BY CONGRESSMAN ED CASE, D-HI-2002-2007 – The unique responsibility of Hawaii’s Senator is to preserve, sustain and advance the interests of the indigenous people and culture of Hawai’i.
This is not only right and just for Native Hawaiians, but indispensable to the survival and prosperity of Hawai’i as we all know it. For your Senator, that means providing strong effective leadership in DC that understands and embraces Hawaiian issues and goals and advocates effectively for national solutions.
Ten Principles. In doing so, I will be guided by these ten principles:
(1) Native Hawaiians are indigenous peoples of our country and are entitled to benefits and protections afforded to other indigenous peoples.
(2) Self-determination for Native Hawaiians within our government structures is the best overall means to perpetuate indigenous Hawai’i.
(3) Self-determination must be pursued and coordinated on multiple tracks at the federal, state and community levels.
(4) Self-determination means that Native Hawaiians must lead with our elected officials as supporting partners.
(5) Continued economic empowerment through Native Hawaiian businesses and jobs is key.
(6) Continued Native Hawaiian education, through the ali’i trusts, immersion programs, charter schools and other means, is key.
(7) Native Hawaiians face unique health and wellness challenges which need continued targeting.
(8) Native Hawaiian housing, through the Hawaiian Homes Commission Act and otherwise, must be expanded.
(9) Preserving our environment is all about preserving, sustaining and advancing the indigenous people and culture of Hawai’i.
(10) A Senator matters, especially over the next make-or-break generation of great national opportunities and challenges for Native Hawaiians.
Ten Specifics. As examples, and in partnership with the Native Hawaiian community, my agenda will include these ten specifics:
1. Federal recognition. Pursue a relationship between Native Hawaiians and our federal government akin to that long existing for other indigenous peoples of our country.
2. Roll commission. Support the state Native Hawaiian Roll Commission’s efforts to advance organization of a Native Hawaiian governing entity.
3. Economic empowerment. Continue and strengthen federal efforts to advance Native Hawaiian businesses through the Small Business Administration, Minority Business Development Agency and others, including Native Hawaiian federal contracting preferences.
4. Native Hawaiian education. Continue and strengthen the Native Hawaiian Education Act and other federal efforts assisting Native Hawaiian-specific education.
5. Native Hawaiian health. Continue and strengthen the Native Hawaiian Health Care Act and other federal efforts targeting Native Hawaiian communities and challenges.
6. Native Hawaiian housing. Strengthen the Hawaiian Homes Commission Act, to include maximum flexibility to the state Commission and Department to continue public-private partnerships toward reducing the waiting list.
7. Native Hawaiian language and culture. Continue full access by Native Hawaiian cultural organizations to federal support of efforts to preserve the language and culture, such as the digitization of old Hawaiian newspapers.
8. Native Hawaiian serving organizations. Protect the rights of the ali’i trusts, the Office of Hawaiian Affairs and other core Native Hawaiian entities to serve their beneficiaries.
9. Environment and cultural practices. Further the preservation of Hawaii’s unique environment and of Native Hawaiian sustenance and cultural practices.
10. Outreach partner. Consider my office a full partner with Native Hawaiians in a crucial generation, committed to staying in touch and to open discussion at all times, and retain staff with full expertise in Native Hawaiian issues and personal commitment to our mutual goals.
With strong effective leadership over the next generation on these and other initiatives, we absolutely can fulfill our mutual responsibility to ensure the preservation, sustenance and advancement of the people and culture of Hawai’i.