Friday, October 31, 2008

Hawaiian Home Lands Partnership

The Honolulu Advertiser is reporting that the Department of Hawaiian Home Lands, under the direction of Micah Kane, is entering into a partnership with Safeway and Target.

The Honolulu Advertiser article describes the agreement as helping Hawaiians as it will provide revenue to build affordable housing to Native Hawaiians. The agreement expects to generate $18 million over 25 years.

It may be interesting to see what the Native Hawaiian public response may be or if there is one at all.

Message from Kamehameha Schools CEO and Trustees

This message was sent earlier in the week but I just got it this morning.

Aloha mai kakou:

I am writing to let you know about an important development in Jacob Doe vs. Kamehameha Schools, the lawsuit filed this summer by four anonymous students (and their parents) challenging our admissions policy. In September, the plaintiffs, through their attorneys, filed a motion for protective order in U.S. District Court in Honolulu asking the court to allow them to proceed anonymously. We opposed the
motion. Today, U.S. Magistrate Barry Kurren denied the plaintiffs motion. Jacob, Janet, Karl and Lisa Doe have ten days to disclose their identities if they decide to pursue this case.

Judge Kurren's ruling was very thoughtful, and we appreciate his decision. We believe we have the right to face those who challenge our policy, and we will continue to stand our ground on that issue. Even as we assert our rights in court, we will behave in the pono way that Pauahi would have expected. We need to remember that the
plaintiffs are children and should be treated with care and sensitivity.

We intend to conduct discovery to establish that the plaintiffs do not, in fact, have standing to sue. Such discovery would be hampered if the plaintiffs remained anonymous. The plaintiffs' attorneys argued that disclosing their identifies would put their safety at risk. They attempted to support their argument with referrals to unrelated newspaper articles detailing physical and verbal attacks that are allegedly racially motivated and which have no connection to Kamehameha Schools or our case. They also referenced anonymous blog posts in newspaper forums linked to articles about our earlier lawsuit.

Judge Kurren's ruling states "none of the Plaintiffs' evidence shows any threat of physical violence or economic harm against the Plaintiffs." I know you know that we would never take any aciton that puts a child in danger. We would never engage in or condone any racial threats or actions, and we know none of you would either.

There will be some press on the hearing in the morning newspaper. If you know of anyone who intends to respond via chat lines, please encourage them to do so with sensitivity and care.

E malama pono,

The CEO and Trustees

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Doctoral Dissertation Defense

We've received word that Ph.D. candidate David Keanu Sai will be defending his doctoral dissertation.  Click here to view his dissertation proposal.

Mr. Sai has lined-up an impressive panel of people to serve as members of his dissertation committee which includes the Dean of the William S. Richardson School of Law, Aviam Soifer.  

Thursday, November 6, 2008
8:00 - 10:00 am
Saunders 624 (Friedman room)

"The American Occupation of the Hawaiian Kingdom: Beginning the Transition from Occupied to Restored State"

by Keanu Sai
Political Science

On January 17th 2007, U.S. Senator Daniel Akaka (D-Hawai`i) re-introduced a bill to grant tribal sovereignty to Native Hawaiians, similar to Native Americans. The difference, however, is that Native Hawaiians are citizens of an internationally recognized sovereign, but occupied State, whereas Native Americans are a dependent nation within the United States. Great Britain and France were the first to recognize Hawai`i's sovereignty on November 28, 1843, and the United States on July 6, 1844. This dissertation re-frames the legal status of Hawai`i by employing legal and political theories that explain Hawaiian modernity since the 19th century to the present. As an alternative view of U.S. sovereignty exercised by virtue of the plenary power of Congress over indigenous peoples, this dissertation challenges the historiography's assumptions about the history of law and politics in the Hawaiian Islands by providing an analysis of Hawaiian sovereignty under international law that clearly explicates Hawai`i's prolonged occupation by the United States since the Spanish American War. In terms of law, this study looks at the origin and development of the Hawaiian Kingdom as a constitutional monarchy, the events that led to the illegal overthrow of its government, the prolonged occupation of its territory, and recent actions taken by Hawaiian subjects in forming an acting government to expose the prolonged occupation in order to impel the United States to comply with the international laws of occupation.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Another Kahana Update

The Honolulu Star-Bulletin reports as of 4:57 pm today that the "Kahana families may sue to stop eviction."

I received the below excerpt in e-mail from Keao Nesmith who grew up in Kaua'i but spent his summers in Kahana. Keao has 'ohana (family) that live in Kahana. Keao recommends reading the book, Kahana, How the Land Was Lost as it provides some insight into the history of Kahana.

Basically at the end of the 1800s, a group of Chinese had a consortium that sold the land to the Fosters. The Fosters turned Kahana into ranch land and they had plans to build a resort based on a southeast Asian theme of huts and gardens. That never happened though. The song Beautiful Kahana was written for the Foster family. I think the Fosters sold their Kahana land to another plantation which eventually sold to private families, some of them being my ohana. I still have ohana there but they are not among the ohana being evicted. My ohana had several acres of land in Kahana but the State confiscated it in the early 1970s through eminent domain to turn the valley into a State park. I go and work the lo'i up in Kahana valley almost every week and I take UHM students there every semester to work in the lo'i.

It really sucks that the State confiscated the land by eminent domain and forced these ohana into the situations their are in now. Actually the State evicted everyone back in the early 70s when they seized the whole valley to turn into a State park but the ohana protested at the State Capitol then and at hearings. As a result the State delayed any ruling on the Kahana issue until 1987 when the State created a lease with 32 families that were identified by QLCC as having long family histories in the valley. The 6 ohana who are being evicted were not included among the 32. You need to talk to Aunty Gwen, director at
QLCC Punaluu. She is there now and she was one of those QLCC surveyors who came up with the list of 32 ohana. She also has been helping out the ohana who are being evicted.

October 29, 2008 - Update regarding Native Hawaiian Legal Issues

On October 1, the Supreme Court of the United States granted cert to the State of Hawaii in its appeal from the State of Hawaii Supreme Court's ruling in Office of Hawaiian Affairs v. Housing and Community Development Corporation of Hawaii case.

The State's Petition for Cert is available here.

Earlier this year it was made known that there would be an attempt to legally attack the admissions policy of Kamehameha Schools again.  The Honolulu Star-Bulletin reported that a lawsuit was filed in federal court identifying the plaintiffs as Doe plaintiffs on August 6.

Yesterday, October 28, the Honolulu Star-Bulletin reported that Federal Magistrate Barry Kurren ruled that "the names of four children legally challenging Kamehameha Schools' admissions policy must be made public."

The local Hawai'i media has reported on evictions that will remove families from Kahana Valley; families that have ancestral ties to to the area.  

In its article, the Honolulu Star-Bulletin provided

Six families living in Ahupuaa o Kahana State Park on Oahu's Windward side are facing sudden eviction today because of confusion over their expired leases with the state.

The article continued with, 

In ancient Hawaii, Kahana was once a fishing and farming community, a segment of land from the mountain to the ocean known as an ahupuaa, according to DLNR's Web site.  The state bought the land in 1970 to preserve the ahupuaa.

Senator Clayton Hee described these evictions as unnecessary.

Friday, October 10, 2008

National Native American Law Students Association's moot court teams

This year's returning members of the William S. Richardson School of Law's Native American Moot Court team, Ann Otteman, Rafael Renteria, Chris Santos and Terrence Thornburgh welcomed eight new members to the team. The eight new members are: Lahela Hite, Joni Domingues, Chasid Sapolu, Scott Shishido, Jesse Smith, Ka'upenaikaika Soon, Uilisone Tua, and Kau'i Yamane.

This year's team will be competing in Boulder, Colorado at the University of Colorado February 27 and 28. The competition is sponsored by the National Native American Law Students Association and co-hosted by the Denver University and University of Colorado Native American Law Students Association chapters.