BY PETER APO – Aloha and mahalo for taking the time to read my letter.  I know election messages are wearing everyone thin but we’re heading for the finish line so I ask your patience with what I have to say.

The Office of Hawaiian Affairs election is passing by almost unnoticed. A lot of people don’t know that you don’t have to be Hawaiian to vote for OHA candidates. New candidates are the forgotten few.

The Star Advertiser announced their support of all OHA incumbents reasoning a need for continuity at this “critical time” in a blatant call for the status quo. It is because it’s a critical time that we need a change.

OHA spent $50,000 promoting a Governor’s debate and but a token amount for any public education about the OHA election.

Of course, status quo is good for incumbents, let’s not rock the boat.  Go figure that in over a hundred years Hawaiians have been walking in the shadows of the American conscience still not recognized as indigenous people to these islands or to the nation.

After 30 years of OHA (since 1980) there is still no ceded land settlement.  Hawaiian institutions like the Kamehameha Schools and scores of Hawaiian entitlements are under constitutional challenge. These unresolved issues drag on and on.

It’s getting worse not better. This is bad, not just for Hawaiians, but for all of Hawai’i. Hawaiian institutions have thousands of acres of land and cash assets that support the general economy as we build homes, shopping centers, schools, health facilities, and other projects.  Their constitutional right to exist must be protected for all of Hawaii.

There has been an abiding institutional tension between Hawaiians and the rest of Hawaii since Queen Liliuokalani was overthrown in1893. Some try to ignore the state of tension but everyone gets nervous about celebrating Admissions Day to mark Hawaii Statehood. So we let it quietly slip by year after year.  Are we all nuts.

It’s time for leadership.  It’s time to make Hawaii whole.  It’s time to resolve the long standing issues that separate us. It’s time Hawaiians gain some relief from their struggle for dignity and honor as the first people of these islands.  It’s time for a changing of the guard.  I ask your support in this next election.

My name is Peter Apo and I am a candidate for the Office of Hawaiian Affairs – Oahu Trustee.

Hawaii Loa Ku Like Kakou.  All Hawaii stand together.

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