by Robert Uluwehi Cazimero and Kawika Trask
What are two Hawaiian musicians doing, weighing in on politics, you might ask? Politics is not what consumes our hearts and minds on a daily basis. But we feel compelled to speak out in support of Mililani Trask who is seeking election as a trustee of the Office of Hawaiian Affairs, representing Hawaii island.
Through our music, we were a part of the 1970’s Hawaiian cultural renaissance that sparked the Hawaiian political movement. That movement instilled cultural pride and identity in who we are as a people at a time when we were in danger of having our culture completely erased.
Our youth then stepped up and realized we all needed to get involved in helping to perpetuate our culture and ensure its survival. Today, we draw from that well of experience as we appeal for a restoration of truth and righteousness to OHA . There has been too much discord sowed in recent times. We have been let down by those in whom we trusted. Disappointment is pervasive amongst our people. It’s time to usher in change.
Over the last decade and a half, we have become more attentive to politics as we witnessed the highhanded disregard for the will of the people. Our Hawaii has changed and we must too. So, today, we take a break from making music to make a heartfelt appeal to the people of Hawaii to vote for Mililani Trask.
Anyone who knows Mililani Trask knows what passion and righteous indignation she brings to everything she does. Over the years, her anger has subsided, but her integrity and determination to do right by the people she serves have only grown stronger.
We listen when Mililani Trask speaks not because we are related but because in her we find the voice of our people. We find in her the promise of a renaissance in who we are and what we can do for the upliftment of all of Hawaii’s people.
We believe in respecting our kupuna. But we reject some of the tactics that have been employed to keep incumbents in their seats of power.
The impression that some of the trustees give that they are entitled to their seats on the Board of Trustees of OHA simply by virtue of having long occupied them distresses us greatly. The lack of transparency and accountability in the management of OHA monies is alarming. Our people have spoken out loudly and clearly on a variety of issues: from nation-building to the Thirty Meter Telescope. But the actions and statements of some of the trustees as well as their recent impugning of the integrity of Mililani Trask have caused us to say: ENOUGH!
It’s time to clean house and get someone on the Board who will demand accountability and not rest till we have satisfactory answers to our questions.
For all these reasons, and because we have known and admired Mililani Trask for decades, we plan to vote for her and encourage all Hawaii voters to do the same. She will do what she has always done: work hard and with integrity on behalf of all of Hawaii Nei. Please join us in voting for Mililani Trask for OHA.