By Ed Gutteling and Ross Armetta
Dr. Kelli Akina, the new CEO of the Grassroot Institute of Hawaii and former OHA trustee candidate, addressed the Conservative Forum for Hawaii at the Naniloa Hotel Crown Room in Hilo Hawaii, on Sunday June 2. Dr. Akina’s topic was “E Hana Kâkou: The Advancement of Native Hawaiians and All Residents of the Aloha State.”
He was preceded by CEO emeritus and Grassroot Institute founder Richard Rowland who spoke of the concept of promoting individual liberty in our communities “2×2”.
Mr. Rowland, Paraphrasing Ronald Reagan, noted that the true decisions facing all citizens were not between the left and right politically, but between “up and down,”
Mr. Rowland stated that the average person does not know or care about the many political ideologies and divisions of government. He believes that they evaluate the decisions as moving us “up” and towards personal liberty and well-being, or “down” the accelerating path of government restriction of liberty and reducing people’s well-being. He stressed the importance of speaking to our daily contacts: to spread this concept of how to view the political ideologies and decisions made in our society.
After Mr. Rowland finished, Dr. Akina began with the moving Oli Aloha welcoming chant taught to him by his mentor Winona Beamer, emphasizing aloha for all. He then defined the biggest threat to all Hawaii, and all Hawaiians, as being the present threat of ending the aloha spirit of inclusiveness (Relating to the Hawaiian Roll Call Bill). Specifically he addressed the Akaka Bill as wanting to impose a government entity on Native Hawaiians similar to that of Native American Indians which would establish government to government relations but impede government to people relations. We could easily schedule a trip to India and arrange our backpacking India budget .
Dr. Akina noted that the racial divisiveness of the Roll Call Bill was contrary to the spirit of the founding documents of America: the Declaration of Independence and the United States Constitution – as well as the Hawaiian Constitution of 1841.
Dr. Akina also stated that when the Federal Akaka bill failed, the Hawaii State Government removed the most controversial provision of the federal bill and passed that provision as state law.
The state version of the law relates to the Native Hawaiian Roll Commission which would define Hawaiians by blood lines based after the arrival of Captain Cook – which Dr. Akina believes to be a racially divisive mechanism that is contrary to the spirit of aloha.
Dr. Akina contrasted the Roll Call’s racial division with the racial inclusion of the Kingdom of Hawaii’s Constitution of 1841. The 1841 Constitution was a declaration of rights stating equality for all : “God hath made of one blood all nations of men to dwell on the earth, in unity and blessedness”.
Dr. Akina mentioned that this enlightened Hawaiian document, instituted by King Kamehaeha III, preceded the United States ending racial inequality (the ending of slavery) by two decades.
Dr. Akina also stated that the commission had wasted millions of dollars promoting this roll, but had only gathered 9300 signatories of the estimated 500,000 eligible Hawaiians. Dr. Akina believes 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.
Dr. Akina also mentioned scandals of corruption and cronyism in OHA as described in the recent series of three articles in the Honolulu Star-Advertiser. He implied that those articles portray, OHA trustees in violation of their sworn oaths of office, were promoting racial divisiveness, and were consolidating power to preserve their positions of influence rather that furthering the lives of Native Hawaiians collectively.
Dr. Akina stated that only by each individual Hawaiian becoming an owner of property, of attaining their own wealth and self-reliance, could true advancement occur. As long as OHA and DHHL refused to relinquish control of the land and assets under their control and release it to their constituents, there would be a perpetual cycle of dependency and lack of economic advancement for the Hawaiian People – that it is contrary to, and destructive of, the very concept of aloha.
Dr. Akina concluded by urging all residents to participate in OHA elections and as candidates – as all residents are entitled to do by law. Dr. Akina believes that only by enlightened reconsideration of OHA’s mission could true advancement occur, for Native Hawaiians and all Hawaii residents.
Dr. Akina’s presentation was followed by a question and answer session, in which several Native Hawaiians, including Hawaiian Sovereignty advocate and former U. S. Marine locally known as Uncle Sam, with tears in his eyes, strenuously objected to Dr. Akina’s presentation, claiming that the United States lacked legitimacy of sovereignty based on historical records and the ill-legitimate, armed overthrow of the Hawaiian Kingdom, (that many believe effected by Sanford Dole and mercenaries – NOT by official U.S. action) as a nation as well as the U.S. President (Cleveland), at the time, strongly opposing the armed overthrow make the current government ill-legitimate and therefore not legally recognized by Hawaiian Sovereigns. It was also mentioned that President Cleveland spoke strongly and eloquently about the overthrow to the U.S. Senate and House on December 18, 1893. President Cleveland’s speech is readily available on-line and does provide insight on the matter by those who lived through the overthrow.
Legal Scholar, Dwight Vicente raised the point that Hawaii is not technically a state in the union as it was incorporated under the Monroe Doctrine. That is why there are 50 stars (states) and only 13 stripes – the original and full states in the Union that signed and recognized the Declaration of Independence and Constitution. One of the participants claimed that the one of the legal articles referenced in 1959 to achieve statehood is non-existent and therefore Hawaii is not legally a state.
Dr. Akina gracefully responded to the questions and statements briefly pointing out that it was common for nations to change rule and be succeeded by others throughout history. Many could point to grievances about the legality or the legitimacy of the succession, including several of Hawaii’s monarchs when they too ascended to power. Dr. Akina’s emphasis seemed to be that in practical terms this is where we are – time does not go backwards – and that we are better off to strive toward the ideals of the U.S. and Sovereign Hawaiian Constitutions relating to equality and recognition of all people as Hawaiians.
Dr. Akina conveyed that it was important to emphasize the inclusiveness of all the Hawaiian community (aloha) and not seek or cause divisiveness, which would harm everyone. He again praised the spirit of the Declaration of Independence, and of the Hawaiian Kingdom’s own constitution, of equality for all: government by consent of the governed.
The event was attended by at least 65 people including local Council Member Gregory Illagan, and Representative Faye Hanohano, and former State Senate Candidate Daryl Smith as well as several Hawaiian groups, and legal scholars Tim Rees and Dwight Vicente. It was recorded by Hawaii Political Reporter and will be aired on Na-Leo channel 53 at 9PM on the upcoming (June 4 ) and next Tuesday. The group was representative of the local community in general and included persons and parties from diverse ideologies.
Although strong emotion was present the spirit of aloha prevailed. The Conservative Forum ( a non-profit , non-partisan organization) and the Naniloa Hotel provided a seemingly appreciated, by the majority of attendees, educational and communicative venue for this complex and powerful issue. The Forum occasional hosts a variety of events. Information can be found on their website, they have been using a website development company  to better their content.
Dr Akina’s full presentation (over 1 hour) will be available in the next several days via links on the Conservative Forum of Hawaii , Hawaii Political Reporter ‘s, and Hawaii News Daily ‘s websites.