ANAHOLA — Supporters of the Lawful Hawaiian Government urged Native Hawaiians
to renounce their American citizenship and to join the ranks of the kanaka
maoli – the indigenous people of Hawaii – to restore the Hawaiian
“The only way they are going to have self-determination is to
repatriate with the nation” Kane Pa said.
The kanaka maoli would not be
subject to American laws and would be able to determine their political future,
Pa spoke at a meeting of the Lawful Hawaiian Government held at
the Anahola Club house.
The meeting was held in part to solicit comments
after last week’s Supreme Court ruling that struck down Hawaiian-only voting in
the Office of Hawaiian Affairs elections.
The high court ruled the
restriction violated the 15th Amendment ban on racial discrimination in
About 20 individuals attended the meeting.
Keo Kauihana said
the future of Native Hawaiians would be more secure if more people join the
Lawful Hawaiian Government.
“There is no sitting on the fence and hiding
which side you are on,” Kauihana said. “You have got to take care of yourself.
And it starts with repatriating.”
Many Native Hawaiians won’t take the
first step in that direction because “they don’t know what is on the other
side,” Kauihana said.
As American citizens, Native Hawaiians qualify for
Social Security and welfare benefits, Kauihana said. As kanaka maoli, they
might not be eligible for them, he said.
Gilbert Medeiros Jr, a member of
the sovereignty movement, contended the kanaka maoli will continue to receive
the benefits if they currently have contracts with the federal government for
A massive public education program has to be launched to
convince more Native Hawaiians to join the movement to restore the Hawaiian
nation, Kauihana said.
“We need to make the kanaka maoli attractive to
the Hawaiian people so they know they aren’t going backwards and that they are
going forward,” Kauihana said.
Sovereignty advocate Keoki Puaoi said he
holds meetings regularly to pass on information about the movement.
of the Lawful Hawaiian Government will hold a constitutional convention in
Waimea on the Big Island from March 10 to 12.
Once the constitution is
approved, it will be sent to the kanaka maoli statewide for ratification,
opening the way for the beginnings of the new Hawaiian nation, Puaoi
Pa, Medeiros and Kauihana said the establishment of the nation would
remove the need for OHA.
“OHA is pau,” Pa said. “OHA has no power, we don’t
need them anymore.”
The OHA board, he said, should facilitate the process
so that Hawaiians , outside of the state’s jurisdiction, can begin moving
toward self- determination.
Hee said the OHA trustees don’t intend to step
down despite Gov. Ben Cayetano’s announced intent to replace them.
said the matter will be remanded to 9th Circuit Court of Appeals and to the
Federal District Court and that a final decision is pending.
meantime, Cayetano has announced he will appoint eight trustees in the
interim until new OHA trustees are seated after this year’s
Deputy Attorney General Clarence Lum has said that once the high
court issued its opinion in Rice v Cayetano, saying that the trustees were
elected by an unconstitutional process, they no longer had legal trustee
Kauihana voiced concerns the high court ruling could spark legal
challenges against other programs serving Hawaiian beneficiaries.
obligations for Native Hawaiians should be left in the hands of the kanaka
maoli, Medeiros said.
“It would be in the best hands,” he said.