Na‘i Aupuni critics meeting

SUBHEAD: Public meeting to discuss Native Hawaiian self-governance slated Friday at Wilcox school.

By Brittany Lyte on 18 November 2015 for the Garden Island -

Image above: Hawaii sovereignty supporters outside the Honolulu Convention Center. From (

Public Meeting on Native Hawaiian Self-Governance
Speakers will include Walter Ritte, Trisha Kehaulani Watson-Sproat, Donovan Preza an Kaiulani Mahuka.

Friday, November 20th 2015 at] 6:00 pm

Wilcox Elementary
School Cafeteria
4319 Hardy St, Lihue

Aloha Aina

Critics of the ongoing Na‘i Aupuni election for Native Hawaiian self-governance will gather at Wilcox Elementary School Friday for a public panel discussion.

Speakers include Native Hawaiian advocates Walter Ritte, Trisha Kehaulani Watson- Sproat, Donovan Preza and Kaiulani Mahuka.

The event, set to begin at 6 p.m. in the school cafeteria, is sponsored by Aloha Aina Kauai.
Ritte, a former candidate, publicly withdrew his name from the election last month and urged Hawaiians to boycott the election, which he described as a “fake pathway to nationhood.”

Flanked by members of the Royal Order of Kamehameha, Ritte stood in front of Hawaii Hall at the University of Hawaii at Manoa just days before the start of the election and said he won’t participate in a process that’s not pono.

Specifically, Ritte said he believes the process is geared toward reorganizing a native government that will seek federal recognition rather than total independence.

“We need to be steadfast and remain on the path that our kupuna have laid because we are still a sovereign and independent state,” said Ritte, who has been active in the anti-GMO movement and lives on Molokai.

Na‘i Aupuni is a private election among Native Hawaiians who can vote for delegates who will gather in Honolulu this winter at a constitutional convention. The governing document these delegates write will form the foundation of a new government by and for Native Hawaiians.

In a letter defending the election, Na‘i Aupuni, the nonprofit group organizing the election, said last week that decisions about pathways to sovereignty will be made by the elected delegates, of which there are 200 representing a range of views.

“Na‘i Aupuni has set up a process whereby elected leaders can discuss various options and issues to find a consensus so that the Native Hawaiian community may proceed forward in unity,” the letter said. “No group, including the protesters, has offered an alternative plan to achieve Hawaiian self-determination or form an effective government.”

Anahola resident Shane Cobb-Adams, who will moderate Friday’s event in Lihue, said he hopes the community discussion will help to identify some viable alternatives.

“What we’re trying to do with the event is make an open call to everyone on Kauai to learn more about Na‘i Aupuni,” Cobb-Adams said. “There’s a lot of confusion about what Na‘i Aupuni is and isn’t and we’re trying to bring some transparency.

“Basically, a lot of people are not happy with the lack of transparency and we’re not happy with the level of disengagement from the community in this process. A lack of transparency really suppresses the native voice.

“We’re also trying to answer the question, ‘If we don’t want to be a part of it, what are the alternatives?’ We want to be able to come away with some real actionable items that we can work on.”

Kauai’s candidates for delegate seats at the planned constitutional convention include Samuel Aea, a 56-year-old business owner; Kanani Kagawa Fu, Kauai County’s 34-year-old assistant to the housing director; Mai Ling Haumea, 24; Linda Ka’auwai-Iwamoto, a 72-year-old former homestead assistant for the Department of Hawaiian Homelands; and Kuuleialoha Santos, a 40-year-old descendant of salt makers in Hanapepe.


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