On the first day of the final week of the Naʻi Aupuni ʻAha, a protest is planned for 8 a.m. at the Luana Hills Gold Club to serve the unelected participants a declaration, signed by Native Hawaiian community leaders from across the islands, rejecting and condemning the ʻaha.
The declaration notifies self-appointed participants that that they do not have community backing or authority to unilaterally draft governing documents that could have major consequences on the future of the Hawaiian people and nation, and demands that the ʻaha participants cease and desist from producing any governing documents.
“Nai Aupuni is an illegitimate, state initiated entity that compromises our nation’s humanity and pursuit of justice” says educator and sovereignty leader, Kaleikoa Kaʻeo, who will also be at the protest.
The ʻaha comes on the heels of a five year state-driven push to force the creation of a Native Hawaiian governing entity. The state push has been met with heavy protest, in particular over the requirement to sign onto a tribal roll as a condition for participation.
“In the history of the Hawaiian movement, Naʻi Aupuni is the most threatening infringement on Hawaiian self-determination that we’ve experienced thus far” says Jonathan K. Osorio, professor of Hawaiian Studies at the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa and one of the signators.
The declaration also calls for ʻaha participants to stand with Native Hawaiians in calling for a process that is open to all Native Hawaiians who wish to participate, and that prioritizes community education and consultation in determining the design, objectives and outcomes. Below is the text of the declaration:
“We, the undersigned, firmly reject the illegitimate Naʻi Aupuni ‘Aha objective to create a Native Hawaiian government. We stand in opposition to any governing documents and governing body that is produced through this ‘aha, which has been administered through State of Hawaiʻi involvement from the beginning. We continue to stand for the unification of our people through a transparent process free from any state or federal interference, control, or prescribed destiny.
“The ʻAha 2016 stems from a top down approach in which all of the terms: the use of Hawaiian trust monies; participation; timeline; representation; the convention, and outcomes have been determined by a small number of people, including former Governor Abercrombie; the State legislature; the Governor-appointed Kanaʻiolowalu commissioners; the OHA Board of Trustees; the OHA-selected Naʻi Aupuni Board; and approximately 150 self-appointed ‘aha participants. Each of these parties is complicit in driving an agenda that has divided our people more than ever.
“In addition to this deeply flawed process, the 150 individuals who have not been elected or vetted have nevertheless decided to produce governing documents that will attempt to create a governing body on behalf of the Hawaiian nation in a private meeting. This approach violates the most basic principles of self-determination, upholds the status quo, and must be rejected.
“The undersigned demand that the ‘Aha 2016 cease and desist from continuing to produce any governing documents. We stand in opposition to any attempt by individuals or organizations selected and sponsored by the State of Hawaiʻi to speak for the Hawaiian nation or to determine our future.
“We support an open and transparent process that is based on education, consultation, consent and unity. We call upon the ‘Aha participants to join us in demanding nothing less than an initiative envisioned and designed by the lāhui, open to all kānaka who wish to participate, free from conditions that we had no part in creating. Such a process should include an appropriate time frame for such an important task; it should be open; and it should be free of any State of Hawaiʻi interference, control or prescribed destiny.”
Jonathan K. Osorio
Keliʻi Skippy Ioane