Na‘i Aupuni’s convention unlikely to craft anything credible or legal
By Anne Keala Kelly | STAR ADVERTISER Island Voice | December 20, 2015
There are two teams in this game — one is the state of Hawaii and the other is the Obama administration. Pitifully, though, they’re both on the same side pushing one agenda: federal recognition for Hawaiians whether we want it or not.
Na‘i Aupuni, a newly formed nonprofit organization contracted and funded by the state, via the Office of Hawaiian Affairs, received millions of dollars to run an election of 40 delegates from a list of 196 volunteer candidates.
The voter registry used for this purpose was pieced together like Frankenstein from multiple lists. Kanaiolowalu, a state-mandated registry that cost millions, was intended to gather 200,000 names, but only managed to get 19,000.
After another state law was passed to fix that failure, Hawaiian names from other registries were poured into a new list.
An estimated 95,000 ballots were mailed out for the delegates’ election.
The process moved quickly, most likely in an attempt to outrun blowback from Hawaiians opposed to federal recog- nition. In the haste, even the ballot itself was worthy of a few lawsuits for voter fraud. One example is the duplicate names appearing on the continent’s ballot, allowing some candidates to receive two votes from one ballot.
But Na‘i Aupuni trudged on, insisting that at the end of November, 40 delegates would be empowered to create a constitution and form a Hawaiian nation.
Near the end of its election period, Na‘i Aupuni extended the voting deadline, moving the goalpost and adding another month after a temporary stay from the U.S. Supreme Court barred counting the votes or certifying winners.
Then, Na‘i Aupuni’s side of the game fell apart when the court made the injunction permanent.
It seemed as if it was officially over. But like the zombie apocalypse, Na‘i Aupuni would not go gently. On Tuesday, it arose from the judicial ashes, brushed itself off and declared that all 196 candidates are now invited to be delegates. That’s right, 196 unelected, (mostly) unvetted, inexperienced wannabes with no legal or professional experience will sit down and chisel their profound thoughts about the lahui into a constitution.
What a circus.
Truly, that’s what it is, a circus with sideshows and freaks.
How can such an outrageously corrupt process be taken seriously? Even if they manage to create the illusion of legitimacy with their mockery of a constitutional convention, any outcome will likely be rebuked by the public and invalidated in the courts. Who stands to benefit from this mass distraction?
Simultaneous to the Na‘i Aupuni fiasco, the other team, President Barack Obama’s Department of Interior (DOI), is planning a rule change that will allow him by executive order to confer federal recognition on any Hawaiian entity (or circus).
Secretary of Interior Sally Jewell claimed in her Sept. 29 statement that the proposed new rules “come on the heels of a robust and transparent public comment period,” referring to the two weeks of public hearings held in Hawaii in June and July of 2014.
However, she and the rest of the Obama administration turned a deaf ear to the Hawaiians who lined up and testified during those weeks, with 99 percent of them opposing federal recognition.
Instead, Obama’s team sided with mail-in postcards supposedly from pro-federal recognition Hawaiians. The federal version of transparency means we can’t confirm who mailed those postcards. (We have until Dec. 30 to testify against the DOI rule change at ainalahui.com.)
After 125 years of being lied to, undermined, cheated, manipulated, forcibly assimilated and shamed for even uttering the words “illegal occupation” or “independence” or “the kingdom survives” or “ku‘e,” Hawaiians are supposed to accept the absence of justice.
We are expected to stay quiet as a handful of our people try to surrender our sovereignty to Uncle Sam.
Na‘i Aupuni and stealing a nation — twice
Na’i Aupuni is happening because the U.S. wants to extinguish Hawaiian rights to the crown and government lands of the Hawaiian Kingdom, about 40 percent of the archipelago. These are Hawaiian national lands, referred to as “ceded lands.” But to create the appearance of a legal transfer of title, the state and federal governments need Na’i Aupuni, Hawaiian acquiescence to the U.S. takeover.
Na’i Aupuni was invented and funded by the state, in conjunction with the Department of Interior (DOI), which acts on directives from President Barack Obama. The list of Hawaiians who can vote was derived from Kanaiolowalu, which was the result of Act 195, a mandate to create a Hawaiian roll. Some $4 million from the Office of Hawaiian Affairs (OHA) was spent in an effort to secure 200,000 Hawaiian names, but only 19,000 signed on. So, another state law, Act 77, was passed to disguise that abysmal failure, giving permission to Kanaiolowalu commissioners to loot other state registries. Lists of Hawaiian people, who were trying to get scholarships and loans or signed other forms of enrollment separate from Kanaiolowalu were counted, ballooning the number to 125,000.
It took a court order to make the list public, which was good because it includes people who have passed away. Twenty-four percent of the names were removed for various reasons, whittling Kanaiolowalu’s list down to 95,000. That means that 80 percent of the people on this new, state manufactured list of “voters” did not consent. So far, $2.5 million has been spent on this fake election, but we’re supposed to believe Na’i Aupuni is a grassroots movement for Hawaiian self-determination.
Although it’s funded by the state, when the legality of Na’i Aupuni was challenged recently in a federal court, the judge held that it’s a private election. But why push this now, after failed attempts during the past 15 years to pass Na’i Aupuni’s predecessor, the Akaka Bill?
Simply put, President Obama wants to invoke Executive Order privileges to recognize a group of Hawaiians who will sell our national lands. And he’s in a hurry because of pending legislation intended to cut the DOI out of the federal recognition process. But more concerning is what preceded this rush to contain the Hawaiian sovereignty movement.
About a 18 months ago, Kamanaopono Crabbe, OHA’s CEO, sent a letter to Secretary of State John Kerry requesting proof of jurisdiction. Although Crabbe later rescinded the letter, after blowback from inside OHA, the gauntlet had been thrown. It was a direct challenge to the U.S. occupation by a respected Hawaiian leader who works for the state.
All the U.S. has to do is produce a Treaty of Annexation proving the Hawaiian Kingdom, a nation state, was legally annexed as opposed to illegally occupied. Rather than show proof of ownership over what we Hawaiians say is our stolen country, the Obama administration chose to hold public hearings about federal recognition.
During late June and early July 2014, a series of hearings took place on the major islands. About 99 percent of those who testified told the DOI that Hawaii is not part of the United States, and Hawaiians are not Native Americans.
Just over a year after those powerful hearings, and a few months after thousands of Hawaiians rallied in defense of Mauna Kea, all of which sparked a tremendous resurgence of Hawaiian political agency, we are being Na’i Aupuni-ed.
If Na’i Aupuni manages to maintain even the appearance of legitimacy, President Obama will federalize us. Hawaiians being bumfuzzled or unable to grasp the deception at hand is one thing. To be complicit, indifferent or complacent as Hawaiian nationality is about to be lobotomized is like us colonizing ourselves.