OHA Ka Wai Ola – Civic clubs gather for convention

The Office of Hawaiian Affairs’ Ka Wai Ola newspaper had the following article in its Kēkēmapa (December) 2014 edition.

Ka Wai Ola 1The continuity of the Hawaiian Kingdom as an independent and sovereign state became the official position of the Association of Hawaiian Civic Clubs during its 55th annual convention on Moku o Keawe (Hawai‘i Island) Oct. 26-Nov. 2.

Adopted on a vote of 126-92, Resolution 14-28 was one of nearly 50 resolutions adopted by the grassroots organization, whose foundation was laid in 1918 by Prince Jonah Kuhiō Kalaniana‘ole.

“These sort of acknowledgments, I think, really are good,” said Soulee Stroud, the association’s outgoing pelekikena (president), in a post convention interview.

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The idea that the Hawaiian Kingdom continues to exist has been gaining followers throughout the Hawaiian community as modern scholarship and education shed more light on the illegal overthrow, so-called “annexation” of Hawai‘i via joint resolution of Congress, and a statehood ballot that, according to modern scholars of international law, failed to conform to the letter of international law.

Support for the resolution was immediately buoyed by a letter of congratulations from the Royal Order of Kamehameha I, for “taking the courageous step to publicly announce its position that the Kingdom of Hawai‘i continues to exist,” a position the Royal Order of Kamehameha I proclaimed in 1995.

The AHCC, an officially nonpartisan organization known historically for conservative leanings, has seen a shift in recent years with the adoption of a number of progressive resolutions, including a resolution supporting marriage equality in 2013.

Among the resolutions passed at this year’s convention, held at the Waikoloa Beach Marriott Resort & Spa, were:

  • 14-18 – Strongly supporting the establishment of statewide, regulated medical marijuana dispensaries
  • 14-19 – Strongly urging the state to fully implement and fund the Justice Reinvestment Initiative before planning for prison expansion
  • 14-35 – Urging all Hawaiian civic club members, OHA and the larger Hawai‘i community “to honor and respect the strong political stance of our kupuna who signed their names” on the petition opposing annexation of Hawai‘i to the U.S. in 1897.

Among the most debated resolutions adopted was 14-34, urging creation of a task force, including civic club members, to be appointed by the governor and Legislature, to study the relocation of the Spirit of Lili‘uokalani statue of Queen Lili‘uokalani, from its location between ‘Iolani Palace and the state Capitol.

The idea of moving the statue – interchanging its location with the Eternal Flame memorial on Beretania Street, was debated at the state Legislature in February as Senate Bill 2505 as part of a plan to turn the walkway behind the Capitol into Memorial Mall. The bill also called for a working group to create a monument to former Hawaiian rulers to be placed with the statue. The majority of written testimony, including that of the AHCC, was strongly opposed and the bill was deferred. A companion House Bill did not advance.

New officers

In their biennial election of officers, delegates chose first vice president Annelle Amaral as their pelekikena.

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Amaral, of the Waikīkī Hawaiian Civic Club, was elected by majority vote in a three-person race with Leimomi Khan, president of Kalihi- Pālama HCC and a past president of the AHCC, and Skippy Ioane, president of Hui Pū Laka HCC.

“Braddah Skippy” Ioane, whose nomination, like Khan’s, was made on the convention floor, energized the delegation with a populist speech calling for change delivered in pidgin.

“I tell you guys straight up. Us as a people, we no more respect,” said Ioane. “We gotta adjust da vehicle, because da Model T … cannot compete on da freeway. You know what I mean? You going get ticketed for impeding progress.”

Hailama Farden, of Kuini Pi‘olani HCC, was elected first vice president; Daniel Naho‘opi‘i, of Maunalua Hawaiian Civic Club, and president of AHCC’s O‘ahu Council, was elected second vice president; and Paul Richards, Hawaiian Civic Club of Waimānalo, was elected treasurer.

Meanwhile, the late H.K. Bruss Keppeler, a longtime member and past AHCC president, slack key master Rev. Dennis Kamakahi and master Hawaiian feather work artist Aunty Paulette Kahalepuna were among those lovingly remembered during a tearful Hali‘a Aloha ceremony as ‘ohana and fellow club members brought offerings of oli and lei that were draped upon an ‘ōhi‘a lehua tree.

Activities during the week included trips to sacred sites, like Mauna Kea, the piko of the firstborn island of Wäkea and Papa according to Hawaiian cosmology, and Ahu a ‘Umi Heiau, the shrine of the island’s 16th-century ruler ‘Umi a Liloa.

Stroud, whose membership spans more than two decades, says he’ll remain involved in the AHCC as immediate past president and anticipates being involved in the nation-building process, possibly as a delegate to a Hawaiian convention in 2015.

A longtime supporter of the civic clubs, OHA was a sponsor of AHCC’s 55th annual convention. In the days leading up to the November general election, the convention also served as the site of a debate of OHA trustee candidates. Hosted by AHCC in partnership with OHA, the debate was streamed live on oha.org.

Mary Alice Ka‘iulani Milham is a freelance kanaka writer. A former newspaper reporter and columnist from California’s Central Coast, she lives in Mākaha, O‘ahu.

7 thoughts on “OHA Ka Wai Ola – Civic clubs gather for convention

  1. Mahalo Mary Alice Kaiulani Milham for this excellent article. I was so worried that there would be a spin put on what occurred at the AOHCC 2014 Convention. I mahalo you for filling my heart with joy for being so truthful in your reporting.

    The Resolutions passed by the membership were groundbreaking and shows that the AOHCC has become more attuned to the VOICES of the people in our communities.

    It also became quite clear that those supporting INDEPENDENCE were in the house and our VOICES were not going to be unheard amongst the many supporters of Federal Recognition/Kanaiolowalu.

    We took every opportunity to educate when the Resolutions we supported came to the floor for discussion. We bonded in unity and supported each other when we spoke. Never were we angry, rude, ranting, disruptive, etc. as we are often labeled to be. We were united and respectful at all times during the entire convention.

    I smiled while I watched OHA trustee Peter Apo in total frustration rant that “you people” need to watch how you vote on these resolutions because it can mess up what we doing and so on. Chairman Colette Machado screaming in so many words “that we need to stay out of OHA business” during the discussion of supporting CEO Kamana’opono ‘s letter to Kerry.

    When Ka Lei Maile HCC’s Resolution, presented by Dr. Keanu Sai passed, the VOICES of the Independence Supporters have made a historical statement at the Association of Hawaiian Civics Convention.

    NOW we will be doing the real work that Prince Kuhio wanted to be done by forming this Association in 1918, when it was illegal for our people to gather as one VOICE in support of our Hawaiian Kingdom and our Queen Liliuokalani.

    O wau no me ka ha’aha’a

    Melissa Leina’ala Haa Moniz
    Kai ‘Ula Pono’i Texas HCC

  2. Aloha Kakou!
    In light of all this awesomeness going around. I want to ask, perhaps a related question, on the removal of the US flag from the University of Hilo, the other day, and the putting up of the Hawaiian Kingdom Flag in its stead? I don’t watch TV much and I only heard about it. If it is true I laugh with glee because it’s like the US/Fake State have “hoisted themselves by their own petard”. That is to say, It’s blowing up in their faces… (Now, I do say I do not wish any harm to anyone, even if I disagree with them vehemently.) But as I see it the declaration of the extant Kingdom of Hawai’i is explicit in the act by the students and teacher. However, what can the State/US do because even though they stole the Flag of the Kingdom as well, now they cannot take it down because they’d be acknowledging the HK by removing it; and staying up is a declaration. So, it’s be damned if you do and damned if you don’t. If my assessment is correct I laugh a good ole belly laugh at the nonsense of the occupiers and their supporters. Brilliant! Their has to be some comedy in this 120+ year egregious crime/tragedy. Mahalo for you thoughts.

  3. Aloha Chris,

    This was a post containing that event:

    From my observation the American flag was treated with respect
    before they hoisted the Hawaiian flag up. You can see that there
    is a need for education on Hawaiian history from some of the
    comments posted.

    I think Kekoa pulled this up a little while back:
    This information is from the U.S. Department of State, if they are
    clearly without a treaty of cession over the Hawaiian Islands how
    accurate could any of their information be concerning their authority
    over the Hawaiian Islands?

    Originally from this link:

    I searched for: UH Hilo raises Hawaiian flag over U.S. flag, at the news site
    that aired the news and saw Hilo changed to Silo. Retyped, same thing, with
    no result! They did have another report that ran that same evening which
    was easy to find: http://www.hawaiinewsnow.com/story/27553868/petition-calls-for-removal-of-merrie-monarch-tag-on-hawaiian-moonshine?autostart=true

    Makes you wonder what the News teams are told on how to handle issues
    concerning Hawaiian Kingdom independence.

  4. Mahalo Kanekeawe for your post reply. I did look at the links and you are right that there are many who don’t understand, or don’t want to understand, the Kingdom of Hawai’i’s occupation. Some are rather mean spirited, BUT as the saying goes, “You throw a stone into a pack of dogs (I love dogs) well, the hit one yelps.” Oh, and the EBT and Student Loan references…like one sells their soul and Nationality for these handouts so “no fuss”. Thankfully, the matter of a Nations existence does not rely in any way shape or form upon the negative and disparaging comments expressed. I imagine many people howled in anger when other Nations regained their Independence: Latvia, Estonia, etc….East Germany…the money issues will be worked out…for Hawai’i reparations in gold!!

  5. Aloha Christopher, let’s not limit our reparations and payment to just gold, we could use some U.S. oil and natural gas reserves and a couple of communication satellites for starters. We don’t need to be paid all at once, a monthly payment plan with interest could be negotiated. LOL

    • Kekoa, Spot On! I Love It! Just goes to show that there is always someone who has a clearer insight to the right path ahead. Mahalo and AE I agree totally.

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