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As part of its mandate to advocate for Native Hawaiians, each year OHA submits a package of proposed bills to the Hawaii State Legislature, and the agency’s Board of Trustees also votes to take positions on a wide variety of legislation impacting the Hawaiian community. To view the legislative package that the Office of Hawaiian […]
The Office of Hawaiian Affairs is pleased to announce that two of its Kamakakoʻi films have been selected to be screened at the annual Wild and Scenic Film Festival being held in Nevada City, California from January 15 – 18, 2015. The short documentary style films, Ola i ka wai, Water is life and Pōhakuloa: […]
Why aren’t the current assessment tests meeting the needs of our children?
December 17, 2014Ka Ho‘ina: Going Home documents the legacy of repatriating iwi kūpuna (ancestral remains) by Native Hawaiians who have been trained under the direction of respected cultural practitioners Edward and Pualani Kanahele. What started off in December 1988 from the archaeological disinternment of over 1,100 ancestral Native Hawaiinans from Honokahua, Maui led to the establishment of Hui Mālama I Nā Kūpuna O Hawai‘i Nei, an organization dedicated to the proper treatment of ancestral Native Hawaiian remains.
Over the past 30 years, Hui Mālama and its members have overcome the struggles of advocating for the cultural protection and right ot care for iwi kūpuna. With more than 6,000 sets of iwi kūpuna repatriated from more than 60 different museums, institutions, and agencies around the world, the team set off again on a journey 7,000 miles from home for one of Hui Mālama's final repatriations as an organization to return 145 sets of iwi kūpuna.
Ka Ho‘ina: Going Home highlights how a strong foundation in supporting one another was critical to the success of the entire Hui Mālama organization as they worked to reinforce this foundational practice of caring for iwi kūpuna despite pushback even from their own community. Ka Ho‘ina: Going Home takes you through the timeline of cultural reawakening.
July 31, 2014A message from Kamana‘opono M. Crabbe, Ph.D. Ka Pouhana, Chief Executive Officer Office of Hawaiian Affairs ----
Aloha mai e nā kini, nā hoa makamaka o ko Hawaiʻi pae ʻāina,
In thoroughly considering our current opportunities and challenges, my thoughts have turned to a strategy-training game of our kūpuna: kōnane. In playing kōnane, the concept is not to “eat” as many of your opponent’s ʻiliʻili as possible. Instead the goal is to continually find moves on the board and remain in play.
Our aliʻi spent much time engaged in this game not only for fun but to train themselves for their roles as leaders. It prepared them to succeed in the art of political diplomacy—the art of nurturing opportunities and carefully selecting when and if to use them as the “game” unfolds.
Kōnane strategies and other aliʻi standards can help guide us in meeting our most important and urgent challenge: rebuilding our Hawaiian nation.
Aliʻi were not just royal politicians, they were masters of diplomacy. They understood the dynamic of politics involving many “ʻiliʻili” on the political game board. As their world changed, they continued to conduct themselves as noble diplomats during the 1800s, at a time when much of the world had not adopted that mindset.
Kalākaua was the first head of state to travel around the world. In those travels he forged relationships with other heads of states, ultimately opening opportunities that allowed the Hawaiian Kingdom to establish six legations and 84 consulates worldwide. These were essential for integrating the Hawaiian Kingdom in the political and economic world stage.
Such diplomatic relationships were also nurtured within the Hawaiian Kingdom. Following the centuries old practice, all monarchs such as Liliʻuokalani visited their people throughout the Kingdom and hosted large gatherings at their royal households to build and strengthen their ties with community members throughout the pae ʻāina. At these visits and gatherings, they listened carefully to their people.
Our aliʻi understood how strong diplomatic relationships and listening carefully to the voices of their people provided them opportunities and information that would ultimately allow them to better serve our lāhui, our people and country. Their timeless approach would serve us well today.
In this era of rebuilding our nation, this means that OHA must hear all voices—the full array of our lāhui conveying how we can open and best use various pathways to empower ourselves through an organized governing body.
Following the lead of our kūpuna, OHA’s further charge is to keep as many moves open for our lāhui to consider as future opportunities unfold. In later years, our lāhui may not choose to pursue those pathways. But keeping all of them open for now is the strategy a masterful kōnane player would advise.
Do we close pathways entirely, limiting our moves as the game proceeds? Do we forge forward with only one strategy (federal recognition OR independence) and leave ourselves stuck in the game with no moves left? If that happens, what might we lose? Native Hawaiian preference policies of our Aliʻi trusts serving our lāhui? The ability of native Hawaiian families to renew their Hawaiian Homestead leases when they expire?
Diplomacy—the art of creating opportunities and selecting among the best of them in the right moment—suggests that we carefully consider our next kōnane move.
If a federal pathway is to be established, it must keep open future pathways to independence. If a long-term strategy to achieve independence is pursued, it should not cut off a shorter-term strategy for federal recognition that can allow us to preserve now what is under serious threat of being lost.
I believe we as a people can achieve diplomatic solutions. We can open the door to see what can be negotiated with the federal government AND ʻonipa‘a behind our kūpuna who signed the Kūʻē Petition. We can save our current Hawaiian-preference programs while preserving our right to achieve full independence and international redress.
There is a real threat out there. We need to defend ourselves from the threat while continuing to preserve our right to pursue more. We need to stop debating theoretical political ideologies and instead focus on how different moves will affect an ʻohana struggling to keep food on the table, a bright keiki failing in a classroom where lessons have not engaged his intelligence, a kūpuna having difficulty managing her diabetes. We need to worry about how we will keep our ʻāina and kai thriving and our cultural and burial sites protected.
The federal government is inviting us to have a seat at the table on our terms. We get to dictate those terms. And for me, if we are not at the table, then will not even be in the game.
We need to assert ourselves to make sure that we are in the game and that we determine the next moves, our kōnane moves. We must engage, not disengage.
Can we have the best of all worlds? That possibility is in our hands. We have the power to choose both and shape them in ways that will not cut off the other.
We can establish a federal pathway without closing off the options for international redress or independence. We can pursue independence without undermining opportunities to defend ourselves from urgent and real threats.
We can have the best of all possible worlds. That is the true art of diplomacy. Our aliʻi would demand no less of us.
‘O au iho nō me ke aloha a me ka ‘oia‘i‘o,
Kamana‘opono M. Crabbe, Ph.D.
Ka Pouhana, Chief Executive Officer
May 16, 2014 Nā Wai ‘Ehā Stream Flow To Be Restored Under Historic Settlement: Agreement avoids possibility of lengthy legal appeals, but implementation details still pending
On April 21st, 2014, a major milestone was reached in the effort to restore streamflow for Nā Wai ‘Ehā in Central Maui. The state Commission on Water Resource Management officially approved a settlement proposal offered by the parties and reviewed and recommended by Hearings Officer Larry Miike. Click here to see details of the settlement and a copy of the Water Commission’s order approving the settlement agreement.
The settlement -- between OHA and EarthJustice representing community groups Hui o Nā Wai `Ehā and Maui Tomorrow Foundation and diverters Hawaiian Commercial and Sugar Co., Wailuku Water Co., and the County of Maui -- increases the interim instream flow standards for these streams from 12.5 million gallons per day set by the Commission’s 2010 Decision and Order to roughly 25.5 million gallons per day under normal conditions.
The settlement represents a major, partial resolution of nearly 10 years of legal wrangling, including a Supreme Court appeal and opinion that rejected the Water Commission’s prior ruling to restore water to only two of the four streams of Nā Wai ‘Ehā. When implemented, the new interim instream flow standards will guarantee specified levels of streamflow in all four streams, for the protection of traditional and customary practices, ecosystem services and domestic uses, among other public trust uses protected under the State Water Code and the Hawai`i Constitution.
Moreover, the new flow standards are not appealable because they were the product of a settlement, so the Commission and the Parties can now finally address other outstanding issues relating to Nā Wai `Ehā that could not be resolved until flow standards were in place. These issues include determining the existence of priority rights to Nā Wai `Ehā water and the amount of water that priority right holders are entitled to, as well as determining the extent to which offstream uses of Nā Wai `Ehā water are “reasonable beneficial” and thus qualify for water use permits.
Details on implementation – including when the flow will be restored – are still being worked out.
For more information, see the OHA Press Release on this historic settlement.