This interview was originally published Sept. 11, 2015, in the Honolulu Star-Advertiser. Photo by Cindy Ellen Russell.
Keli’i Akina is one of six plaintiffs in a lawsuit filed recently against the state of Hawaii and others seeking to stop an election and convention that possibly would help establish a sovereign Native Hawaiian government.
Among other things, the complaint filed in U.S. District Court alleges that the election and convention are state-related and would be race- and viewpoint-based, and thus violate the U.S. Constitution. The race-based aspect is that voting would be restricted to Native Hawaiians; the viewpoint aspect is that voters registering with the Native Hawaiian Roll Commission must affirm that they believe in “the unrelinquished sovereignty of the Native Hawaiian people.”
Akina, who is president of the Grassroot Institute of Hawaii and part-Hawaiian himself, doesn’t go along with either of those conditions, and generally thinks there are better ways to help Native Hawaiians than to set up a separate government. Read more.