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To Our Readers

By John Flanagan

Saturday, February 26, 2000

are shaking

ALREADY, the millennium has brought sweeping change to two major institutions working in the interests of native Hawaiians.

Hamilton McCubbin, the new CEO of what was the Bishop Estate, told the Honolulu Rotary this week that Kamehameha Schools "will never be the same."

He spoke of doubling spending on education, partnering with public schools, trustees confining themselves to setting policy, re-examining all programs and eliminating any inconsistent with furthering education. Without diminishing the college prep program, he said vocational education would be expanded and include high-tech job skills.

McCubbin said running the schools would be left to President Michael Chun, whom neither he nor the board would micromanage, and he spoke of changing Kamehameha's communication style to one of openness and truthfulness.

"No more propaganda," he said. What a breath of fresh air!

The very next day came news from the Supreme Court. Its Rice vs. Cayetano decision opens Office of Hawaiian Affairs board elections to all. This could mean the ouster of eight of nine sitting OHA trustees and raises serious questions about other native Hawaiian entitlements.

I believe this decision will eventually turn out to be a positive turning point for Hawaiian sovereignty. Regardless, the words of Justice Anthony M. Kennedy are worth remembering:

"When the culture and way of life of a people are all but engulfed by a history beyond their control, their sense of loss may extend down through generations and their dismay may be shared by many members of the larger community.

"As the State of Hawaii attempts to address these realities, it must, as always, seek the political consensus that begins with a sense of shared purpose. One of the necessary beginning points is this principle: The Constitution of the United States, too, has become the heritage of all the citizens of Hawaii.

"In this case the Fifteenth Amendment invalidates the electoral qualification based on ancestry. The judgment of the Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit is reversed.

"It is so ordered."

John Flanagan is editor and publisher of the Star-Bulletin.
To reach him call 525-8612, fax to 523-8509, send
e-mail to or write to
P.O. Box 3080, Honolulu, Hawaii 96802.

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