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Tuesday, April 11, 2000

OHA logo

OHA meeting
on Ha Hawaii
funding canceled

The group wants $750,000 to
keep reviewing proposed models
of sovereignty but Ka Lahui
opposes the plan

By Pat Omandam


The Office of Hawaiian Affairs Program Management and Budget Committees canceled a joint meeting today that would have included debate on whether to give $750,000 to Ha Hawaii so it could continue reviewing proposed models of sovereignty.

Members of the group Ka Lahui Hawaii, which has opposed the Native Hawaiian Convention as a state-sponsored self-determination effort, reiterated opposition to the plan yesterday.

Ka Lahui Lt. Gov. Kealii Gora said other efforts under way, such as the federal reconciliation process and U.S. Sen. Daniel Akaka's task force on federal recognition, are better suited for this discussion.

Gora said the Rice vs. Cayetano decision made it clear the need for federal recognition of the political status of native Hawaiians as indigenous peoples. And most Hawaiians rejected the convention process during elections of delegates in January 1999, he said.

"Native Hawaiians must seize this opportunity to address issues at the federal level, rather than fund state initiatives like the Ha Hawaii/Native Hawaiian Convention," he said.

But delegates believe otherwise. Charles Rose, convention chairman, said as a matter of fairness, OHA should provide funds for the convention to complete its work. The convention is inclusive and members represent a large segment of the Hawaiian community. Despite financial and time constraints, delegates remain committed to their mission, he said.

Currently, the convention is preparing two draft constitutions on sovereignty models of independence and nation-within-a-nation. Delegates are expected to meet again this weekend to continue their work.

"Our effort is not an isolated one," Rose said. "Our delegates were elected by the communities to represent them, in a first-time election, conducted by Hawaiians for Hawaiians."

Ray Pua, Ha Hawaii treasurer and elections committee chairman, said if the delegate election was considered a state process, then Ha Hawaii should have complied with state and federal laws, which it didn't have to do.

"They continue to say we're a creature of the state," Pua said. "We're not."

Pua said Ka Lahui members are ignoring the fact delegates were duly elected, despite the low turnout.

Pua is a retired Honolulu County Clerk. He said the turnout for elections to the 1978 state Constitutional Convention was also very low. However, it didn't invalidate anything those delegates did, which included the creation of OHA, he said.

Holo I Mua
Hawaiian Roundtable

The Star-Bulletin gathered 10 Hawaiian
leaders for a timely dialogue about what's next for
Hawaiians in the wake of Rice vs. Cayetano.

Representing various views within the Hawaiian
community, the participants were provocative and
candid during a 90-minute discussion on March 13, 2000.

To read a full transcript of the discussion, Click Here

You can also hear the audio recording of the discussion as well as view a panoramic photo of the participants.

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