Monday, November 17, 2008

Mark Bennett's 11/13/08 comments and the Kupu'aina Coalition

Hawai'i Public Radio has an audio clip of comments made by Hawai'i Attorney General Mark Bennett. Hawai'i Public Radio briefly describes those comments as providing that the Akaka bill will become law soon.

Below is a transcribed version of those comments.

With the now coming into power of President-elect Barack Obama, I think it is virtually certain that the Akaka bill will become law in 2009, that a native Hawaiian governing entity will be recognized and will assume eventually the same legal status as other subsidiary sovereigns like Indian tribes and Native Alaskans. There is no justifiable policy reason, in our view, to treat Native Hawaiians as second class. Native Hawaiians were dispossessed of their land. They were treated unfairly, promises were made and broken in a moral sense and Native Hawaiians ought to have the right to form their own government to exercise limited autonomy and self-government in the same way every other native group in America has the right to.

I realize that opinions on the Akaka Bill vary throughout the Hawaiian islands and within the Native Hawaiian community. I mention these comments here, because, within the context of the State of Hawai'i's decision to have the Supreme Court of The United States review the Hawai'i Supreme Court's ruling in the Office of Hawaiian Affairs v. Housing and Community Development Corporation of Hawai'i, these statements provide for some very interesting discussions.

On Friday November 14, 2008, an organization referred to as the "Kupu'āna Coalition" began circulating notices. There were a total of two the first is an "action alert" and the other is a "fact sheet." I'm pasting those notices below in case you have not yet received a notice. It will undoubtedly be interesting to see how things go.

Action Alert:
Friday, November 14, 2008

*Derek Kauanoe: 489-5316
*Davis Kahōkū Price:
*Jocelyn M. Doane:

JOIN us at a Rally Calling on Governor Lingle to
WITHDRAW the Unnecessary Appeal of the Ceded
Lands Case to the U.S. Supreme Court

WHAT: In Commemoration of the 15th Anniversary of the 1993 Apology Resolution – Native Hawaiians Rally and Call on Lingle to Withdraw the Appeal to U.S. Supreme Court.

WHEN: Monday, November 24th at 11:30 AM

State Capitol Rotunda

WHO: You, your ‘ohana, and friends in RED shirts.

- Inform the public of the magnitude of this case and the THREAT IT POSES TO NATIVE HAWAIIAN JUSTICE/RIGHTS.

- This could prove to be the MOST DAMAGING case on Hawaiian Rights EVER. An adverse ruling could cripple reconciliation efforts, severely diminish Native Hawaiian rights, and lay the foundation for dismantling Native Hawaiian programs.

- This is a NON-DIVISIVE issue – a U.S. Supreme Court decision has negative implications for our entire community and EVERY Hawaiian.

- The U.S. Supreme Court could misinterpret and reduce the significance of the Apology Resolution, which recognizes the illegality of the overthrow and supports Native Hawaiian rights.

- The U.S. Supreme Court has the potential to adversely impact the way the people of Hawai‘i deal with issues on a local level. Unlike the State Supreme Court, the U.S. Supreme Court does not know Hawai‘i’s history and will not be affected by the resolution of local issues.

- Governor Lingle’s action is wholly inconsistent with her previous support of Native Hawaiians. She must be urged to WITHDRAW this appeal IMMEDIATELY!

Fact Sheet:
Friday, November 14, 2008

*Derek Kauanoe: 489-5316
*Davis Kahōkū Price:
*Jocelyn M. Doane:

State v. OHA (Ceded Lands Case)

Historical Background of Ceded Lands
- Ceded Lands are former Crown and Government lands held by the Kingdom of Hawai'i for the purpose of benefiting the people of Hawai'i.

- In 1898, approximately 1.8 million acres were “ceded” (transferred) to the United States. At this time, the U.S. implicitly recognized the trust nature of these lands.

- The 1959 Admission Act recognized the State‟s obligation to administer the ceded lands for one or more of five trust purposes, including the betterment of conditions of Native Hawaiians.

- In 1978 the people of Hawai'i amended the Hawai'i Constitution and clarified that the State has a trust responsibility to Native Hawaiians.

Hawai‘i Supreme Court Decision

- On January 31, 2008, the Hawai„i Supreme Court, in a unanimous decision, held that the State has a responsibility to preserve ceded lands, until unrelinquished claims of Native Hawaiians are resolved. The Court placed a moratorium on the sale of ceded lands only until these claims are resolved.

- Our State Supreme Court based its determination on the state's obligation to act as a trustee of ceded lands on behalf of Hawaiian beneficiaries, and state and federal acknowledgment of unrelinquished claims.

- In support of its holding the court referred to language from the 1993 Apology Resolution, as well as state laws that recognize the illegality of the overthrow, the transfer of lands without compensation, and Hawaiians unrelinquished claims to ceded lands.

- Governor Lingle and State Attorney General Bennett subsequently asked the United States Supreme Court to review the State Court's decision. The Supreme Court will hear the case and is expected to issue a decision in Spring 2009.

An adverse ruling from the U.S. Supreme Court could cripple reconciliation efforts, severely diminish NATIVE HAWAIIAN RIGHTS, and lead to the dismantling of Native Hawaiian programs. Native Hawaiian issues affect our entire community and it is important that individual Native Hawaiians, Native Hawaiian organizations, and the broader Hawai'i community support a request for withdrawal.

1 comment:

HWST 297-2008 Spring KCC said...

any thoughts in asking the legislature to "defund" the executive branches expenditure of public monies on the appeal? it's a simple bill. "No public funds or public resources will be used to litigate the case." power of the purse. Even under U.S. law there is no "separation of powers" problem. the legislature could pass it as emergency legislation. LL would veto it and then the over ride. the larger issue is this is a question of "state" law not federal law and the writ was improvidently granted.