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Response to    E.

Moanike’ala Akaka paper on Na’i Aupuni
From: Lanny Sinkin, Ali’i Mana’o Nui, Kingdom of Hawai’i
The quoted sections are from Moani’s paper.
First of all, I appreciate the thoughtfulness of Moani’s presentation.
Having a real dialog about Na’i Aupuni is important. Conducting that
dialog with mutual respect will get us closer to the truth of the
decisions being made regarding participation in Na’i Aupuni.

“The purpose of Na’i Aupuni is to investigate, express various
ideas, and further understand what form our future Hawaiian
Nation might take. As we know there are numerous possibilities:
total independence, nation within a nation, status quo, being only
three of the models being suggested.” (emphasis in original).
When Hawai’i was on the list of non-self governing territories at the
United Nations, the goal of that list was moving those territories
toward independence. Such territories would be free to choose from
three options: independence, free association with the current
governing state, or incorporation into the current governing state.
The United States used the phony statehood plebiscite – offering only
the option of statehood – as a basis for claiming Hawai’i had
resolved that question in favor of statehood and should be taken off
the United Nations list. The United Nations accepted that
representation, despite the fact the plebiscite violated the United
Nations rules requiring at least the three options to be offered in such
There is little or no likelihood that the United States would support
any process that reopened that question. OHA, as a State of Hawaii
agency, has spent millions of dollars promoting nation-within-a-nation
and nothing on restoring the independent Kingdom Government. Do
we really believe that OHA is now allocating money to a process that
might result in independence? Whether that money belongs to
Hawaiians, as Moani states, or not, OHA made the decision to
allocate those funds to the Na’i Aupuni process and, as will be
discussed below, rigged that process before it even began.



The U.S. Department of Interior support being given to “reestablishing government to government relations” between Native
Hawaiians and the United States Government – a relationship that
never existed – through the Department of Interior has to be seen for
what it is – a move to extinguish the Kingdom and create a Native
American tribe.
One question those choosing to participate in the Na’i Aupuni process
need to answer for themselves and others is why today is different
than 1996. As I understand the history, OHA funded a process that
led to a gathering of Hawaiians to discuss future governance. When
85% (according to Bumpy) voted in favor of independence, OHA
pulled the funding from the effort and nothing came of it. What would
you expect to happen if those supporting independence prevailed in
the Na'i Aupuni process, i.e. what would be different than 1996 and
Compare the difference between a situation in which an independent
Kingdom decided to change its form of governance to a situation in
which a group of Native Hawaiians decide to choose a form of
government that might be adopted at some future time.
In the first scenario, the authority is present in the Kingdom subjects
to decide and implement a new form of government.
In Na’i Aupuni, the participants have no authority to decide anything.
That distinction highlights a more fundamental issue. In the quote
above from Moani’s paper, the Kingdom and independence are
only one of many options.
Implicit in that position is that the Kingdom does not currently exist
and independence is only one “model” for the future. We are not
really talking about models for governance; we are talking about
sovereignty as complete or partial. Explicit in the “options” position is
that something short of independence is a satisfactory response to
the illegal overthrow of the Kingdom Government. These three
assumptions – the Kingdom does not exist, independence is only one
model, and quasi-independence for Native Hawaiians is justice – are
the foundation of the Na’i Aupuni process, so those who participate
are accepting that initial context.


If the Kingdom still exists, then the task is to complete the restoration
of the Kingdom Government as the nation is restored. Reducing the
Kingdom to a subordinate status is not an option.
One recent commentary compared the nation-within-a-nation solution
to a thief stealing your home and then agreeing that you can live in
your garage. What real power can we expect the nation-within-anation to have? Can that quasi-government ban the use of high
intensity sonar in Hawaiian waters? Order the closing of United
States bases and a clean up of their pollution? Stop the construction
of TMT on Mauna a Wakea? Or will the quasi-government have
some self determination internally and operate externally subject to
the veto of the Department of Interior?
As to boycotts, the Ku’e petition set the groundwork for the boycott of
the statehood plebiscite. That boycott permits us today to challenge
the legitimacy of that vote based on non-participation as well as the
failure to offer independence as an option.
Assuming for the moment that 90,000 people legitimately registered
with OHA, that registration took place during a time when OHA clearly
favored nation-within-a-nation. Reasonable propositions are that
those signing up understood that they were supporting OHA’s
position and that those opposed to OHA’s position did not sign up
(despite OHA’s threat that those not signing up would be excluded
from participating in the future nation-within-a-nation). To the extent
that proposition is true, the initial electorate is heavily weighted
toward supporters of nation-within-a-nation. How are those favoring
independence supposed to register an equal number of supporters at
this late hour?
Imagine that an electoral process was being planned to include the
Democratic and Republican parties. At the beginning of the process,
only Republicans could register to vote. After years of registering
Republicans, the process opened up to Democrats a few months
prior to the election. Obviously, such an election would not even
appear to be legitimate. To the contrary, the election would clearly be



If the Democrats chose to participate in that election anyway and, as
expected, lost heavily, the Republicans would claim victory and the
Democratic explanations about the process being rigged would never
be heard or be treated as sour grapes by a loser.
“It is repeatedly stated that the Convention will result in a form of
Hawaiian governance that will be under the thumb and control of the
Department of Interior (DOI), as are the numerous Native American
Tribes in their forms of governance. THIS IS CERTAINLY NOT THE
CASE BECAUSE LAST YEAR (2014), Hawaiians around the state
expressed to the DOI, by over 85%, a rejection of such an idea.”
If 85% of Hawaiians have already rejected the DOI control option,
why is DOI still pursuing preparation of the rules to facilitate that
option? Answer: Because DOI does not care what the Hawaiians
think any more than they respect the opinions of Native Americans.
The DOI goal is to resolve the whole sovereignty question once and
for all by offering a nation-within-a-nation option that will then be
implemented by some minority of Hawaiians led by the Danner
sisters, etc. Once the subordinate nation is established, all further
talk of independence will be whistling in the wind.
That is the dead end canyon I see in the Na’i Aupuni process.
For those who believe that the Kingdom still exists and that full
independence is the only option that truly responds to the illegal
overthrow of the Kingdom Government, there is no reason to follow
anyone into that canyon.
The question becomes even more clear when you take the
perspective of the King. Why would someone who has agreed to
fulfill the position of King and been busy for ten years unfolding the
restored Kingdom agree to participate in a process where the initial
assumption is that the Kingdom does not exist and the Kingdom’s
existence is only one of many options? The only reason to enter the
Na’i Aupuni process would be to pursue being a puppet king when
the nation-within-a-nation is created. The King certainly has no
interest in that outcome.