Editor’s note: For Hawaii’s Aug. 11 primary, Civil Beat asked candidates to answer some questions about where they stand on various issues and what their priorities will be if elected.
The following came from C. Kaui Amsterdam, a candidate for an at-large position on the Office of Hawaiian Affairs Board of Trustees. There are 15 candidates for three positions. The others are Leina’ala Ahu Isa, William Aila, Rowena Noelani Akana, Alvin Akina, Makana Paris, Faye Hanohano, Brendon Kalei’aina Lee, Keali’i Makekau, Pohai Ryan, Landen Paikai, John Waihee IV, Marcus Bruce Kalai Pa’aluhi Sr., Kali Puuohau and Eleanor Sharsh-Davis.
1. Is OHA fulfilling its mandate to serve the Hawaiian people?
OHA is fulfilling some of its mandate to serve the Hawaiian people. It’s important to elect me to expand OHA’s vision, greatly increase service to meet important needs, improve lives, and make Native Hawaiians a major player and great again in Hawaii, America and the world.
2. What would you do to change how OHA is run?
I would change how OHA is run by expanding the vision of OHA and advancing such consistent and impactful action. In fulfilling the OHA mandate to advance a governing or government entity as presented by the 1978 constitutional convention, I would transfer OHA’s authority to a greater one of the governing or government entity, which would meet the needs and “social determinants” of our Native Hawaiian People. OHA could continue as a state agency in a relationship with the Native Hawaiian government entity. I invite voters to vote for and elect me and spread the word so I can advance such important change.
3. What do you see as the most pressing issue facing Native Hawaiians? What will you do about it?
The most pressing issue facing Native Hawaiians is restoration or establishment and advancement of a Native Hawaiian governing or government entity. This priority is consistent with or supported by the 1978 constitutional convention’s OHA mandate to “facilitate the process of self-determination leading to self-governance” of Native Hawaiians. I shall fulfill that mandate by restoring and advancing the Native Hawaiian government entity, which includes the Kingdom alternative.
First, I’ll apply my historical knowledge that our Native Hawaiian People experienced, lived within, and enjoyed a cultural governing or government entity, being that of a Kingdom. The loss of our governing entity also resulted in the undermining, weakening, and loss of what OHA calls “social determinants” of governance, aina, culture, education, economical development, health, and positive self-image, identity, esteem, and a marginalization of Native Hawaiians.
Second, I shall fulfill my aim to restore our cultural governing or government entity and strengthen our “social determinants.”
4. What are your views regarding Hawaiian independence?
Hawaiian independence is a justifiable alternative consistent with the 1978 constitutional convention’s OHA mandate to “facilitate the process of self-determination leading to self-governance.” The justification for the self-governance of Hawaiian independence is elaborated in the previous question 3, which describes the adversity of Native Hawaiians resulting with the loss of the Kingdom of Hawaii and Hawaiian independence. Such adversity includes Native Hawaiians becoming marginalized and disempowered and the undermining and loss of “social determinants,” which include governance, aina, culture, education, economic development, health, self-image and identity, self-esteem, and associated adverse elements.
Accordingly, restoration and advancement of self-governance or government of the alternative of the Hawaiian Kingdom and subsequent Hawaiian Independence will facilitate restoring and strengthening “social determinants,” being major players rather than marginal or minor characters, and making our Native Hawaiian people great again. With such an advancement of self-government and Hawaiian independence using the alternative of the Hawaiian Kingdom within the boundaries of the Crown Land(s) and separate from the State of Hawaii, Native Hawaiians and those associated with the Hawaiian government could claim duel associations or citizenship such as in Great Britain, Israel, and such other governments.
5. Is OHA getting its fair share of ceded-land revenue from the state?
No, OHA is not getting its fair share of ceded-land revenue from the state. With the enactment of Act 178, Session Laws of Hawaii 2006, that set an annual interim figure of $ 15,100,000, little progress has been made to get OHA’s fair share. First, OHA’s inability to get its fair share of revenue is a manifestation of our Native Hawaiian People’s disempowerment and marginalizaion previously described due to loss of Native Hawaiian cultural governance or government entity being that of a Kingdom.
Second, a history of the Crown Lands, which with annexation of Hawaii to the United States became known as ceded-lands, which with statehood of Hawaii became known as public lands, further exemplifies a process of disempowerment of Native Hawaiians. Controlling the Crown Lands, the state treats the Native Hawaiians of OHA in a marginal manner.
Third, although it can continue to bicker with the state for annual payments and because of their marginalization, Native Hawaiians of OHA will continue to experience problems in receiving revenue.
Additionally, being marginalized, Native Hawaiians in OHA and other organizations will experience similar problems and worry about receiving so called entitlements. Therefore, the solution to receiving revenue from Crown Lands is by advancing the self-government as mandated by the constitutional convention of 1978, transferring the Crown Lands and its control back into the government entity, and directly receiving and using Crown Lands revenue.
6. Why do you think Hawaiians are disproportionately represented in our prisons and jails?
Hawaiians are disproportionately represented in our prisons and jails as a result of a loss of Native Hawaiian cultural governance or government entity being that of a Hawaiian Kingdom. Subsequently, such a loss resulted in the weakening and loss of what OHA calls “self-determinants, and associated issue and problem of incarceration and the subsequent disproportionate representation of Hawaiians in our prisons and jails. Such additional issues and problems include foster children, unstable families, low educational achievement, unemployment, weak economic development, poor health, and low self-image, identity, and esteem.
7. Do you support the construction of the Thirty Meter Telescope atop Mauna Kea?
Mauna Kea is Crown Land and as such further exemplifies the necessity of Native Hawaiians having our governing or government entity, which enables or empowers control over such Crown Land as Mauna Kea. Trying to communicate with those involved with the issue, I have found it difficult to get a mutual response.
Nonetheless, if it is found that the Thirty Meter Telescope will be built, I would propose that it be in honor of our Native Hawaiian people, our monarchial leaders, and named after our last acting monarch, Queen Lydia Liliuokalani. If not built, the issue is moot.
8. What role should the Department of Hawaiian Home Lands play in reducing homelessness?
The Department of Hawaiian Home Lands can continue to play its role of providing home lands for Native Hawaiians. Greater efficiency is needed to provide home lands. Accordingly, such effeciency is needed in taking on homeless Native Hawaiians. On the other hand, with advancing our Native Hawaiian self-governing or government entity would also result in control of Crown Lands, which would significantly increase the number of Native Hawaiian home lands including homeless Hawaiians and thereby reduce homelessness.
At the same time, the Department of Hawaiian Home Lands could be replaced with a Department or Ministry of Housing and Construction to provide Native Hawaiians land and home financing.
9. Do you support or oppose holding a state constitutional convention? Why or why not?
As previously explained, since the 1978 constitutional convention already mandated OHA to facilitate the process of self-determination leading to self-governance, all that is needed is for OHA and Native Hawaiian beneficiaries to accept responsibility, take action, and advance self-governance or a self-government entity. This can be accomplished with or without a current state constitutional convention and support and it shouldn’t matter either way. Yet, the convention’s mandate assistance and without reason to do otherwise would merit convention support and participation toward its success.
10. What other important issue would you like to discuss here?
Since I also have been educated in the health sciences such as the University of California Medical Center at San Francisco, AHEPA Hospital as part of Aristotle University at Thessaloniki, Greece, and UCLA, and have practical experience such as providing patient care for kupuna at the King Lunalilo Home. I enjoy serving and meeting the health and social platient or client needs. Accordingly, there presently are serious and urgent needs of family and foster children, particularly on the Big Island of Hawaii. There is a great shortage of case workers and staff to meet these needs. Their condition is a manifestation of the weakened “social determinants,” which I previously described.
Although I reside on Oahu, I chose to be an OHA trustee at large so I can serve and help the families and foster children particularly on the Big Island of Hawaii. I please ask your consideration to be elected so I can serve and assist our Native Hawaiian families and foster children particularly on the Big Island of Hawaii.
Mahalo and Aloha for such consideration.