Monday, March 20, 2000

The Hawaiian Roundtable


Holo I Mua

Hawaiian funding
tops $440 million

By Pat Omandam


THE U.S. Congress in recent years has awarded more than $440 million to native Hawaiians through legislation and grants, according to U.S. Sen. Daniel Inouye's office.

Many Hawaiians, including most on the Star-Bulletin roundtable, fear these programs and services are in jeopardy after the U.S. Supreme Court decision in the Rice vs. Cayetano case. The Feb. 23 ruling struck down the state's Hawaiians-only elections for the Office of Hawaiian Affairs, casting a cloud over other government programs for Hawaiians that are based solely on race.

To see what might be at stake, here's a condensed list of the recent congressional funding to native Hawaiians, the year(s) funded, the total amount awarded, and some of the top programs funded:

Bullet Native Hawaiian Education Act (1989-2000): $114.7 million received for seven programs. They include native Hawaiian family-based education centers ($41.4 million); the Native Hawaiian Higher Education Program ($20.8 million); and Na Pua No'eau, Native Hawaiian Gifted and Talented Program ($17.6 million).

Bullet Other education programs (1994-2000): $169.9 million for seven programs. They include Native Hawaiian Employment and Training Program ($91.2 million); Native Hawaiian Vocational and Education Program ($34.8 million); and Native Hawaiian Culture and Arts Program ($15.1 million).

Bullet Native Hawaiian Health Care Act (1994-2000): $35.5 million for two programs, Papa Ola Lokahi/Native Hawaiian Health Care Systems ($27.9 million) and the Native Hawaiian Health Professions Scholarship Program ($7.6 million).

Bullet Other health programs (1994-2000): $36.2 million for eight programs. They include the Native Hawaiian Elders Program ($15.4 million); Native Hawaiian Safe and Drug-Free Schools and Communities Program ($10 million); and the Native Hawaiian Health Research and Multi-Ethnic Health Research Project ($3.2 million).

Bullet Other congressional legislation related to native Hawaiians, their culture and the environment (year 2000 only): $66.8 million for 25 programs. They include Kahoolawe Island cleanup ($35 million); Bishop Museum Youth Training ($12.5 million); Hawaii Hansen's Disease ($2 million); and Kaloko-Honokohau National Historic Park ($1.1 million).

Bullet Native Hawaiian Education grants (1999): $2 million for six programs, including Maui Community College Halau Ao project ($199,640); Alu Like Inc. ($445,047); Aha Punana Leo ($564,759); Edith Kanakaole Foundation ($540,596); and Hawaiian Language College at the University of Hawaii-Hilo ($246,968).

Bullet Native Hawaiian Revolving Loan Fund (1999): $10 million.

Bullet Administration for Native American grants (1999): $5.5 million for 12 programs. They include Native Hawaiian Advisory Council ($3.2 million); Ha Hawaii ($320,751); Pacific American Foundation to preserve Hawaiian moon calendar ($316,856); and Anahola Homesteaders Council, Project Faith ($229,331).

Bullet Native Hawaiian Health Care Grants (1999): $109,936 for two programs, Health Resources and Services Administration ($9,936) and Hawaii Youth Services Network ($100,000).

Native Hawaiian
population shows
steady annual growth

The origins of the first Hawaiian people and the date they reached the islands are not established with certainty -- but the usual assumption is that they were Polynesians who voyaged from Tahiti and began to settle the islands around 300-750 A.D.

Although population estimates vary, some modern historians conclude that the native Hawaiian population was 200,000 to 300,000 when British Capt. James Cook arrived in 1778. Within 100 years after Western contact and the introduction of new diseases and infectious agents, the native Hawaiian population had dropped to about 47,500.

The modern population trend for native Hawaiians shows steady annual growth, according to the Native Hawaiian Databook.

Population estimates have varied widely depending on how Hawaiians are defined. In 1990, estimates ranged from 138,742 (12.5 percent of Hawaii's population) to 205,079 (18.8 percent of the state population).

The majority of native Hawaiians have less than 50 percent blood quantum, live on Oahu and have a median family income of $37,960. Nearly a third of all native Hawaiians in the United States live on the mainland.



Pre-Rice poll by
OHA shows no majority
on sovereignty

Forty-seven percent of native Hawaiians polled completely favored or partly favored the sovereignty movement, 32 percent were opposed, 18 percent were undecided, and 3 percent didn't know, according to a poll done before the U.S. Supreme Court ruling invalidating Hawaiians-only elections. Officials from the Office of Hawaiian Affairs, which commissioned the poll last year, said interest in sovereignty has likely risen given the Rice vs. Cayetano ruling. But they had no more recent poll results.

Among those native Hawaiians supporting sovereignty, according to the poll:

Bullet 68 percent believed the sovereign nation should control its own natural resources.

Bullet 65 percent believed the sovereign nation should be governed by an elected leader.

Bullet 64.6 percent believed all ceded lands should be returned to a sovereign Hawaiian nation.

Bullet 62.8 percent believed the new entity should have its own lawmaking body.

Among non-Hawaiians polled, 42 percent completely or partly favored the sovereignty movement, 34 percent were opposed, 21 percent were undecided and 4 percent did not know, the poll said.

The survey included 3,975 respondents, including 1,764 who identified themselves as Hawaiian and 2,211 who were not Hawaiian.

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