Native Hawaiian ‘Aha Recap

Native Hawaiian ‘Aha Recap

After a month of discussion, participants of the ʻAha Naʻi Aupuni come out with much more than just a constitution.

“All I heard before coming here ‘Oh they never going stop fighting. Oh they never going come out with this. Oh this is hewa oh that is hews.’ I came in with a position and a stance, but I also came in with an open mind and a mind for collaboration,” said ʻaha participant Chris Olivera.

Despite the termination of the Naʻi Aupuni Native Hawaiian election in December of 2015, Naʻi Aupuni held an ʻaha or constitutional convention in which all candidates of the election were invited to convene to produce governing documents. The ʻaha was a cross-section of the Native Hawaiian community in Hawaiʻi, from the continental U.S., and abroad, spanning multiple generations and crossing various political outlooks.

ʻAha Chairman Brenden Lee, said “Some will say that there are two sides in this issue. There weren’t just two sides every single person there had a different side. Those sides have never come together and worked together and more importantly been willing to hear, listen, and see the other side. That has never ever ever happened.”

Dreannale Kalili, ʻaha participant, said, “In the beginning you were seeing people learning the process learning the room, learning the politics in the room People who don’t play politics usually just really becoming maʻa to that and also learning what it was that they would need to have to do to to take care of whatever kuleana they brought into the room. You saw the the pride and the emotion as people stepped to the mic.”

ʻAha participant, Claire Hughes said, “It is important that we show passion, it is important because it does drive the whole effort, our passion and our concern for others and our want to have things move ahead another little notch.”

Kahiolani Papalimu, ʻaha participant, said “More important than anything else was the need to bring our people back together and understand that we’re all working towards that just in different avenues, different methods, different paths, but we’re all the same people and we all want that we just are taking different roads.”

After weeks of discussion and deliberation, culminating with the drafting of a 15-page constitution, on February 26th 2016 the ʻaha met one final time in which they voted whether or not to adopt their constitution as submitted.

“I think step one is to walk outside the room and talk about what we did, how we got there and how we each see segments of our community in the document,” said Kalili.

ʻAha participant Katie Kamelamela said “The document isn’t final, it’s a living draft and it can be amended if an identified citizenry lifts the paper up.”

Chairman Lee said, “For the first time, I don’t see Hawaiians talking about independence, sovereignty, federal recognition fighting and yelling. They are sitting down at a table, calmly, intelligently discussing the issues. And that’s, honestly that’s the thing I’m most proud of coming out of here.”

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  1. Keoni R. May 8 years ago

    There were a total of 3 constitutions, that made it to the final stages.

    Because of the last minute, back door dirty politics, only 1 constitution came out the front door.

    There were only 2 sides: Independence versus Indian Nation.

    There should have been a minimum of 2 constitutions, for all of Hawaii to consider, and vote for, as “we the people.”

  2. Davianna McGregor 8 years ago

    Aloha Kakou. There were so many voices, so many perspectives and so much aloha. We agreed to draft a constitution that would BOTH qualify for the establishment of a government to government relationship with the U.S. AND leave the pathway for future independence in concert with the broader people of Hawai’i in the future. We also drafted a declaration of the sovereignty of the Native Hawaiian Nation. Aloha Aina!!! Mahalo Oiwi TV for your inclusive and insightful coverage.

  3. NO Kapaole 8 years ago

    Payola and propaganda are key ingredients in manufacturing consent.

    This “constitution” has already caused so much divisiveness in the Hawaiian communities, and this new subset “Native Hawaiian Nation” will surely confuse and frustrate Hawaiians for generations to come.

    Shame on those opportunist playing American politics to the detriment of the rest of our lāhui. They will surely have a hard time selling this in the communities, even if they get more millions to waste on pushing it.

  4. Kealii 8 years ago

    I feel that this Nai Aupuni “AHA” was restrictive, and most of all CONCEALED from ALL HAWAIIAN’S! Like one said in the video: “What is more important than the position is UNITY!”

    u·ni·ty –
    a. The state or quality of being one or united into a whole.
    b. The state or quality of being in accord; harmony.
    c. The state or quality of being unified in an aesthetic whole, as in a work of literature.
    d. A whole that is a combination of parts.
    e. the act, state, or quality of forming a whole from separate parts.

    I speak for myself as a Hawaiian, that this “AHA” was not Pono because it left out the multitude of voices! And you wonder why some so called participants walked out?

  5. David M.K. Inciong, II 8 years ago

    All this is based upon a fraud. This was a set-up from the word go. This newly-created tribal government was the purpose of this “convention”, patterned after the failed Akaka Bill. The hapless constitution surely won’t pass the DOI approval and will be returned to be amended to conform to the U.S. Indian laws. The roll is illegitimate; that’s already been proven. The solution is for the Hawaiian-Americans that want this tribal governing entity is that they renounce their Hawaiian Kingdom citizenship and lawfully naturalize to the U.S. This would mean they would be unable to negotiate anything of the Hawaiian Kingdom with the U.S. We know that this private sovereignty group is funded and sponsored by the State of Hawaii and OHA and supported by the U.S. government and the DOI; unlike the other “sovereignty groups” that have been at it for a lot longer. This has nothing to do with the Hawaiian culture, tradition, heritage; in these there is unity. This has to do with nationality and politics; this is where we are divisive; as are any country in the world; we are no different in that respect. The elephant in the room is still the U.S. Belligerent occupation initiated on 17 January 1893 and still ongoing without resolution of the crime and continuous violations against the Hawaiian Kingdom and its subjects. U.S. is obligated to comply with the laws of occupation and proceed with de-occupation. Creating a brand new U.S. tribal governing entity that is not of the still-existing Hawaiian Kingdom is a crime to steal from the Hawaiian Kingdom, to takeover its government and rename it as the State of Hawaii government and denationalize its subjects by forced-assimilation in the Americanization of its people. Truly, the United States still has to answer for its multiple international crimes still ongoing against the Hawaiian Kingdom. This embarrassing charade must end.

  6. Joseph 8 years ago

    Aloha! Sadly this is so wrong!!! This was never for the people (Hawaiians). OHA never stood for Mauna Kea, sovereign Hawaiians and their effort to gain independence. I just don’t understand how all these people saying good things about it. So how is it that sovereign Hawaiians can be arrested, harassed and literally labeled terrorist by the POLICE and then you shameful backdooring crooks hide behind the police and gates?? Something is surely wrong, I’m sure that if the 88 of you believe that you are doing something right AKUA will prove you wrong in the end. Devilish ways always come tumbling down.

  7. Maika’l’, Mahalo for this information, my puuwai hurts ever time I go home and see what’s going home. We have a old saying in Hawaii ,your welcome but leave ur bull shit home. That’s not what they did. Aloha Nui loaa. Kanakamaoli Mau e Mau. Guy Kaipo (Saffery) Goodnesse

  8. Pualani 8 years ago

    Aloha e kakou,

    We must all work together! That is it. No matter how, no matter where. I understand that some folks decided they wanted to participate after the Aha was formed, but everyone who can and who really cares MUST participate in whatever happens as it happens if you want to be heard! We all must look at this as an opportunity. Everything each and every one of us does, matters. No matter how small or how big. If you want to make a difference then we must all get out and do something together. This takes work and many of us at the 2016 ‘Aha, did come to work. We did just that, we worked as hard as we could in a short amount of time. This document still needs to be ratified and now it’s up to us. It is up to all of us. Stand up and make sure this gets ratified so that “we”, our lahui can be heard. This document can go either way and it is your choice and your decision of whether you want to do this or not! So, if YOU chose not to, then that is YOUR choice. Stand up and make a difference! You can talk all you want, but you need to move and do the work. I want an independent nation and that is why I went. WE can still ratify these documents for what we want and decide how we do it, but not if you are just going to sit there, complain or do nothing. WE decide this time if we are going to go with independence or if we are going with federal recognition. I will not give up on our culture or who we are! I see any chance to be heard as an opportunity that must be taken. I want to hear from everyone. Stand up and be heard. Ratify this document so that we can form OUR nation to protect the people of Hawai’i now. This may be the only opportunity we have. Why throw it away? Think about it! What are you waiting for?

    Aloha no,


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