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Letters | 5-15-14

May 15, 2014 - 12:05am

OHA trustees wrong to rescind Crabbe’s letter

As a former trustee for the Office of Hawaiian Affairs (1984-96), I commend Kamanaopono Crabbe for doing his fiduciary responsibility and due-diligence in the questions raised to Secretary of State John Kerry: questions dealing with our kanaka maoli legal status under international law that should have been raised long ago by OHA trustees. OHA trustees are wrong to be offended by Crabbe’s action that is necessary for an honest and legal understanding of our Native Hawaiian situation.

Last November, OHA unanimously passed a policy stating that OHA will only “facilitate” a process toward nation-building; letting us explore all aspects of this journey, including the independence model. If a democracy is to function properly, it is important that citizens be fully informed. It stands to reason that as part of OHA’s due-diligence of nation-building, CEO Ka Pouhana Kamanaopono Crabbe make just such an inquiry to Kerry, for he followed policy voted upon by OHA trustees at the November Board of Trustees meeting.

OHA trustees and the Roll Commission say they are “only facilitating” our people’s quest in nation-building. However, OHA has refused to address concerns raised by our Native Hawaiian community throughout these islands at town hall meetings, including an islandwide Governance Kamau a Ea gathering held April 10 and 11 at OHA headquarters in Honolulu. There is concern that an election for delegates to a Native Hawaiian Constitutional Convention at this time is premature, and is being held before the Native Hawaiian community at large is fully informed. An educational process throughout these islands is necessary first. We must not allow this very delicate, crucial process to be stampeded into a September election led by the Roll Commission and OHA. It is not pono for the facilitator of the nation-building process to attempt to “steer” the canoe. OHA trustees should not have rescinded Crabbe’s request. He was following the policy the trustees unanimously, and correctly, voted into effect last November. Crabbe’s letter can only clarify this complex issue. In this instance, the OHA trustees who rescinded the letter to Kerry are wrong.

Moanikeala Akaka