BY KENNETH R. CONKLIN, PH.D. — $200 Million of our state government land in Kaka’ako makai was just given away to OHA. Several other large pieces of land were given to OHA in recent years; most notably the entire Waimea Valley on Oahu and 40 square miles in Waokele O Puna on Hawaii island (where a racially exclusive group of entrepreneurs now hopes to get wealthy by building a geothermal plant in the same place they previously protested that such a plant would desecrate the Goddess Pele).
Now our legislature is poised to pass HB2246, to hand over the entire Ha’iku Valley in Kane’ohe to a special commission with 7 members. One Commissioner is to be named by OHA and four more to be named by other race-based private organizations (specifically naming the Ko’olaupoko Hawaiian Civic Club and the Ko’olau Foundation). The final two members are named by the Governor and by the Board of Land and Natural Resources. Thus at least 5 of the 7 commission members, and probably all 7, will be ethnic Hawaiian sovereignty activists.
Section 10 “Transfer” says: “Upon its conveyance to the department [DLNR], the resources and waters of the Haiku valley cultural preserve shall be held in trust by the department as part of the public land trust; provided that the department shall transfer management and control of the Haiku valley cultural preserve to the sovereign native Hawaiian entity upon its recognition by the United States and the State.”
There’s a similar provision in the document that returned Kaho’olawe to the State of Hawaii, automatically handing over that entire island to the future Akakakanaka tribe. The same concept has been proposed for O’ahu’s Makua and Kahana Valleys.
If the legislature is determined to give away many of our public lands to OHA and a future Akakakanaka tribe, at least the legislature should wait to include the land as part of a “global settlement” with the tribe. We must (unfortunately) rely on our legislators to represent the interests of all Hawaii’s people, to resist the demands of OHA and the tribe, and to keep as much as possible of our public lands in public hands. It’s a bad negotiating position to be giving things away even before negotiations begin. This bill is part of a larger “shark” strategy for sovereignty: take one bite at a time until the victim (State of Hawaii) is totally consumed.
The Ha’iku Valley bill has passed all its regular committees, and both the full House and full Senate, in slightly different versions. No Senator or Representative has dared to vote against this horrible, racist bill. A conference committee will try on Thursday April 26 to reconcile differences between the Senate and House versions.
In 2008 a nearly identical bill was passed by the legislature but vetoed by Governor Lingle. There’s no doubt that our current Governor Abercrombie will sign it this time.
Our only hope is that members of the conference committee might be persuaded to let the bill die, using as an excuse that they are unable to reconcile the House and Senate versions.
The bill is HB2246. The text of the bill, committee reports, lists of legislators who voted for it at every stage, and names of the conference committee members can be found at
Please contact the conference committee members to ask them to defeat HB2246.
Complain about the provision automatically transferring sovereignty to the future Akakakanaka tribe. Complain about the fact that the membership of the Haiku Valley Commission is racially stacked to guarantee that at least 5 out of 7 Commissioners will be ethnic Hawaiian sovereignty activists. Complain about weakening our future negotiating position by giving away our public lands even before negotiations begin.
Take note of the fact that the same fate awaits every other parcel of land in Hawaii, using the same rationale stated in Section 1 of this bill:
“The legislature finds that Haiku valley on Oahu is of significant cultural and historic importance to the native people of Hawaii. Haiku valley is renowned for its archaeological and other cultural and historic sites, including loi, sacred sites, and burial sites, and for the presence of native and endangered flora and fauna. Preserving the valley’s cultural and historic resources and educating the public about these resources are of paramount importance.”
All those things could be said about any ahupua’a in the State of Hawaii. The bill does not tell the names or locations of the sites which are of special significance, and does not explain why those sites should compel Ha’iku Valley to be singled out for special designation when other ahupua’as with similarly significant sites are not singled out. I believe it’s clear that the only reason why Haiku Valley is being singled out is because two groups in the area, which have predominantly ethnic Hawaiian membership, are politically powerful enough to demand race-based control of the ahupua’a at the present time and automatic transfer to a race-based Native Hawaiian government at the time such government is created.
Let’s protect unity, equality, and aloha for all. I have lived in Kane’ohe for 20 years, and my residence is directly makai of Ha’iku Valley. On the 12th floor of my condo, I look directly into Haiku Valley which is mauka from Windward Community College. Every time I open my door I see Haiku Valley’s majestic mountains, rains, waterfalls, and rainbows. The Stairway to Heaven trail is part of the valley, running up the side of Pu’u Keahiakahoe, and glints when the sun hits at a certain angle. I do not want to see the pollution of racism entering my beautiful valley. One meaning of “Ha’iku” is “Stand and speak.” And so I now stand to speak my ku’e against this terrible bill HB2246.