What Have the Office of Hawaiian Affairs Trustees Done—It Doesn’t Make Sense or Does It?

Dr.-Kamana’opono-Crabbe-OHAAfter the Office of Hawaiian Affairs CEO Dr. Kamana‘opono Crabbe submitted a formal request to Secretary of State John Kerry seeking clarification on the legal status of Hawai‘i under international law, all nine OHA Trustees yesterday signed a letter to the Secretary of State, stating:

“We understand that you received a letter from Office of Hawaiian Affairs Chief Executive Officer Kamana‘opono M. Crabbe, PhD dated May 5, 2014. The contents of that letter do not reflect the position of the Board of Trustees of the Office of Hawaiian Affairs or the position of the Office of Hawaiian Affairs. That letter is hereby rescinded.”

Did the Trustees even read Dr. Crabbe’s letter? How do you rescind a letter that seeks clarification for risk management purposes. You can’t. The only person that can rescind the letter is the CEO himself, and only when the risks identified have been found to not be risks in the first place. Another word for this is fiduciary duty.

Colette MachadoThis morning’s front page article in the Star-Advertiser reported that Trustee Chairwoman Colette Machado said “Crabbe exceeded his authority as chief executive officer that requires him to consult the board on such matters.” Is Dr. Crabbe’s request for clarification a management issue or a board issue. Does the CEO need Board approval to ask questions? What is the position of the Board of Trustees of the Office of Hawaiian Affairs? We don’t want clarification? The so-called rescind letter is not only odd, but it is disingenuous and has nothing to do with Dr. Crabbe’s letter. It also raises the question of who is pulling the strings.

After carefully reviewing Dr. Crabbe’s letter, he did not state or even imply that he was taking any position on whether or not the Hawaiian Kingdom continues to exist. He merely sought clarification on a legal issue that the Department of Justice’s Office of Legal Counsel is more than capable of answering. If there is any position taken by Dr. Crabbe its responsible management and the well-recognized principle “risk management.” His letter begins with:

“As the chief executive officer and administrator for the Office of Hawaiian Affairs, being a governmental agency of the State of Hawai‘i, the law places on me, as a fiduciary, strict standards of diligence, responsibility and honesty. My executive staff, as public officials, carry out the policies and directives of the Trustees of the Office of Hawaiian Affairs in the service of the Native Hawaiian community. We are responsible to take care, through all lawful means, that we apply the best skills and diligence in the servicing of this community. It is in this capacity and in the interest of the Office of Hawaiian Affairs I am submitting this communication and formal request.”

The performance of risk assessment begins with identification of risks. Once the risk or risks have been determined the management can choose to avoid the risk, reduce the risk, share the risk or retain the risk. After the option is made, management then calls for a plan for contingencies, create safeguards, and, lastly, to monitor.

Dr. Crabbe has clearly taken the path to avoid the risk by seeking clarification from the State Department and the Department of Justice’s Office of Legal Counsel.

From his letter he specifically states the risks began to surface when one of his executive managers attended a presentation and panel discussion at the University of Hawai‘i Law School featuring former Hawai‘i governor John Waihe‘e, III, senior Law Professor Williamson Chang and political scientist Dr. Keanu Sai. The law student chapter of the American Constitutional Society sponsored the presentation. Dr. Crabbe provided Secretary of State Kerry an online link to view the video of the law school presentation.

Crabbe wrote, “The presentations of Professor Chang and Dr. Sai provided a legal analysis of the current status of Hawai‘i that appeared to undermine the legal basis of the Roll Commission, and, as alleged in the panel discussions, the possibility of criminal liability under international law. Both Professor Chang and Dr. Sai specifically stated that the Federal and State of Hawai‘i governments are illegal regimes that stem from an illegal and prolonged occupation by the United States as a result of the illegal overthrow of the Hawaiian Kingdom government. As a government agency of the State of Hawai‘i this would include the Office of Hawaiian Affairs, and by enactment of the State of Hawai‘i Legislature, it would also include the Roll Commission. Both Act 195 and U.S. Public Law 103-150, acknowledges the illegality of the overthrow.”

Professor ChangHere are some quotes from senior Law Professor Chang:

“The power of the United States, over the Hawaiian islands, and the jurisdiction of the United States in the State of Hawai’i, by its own admissions, by its own laws, doesn’t exist.  And so that means that ever since the 1898 annexation of Hawai’i, by a Joint Resolution, they say, we have been living a myth.” (3:01 min/sec.)

“If you don’t have legal power over a territory, you’re governing without jurisdiction.” (4:20 min/sec.)

“…there’s no treaty between the United States and Hawai‘i by which Hawai‘i was acquired by the United States…” (4:41 min/sec.)

“A joint resolution, as an act of Congress, cannot acquire another country …If the United States could acquire Hawai‘i then the House of Nobles and the Legislative Assembly of Hawai‘i could acquire the United States.” (4:54 min/sec.)

“If two sovereigns are equal … one cannot acquire the other by its own laws.” (5:17 min/sec.)

“If Congress cannot, by Joint Resolution in 1898, acquire Hawai‘i unilaterally, it cannot do so in 1959.” (9:42 min/sec.)

“So in short, the United States by its own hands admits that it didn’t acquire the Hawaiian Islands, and all those Hawaiians, who have been saying the United States doesn’t have jurisdiction, have been right.” (11:25 min/sec.)

“So the annexation, that we all admit that nothing can be achieved without the United States going along with it, that’s the 900 lbs. elephant in the room. But we have to come in with the best leverage we have, and the best leverage we have is a hundred years of being lied to, being misrepresented, being told that we were part of the United States, and that has been legally false.” (17:19 min/sec.)

“…we’re all in this boat together in this journey of knowledge, and when I talk about the state of emergency, being the United States, how it is able to govern us for a hundred years without putting guns to our heads, it’s us.  We’re the problem, the law school is the problem. Why, because judges and lawyers have a duty of candor and truth. Judges, on their own, have to tell the courts, tell the attorneys that there is no jurisdiction.  It’s a duty of zealous representation for attorneys to present the best defense, and isn’t it the best defense that there’s no jurisdiction.” (1:36:41 hr/min/sec.)

Dr. Keanu SaiHere some quotes from political scientist Dr. Keanu Sai:

“Without a treaty, the United States has enacted “internal laws,” by its Congress, imposed in Hawai‘i…1898 Joint Resolution of Annexation, 1900 Territorial Act, 1959 Statehood Act, 1993 Joint Resolution of Apology for the 1893 Overthrow” (1:37:17 hr/min/sec.)

“Now the first and foremost restriction imposed by international law upon a State is that it may not exercise its power in any form in the territory of another State. In this sense jurisdiction is certainly territorial; it cannot be exercised by a State outside of its territory except by virtue of a permissive rule derived from international custom or from a convention.” (1:36:53 hr/min/sec.)

“military occupation confers upon the invading force the means of exercising control for the period of occupation. It does not transfer the sovereignty to the occupant, but simply the authority or power to exercise some of the rights of sovereignty.” (1:13:19 hr/min/sec.)

John Waihe‘e, IIIEven former governor and chairman of the Native Hawaiian Roll Commission Waihe‘e was in agreement with Dr. Sai’s analysis that Hawai‘i is not a part of the United States. Waihe‘e told the audience:

“I have absolutely no doubt that Hawai‘i is in an illegal occupation, I have absolutely no doubt. I mean, you’ve got to be illiterate not to finally get to that point.” (1:19:04 hr/min/sec.)

Can a CEO of the Office of Hawaiian Affairs take this lightly, especially when the Chairman of the Native Hawaiian Roll Commission himself stated he has no doubt that Hawai‘i is occupied and that you’ve got to be illiterate to not see it. Dr. Crabbe correctly states:

“These matters have raised grave concerns with regard to not only the Native Hawaiian community we serve, but also to the vicarious liability of myself, staff and Trustees of the Hawaiian Affairs, and members of the Native Hawaiian Roll Commission. The community we serve, the Trustees, and many of my staff members, to include myself, and the members of the Roll Commission are Native Hawaiians, who are direct descendants of Hawaiian subjects of the Hawaiian Kingdom. And as a State of Hawai‘i governmental agency, it would also appear that I am precluded from seeking any opinion on the veracity of these allegations from our in house counsel or from the State of Hawai‘i Attorney General, because there would appear to exist a conflict of interest if these allegations are true.”

Dr. Crabbe then provided the questions he’s seeking to be answered as part of the process of risk management.

• First, does the Hawaiian Kingdom, as a sovereign independent State, continue to exist as a subject of international law?

• Second, if the Hawaiian Kingdom continues to exist, do the sole-executive agreements bind the United States today?

• Third, if the Hawaiian Kingdom continues to exist and the sole-executive agreements are binding on the United States, what effect would such a conclusion have on United States domestic legislation, such as the Hawai‘i Statehood Act, 73 Stat. 4, and Act 195?

• Fourth, if the Hawaiian Kingdom continues to exist and the sole-executive agreements are binding on the United States, have the members of the Native Hawaiian Roll Commission, Trustees and staff of the Office of Hawaiian Affairs incurred criminal liability under international law?”

Dr. Crabbe’s conclusion in his letter clearly speaks to risk management and his determination to avoid the risk of criminal liability under international law. He stated, “While I await the opinion from the Office of Legal Counsel, I will be requesting approval from the Trustees of the Office of Hawaiian Affairs that we refrain from pursuing a Native Hawaiian governing entity until we can confirm that the Hawaiian Kingdom, as an independent sovereign State, does not continue to exist under international law and that we, as individuals, have not incurred any criminal liability in this pursuit.”

At no point has Dr. Crabbe taken a position for the Office of Hawaiian Affairs and nor has he taken a position of whether the Hawaiian Kingdom continues to exist. He’s seeking clarification from a federal agency who is more than capable of providing the answers. As chief executive officer, Dr. Crabbe is responsible for the protection of the staff at the Office of Hawaiian Affairs, which includes the Trustees, and to the Native Hawaiian community OHA serves. The Trustees’ so-called rescind letter is a blatant attempt to undermine the very duty Dr. Crabbe was appointed to do as the CEO of the Office of Hawaiian Affairs. The Trustees’ do not manage the Office of Hawaiian Affairs, the CEO does.

The irony is that Dr. Crabbe’s request for clarification is to protect the Trustees, even from themselves.

45 thoughts on “What Have the Office of Hawaiian Affairs Trustees Done—It Doesn’t Make Sense or Does It?

  1. It is clear where the corruption of OHA is and who is responsible. Mahalo Kamana’o for doing what is right!!!

  2. Aloha… One thing my Tutu taught me. If you want to fine out something. You got to go straight to the horse and not to the horse’s a$$. Mahalo to Dr Crabbe for seeking the truth and asking the right question’s. God bless the Hawaiian Kingdom. MAHALOKEAKUA

  3. Aloha.
    Chairwoman Machado may have exceeded her own authority in leading a delegation over to the U.S. meeting with U.S. Department of Interior representatives recently, by some accounts some OHA Trustees were initially unaware of this junket, where was the consultation?

    As a former Research Director of OHA, CEO Crabbe’s responsibilities included “gathering evidence needed to make decisions” (Source: OHA website), the OHA Audit Report states: “The CEO manages and provides leadership guidance, direction and executive oversight.” As such it should come within the CEO’s vested powers to make such an inquiry of the U.S. DOJ without consultation even in a private capacity.

  4. Aloha kakou,

    We should call for the Trustees who committed their name on
    the letter to rescind Kamana’opono’s request for clarifications
    as to whether the Hawaiian Kingdom continues to exist to step
    down from their respective positions as they are no longer
    truly representing the will of the people upon which OHA was
    created to represent!

    Hawaiian is not a race, it’s a nation!

    A hui hou,

    • Which Kanaka in their right mind would trust let alone follow these trustees when they don’t represent the will of Kanaka’s . As waihee said “we all know that the Hawaiian Kingdom is illegally occupied” yet they still want to persuade kanaka’s that their way is the way to go. It’s time to call for the removal of the treasonous oha Rep’s who don’t really represent us but the status quo.
      I saw their offices recently and was flabbergasted at the amount of money that is supposed be used for the benefit of Kanaka’s that’s being wasted on their fancy decor, while I see our people homeless.
      May God bring judgment that is due to them!

      • If Waihee is now appearing to support the position of the Kingdom still existing, when did he come to his senses? He has not gone contrary to the continuation of OHA’s movement on the issue. Watch out for the Political talk. The Indians called it speaking with forked tongue. Is that happening here to play both sides for personal gain?

    • I’d like to hear these OHA trustees explain whether or not the Kingdom still exists today. Someone please ask them this question at a public engagement!

    • I finally see someone who understands what I’ve been preaching for over 30 years… Hawaiian is not a race. It is a nation. Too many Kanaka have embedded in them America’s indoctrination. They have bought the lie.

      • Aloha Kealoha,
        In that 30 years have you begun to work on the “indoctrination” of the word, “local” also? Now that’s another tough one. We should chat.

      • I’m 57 and finally see how I lived through that lie, pledging to the American flag in school learning all the lies living the lies I now see how we were brainwashed and how that’s what they truly wanted.

  5. What is the agenda of the Trustee’s, where they take this kind of position against their own leader who is trying to get clarification to protect OHA and the resources they manage for the Hawaiian people

    It seems these individual’s are separating themselves from Kamana’opono should their be some kind of fall out, to protect their precious positions with the State of Hawaii.

    This tells us that a lot about the Trustee’s and what need’s to be done come election time.

    Mahalo Dr. Kamana’opono Crabbe for stepping up and doing the right thing.

  6. Standing back and watching OHA do what it does for over 40+ years reveals that they are no united specifically or in general. Personalities shouting into the air in reaction without thinking, without awareness of their kuleana and `oia`i`o. These people know and know that they know that the Hawaiian Nation is free and sovereign and always has been. They know and know that they know of the mercenary u.s. nation regardless of how old or young they are…they know what illegal behavior is yet justify their own illegal behavior. Kamana`opono has gone to the first and last source of truth which certifies the free and sovereign status of Hawaii and that is the u.s. who also knows and knows that they know the fact of this situation. They said it first 121 years ago. Read the archives of the illegal annexation from their archives. Crabbe is asking Kerry/u.s. to go back to their source and confirm what they said then and have also said over the past century without doing anything Ho`oponopono. They don’t do what is pono. They are known for that. That is why until last year without even making changes to their behavior they sat in the top four of nations with the worse record regarding treatment of indigenous peoples. That is why the North American Native Indigenous People are also at the door of the ICC in the U.N., That is why Alaska Indians are also there along with Hawaiians and it is also why the Marshallese Nation along with others are suing the u.s. and others for illegally taking their lands from them by nuclear bombing which is what the u.s. is doing currently at Pohakuloa in spite of the Hawaiian Nation and the country commission telling them to stop. There is more…much more and I believe that this latest courageous, honest action by a Maoli serving in the wrong position is doing the will of Akua as so many of the kupuna has been trying to do over the last century plus.

    Go do your part. Get others to do theirs or join you in yours. It is working. It has already been strongly suggested that the roll commission be halted for two years for more work to be done…Kamana`opono is working within that direction also. Maika`i

  7. Aloha Mai kakou,

    Our Kupuna has awakened, He kanaka Pono oe e kamana’o crabbe… Your letter has brought us hope, a brighter future to our keiki…. Let this be the beginning of justice for our kanaka maoli… I ku mau mau….

  8. If Dr. Crabbe had consulted the trustees before submitting his letter, would the outcome be the same?

  9. Putting his inquiry to the US State Department was absolutely correct. And he does have responsibility to take on this issue very seriously. Well done, Kamana’o.

  10. Time is now and a long time waiting for it, let us walk in the truth and raise our hearts in Aloha to the ancestors and KeAkua.

  11. Mahalo to Kamana`opono for taking such a BOLD step! Now WE know where the Trustees are on this issue. WE should force them all to tell US: The Beneficiaries, on who exactly is standing with Collette Machado or Kamana`opono on this issue. Then, WE can VOTE Collette & her US “Yes-Men/Women” out of office. They Don’t represent US the Kanaka Maoli!

  12. Dr Crabb asked the right questions, as far as I am concerned. OHA has agian shown its allegiance to the oxcupier and NOT the hawaiian people, and shows again the corruption and criminality of their existance, both in origin and in Cayetano era modification to include non-native members.

  13. Beyond each individual’s perspectives about what one is allowed to do to seek clarity, transparency, and accountability with respect to all aspects of how the Hawaiian Kingdom transitioned to become the State of Hawaii, there needs to be those opportunities to ascertain what was manipulated by the powers-that-be in the course of actions taken; what can be determined as being legal with regard to the processes and procedures which transpired and continue to transpire; and what determinations can be made to reach the outcomes which should be realized to make things “pono”. The time has come for “The Truth” to prevail!

  14. You know its just amazing how the members of OHA are going crazy over all this! Yeah maybe I think they need to read Dr. Crabbe’s letter again! Especially former illegal regime governor Waihe‘e! I mean Dr. Crabbe is just asking a simple question! To sum it all up, he’s just asking if Hawaii is not occupied by the United States! If Hawaii is not occupied and therefore legally part of the United States, then the H.K. no longer legally exist! Simple! And there’s only one way to prove that: Treaty of Annexation! So if that is all the case, then why are they going crazy?

    I think it’s an obvious indication, especially for Waihe’e! They know Hawaii is occupied and is not part of the United States! Because if Hawaii is legally part of the United States, they wouldn’t be going crazy over Dr. Crabbe, would they? I mean does THAT make sense?

    However, I still abide by the general fact that the Trustee’s DO NOT know that Hawaii is occupied except for Ahuna and Waihe’e! If that is the case, then I can understand what they’re doing. Of course I can’t blame them because they’re minds are brainwashed! However, if all the rest of the Trustee’s DO know Hawaii is occupied and they are purposely thwarting Dr. Crabbe’s good-soul activities, DO NOT expect any sympathy from me! If you know the legal fact Hawaii is occupied and you are well aware of what you are doing is wrong, DO NOT expect any sympathy from me!

  15. OHA trustees, who are you working for? What do you stand for? Who are your Kupuna? You folks just proved why the kanaka maoli can’t move forward together, and why those who are in important positions don’t do nothing in the best interest of our people….. Ke Akua has said, “the truth will set you free”, for you trustees, it will set you out of job… Mr. Kamana’o Crabbe has done something that none of you trustees has ever done, questioning the USA about there illegal occupying of Hawaii… Let them answer his letter, so we can find out the truth,that will finally set all kanaka maoli free…. Make your Kupuna proud, stand for them, don’t compromise your roots, your koko….aloha..

  16. OHA has every right as it represents the State of Hawaii not the Native Hawaiians Oha is an annexation of America…

  17. Let everyone in Hawaii sign his letter, not asking a simple question(s), but demanding the truth to be told as loud and as far as it will! This is good and just!

  18. Is not Hawaii still a Kingdom? What was the apology bill for then? Is not OHA a state
    entity?Could these trustees be committing treason? And how about those involved with the Hawaiian Roll as well? Just saying.

  19. Aloha
    The important job now is to unify all the different parts of Hawaii together. There is all the ingredients for a strong pono Hawaiian Nation existing today. There are hundreds of thousands of Hawaiian heirs alive of which have all the talents to take the kuleana of being the stewards of this aina. Once all the groups are able to sit down and find the commonality that will return control of the independent status of the Hawaiian Nation than we can begin a reconciliation process between not only us and America but us and the rest of the world. We had treaties with many nations. ultimately this issue is about the birthrights as heirs of the kingdom of Hawaii. It’s also about our nationality, a Hawaiian National can be of any ethnic background. Our tutu’s didn’t discriminate yesteryear and we not discriminating either. The Hawaiian Kingdom had treaties with many of the nations and showed love to all people.

    This is an opportunity to change the focus of OHA to bring all of the different groups that consider themselves a sovereign entity and unite the forces. The theme now is HUI UP! We all need to Hui Up because we all hold different parts of the puzzle. We need everyone. For the reality of truly running this country we need everyone on board and IF WE DONT HUI UP THAN WHO WILL THEY RETURN THE NATION TOO? They will have no choice but to return Hawaii to it’s rightful, capable and ready people when we are united as one mighty force. If we come together than it will be the opportunity for the United States to save face to the rest of the world and become a well respected country among the nations of the world today. America will have the chance to show that the values that it’s great nation was built on will once again be upheld and respect and integrity will be regained around the world again.

    The brakes have screeched the kana’iolowalu fraud to a hault. All that money they were going to spend on that process should now be put towards bringing all the different Hawaiian groups together to hui up and form the nation and the transition process for full return.

    OHA should pay the bill for the gathering of the people. We need everyone to hui up but it costs money, so if you are going to spend this money that is suppose to benefit the Hawaiians, this would be a wise investment to bring together the ike of our kupuna which would better serve the beneficiaries as a whole. This money will go to the pure grass roots movements around that pae aina of Hawaii. Enough Money Waisted already. Millions have been waisted and we have the answers right here. This is an illegally occupied nation but they convinced most people that they were legal. Now that everyone is waking up to the truth we need a solid option for them to choose. If there are 20 choices they get confused and sometimes don’t know what to do. The leaders of these groups need to make the effort for the good of the common people. Hawaiians are people of heart and need something to believe in. If several of the main sovereignty groups could come together and a process of truly regaining control of the already existing Hawaiian kIngdom than that would be the obvious choice of most of the people as long as Ke Akua is running the show. Without constant pule it will not work. That is the key and we can see an incredible change in the world right before our eyes.

    Mahalo Kamana’o for your courage in seeking the truth and doing what is pono. United we stand and that is the last thing in our path to regain control of this great Godly Nation of Hawaii. With true aloha not only can we protect ourselves but Eventually the entire world!!!

  20. elementary civics will teach you that nations will only talk with other nations….It is obvious that the trustees do not understand international law. sad to see the politics and not recognize the genius…

  21. What is so wrong with Mr. Crabbe seeking answers to issues that determines his fellow Kanakas fate? Isn’t this what the Trustees were suppose to ask when OHA was formed?

  22. Hui Aloha,

    Kamanaopono Crabbe Props to you for standing in the gap. for all 9 trustees who really need to wake up and smell the coffee. Seems like, no I take that back, I know Colette Machado and her followers are truly stuck on stupid. her action shows it. It is time to make right, the wrong, and know the Truth, for the Truth will set you Free. The comment that Waihee stated at the Richardson Law of School “you got to be illiterate not to finally get to that point” Well the point is, OHA’s Colette Machado and her followers, don’t understand the crimiality and liability they’re up against. My guess is that they didn’t get to that point yet, Now that’s illiterate…

    God’s word says,
    If My People, which are called by My Name, shall humble themselves and pray, and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land… 2 Chronicles 7:14

    I’m praying for all of you, despite my freedom of expression. Just know that Jesus loves all of you and want you folks to make it right with Him first and foremost and stay on point, in His word and in Him daily and pray without ceasing. God is my witness He will know if you’re true or not. In the end all will be accountable.


    In Christ, We Live! Amen (So Be It…)

  23. Aloha kakou.
    Trustee Peter Apo put up a blog post two days ago titled “New! OHA should abandon its role in nation building. The said article appeared on the Free Hawaii website on the same date May 17, 2014. There were very good contributions to the article by commentators including Walter Ritte, for some reason the said article has now been mysteriously removed by Trustee Apo:


    • When you attempt to access Peter Apo’s New! OHA should abandon its nation building article it shows up as 404-page error, can anyone else confirm this? mahalo.

      • Same here Lol, I think its a cover up ‘I didn’t say that Colette, I swear!.’ The comments I saw when it was active was shredding Mr. Apo.

        • Mahalo e Wai’anae Brah, he appears to have deleted a number of his previous blog posts & reply commentary also. That is indeed enigmatic without notifying anyone. Aloha.

  24. The trustees must communicate with their constituents , why. I, for one, do not like what is going on. How many more ones are there, out there?

  25. It’s all coming together. Like it or not. It’s happening! The truth will win and the wrong must be made right or all the wrong that has been done and is being done will continue. There is hope for the future of our children with the truth. Thank you to all the Kanaka who are educated and who continue to educate themselves to fix all this madness happening to us. Hawaii should not be used and abused no more!


    • Aloha Bronson, there is only one lawful and logical solution to all occupations. De-occupy and end the occupation. Although Hawaii is the longest known occupation to date there were many other countries that were also occupied and then de-occupied. There are established laws and rules to occupation and de-occupation and everyone just needs to follow them.

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