Tuesday, May 16, 2023

















OHA Trustee Mililani B. Trask Response to Honolulu Civil Beat article by Peter Apo (04/18/2023) “OHA Abandons Commitment To Self Governance”

Recently, Civil Beat teamed up with ex OHA Trustee/State Legislator, Peter Apo, in an effort to resurrect the Hawaiian vs Hawaiian debate on building a Hawaiian nation. Civil beat failed to include the history of the state democratic party’s effort to create a native nation for the state’s benefit and did not review years that were wasted on failed initiatives. Civil & Apo also ignored the millions of dollars of costs for the effort, paid by OHA with revenues from the Ceded Land Trust. 

The historic record speaks for itself. Hawaiians did not initiate the Kanaiolowalu and Na’i Aupuni Nation Building initiatives. These initiatives were created by the state legislature, but OHA was made to pay for it with our beneficiaries trust funds. 

The record reveals the following: 

1. For over a decade the State supported federal recognition of Hawaiians under the “Akaka Bill” in Congress because of fears that federal funding provided to native Hawaiians as “Native Americans” would be lost to the State unless there was a Hawaiian ‘Indian Nation’. 

2. When the Akaka Bill died in the Congress, the State legislature moved to create a Hawaiian nation on their own! They passed ACT 195, later known as the Kana’iolowalu (HSEC) Initiative. The effort involved the formation of a Hawaiian Roll Commission to register 200, 000 Hawaiians to vote in a future election for delegates to a Hawaiian Constitutional Convention thereby creating a Hawaiian Nation. Over 60% of the nearly 85,000 who were sent ballots in mail refused to participate in the election of delegates. 

3. In 2014 when it was clear that Kanaiolowalu was dead, a group of Native Hawaiian individuals who were members of Hawaiian organizations that had received funding for Kanaiolowalu, moved on their own to form a non-profit Consortium called Na’i Aupuni. This non-profit did not identify directors with DCCA when it was created, nor did it have a G.E. Tax license for tax exempt status as required by the IRS. Millions were wasted. In the end, no election of delegates by Hawaiians was ever achieved. 

4. OHA did not create Kanaiolowalu or Na’i Aupuni but was required to provide millions of trust dollars in order to facilitate federal recognition for a paper nation which would have no land and no jurisdiction over the assets and resources of the Hawaiian people. 

In the years that have transpired since these events occurred, a new OHA Board of Trustees has been elected. The majority of the current OHA board knows the definition of ‘Self-Determination’ ..... it is a Human right of all peoples including the Hawaiian peoples. It is not a political right of the United States or the State of Hawaii. The current Board of OHA Trustees has no intention of usurping the right of our Hawaiian beneficiaries to pursue their right of ‘Self-Determination’ through Nation building. 

OHA’s priorities are clear, they are the development of Kaka’ako and Hakuone so that Hawaiian beneficiaries will have a place to call home, a cultural center to showcase the value of our peoples. Our priorities are to create an economic engine for maintaining existing programs in the areas of Health, Education, the preservation of Native Language, the protection of native Legacy Lands, and the provision for affordable housing for the 28,000 Hawaiians currently dying on the Department of Hawaiian Homes Land waiting list. 

The current board of OHA trustees are well aware of the past abuses that our office was subjected to in the pursuit of ‘federal recognition’. It is significant to note that the State Auditor, the Clifton Larson Allen Accounting Firm and Plante Moran Finance Firm, who conducted the 3 audits of OHA’s expenditure in past years all flagged the Nation building effort and the activities of Na’i Aupuni as Fraud Waste and Abuse. 

In an ongoing effort to achieve accountability and address these past abuses, the current Board of Trustees has delivered all materials, information, and data relating to The Kanaiolowalu (HSEC)/Na’i Aupuni Nation building effort to appropriate Federal and State Investigators for follow-up. 

Mahalo nui loa, 

Mililani B. Trask

Hawai’i Island Trustee 

OHA Board of Trustees Vice Chair 


https://www.civilbeat.org/2023/04/oha-abandons-commitment-to-self-governance/ (Civil Beat Article written by Peter Apo 4/18/2023) 

https://www.civilbeat.org/2015/11/an-initiative-for-self-governance-without-state-or-federal-interference/ (Civil Beat Article written by Mililani B. Trask 11/13/15) 

https://www.civilbeat.org/2015/10/roll-of-thunder-lifting-the-veil-on-nai-aupuni/ (Civil Beat Article written by Trisha Kēhaulani Watson 10/27/15) 

https://www.civilbeat.org/2015/06/native-hawaiian-roll-commission-must-release-voter-records/ (Civil Beat Article written by Chad Blair 6/4/15) 

http://www.hawaiifreepress.com/Articles-Main/ID/13906/Kanaiolowalu-Broken-Trust-on-Steroids (Hawaii Free Press article written by Andrew Walden 11/2/14)