President Akina: Hawaiians Give Vote of No Confidence to Sovereign Hawaiian Nation

Hawaiians Give Vote of No Confidence to Sovereign Hawaiian Nation

by Keli’i Akina, Ph.D., President of Grassroot Institute of Hawaii

Hawaiians are rejecting an effort to impose a narrow political agenda on their community, choosing instead to affirm the Aloha spirit as the basis for society.
After nearly a year of efforts to enroll a registry of Native Hawaiians willing to constitute a sovereign nation, the Office of Hawaiian Affairs and the Native Hawaiian Roll Commission claim a mere 9,300 signatures against a stated goal of 200,000[1] and a 2010 US census count[2] of the Hawaiian population at 527,000 nationwide. Despite a budget of somewhere between four to six million dollars, not to mention funds of collaborating agencies and organizations, the effort has produced underwhelming results. 
Organizers say that the low sign up reflects confusion of the movement with earlier efforts that unofficially attempted to enroll Hawaiians.  Organizers claim[3] only 108,000 signed the earlier Kau Inoa roll after seven years.[4]  The fact remains that the majority of Native Hawaiians have simply not been willing to participate in OHA’s effort to create a sovereign nation.  

Lets Work Together

A second excuse for low results offered by the organizers is that Hawaiians have insufficient fear that their entitlements and rights may be in jeopardy.  A possibility that OHA and the Native Hawaiian roll Commission have not considered is that Hawaiians may prefer to rely upon their status as United States citizens and their rights and protections under the US Constitution and Bill of Rights as a basis for their security.   As a requirement to participate in the roll, individuals must sign a statement acknowledging the “unrelinquished sovereignty of the Native Hawaiian people.” [5]   This requirement creates a litmus test based on political ideology, excluding from the roll those who acknowledge the sovereign status of the United States and the State of Hawaii.

The lack of support by Hawaiians for the roll is a strong indicator that the leadership of OHA and the Native Hawaiian Roll Commission do not represent the will of the Hawaiian population.  The roll efforts are an attempt to impose a narrow political agenda upon a constituency which values the benefits of United States citizenship as well as the Hawaiian tradition of inclusiveness.  Clearly, this is not government “of the people by the people and for the people,” nor does it promote the Aloha spirit throughout society.   The Grassroot Institute is a strong advocate for the constitutional rights and liberties of all people including Native Hawaiians and promotes the value of “E hana kākou”– all people in Hawaii working together for a better economy, government and society.


[1] Office of Hawaiian Affairs, Ka Wai Ola, Apr.2013, p. 13 http://www.oha.org/sites/default/files/KWO0413_WEB.pdf

[2] Source: U.S. Census Bureau, 2010 Census. 2010 Census Summary File 1, Tables PCT8, PCT9, PCT10

[3] http://www.staradvertiser.com/news/breaking/112309054.html

[4] http://pw1.netcom.com/~halkop/kauinoa.html

[5] Office of Hawaiian affairs, Op.Cit., p. 14

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