiser article carefully (nor all the way through), and got the mistaken impression that they are talking about this session, but in actuality they are saying that while the bill is dead for this year it is still on the table for next session, following more public meetings and continued negotiations during the interim. (Thanks to Gordon for pointing this out.)

Posted at 08:49 AM     Permalink      

Sat - April 5, 2008

Trask: OHA Needs to Be Transparent and Accountable

Hawaii Reporter has a partial transcript of Mililani Trask's testimony re OHA proposed Hawaiian national lands settlement bill, raising questions about their management of funds, including the creation of several private LLCs to which funds have been transferred.

Update: Here's all the testimony submitted for this hearing (h/t Doug)

Posted at 03:12 PM     Permalink      

AG expects OHA case to be dismissed

Star-Bulletin reports that state Attorney General Mark Bennett believes the new case filed by Wm. Burgess against OHA covers issues that have previously been decided in the agency's favor and should be dismissed by the court.

Side note: OHA said the Arakaki case, that this one is similar to, cost the agency $409,491 in attorney fees.

Posted at 02:38 PM     Permalink      

Fri - April 4, 2008

OHA sued again by Burgess

Star-Bulletin reports:
Another legal challenge to the Office of Hawaiian Affairs was filed yesterday in federal court by six Hawaii residents who contend state funding for the agency discriminates against non-Hawaiians.

The six contend that paying OHA a part of the revenues from ceded lands once held by the Hawaiian monarchy violates the state's trust obligations to all Hawaii residents.

The six non-Hawaiian residents are represented by H. William Burgess, the attorney who filed other challenges to OHA in the past.

It asks for a court order to halt state payments from ceded-land revenues to OHA and a halt to OHA spending that money to support the Akaka Bill pending in Congress. It also suggests that the pending settlement before the state Legislature to resolve past disputed claims by OHA to ceded-land revenues would also violate the rights of non-native Hawaiians.

Posted at 04:03 PM     Permalink      

Wanted: Native Hawaiian law students - LSAT prep

Rec'd from email via Derek K...

"In order to preserve our people, culture, and lands, we must take an active role in this [legal] system. The law is limiting, but it can be, it must be, and it has been, used to advance the rights of Hawaiian people. That is why I view increased participation by Hawaiians in the legal process as a positive step."
—Spoken by Chief Justice William S. Richardson on August 5, 1988.

'Ahahui O Hawai'i, the Hawaiian law student organization at the Richardson School of Law, is looking for Native Hawaiians eligible and interested in applying to law school. 'Ahahui O Hawai'i will be providing a workshop for Law School Admissions Test (LSAT) preparation. 

For a person to be eligible to apply to law school they must "receive a baccalaureate degree from an accredited university or college of approved standing before they begin their work at the School of Law."

LSAT preparation is a vital part of the law school application process. "The LSAT is a half-day standardized test measur[ing] acquired reading and verbal reasoning skills." 'Ahahui O Hawai'i is providing LSAT preparation classes to eligible Hawaiian law school applicants. 

The ability of 'Ahahui O Hawai'i to provide LSAT preparation to Hawaiians is made possible by a grant from the Office of Hawaiian Affairs. Unfortunately, space availability is limited. Hawaiians interested in enrolling in these workshops are encouraged to visit our website, Applications are due (received by) Friday, April 18, 2008. Applications may be downloaded from our website.

Our next LSAT preparation workshop is geared for the October 4, 2008 LSAT.

For more information, please e-mail 'Ahahui O Hawai'i at or you may also call (808) 956-3003. For more information on the William S. Richardson School of Law visit

Posted at 01:51 PM     Permalink      

Fri - March 28, 2008

OHA audit advances in Senate

Advertiser reports:
A key Senate committee yesterday advanced a resolution urging state Auditor Marion Higa to conduct a financial and management audit of the Office of Hawaiian Affairs, following more than three hours of testimony for and against the action.

OHA trustees and state Attorney General Mark Bennett said the sudden introduction of the resolution was punitive and tied to the critical comments they made after three Senate committees rejected a $200 million settlement of ceded land revenues last week.

They also pointed out that Higa is already scheduled to conduct an audit this year, under a statute that mandates such an audit of OHA every four years.

Senators said the suggestion for an audit came from growing calls from constituents who question OHA's expenditures and want more accountability from an agency established to benefit Native Hawaiians.

Posted at 12:16 PM     Permalink      

Thu - March 27, 2008

OHA audit hearing today (OHA not happy)

Advertiser reports
State senators will consider a measure today calling for a financial and management audit of the Office of Hawaiian Affairs.

The audit would come on the heels of the Senate's rejection last week of an agreement between the state and OHA to settle a 30-year dispute over revenue from land formerly owned by the Hawaiian government.

The settlement would give OHA $200 million in land and cash plus an annual $15.1 million payment. In exchange, OHA would relinquish any claims to revenues from the so-called "ceded lands."

Senate President Colleen Hanabusa said an audit of OHA would give everyone a chance to review the settlement.

"What the (OHA) beneficiaries are asking for, which we in the Senate do not find to be unreasonable, is to say, 'Slow it down a little bit. Let us participate in this. Talk to us.' And so the audit, to me, is an extension of that," said Hanabusa, D-21st (Nanakuli, Makaha).

Opponents of settlement have said it asks Hawaiians to give up too much for too little in return. Many Native Hawaiian leaders also complained they were not consulted on the settlement.

The hearing is at 2:45 p.m. today with The Senate Agriculture and Hawaiian Affairs Committee in room 224 of the state Capitol.

Here's the Star-Bulletin story.

Posted at 12:30 PM     Permalink      

Fri - March 21, 2008

OHA, state still pushing for settlement bill passage this year

Advertiser reports:
Office of Hawaiian Affairs trustees and Hawai'i Attorney General Mark Bennett yesterday vowed to continue pressing for legislative approval of a $200 million ceded lands settlement this year. But a key senator was skeptical that a resolution could be reached in the remaining six weeks of the Legislature.

"We want to make it clear that we are not giving up," OHA Chairwoman Haunani Apoliona said at a news conference, with five of her eight colleagues flanking her.

But Sen. Jill Tokuda, who chairs the Senate's Agriculture and Hawaiian Affairs Committee, said Tuesday's decision to hold House Bill 266, which contained the settlement offer, speaks for itself.

"I think by holding the measure, that was a pretty definitive message that we do not intend to pass the bill this year," said Tokuda, D-24th (Kailua, Kane'ohe).

Tokuda stressed that she and other senators want the parties to get more feedback from the public, work on the bill and come back next year.

Bennett, the Lingle administration's chief negotiator in settlement talks with OHA, said, "We are going to do everything we can to try to still get this passed in this legislative session."

And the Star-Bulletin story also says it is unlikely the bill will be revived this year.

Posted at 12:45 PM     Permalink      

Tue - March 18, 2008

OHA national lands settlement bill likely dead

Star-Bulletin reports:
A proposed $200 million settlement between the Office of Hawaiian Affairs and the state over the use of former monarchy lands appears dead for this session.

Last night, three Senate committees rejected the proposal - the result of four years of negotiations between OHA and the state.

Sens. Jill Tokuda, Brian Taniguchi, Clayton Hee, Mike Gabbard and Russell Kokubun voted to reject the bill, House Bill 266, effectively stopping the measure for this year.

Hee (D, Kahuku-Kaneohe), a former OHA chairman, said that not enough was known about how the state and OHA reached their agreement and how it would benefit the native Hawaiian beneficiaries.

The senators represented the Committees of Water and Land, Agriculture and Hawaiian Affairs, and Judiciary. Yesterday the committees heard more than five hours of mostly negative testimony regarding the bill.

Also this story in the Advertiser.

Posted at 09:06 AM     Permalink      

Mon - March 17, 2008

Hawaiian leaders urge delay on ceded lands

Meanwhile, Advertiser reports:
Two Native Hawaiian leaders have joined with Hawaiian activists in calling for state lawmakers to delay passing an agreement that transfers $200 million of land and cash to the Office of Hawaiian Affairs.

Robin Danner, president and chief executive officer of the Council for Native Hawaiian Advancement, and Colin Kippen, executive director of the Native Hawaiian Education Council, said they want more information to be gathered before the settlement is adopted. That probably would mean putting off a decision at least until next year's Legislature convenes in January 2009.

Late yesterday, the Sovereign Councils of the Hawaiian Homelands Assembly also weighed in on the subject. The organization, formerly known as the State Council of Hawaiian Homestead Association, issued a statement saying it "strongly opposes" the agreement reached between OHA and the Lingle administration. The statement said homestead association presidents gathered Saturday to discuss the issue and voted unanimously to oppose the agreement. The group echoed the arguments made by Danner and Kippen.

Meanwhile, a poll conducted on OHA's behalf shows 55 percent of Hawai'i residents believe the Legislature should approve the settlement agreement while 72 percent of Native Hawaiians polled believe it should be passed.
Danner and Kippen, who are usually allied with OHA on major issues, including their support for the Akaka bill for Native Hawaiian recognition, say they are not convinced this settlement is the best OHA could get.

Posted at 09:21 AM     Permalink      

Sun - March 16, 2008

Press Conference Monday: Stop the OHA Settlement Bill

Rec'd via email...

Press Conference: Stop the OHA Settlement Bill
Monday 3/17, 1:30 pm at the Queen Liliuokalani statue
(prior to a 2:45 pm hearing on the OHA settlement bill)

Mililani Trask, Former OHA Trustee
Moanikeala Akaka, Former OHA Trustee
Clarence Ku Ching, Former OHA Trustee

Written Messages from:
Walter Ritte, Former OHA Trustee
Jon Osorio, UH Manoa Center for Hawaiian Studies

The OHA settlement agreement has received a very critical response from the Hawaiian community. Since its unveiling on January 17, the 115th anniversary of the overthrow of the Hawaiian government, the Hawaiian community has soundly rejected the measure, both as an affront to democratic processes, and as a negotiated agreement which undercuts native interests.

We are calling for all versions of the OHA settlement bill to be killed, to prevent this dangerous agreement from moving forward.

Speakers at this press conference will elaborate on the following points:

• Lack of democratic process on the settlement agreement
• Arbitrary, low dollar amounts
• Multiple beneficiary requests for OHA valuation reports, with no response
• Evidence of toxic land at Kalaeloa
• OHA manipulation of public labor unions to support bill
• Broad "waiver of claims" forecloses native and national rights
• No audit or inventory of "ceded lands"
• OHA privatizing assets, preventing public or beneficiary oversight
• Need for operational and financial audits of OHA
• High dollar amounts spent on Akaka bill and Kau Inoa, contradicting self-determination rights of future generations


Questions? Ikaika Hussey 221-2843

Posted at 10:08 AM     Permalink      

Thu - March 13, 2008

Hawaiian National Lands Settlement - State Negotiating with Itself

A few thoughts on OHA's proposed settlement on the so-called "ceded" lands which are in truth Hawaiian national lands...

OHA does some good things to benefit the Hawaiian people.

But the basic fact is that OHA is part of the state government. The state government is the local administrative authority of the United States' illegal occupation of the Hawaiian islands.

Since Rice v. Cayetano, OHA's trustees are elected by the entire voting population of the state, and anyone can run for trustee. OHA has no claim whatsoever to legitimacy as a representative of the Native Hawaiian people, much less the Hawaiian kingdom national population or government.

So in this settlement proposal, it is basically the state negotiating with itself over how to divvy up the land and assets of the Hawaiian kingdom.

I don't doubt that some folks involved have sincere interest in the benefit of the Hawaiian people and want to try to get as much land and assets as possible to support the welfare of the Hawaiian people, so I don't want to personally denigrate anyone who may feel like they are acting in good faith under the present conditions.

But I think it is absolutely essential to keep in mind the perspective that this is in fact just the illegal state negotiating with itself. OHA doesn't represent the Hawaiian national population, and whatever the outcome of this bill, OHA cannot make any agreement or settlement on behalf of the Hawaiian national population or its government, and cannot extinguish or diminish the rights of the Hawaiian kingdom and its people under international law. That is important to put on the record.

Hearing on the proposed settlement bill is scheduled for next Monday, March 17 at 2:45 pm in Capitol room 414.

Posted at 09:43 PM     Permalink      

Wed - March 12, 2008

Settlement bill hearing next Monday

Next hearing on OHA's proposed Hawaiian national lands ("ceded" lands) settlement bill is scheduled for next Monday, March 17 at 2:45 pm in Capitol room 414.

Posted at 08:55 AM     Permalink      

Mon - March 10, 2008

Native Hawaiian product trademarks stalled

Doug at Poinography points out this Pacific Business News article about the Native Hawaiian Trademark Study:
Supporters of a cultural trademark study to protect Native Hawaiian art say it shows that many local artisans want a program to distinguish authentic artworks and products from fakes and imitations.

But more than a year after release of the $74,300 study, the Office of Hawaiian Affairs has taken no action on its conclusions.

"It's sitting on a shelf gathering dust," said Leighton Chong, a Honolulu intellectual property and patent attorney who gave legal counsel to the study.

Chong said OHA, which paid for the study, is the logical agency to follow up with the study's recommendations because its mandate is to benefit Hawaiians.

"My basic reading is with all the challenges to race-based programs that OHA is dealing with, the cultural trademark program may not be a priority at this time," said Chong. "The Hawaiian community is rather fractious, and there are many different viewpoints. [The study] crumbled under its own weight."

OHA Administrator Clyde Namuo did not respond to requests for comment.

Posted at 09:40 PM     Permalink      

Thu - February 28, 2008

Hawaiian national lands deal moving forward

Advertiser reports:
The state House, the Lingle administration and the Office of Hawaiian Affairs now appear to all be on the same page regarding a settlement of a longstanding dispute over ceded [sic] land revenues.

That could leave the fate of the $200 million settlement package in the hands of the 25 members of the state Senate.
Three House committees yesterday voted to approve House Bill 266, House Draft 2, which OKs the state to hand over three parcels of land valued at $187 million and $13 million in cash to OHA.
There are two key differences between SB 2733 — the original bill — and HB 266, the bill passed by the three committees yesterday:

  • The House bill states OHA will get a minimum of $15.1 million in future years as its share of ceded land revenues. A biennial report would be submitted from the state Department of Land and Natural Resources, which would analyze the amount of money derived from ceded lands, and the Legislature would determine how much OHA would ultimately get. The original bill calls for a flat $15.1 million annual payment, a key sticking point for some Native Hawaiians.

  • The House bill deletes all references to a "settlement." Caldwell said: "I believe this legislation sets a policy that enables a settlement but does not set the terms of the settlement. We're the policymaking branch of government."

Update: ps - Joan Conrow had a report on Kauai hearing last week on the settlement proposal.
The two sentiments voiced most frequently were that OHA, a state agency, cannot be trusted to fully represent kanaka maoli in negotiations with the state, and that such negotiations represent a tacit acceptance that the state has jurisdiction over the 1.4 million lands in question. (Another 400,000 acres are held by the fed.)

“You’re promoting a fraud,” said one man.

“You’re asking us to be collaborators with the enemy,” said another.

Posted at 07:58 AM     Permalink      

Thu - February 21, 2008

Lands settlement bill revised; hearing Saturday

Advertiser reports on a new version of the proposed Hawaiian national lands settlement, with a House hearing 9:00 a.m. Saturday.
Three committees of the state House of Representatives will collect testimony from the public Saturday on its newly released version of a proposed settlement of disputed land revenue claims by the Office of Hawaiian Affairs against the state.

House Bill 266 keeps intact the bulk of the landmark settlement reached last month between OHA officials and Attorney General Mark Bennett, specifically a package of four parcels of state land valued at $187 million and a one-time cash payment of $13 million.

A key change is that it negates the proposed future annual payments of $15.1 million to OHA, as called for in the OHA-Bennett version and which has been criticized by many because it makes no allowances for inflationary factors. Instead, the House bill calls for an undefined pro rata share.

Saturday's 9 a.m. hearing at the state Capitol auditorium is being held jointly by three House committees: Finance, Judiciary and the Water, Land, Ocean Resources and Hawaiian Affairs.
On a related note, Native Hawaiians and the public will get two more opportunities before Saturday's hearing to learn about the bill.

OHA is holding an Internet discussion on the proposed settlement from 9 to 11 a.m. tomorrow. Go to for more information.

Meanwhile, a coalition of Native Hawaiian rights groups will hold a panel discussion at 6:30 p.m. tomorrow at the Kamakakuokalani Center for Hawaiian Studies at the University of Hawai'i-Manoa titled "Why the OHA settlement is a bad deal."

Posted at 10:47 PM     Permalink      

Mon - February 18, 2008

Public Trust Lands: OHA and State of Hawaii on TV

Public Trust Lands: OHA and State of Hawaii

All on 'Olelo Channel 53 NATV:

2/28/08 Thu 3:00 pm
3/13/08 Thu 3:00 pm
4/12/08 Sat 10:00 pm
4/19/08 Sat 10:00 pm

Posted at 08:32 AM     Permalink      

Sat - February 16, 2008

Forum: Why The OHA Settlement is a Bad Deal

Rec'd via email...

Panel Discussion

The discussion topic is: "Why The OHA Settlement is a Bad Deal"

Scheduled for Sat. Feb 23, 12pm (noon) FRIDAY, Feb 22, 6:30 pm at Kamakakuokalani Center for Hawaiian Studies (halau).

Featuring speakers Jon Osorio, Master Blaster Kaleikoa Kaeo and more...

Here's the flyer:ai_pohaku_flyer-1.pdf

Update: Mililani Trask will also be on the panel.

Update 2: Date rescheduled to Friday evening. Flyer has been updated.

Posted at 06:26 PM     Permalink      

Fri - February 15, 2008

"Ceded" land settlement deal advances, but proposition iffy

Advertiser reports:
Two key state Senate committees yesterday advanced a plan to settle a dispute over ceded land revenues that would have the state give $200 million in land and cash to the Office of Hawaiian Affairs.

But it remained clear that the plan, or some version of a settlement, is still an iffy proposition at the state Capitol, where lawmakers must sign off on any settlement.

Posted at 09:56 AM     Permalink      

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Published On: Sep 24, 2009 01:49 PM
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