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Excerpted from:

Ka Lahui Hawai'i: A Native Initiative for Sovereignty

by Mililani B. Trask

  1. What is Ka Lahui Hawai'i?

    Ka Lahui is a Native initiative - it is something that developedfrom grassroots Hawaiians. It is based on a democraticconstitution, created by Native Hawaiians. Citizenship is open toall Hawaiians and honorary citizenship is offered to non-Hawaiianss. Only full citizens can vote and hold office. TheConstitution identifies four branches of govenment: theExecutive, the Legislative, the Judiciary and the Ali'i Nui. Leadership is elected by the citizens of the 33 districtsstatewide where Hawaiians live. Provisions for initiative,referendum and recall are included in the Constitution. Ka LahuiHawai'i is separate from the state government and controls itsown internal affairs. Therefore, Ka Lahui Hawai'i is not subjectto state control.

    Ka Lahui Hawaii is the evolutionary product of three generationsof Hawaiians who have sought to regain their Native lands and tore-establish themselves as a self-governing people. Itsgovernment structure is democratic in nature, its politicalprocess is the elective process, and its cultural process isLokahi.

  2. What is Ka Lahui Hawai'i's definition of sovereignty?

    The five elements of sovereignty are:

    Sovereignty is the ability of a people who share a commonculture, religion, language, value system and land base, toexercise control over their lands and lives, independent of othernations. Self-sufficiency is the goal of nationhood.Self-sufficiency means the people are able to be self-supporting,capable of feeding, clothing and sheltering themselves. It meansthat they are the motive force for their own farming and pastoralprojects.

  3. What is Ka Lahui Hawai'i's approach to gain Sovereignty?

    Ka Lahui's approach is to seek inclusion for the Hawaiian peoplein the existing U.S. federal policy which affords all NativeAmericans the right to be self-governing, and to obtain access tothe federal courts for judicial review. Once this is achieved,the sovereign nation can explore with the state, federal andcounty governments, resolution of claims relating to the Nativetrusts and other entitlements. Ka Lahui believes that the nationshould be created before Native entitlements are negotiated. Itis the right of the sovereign entity to advance the claims of thepeople and to explore ways to resolve conflicts with the Stateand the U.S.

    Sovereignty needs to be asserted. That is why Ka Lahui Hawai'ihas devoted the past three years to community education andcitizen enrollment. Since 1987, Ka Lahui Hawai'i has conductedover 100 workshops statewide on the Federal Policy andSovereignty. It has sponsored and/or participated in foursovereignty conferences in the last two years and has publishedits positions and its Constitution for public review and input.

    To date, there are over 8,000 citizens in Ka Lahui Hawai'i.

  4. Where is Ka Lahui Hawai'i Going? What is the Plan?

    Native Hawaiians are ready and entitled to govern their ownlands. Therefore, Ceded, Hawaiian Home Lands, and other federallands (Crown Lands) should be transferred to the sovereign entityto provide for a land base to achieve self-sufficiency forHawaiians.

    Ka Lahui Hawai'i will seek federal recognition and division ofits trust assets so that, as a government, Ka Lahui Hawai'i willbe able to control its lands, levy taxes, build homes, i.e. tobuild the nation.

    Many people, governmental agencies, and the U.S. Congress will beinvolved.

    This is a 10 year plan.

    Ka Lahui Hawai'i is calling for the segregation of the Ceded andHawaiian Homes trust lands with one half of the Ceded Lands(natural resources and revenues) and all of the Home Lands beingset aside under the use, jurisdiction and control of the Nativenation.

  5. Can Hawaiians be citizens of the U.S. and Ka Lahui Hawai'i?

    Yes. There is no confliet of interest or of loyalty. Ka LahuiHawaii, like all other Native American groups (Indian tribes andnations, Eskimos; Aleuts) have an inherent right to form agoverning body. All persons who are residents and eitizens ofHawaii are now under two eonstitutions: The Constitution of theU.S. and the Constitution of the State of Hawai'i. Once a personenrolls in Ka Lahui Hawai'i, she or he will be a citizen of KaLahui Hawai'i. This will not change your U.S. or statecitizenship or affect your job, retirement or pension from theU.S. or the state.

  6. What does "Nation to Nation" mean?

    "Nation to Nation" is a term used to describe how America relatesto its Native people. Under the existing U.S. policy, Americawants to establish government to government relations with itsNative peopie. This is why over 500 Indian and Native Alaskangovernments (councils) have been established. When the U.S. givesmoney, land or programs to the Sioux or Navaho, federalrepresentatives meet with Indian governments to work out thedetails. Right now Hawaiians have no such government. This is whyKa Lahui Hawai'i is organizing.

  7. Are Hawaiians Indians? - Isn't the Federal Policy for Indians?

    Hawaiians are not Indians. We can't access Federal administrativeprocedures (BIA and Dept. of Interior procedures) to obtain"federal recognition." This was decided in the case of Price v.State of Hawaii. 764 F.2d 623 (9th Cir. 1985.) However, othergroups of Native Americans such sa Alaskan Natives are notIndians. Alaskan Natives are Eskimo, Aleuts, and Inuits. They areincluded in the federal policy. This is because the word "Indian"is commonly used in the USA to mean "aborigines of America."Native Hawaiians are people indigenous to the State of Hawaii.Just as the Indians are indigenous to the mainland United States.This was decided in two cases. Pence v Kleppe, 52g F.2d 135 (8thCir. 1976) and Naliielua v. State of Hawaii Civil No. 90-00063DAE, U.S. D. Ct., District of Hawaii.

  8. What is Ka Lahui Hawai'i's Constitution?

    Ka Lahui Hawaii adopted its Constitution in 1987. It is thefundamental document of our nationhood. It dedicates our nationto peace and disarmament and it provides for the nation toexercise the inherent powers of sovereignty discussed in Section2. herein.

    The Ka Lahui Constitution also sets forth what we believe ourtraditional and cultural rights to be. These include rights toworship, fish, cultivate kuleana lands and gather. In addition,our Constitution provides that Native people have rights ofaccess to the mountains and the sea, and the right to be buriedon Native soil and to elect their own government.

  9. Do you want to learn more about Ka Lahui Hawai'i or the modernHawaiian movement for sovereignty?

    For more information, please call the Center for Hawaiian Studiesat 808-956-6825 or write to:

    The Center for Hawaiian Studies,
    School of Hawaiian, Asian and Pacific Studies,
    1890 East-West Road,
    Moore Hall 428,
    University of Hawai'i
    Manoa, Honolulu, HI 96822

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