REPORT FROM THE TI LEAF GROUP — Three of the state’s largest and most active advocacy organizations are convening a forum on the Hawaiian Homes Commission Act (HHCA). The forum theme is “Your Money-Your Land-Your Self Determination.”
The Council for Native Hawaiian Advancement (CNHA), with its public policy center, along with the Association of Hawaiians for Homestead Lands (AHHL), representing the interests of tens of thousands of individuals waiting for a homestead land award, and the Sovereign Councils of the Hawaiian Homeland Assembly (SCHHA), representing a majority of homestead associations across the state, have set the date for December 6, 2013 at the Best Western Plaza Hotel near the airport.
“The forum is dual purposed,” said Robin Puanani Danner, CNHA president and a homesteader herself. “We will focus on an alternative budget for the legislature to consider funding to the State Department of Hawaiian Home Lands (DHHL), and to consult with homestead leaders on policy initiatives to open greater dialogue with the Federal Department of Interior.”
All three organizations held separate annual member meetings earlier in the year, and all three adopted positions to increase the federal oversight of DHHL and to promulgate federal rules for DHHL to follow in the administration of the 1920 act.
“It’s been 90 years since the congress enacted the Hawaiian Homes Commission Act,” Danner said. “In all that time the federal government has not developed standard rules to follow which is very standard protocol for laws passed by the congress. With President Obama re-elected for another four years, this is the perfect time to create a new relationship with the Department of Interior to work together to chart a new course for the next 90 years – exciting times!”
Homestead leaders have been in discussion all year about how to help DHHL do better than the 10,000 homestead awards over a 90 year period.
“We have concluded three main tasks,” said Blossom Feiteira, President of AHHL and an advocate for Hawaiians on the waitlist for over 20 years. “First, as homestead leaders, we need to embrace our kuleana to step forward to apply the decades of expertise we have. Second, we need to focus on how much funding is flowing, but more importantly, where our resources are spent to advance the mission of homestead lot development. And third, we know that federal engagement with the Department of Interior has been a missing component, something that has the potential to create amazing progress.”
The HHCA forum brings the key members of each of the advocacy organizations together on December 6th. “It’s a testament to the leadership of our policy chair, retired judge William Fernandez, the SCHHA’s Chairman Kamaki Kanahele and AHHL’s board chair, Blossom Feiteira, that consultation, working together and healthy forward thinking is possible,” Danner concluded. “Big things, positive things are happening in the homestead community, and it all begins with community leaders!”
CNHA is a national network of Native Hawaiian Organizations, providing assistance in accessing capital and technical resources, and is a policy voice on issues important to Native Hawaiian communities. Its mission is to enhance the well-being of Hawaii through the cultural, economic, and community development of Native Hawaiians. For more information about CNHA please contact us at 808.596.8155, toll-free at 1.800.709.2642, by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org, or at www.hawaiiancouncil.org.