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U.S. Supreme Court Denies Akina Plaintiffs’ Motion For Contempt, ‘Aha To Proceed

NAʻI AUPUNI

U.S. SUPREME COURT DENIES AKINA PLAINTIFFS’ MOTION FOR CONTEMPT, ‘AHA TO PROCEED

NEWS RELEASE
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Tuesday, January 19, 2016

HONOLULU – The U.S. Supreme Court today unanimously denied a motion by the Akina plaintiffs to stop a gathering of Native Hawaiians at an ‘aha scheduled for February.

The motion for contempt was filed by the Akina plaintiffs when Na‘i Aupuni terminated the election of delegates and instead offered all candidates terms to participate in an ‘aha to discuss a path to self-governance.

“We are pleased with the court’s decision and grateful that we may continue on our path to the ‘aha.”, said Kuhio Asam, president of Na‘i Aupuni. “We support and look forward to the participants, who are from varied backgrounds and with a wide range of beliefs, coming together to discuss and find common ground on manners in which to advance self-governance.”

The Na‘i Aupuni Board of Directors decided that the ‘aha will convene for four weeks in February and will involve more than 150 participants from Hawaii, the continental U.S. and other countries.

Peter Adler and Linda Colburn of The Mediation Center of the Pacific will serve as facilitators to foster discussions and to assist the participants in organizing themselves. In the first five days of the ʻaha, the participants will be briefed by presenters:

  • Zachary Elkins: Constitution Building – Process and Contents
  • Rebecca Tsosie: Federal Indian Law – Federal Recognition
  • Catherine J. Iorns Magallanes: International Law – De-Occupation, De-Colonization, and Indigenous Rights
  • Melody Kapilialoha MacKenzie: U.S. Constitutional Issues and Ceded Lands
  • Davianna McGregor: Kingdom Law

Information on the presenters, as well as readings for participants on the discussion subjects, can be found on the Na‘i Aupuni website: naiaupuni.org.

About Na‘i Aupuni

Na‘i Aupuni is an independent organization made up of a volunteer board of directors from the Hawaiian community. It exists solely to help establish a path to an ‘aha, where Hawaiians can discuss and explore various options of self-determination. Na‘i Aupuni was formed in December 2014 and is separate and independent from the Office of Hawaiian Affairs and the State of Hawaii. Further information about Na‘i Aupuni and the ‘aha can be found at http://www.naiaupuni.org.

Media Contact:
Lloyd Yonenaka
(808) 543-3554
info@naiaupuni.org

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Na‘i Aupuni Releases Final Delegate List

NAʻI AUPUNI

NA‘I AUPUNI RELEASES LIST OF 152 PARTICIPANTS TO FEBRUARY ‘AHA

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Wednesday, December 23, 2015

HONOLULU – Na‘i Aupuni today announced the names of 152 Native Hawaiians who will take part in an ‘aha, a gathering to broadly discuss self-governance, in February 2016.

The ‘aha participants come from the 196 former candidates who stepped forward to run in an election that would have sent 40 of them to a constitutional convention. Na‘i Aupuni terminated the election on Dec. 15 because pending litigation would potentially have stalled the counting of the vote for years. Na‘i Aupuni, instead, offered all of the then-registered candidates terms to participate in a gathering to discuss self-governance. A total of 152 participants had signed on for the ‘aha by the deadline of midnight yesterday.

“Every former candidate had an opportunity to participate and we are excited that a large group of committed persons who represents a broad cross section of the Native Hawaiian community, both in Hawaii and on the continent, will have an opportunity to discuss self-governance,” said Kuhio Asam, Na‘i Aupuni president. “Our goal has always been to establish a path to an ‘aha where Hawaiians can have a long-overdue discussion on the future of the Hawaiian people.

“These are Hawaiians who have shown a deep commitment to engage in serious, civil discussions on self-governance. We are very happy and encouraged that so many individuals have made a decision to be participants. They deserve everyone’s support.”

A component of the month-long ‘aha includes the discussions the participants will engage in with experts during the first week regarding constitution building; federal Indian law; international law regarding de-occupation, decolonization and the rights of indigenous people; U.S. Constitution issues that relate to Native Hawaiian self-governance; ceded lands; and Kingdom Law.

Peter Adler and Linda Colburn of The Mediation Center of the Pacific will serve as facilitators to lead the discussions with the experts and to assist the participants in organizing themselves. Thereafter, whatever happens at the ‘aha will be completely up to the participants without interference by Na‘i Aupuni or any government entity.

A list of the participants to the ‘aha is attached.

“Through no fault of the individual or Na’i Aupuni, Janice Ringler was not included in the original list of participants. She has been added to the list. Her acceptance has been verified as being sent in well before the deadline, but delivered by the electronic carrier past the due date.”

Media Contact: Lloyd Yonenaka
(808) 543-3554
info@naiaupuni.org

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About Na‘i Aupuni

Na‘i Aupuni is an independent organization made up of a volunteer board of directors from the Hawaiian community. It exists solely to help establish a path to an ‘aha, where Hawaiians can discuss and explore various options of self-determination. Na‘i Aupuni was formed in December 2014 and is separate and independent from the Office of Hawaiian Affairs and the State of Hawaii. Further information about Na‘i Aupuni and the ‘aha can be found at http://www.naiaupuni.org/.

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ELECTION CANCELLED, ALL CANDIDATES INVITED TO ʻAHA

NAʻI AUPUNI

NA‘I AUPUNI TERMINATES ELECTION PROCESS

‘Aha Will Go Forward
All Registered Candidates Will Be Offered Seat As Delegates

NEWS RELEASE FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Tuesday, December 15, 2015
Download a PDF version of this release 

HONOLULU – Na‘i Aupuni announced today that it has terminated the Native Hawaiian election process but will go forward with a four-week-long ‘Aha in February. All 196 Hawaiians who ran as candidates will be offered a seat as a delegate to the ‘Aha to learn about, discuss and hopefully reach a consensus on a process to achieve self-governance.

Na‘i Aupuni President Kuhio Asam said Na‘i Aupuni’s goal has always been to create a path so Native Hawaiians can have a formal, long-overdue discussion on self-determination.

“Our goal has always been to create a path so that Hawaiians can gather and have a serious and much-needed discussion about self-governance,” Asam said. “We anticipated that the path would have twists and turns and even some significant obstacles, but we are committed to getting to the ‘Aha where this long-overdue discussion can take place.”

He said due to the delays caused by the ongoing litigation – that could continue for years – it was decided that the most effective route at this point would be to offer to convene all of the remaining delegate candidates and allow them to an opportunity to organize Hawaiians and achieve self-governance.

Na‘i Aupuni said Election-America has been informed to stop the receipt of ballots, to seal ballots that have already been received, and to prevent anyone from counting the votes.

Na‘i Aupuni attorney William Meheula said consistent with offering to seat all candidates, Na‘i Aupuni has decided that the election votes will never be counted. “Thus, the Akina litigation, which seeks to stop the counting of the votes, is moot, and Na‘i Aupuni will take steps to dismiss the lawsuit,” he said. “To be clear, Na‘i Aupuni does not know and will never learn the election results.”

Asam said Na‘i Aupuni will manage the process of the ‘Aha but not the substance of the discussions. “We have retained Peter Adler and Linda Colburn of The Mediation Center of the Pacific to serve as facilitators to lead the instruction week and to thereafter assist in organizing the delegates,” he said. “They will contact the candidates who decide to participate in the ‘Aha.”

The confirmation deadline to participate in the ‘Aha is Dec. 22, 2015. An email will request that the candidates confirm whether they intend to accept the terms and attend the ‘Aha that runs the month of February 2016 and will be held at a meeting facility in Kailua, Oahu. On
Dec. 23, 2015, Na’i Aupuni will post the list of delegates on its website.

Asam said a key component of the ‘Aha is the education and information the delegates will receive during the first week regarding constitution building, federal Indian law, international law regarding de-occupation, decolonization, the rights of indigenous people, U.S. Constitution issues that relate to Native Hawaiian self-governance, the ceded lands claim, background on Hawaiian Home Lands, Kingdom Law and constitutions drafted by sovereignty groups.

Media Contact: Lloyd Yonenaka (808) 543-3554 info@naiaupuni.org


About Na‘i Aupuni

Na‘i Aupuni is an independent organization made up of a volunteer board of directors from the Hawaiian community. It exists solely to help establish a path to an ‘Aha, or constitutional convention, where Hawaiians can discuss and explore various options of self-determination. Na‘i Aupuni was formed in December 2014 and is separate and independent from the Office of Hawaiian Affairs and the State of Hawaii. For further information about Na‘i Aupuni and a list of the 196 candidates who will be seated as delegates can be found at http://www.naiaupuni.org/.

#####

Hawai’i Island Candidate Craig ‘Bo’ Kahui

Craig "Bo" Kahui

Craig “Bo” Kahui

Candidate:  Craig “Bo” Kahui
‘Aha District:  Hawaiʻi
Address: 74-5146 Haleolono Place, Kailua-Kona, HI 96740
Email: bokahui@yahoo.com
Web: www.laiopua.org


Click here to view Hawai’i Island Candidate Craig ‘Bo’ Kahui’s profile page and to review his survey responses.

Supreme Court blocks Native Hawaiian election vote count

Na'i Aupuni logo

HONOLULU (AP) — The U.S. Supreme Court is blocking votes from being counted in a unique election that’s considered a major step toward self-governance for Native Hawaiians.

The high court on Wednesday granted an injunction requested by a group of Native Hawaiians and non-Hawaiians challenging the election. They argue Hawaii residents who don’t have Native Hawaiian ancestry are being excluded from the vote, in violation of their constitutional rights.

The order blocks the counting of votes until at least the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals issues its ruling on the lawsuit challenging the election.

The court’s four liberal justices say they would have allowed votes to be counted pending the appeal.

A justice’s ruling last week blocking the vote count prompted election leaders to extend voting to Dec. 21.


ORDER IN PENDING CASE

15A551 AKINA, KELI’I, ET AL. V. HAWAII, ET AL.

The application for injunction pending appellate review presented to Justice Kennedy and by him referred to the Court is granted. Respondents are enjoined from counting the ballots cast in, and certifying the winners of, the election described in the application, pending final disposition of the appeal by the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit.

Justice Ginsburg, Justice Breyer, Justice Sotomayor, and Justice Kagan would deny the application.

NAʻI AUPUNI EXTENDS VOTING DEADLINE TO DEC. 21

HONOLULU – Na‘i Aupuni, the Native Hawaiian organization with a mission to establish a path to Native Hawaiian self-determination, announced today it is extending the deadline to vote to December 21.

“Because voters may not have cast their ballots over concerns and questions on the recent U.S. Supreme Court’s (SCOTUS) decision to temporarily stop the vote count, we are extending the voting deadline to December 21, midnight Hawaii time,” said Bill Meheula, legal counsel for Na‘i Aupuni.

The SCOTUS decision temporarily stayed the vote count and certification of the elected delegates, but did not stop voting.

“While we can immediately notify those who provided their email addresses to Election-America that the voting period is extended, it will take longer to effectively provide notice to mail-only voters, so we are extending the deadline by three weeks to provide time for voters to receive our notice and to vote,” he said. “As we await a decision by SCOTUS, we strongly encourage those who have not yet voted to cast their ballots.”

Na‘i Aupuni is confident the court will find in their favor. “We feel strongly that the Supreme Court will agree with Judge Seabright that the plaintiffs are not entitled to enjoin our election. We urge voters to use this extension to participate in this opportunity to unify Hawaiians,” Meheula added.

Na‘i Aupuni also wanted to remind voters the protest by some against the ‘Aha process are based on unfounded fears of loss of the ceded land and any chance of independence. “Nothing is predetermined about the ‘Aha. This is an opportunity to talk about all forms of government, including independence and any recommendation will be taken back to the voters,” said Meheula.

Vote information at:
http://www.naiaupuni.org

VOTING ONLINE AT:
https://vote.election-america.com/naiaupuni/

FINAL DAY, VOTE NOW!

FINAL DAY, VOTE NOW!

FINAL DAY, VOTE NOW!

Vote information at:
http://www.naiaupuni.org

VOTING ONLINE AT:
https://vote.election-america.com/naiaupuni/

U.S. Supreme Court justice blocks vote count in Native Hawaiian election

ASSOCIATED PRESS
Kelii Akina, the president of public policy think-tank Grassroot Institute of Hawaii and a plaintiff in a lawsuit challenging a Native Hawaiian election, speaks to reporters outside U.S. District Court in Honolulu last month.
By Associated Press

POSTED: 8:00 a.m. HST, Nov 27, 2015 | LAST UPDATED: 9:10 a.m. HST, Nov 27, 2015

A U.S. Supreme Court justice on Friday issued a temporary stay blocking the counting of votes in an election that would be a significant step toward Native Hawaiian self-governance.

Justice Anthony Kennedy’s order also stops the certification of any winners pending further direction from him or the entire court.

Native Hawaiians are voting to elect delegates for a convention next year to come up with a self-governance document to be ratified by Native Hawaiians. Voting ends Monday.

Nai Aupuni, the nonprofit organization guiding the election process, is encouraging voters to continue casting votes, said Bill Meheula, an attorney representing the group.

“Reorganizing a government is not easy and it takes the courage and will of the candidates to take the first step to unify Hawaiians,” he said in a statement. “Help them by voting now.”

A group of Native Hawaiians and non-Hawaiians is challenging the election, arguing Hawaii residents who don’t have Native Hawaiian ancestry are being excluded from the vote. They argue it’s an unconstitutional, racially exclusive process.

U.S. District Judge J. Michael Seabright in Honolulu ruled last month the purpose of the private election is to establish self-determination for the indigenous people of Hawaii. Those elected won’t be able to alter state or local laws, he said.

The challengers appealed and also filed an emergency motion to block the votes from being counted. Last week, the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals denied the emergency motion, prompting the challengers to appeal to the high court.

“Enormous political, social and economic consequences are at stake,” the application to the Supreme Court said. “The delegates chosen through this election will decide whether to adopt a new government that will affect every individual living in the state, as well as hundreds of thousands of individuals identified as Native Hawaiians.”

They argued without Supreme Court intervention, there would be “no remedy if the votes in this election are counted and the results certified,” the application said. “This election cannot be undone.”

Empower your voice, vote today! Deadline Nov. 30

Empower your voice for a better life for Native Hawaiians. Don’t miss the opportunity to make a difference. VOTE Na‘i Aupuni delegates. DEADLINE – NOVEMBER 30, 2015 – CANDIDATE PROFILES AT www.naiaupuni.org , www.nativehawaiian.org or
www.oiwi.tv/nai-aupuni-candidates
For questions or assistance about voting, contact Election America at naiaupuni@election-america.com, phone (844) 413-2929

Kalihi-Palama Hawaiian Civic Club's photo.

Appeals court rejects bid to stop Native Hawaiian election

By Honolulu Star-Advertiser Staff
POSTED: 11:57 a.m. HST, Nov 19, 2015
LAST UPDATED: 12:12 p.m. HST, Nov 19, 2015

By Craig T. Kojima, Star-Advertiser

CRAIG T. KOJIMA / CKOJIMA@STARADVERTISER.COM
Walter Ritte, center, publicly disenrolled on Oct. 28 from the Native Hawaiian Roll and withdrew his candidacy from the Na‘i Aupuni Native Hawaiian election and convention, calling for a boycott of the election. Alika Desha, left, of the Royal Order of Kamehameha I, gave his support to Ritte, with Ritte’s wife, Loretta.

The organization supporting the Native Hawaiian election said today a challenge to the seating of delegates to a constitutional convention has been rejected by the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals.

Na‘i Aupuni, formed as an organization independent from the Office of Hawaiian Affairs and the state, issued a press release this morning saying the appeals court decision means the election can go forward.

“The federal appeals court ruling means that the voting that currently is underway by about 89,000 certified Native Hawaiians can continue,” Na’i Aupuni said in a press release.

The election concludes on Nov. 30 and will seat 40 delegates to the constitutional convention, or ‘Aha, in February. Election results will be announced Dec. 1.

A group of both Native and non-Native Hawaiians had sued to prevent the election, saying it’s unconstitutional to restrict voting to only Native Hawaiians, and U.S. District Judge J. Michael Seabright ruled in October that the election could go forward.

“The Ninth Circuit has correctly rejected the Grassroots Institute’s second legal attempt to stop the election of delegates, said Na‘i Aupuni attorney William Meheula.

“This process will empower 40 Hawaiian delegates to make recommendations on self-governance and any such recommendation will go back to the voters for ratification. For those who have expressed concern about the Na‘i Aupuni process, Na‘i Aupuni directors understand that these are important and sensitive issues, and they ask the voters to consider that the courts have rejected those concerns and to believe in the collective wisdom of the voters and candidates,” Meheula said.