OHA VIOLATES TRUST RESPONSIBILITY TO NATIVE HAWAIIANS
By Keli`i Akina - Honolulu Civil Beat - August 2, 2016
The state Office of Hawaiian Affairs is angling for a “co-trusteeship” of an expanded Papahanaumokuakea Marine National Monument. But a July 22 letter to President Barack Obama from former U.S. Sen. Daniel Akaka and former state Govs. Ben Cayetano and George Ariyoshi point out, “The proposed expansion will impact the state’s ability to continue its trust responsibility to native Hawaiians.”
I agree. Papahanaumokuakea expansion would put money in OHA’s pockets at the expense of Hawaii’s local food supplies and native Hawaiian fishermen. Unfortunately, Papahanaumokuakea is not the only place where OHA’s interests are diametrically opposed to those of native Hawaiians. In fact, it’s the latest example of a long-running pattern.
According to Trustee Lei Ahu Isa, OHA wasted $33 million on its failed effort to impose federal tribal recognition on native Hawaiians — $33 million that could have done wonders to ease homelessness and other issues plaguing native Hawaiian communities. But this money was directed instead toward Washington lobbyists and a handful of politically connected OHA insiders pushing an agenda opposed by thousands of Hawaiians at last year’s Interior Department hearings.