WHO WILL BE HELD ACCOUNTABLE?
By Healani Sonoda-Pale
This election year the Hawai`i State Democratic Party machine put their time, money, energy, and underhanded tactics into stopping Mililani Trask for OHA Hawai`i Island Trustee, they were (its safe to say) blindsided.
Mililani Trask made no qualms about what she thought of the Department of Interior Rule which provided immunity to the State and Federal governments from Hawaiian lawsuits and created a Native Hawaiian tribe whose only land base is the bomb ridden island of Kaho`olawe much of which is uninhabitable.
Part of their underhanded tactics used against Mililani Trask was the libelous ad that suggested Mililani had somehow taken money from OHA and even misdirected people into thinking that Mililani was the incumbent - taking advantage of the 2/3 non Hawaiian vote who for the most part may not pay much attention to what OHA is all about and actually doing.
But as November 8th came and went the Democratic Party machine in Hawai`i and their agent OHA - who had wasted 33 million dollars on their failed campaigns for federal recognition and caused a huge rift in the Hawaiian community - were successful in stopping who they deemed was the greatest threat to the creation of a federally recognized tribe from infiltrating OHA - Mililani Trask.
But they were wrong.
Totally unexpectedly Keli`i Akina defeated Haunani Apoliona, a "yes" (wo)man for the Democratic party and the behind the scenes leader of OHA.
Kealii Akina is the CEO of Grassroots Hawai`i a right wing organization that has a national network of conservative organizations like the Heritage Foundation.
Grassroot Institute Of Hawai`i is the organization that sued OHA to release the Kana`iolowalu check registers (after OHA refused to comply) and sued to stop the Na`i Aupuni elections.
Along with the fact that Trump, a right wing Republican, won and the fact that the US Congress is now under Republican control, Keli`i Akina as OHA Trustee At Large elect is ideally situated to fulfill his promise to stop "race based" nation building.
Whether we agree with Keli`i or not on his reasons for doing what he is doing I am merely stating the facts and my analysis.
Now for the reckoning.
As we move ahead post Elections we are faced with these facts -
1. Keli`i Akina has hired an accountant and economist for his OHA Staff hell bent on cleaning up OHA and stopping any more wasteful spending on federal recognition.
2. Mililani Trask is in the process of filing a lawsuit against Bob Lindsey, his campaign manager Kuhio Lewis, and John Aeto for the libelous ad which costs her the election.
3. As we come to terms with the fact federal recognition via the Department of Interior Rule is dead in the water and that the Rule may very well be repealed or deemed unconstitutional by the new Right Wing US leadership - we need to ask ourselves who do we hold accountable for the damage done to the Hawaiian community for these failed federal recognition campaigns?
Who will step up and take responsibility for millions of Hawaiian Trust dollars wasted, for the bitter divisions created in Hawaiian communities and families, the passing out of stolen Hawaiian names and information, and the overall misinformation provided to the Hawaiian people?
How can we trust the leaders we have who supported this fiasco - some of whom got paid for their silence and/or cooperation?
As the reckoning unfolds post elections we still need to be vigilant as ever Lāhui or the Democratic Party version of federal recognition may rear its ugly head again.
This legislative session we will be calling for the repeal of Act 195 giving legislators and leaders a chance to right the wrongs they did to the Hawaiian people.