"Indigenous Politics: From Native New England and Beyond" radio program on WESU, Middletown, CT, 88.1FM
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On Tuesday, February 17, 2009, join your host, Dr. J. Kehaulani Kauanui for a special edition of Indigenous Politics that will examine the Hawaiian land case that will go before the US Supreme Court on February 25. The Court will hear oral arguments in the case of Hawaii v. Office of Hawaiian Affairs, et al, since the state of Hawaii has asked the Court to rule on whether or not the state has the authority to sell, exchange, or transfer 1.2 million acres of land formerly held by the Hawaiian monarchy as Crown and Government Lands. This land base constitutes 29 percent of the total land area of what is now known as the State of Hawaii and almost all the land claimed by the State as "public lands." Prior to the state government's appeal to the Supreme Court, the Hawaii State Supreme Court unanimously ruled that the state should keep the land trust intact until Native Hawaiian claims to these lands are settled, and prohibited the state from selling or otherwise disposing of the properties to private parties; and did so based on the 1993 Apology Resolution, in which Congress acknowledged and apologized for the United States' role and affirmed, "the indigenous Hawaiian people never directly relinquished their claims to their inherent sovereignty as a people or over their national lands to the United States, either through their monarchy or through a plebiscite or referendum." The guest on the show is Dr. Jonathan Kamakawiwo`ole Osorio, an original plaintiff in the case who sued the state to prevent the sale of these lands. He is now a defendant in the appeal to the Supreme Court and will speak to the complex issues raised by the case including the origins of the lawsuit, land title from a pro-Hawaiian independence position, the politics of the Apology Resolution, and the Hawaiian Nation's claim to these lands under international law. Osorio is an associate professor at the Kamakakuokalani Center for Hawaiian Studies, University of Hawai`i at Manoa, and author of Dismembering Lahui A History of the Hawaiian Nation to 1887.
All past programs of "Indigenous Politics" are now archived online:
"Indigenous Politics" is syndicated weekly on Pacifica-affiliate stations: WNJR, 91.7 FM, "Washington & Jefferson College Radio" in Washington, PA, and WETX-LP, 105.3 FM, "The independent voice of Appalachia," which includes a region encompassing twelve states and 20 million people: east Tennessee, southwest Virginia, west Kentucky, all of West Virginia, most of Pennsylvania, south New York, west Maryland, west North Carolina, west South Carolina, north Georgia, north Alabama, and northeast Mississippi. In addition, WBCR-lp in Great barrington, MA is also syndicating the show.
The show's producer and host, Dr. J. Kehaulani Kauanui is an associate professor of American Studies and Anthropology at Wesleyan University. She is the author of a newly released book, Hawaiian Blood: Colonialism and the Politics of Sovereignty and Indigeneity (Duke University Press, 2008). http://jkauanui.faculty.wesleyan.edu/
Kanaka Maoli Scholars Against Desecration
Statement on Mauna Kea - February 17, 2009
We declare our opposition to SB 992/HB 1174 and SB 502/HB 1370 and any other legislation bills that would transfer Mauna Kea to the University of Hawai`i (UH). These current legislative proposals would give the UH complete management authority over Mauna Kea and allow implementation of a plan that has no limit on telescope construction, would close public access to the summit, and exempt UH from public oversight in the name of development.
Mauna Kea is a sacred summit, which is already being desecrated by the existing science telescopes. The Hawai`i revised statute 711-1107 on Desecration specifically states that no one may commit the offense of desecrating “a place of worship or burial,” and the statute defines “desecrate” as “defacing, damaging, polluting, or otherwise physically mistreating in a way that the defendant knows will outrage the sensibilities of persons likely to observe or discover the defendant's action.” If this legislation passes, state legislators would be violating their own state law.
These legislative proposals also interfere with on-going litigation on the current regulations governing Mauna Kea. We would also like to remind state representatives and the general public that in the recent Third Circuit Court case regarding the management of Mauna Kea, the court ruled in favor of the Plaintiffs—Kealoha Pisciotta, President of Mauna Kea Anaina Hou; Debbie Ward and Nelson Ho, Co-Chairs of Mauna Kea Issues Committees, Sierra Club Hawai`i Island Chapter; Ali`i `Ai Moku, Paul K. Neves of the Royal Order of Kamehameha I, Moku of Mamalahoa Heiau Helu `Elua; and Clarence Ku Ching, individual Native Hawaiian Practitioner—and against the UH and the state Board of Land and Natural Resources (BLNR) for violation of the regulations protecting Mauna Kea as a conservation district. This lawsuit is currently on review before the Intermediate Court of Appeals (ICA) after the University appealed the lower court ruling against them. Though the University only recently withdrew its appeal from the ICA, counterclaims that go to the fundamental merits of this issue remain before the ICA.
Besides blatant desecration, and interference in on-going litigation, the negative environmental effects are numerous. As noted in the Testimony of the Plaintiffs regarding this legislation, two reports by the State Auditor have found that UH’s misuse and the BLNR’s failed oversight is “inadequate to ensure the protection of natural resources, and neglected ...the cultural value of Mauna Kea." Their report further stated that the University's Institute for Astronomy “focused primarily on the development of Mauna Kea and tied the benefits gained to its research program,” and that its focus on telescope construction has been “at the expense of neglecting the site’s natural resources.” Also, in 2005, an Environmental Impact Statement required by federal court order found that the cumulative impact of telescope activities on Mauna Kea has had a “substantial, adverse, and significant” impact.
The current proposals also violate the land claims of the Hawaiian nation. These legislative attempts to transfer a portion of the Hawaiian Kingdom Crown and Government Lands of which Mauna Kea is a part, is in direct contravention of the Hawai`i State Supreme Court’s holding in OHA v. Housing and Community Development Cororation of Hawai`i, 2008. The Hawaii Supreme Court barred the transfer of this land base by the state. If this legislation passes, state legislators would be violating the state Supreme Court ruling.
This exploitative venture proposed by this legislation must be stopped because the entire scheme promotes the ongoing violation of the sacred summit of Mauna Kea; it would be irresponsible and bad public policy, as well as a continued abuse of state power.
J. Leilani Basham, Ph.D., Assistant Professor, Hawaiian Studies, University of Hawai`i at West O`ahu
Kamanamaikalani Beamer, Ph.D., Mellon-Hawai`i Postdoctoral Fellow, Kohala Center
Maenette K.P. Ah Nee-Benham, Ed.D., Dean of Hawai`inuiakea School of Hawaiian Knowledge, University of Hawai`i, Mānoa
Kealani Robinson Cook, Ph.D. Candidate, Department of History, University of Michigan
J. Noelani Goodyear-Ka`ōpua, Ph.D., Assistant Professor, Political Science, University of Hawai`i at Mānoa
Lisa Kahaleole Hall, Ph.D., Assistant Professor, Women’s Studies, Wells College
Sydney Lehua Iaukea, Ph.D., Mellon-Hawai`i Postdoctoral Fellow, Kohala Center
Kū Kahakalau, Ph.D., founder and director of Kanu o ka ‘Āina New Century Public Charter School
Val Kalei Kanuha, Ph.D., M.S.W., Associate Professor of Sociology, University of Hawai`i at Mānoa
J. Kēhaulani Kauanui, Ph.D., Associate Professor, Anthropology and American Studies, Wesleyan University
Brandy Nalani McDougall, Ph.D. Candidate, English, University of Hawai`i, Mānoa
Noenoe K. Silva, Ph.D., Associate Professor, Political Science, University of Hawai`i at Mānoa
Ty Kawika Tengan, Ph.D., Associate Professor, Anthropology and Ethnic Studies, University of Hawai`i at Mānoa
Lani Teves, Ph.D. Candidate, Program in American Culture, University of Michigan
Haunani-Kay Trask, Ph.D., Professor, Kamakakūokalani Center for Hawaiian Studies, University of Hawai`i, Mānoa
Liza Keanuenueokalani Williams, Ph.D. student, New York University