“Ceded” lands issue arrives at legislature’s doorstep

First-Hand Report
Ikaika M Hussey

After the pomp and celebration of the legislature's opening day, legislators will confront a major issue tomorrow: the question of the sale of "ceded" lands, or former Crown and Government lands of Hawaii.

The Legislative Hawaiian Caucus will meet with Attorney General Mark Bennett and other attorneys about Hawaii's "ceded lands" on Thursday, January 22, from 4 pm to 5:30 pm in room 423 of the state capitol.

Attorney Sherry Broder is scheduled to update the caucus on the legal challenges to preserve lands for Native Hawaiians. Ms. Broder has represented the state Office of Hawaiian Affairs in obtaining entitlement to "ceded lands" revenues and was the chief attorney for OHA from 1986 to 2002.

Thousands marched on Saturday to demonstrate their opposition to Governor Lingle's push to allow the state to sell the former crown and government lands. Last April, the governor filed an appeal to the US Supreme Court of a state supreme court ruling which prevents the state from selling 'ceded' lands.

The march's organizers are asking the legislature to institute a moratorium on the sale of the Crown and Government lands. The state Office of Hawaiian Affairs has also floated a draft of such a bill.