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Sovereignty council expires

West Hawaii Today
January 2, 1997

HONOLULU (AP) - The Hawaiian Sovereignty Elections Council is no longertogether but is planning to join others in preparation for the Hawaiianconstitutional convention.

The group banded together three years ago to help organize a Hawaiiansovereignty vote this summer to give Native Hawaiians a choice onself-determination.

The vote was done and now the group says it feels satisfied it was a jobwell done. Under state law, the council expired Tuesday.

Council Chairman Sol Kaho'ohalahala said he's proud the council was able tohold the sovereignty vote in an open and democratic way by allowing newpeople and fresh ideas in the process.

"But most important, the Hawaiian community gained unprecedentedopportunity to express their collective will to propose a sovereigngovernment," he said.

This summer, nearly one out of three Hawaiian voters turned in ballotssupporting to elect delegates to propose a Native Hawaiian government.

Sovereignty council members and others are now forming a nonprofit groupcalled Ha Hawaii, which plans to raise more than $8 million needed forelections and a Hawaiian constitutional convention.

The election for 100 to 200 delegates to the convention will be held inNovember next year.

Over the last year, the council has been hit with numerous criticism fromHawaiian groups that say the vote invaded on the kanaka maoli's right tohold a plebiscite at the international level.

"We ... reject the state's hewa (wrong) process of predetermination for apuppet government; and we joining our kanaka maoli peoples' pono (right)process for self-determination under international law," said KekuniBlaisdell, leader of Ka Pakaukau.

Besides overt criticisms, the sovereignty council also had run-ins with afew other problems.

The mail-in ballot vote was delayed in November 1995 when the governor heldback on funding the project because of the state's budget shortfall.

Also, a federal lawsuit aiming to stop the vote until more sovereigntyeducation was done delayed the results of the vote by a few days.

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