Standing for what is right in TMT standoff

In regards to Maunakea, the state has launched an effective campaign using the art of distractions: DLNR claims damage to native plants; the governor cites media threats; newspapers publish the cost of law enforcement; editorials claim hypothetical loss of potential income to the state.

There are many issues involved here, not the least of which is the governor’s alleged conflict of interest. But let’s focus on one fundamental, concrete issue: the illegal use of Hawaiian land by the state of Hawaii.

The state, via its Department of Hawaiian Homes Lands, is the trustee of that portion of land put aside in the Hawaiian Homes Commission Acts of 1920 and 1921 for the benefit of Native Hawaiians (Hawaiian Homes Lands Trust).

The state, therefore, is charged with managing those assets for the greatest good of those beneficiaries. Instead, the state has systematically plundered these assets for the good of non-beneficiaries by a series of deals that result in the building of airports and highways, etc., on HHLT lands with no compensation to the trust.

The state has also perpetrated numerous land exchanges of unequal value (see proposed Waipahu land exchange to benefit rail: HawaiiNewsNow Sept 9, 2019). And note that these exchanges have been made without permission from the U.S. Department of the Interior, per established legal procedures, and without consultation of beneficiaries.

Act 14 was an agreement made in 1995 by the state of Hawaii to address this issue by reimbursing DHHL for years of uncompensated land use, at that time estimated to be worth $1 billion.

Officials of DHHL, without consulting beneficiaries, agreed to help the state by accepting a mere $600 million (60%) in land exchange to settle the debt. The state has never paid that. Some money placed into an account for the good of beneficiaries would have shown good faith, but there was none — 24 years later, we have not received a single cent.

In common sense thinking (Business Law 101?), Act 14 is voided due to breach of contract by the state. So the state and the people of Hawaii must start over again, and since that contract of the ‘90s has been voided, the new land value has probably tripled, resulting in a greater debt by the state. We owe the beneficiaries of DHHL more than $1 billion plus 24 more years’ interest.

If you borrow money to buy a house and you do not make any payments on the house for 24 years, the bank forecloses on your loan and evicts you, and whatever improvements you may have made to your home are taken with it. So with the improvements of a road (ie., Maunakea Access) on HHLT lands that have not been paid for.

In this new era, the Hawaiians are asserting their rights (hence the kia‘i), and the state and DHHL will no longer be able to covertly conduct these lease and exchange agreements without authorization of the beneficiaries.

The state will have to pay the trust the appropriate lease amounts (rather than the $1/year that is supposed to be the fee for beneficiaries only) for all the HHLT lands they still use for highways, airports, observatories, etc.

Generations of Hawaiians have died on the DHHL list waiting for their land, while DHHL claimed insufficient funds to improve those lands for occupancy. And, all the while, the state has benefited from these lands without compensation to the trust.

Given the distrust engendered by these past practices and the evident conflict of interest between the state and a state department (DHHL), in future the beneficiaries shall have a say in the granting of these leases and exchanges.

Monies received will be put into a trust fund for beneficiaries so we can put more recipients back on the land. From now on, the state and foreign entities it has enabled to benefit from Hawaiian lands will pay the rightful landowners, the kanaka maoli, to do business in Hawaii.

So, in good faith, let’s negotiate. But the state does not want to do that. Their media coverage is to benefit TMT, the state of Hawaii, and all other foreign investments in Hawaii. An example of the success of this campaign comes from Aaron Stene, who wrote (, Sept. 10, 2019): “The TMT successfully underwent a 10-year permitting and judicial process to only be blocked by protesters illegally blocking Maunakea Access Road … If the TMT relocates, anarchy will have won out over the rule of law. This will set a disastrous precedent that will have far-ranging implications.“

As shown above, the “permitting and judicial process” itself was flawed, as the state does not own the land, nor does TMT. Furthermore, the Maunakea Access Road was illegally built on HHLT land without permission from landowners. That is trespass. The majority of the kia‘i currently occupying the land are the landowners: that is not trespass.

According to “the rule of law,” who should be evicted? Is reinstatement of the law anarchy? Cut through the distractions and you see the fundamental facts — this situation is the result of the state of Hawaii breaking its own, and federal, laws. (This actually dates back to the illegal overthrow of the Kingdom of Hawaii, as determined by the World Court and acknowledged by U.S. President Bill Clinton, but not by the state of Hawaii; but that’s a whole other issue.)

To the kia‘i and all indigenous cultures throughout the world who are currently standing up to fight for their homeland and rights:

E na kanaka maoli o ke ao nei, a no na mea i hanau ‘ia ma lalo o ka Panala‘au o Hawai‘i (‘o ia ho‘i na kupuna): ua pa‘a ko kakou pono‘i i loko o kakou—‘o ke kahua o ko kakou na‘au, ‘o ia ho‘i ka honua ‘o Hawai‘i nei. ‘A‘ole hiki ke lawe ‘ia aku. Nana kakou i hanau. E kupa‘a, e ho‘ohanohano i ko kakou ho‘oilina ia kakou. E ho‘ike i ka honua, a e ho‘oikaika i na kanaka maoli ‘e a‘e e ‘a‘ume‘ume like ana, ‘o ke Kapu Aloha he mahele o kakou, ua hanau ‘ia ia ia. ‘O na mea a pau o Hawai‘i – ‘o ka wai, ka ‘aina, ke kai, ka lani; ‘o ka po me ke ao — ‘o kakou no ia. ‘A‘ole hiki ke lawe ‘ia aku. E ku wale a ku mau i ka pono — ‘o kakou no ‘o Hawai‘i.

In conclusion, to the kanaka maoli of the world, and especially to those born in the Territory of Hawaii (kupuna), our identity is secured within us — the very foundation of our na‘au is part of the landmass of Hawaii nei. They cannot take that from us. We are born of it.

So stand fast, do our heritage proud of who we are. Prove to the world, and give strength to other indigenous cultures who have a similar fight, that Kapu Aloha is part of who we are. We are born into it. Of everything that makes Hawaii — water, land, ocean, sky; the dark, the light — we are part. That, they cannot take away from us. Exude that righteousness — we are Hawaii.

Ke Akua pu. Aloha.


Lorrin Mano‘i and Ka‘imi Summers are residents of Kalaheo, Kauai; Waiki‘i, Hawaii Island; and Manae and Kalae, Molokai.

  1. harry oyama September 22, 2019 12:28 am Reply

    Makes you wonder if indeed the ancestors of many sugar plantation migrants with 3 year labor contracts who overstayed their time in Hawaii are still considered illegal aliens, therefore their descendants, those currently residing in Hawaii, the Japanese, Filipinos, Koreans, Chinese and others are also illegal as well as the status of Statehood, since native Hawaiians have never voted to become a State, then what the State is doing is ILLEGAL.

  2. james September 22, 2019 7:01 am Reply

    Whether the TMT benefits Hawaiians (how do you define this term?) is a matter of opinion, not fact. Many support the scientific endeavors on the mountain, including “Hawaiians”. As to the other grievances, whether you like it or not, Hawaii is part of the USA and the remedies are limited to legal means, ie the judicial branch of our government. Sue if you believe you’ve been wronged and let the courts decide. Alternatively, have the legislature, either State or Federal, change existing laws if you have a beef. Breaking the law is not the answer. If you are prepared to be arrested and charged, then that’s fine; don’t be surprised when it happens and don’t whine about it. Civil disobedience comes with a price.

    1. tawaitai September 24, 2019 7:47 am Reply

      A’ole spoken like a true haole breathless= no meaning!

  3. Objectivity September 22, 2019 7:09 am Reply

    You keep saying “the state” over and over and over … yet your movement doesn’t recognize the state’s legitimacy or respect its laws or legal processes. You oppose TMT in court, and the court grants your request, the permit process starts all over again, the court ultimately rules in TMT’s favor, and so you ignore the authority of the decision. Get out of the road, please. You are blocking the path to knowledge and advancing the cause of myth and race-based division.

  4. Matt milbrand September 22, 2019 7:10 am Reply

    A sincere mahalo for educating all of us with an accurate account of what the truth is. Your article is full of factual evidence !!!!!!!
    Greed, money, disrespect, gluttony and no respect for aloha .
    Malama Pono stay grounded Ke Akua Pū.

  5. John Patt September 22, 2019 10:11 am Reply

    This issue isn’t about the past, nor about the present, but about the future. The future is na keiki. It breaks my heart everytime I hear about another young Hawaii resident having to move to the mainland for a job. But this is the sentence that the protestors of Mauna Kea are levying upon Hawaii’s children. They’re OK with sending them, not just to the mainland for a meaningful job, they’re willing to ship them all the way to the Canary Islands. Or they can stay home and open up a thriving methamphetamine or heroin dealership.

  6. Debra Kekaualua September 22, 2019 12:01 pm Reply

    EXcellent review, Truth and INTEGRITY will prevail. One lie told at the U.N. and thereafter repeated so often, the world population believed! Now, 125+ later we have rendered, the Game Over effect that will affect every single voter regime citizen/person, not otherwise Paying attention to the rule of law! This includes the Hawaiian Kingdom nation peoples, lands, culture, and peaceful mentalities over forever warring u.s. occupiers, killing machinery lasers as PMRF has upgraded, includes NASA, and many “stolen mailbox” judiciary infractions to other corporates and the precise planning to americanize and continue the Ruse. Time to Expose!

    1. tawaitai September 24, 2019 8:03 am Reply

      Objectivity= Laws of the #FakeState only applies to the corrupt & envious greed like you who continue to introduce your foreign belief system into Hawaii it’s People & our Culture!

      1. tawaitai September 24, 2019 9:07 am Reply

        John Patt seize your tongue speaking of the Kia’i in that way of filth calling our Kupuna protestors, A’ole!
        You speak as if TMT is gonna provide lasting jobs to our keiki which is farthest from the truth, you have no idea the struggles that your fathers illegal occupation a peaceful nation has done yet you do & say the same like those before you. It’s People like you who give the haole a bad start here! Your first mistake when coming to Hawaii is you have NO respect for the People our Culture or the Aina that right there speaks of your character loud & clear how dare you speak of our keiki’s as future heroin & methamphetamine dealers!
        The words of a true foreigner who doesn’t deserve the hospitality & aloha of our people.

  7. Craig Millett September 24, 2019 8:58 am Reply

    All this self- satisfied talk of science and knowledge and the stars is empty rhetoric signifying nothing. What has all that gotten us? A dying planet, devastated nature and massive and intrusive ugliness everywhere that humans hang out. In the Appalachians we level mountains so that we can burn their insides at a rate that we know to be deadly to life on Earth. We dig giant pits into this sacred planet for the same “reason”. Western “Civilization” is a death sentence for life on Earth and some of you say that honoring a mountain is Myth? It’s time for humanity to grow up and learn to love all of life and quit worshiping death and destruction. If the only thing the rest of us took from the Hawaiian culture was to love and honor the aina it would be the greatest gift of all.

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