Candidate: Katie Leimomi Kamelamela
‘Aha District: Hawaiʻi Island
Address: PO Box 7542 Hilo, HI 96720
Phone: (808) 753-1852
LinkedIn: Katie Kamelamela
- What are your qualifications to be a delegate to the ‘aha?
I am keen, hardworking, dedicated and relatable to our people. I am a diehard advocate for the betterment of our people, what is good for Hawaiians is good for Hawaii. I listen to what other points of view are and when I know better I am able to do better. Continual education is key to philosophical and applicable evolution as well as adaptive management with in our government mainframe. As an academic I write narratives which reflect lifestyle choices of our people (hunting, gathering, agriculture) and culture. I engage with residents and visitors from across the archipelago who are illustrative of our social-economic diversity and continuum of our cultural practices as contemporary Native Hawaiians as well as keiki of these islands.
- How would you characterize the values of your campaign to be elected as a delegate to the ‘aha for example, with aloha, lōkahi, kūpono, etc.?
The values of my campaign are transparency, honesty, ethics and maiau (cleanliness). For too long our people have been spoken to by the Federal, State and County governments as well as spoken to by our own people (Native Hawaiians) as to what is best for us, without giving our people a voice or proper education. These processes, which includes Na‘i Aupuni, are kapulu (messy), and leaves most Native Hawaiians in the dust, utilizing lack of education and fear as a tool for decision making. We deserve better. We need leaders and delegates to take control of educating our people, proper education, on decisions which will be impact generations to come, even affecting those who choose to boycott this process without consent.
- What three components of the constitution are you particularly interested in advocating and why?
Components of the constitution I am interested in advocating for are taxation and finance, local government, education and conservation, control and development of resources. With the onset of a new governing entity there is a need to fund this endeavor, to continue maintenance of our public roads and resources as well as to fund administrative support of the transitioning government. The exercising of powers for ‘homerule’ is necessary for islands to create adaptive management procedures to ensure the enrichment and proper protection of our finite island resources. Under the current “State Constitution” the University of Hawaii is embedded as a product of the “State”. An institution truly for the benefit and scholastic advocacy of Native Hawaiian points of view in culture are critical to controlling the narrative and monies developed from these initial land, space and sea granted institutions. Conservation of our natural resources are integral to our growth as a Nation, we must have stewardship over our lands, State, Federal, County and all those which are named “ceded lands”.
- What governance model will you advocate for?
The end game is complete Independence. I advocate for a transitional government to complete independence. Federal recognition as it stands today, via the proposal shared by the Department of Interior, is unacceptable and requires amendments which are truly reflective of Native Hawaiian voices. Reparations and historical reciprocity of assets, particularly land, are of contention. As Native Hawaiians we are fortunate with the lands, language and knowledge our kupuna left us in our Hawaiian Language Newspapers, chants, dances and stories. We must utilize as many tools necessary to reclaim our greatness as a people and a Nation. Millions of people flock here each year to experience our cultural values, we too need to value our culture and lands independent of outsider wants and “needs”.
- Are you willing to discuss other governance models?
Of course, with acknowledgement that Hawaii Independence is viable and a reality. We determine our future, we will self-determine our future together.
- How would the governance model that you choose impact the ali‘i trusts, the Hawaiian Homestead Act, federal contracts made with Native Hawaiian businesses; grants provided by the United States for programs and services to the Native Hawaiian people?
Any governance model will protect Ali‘i Trusts, the Hawaiian Homestead Act, Federal contracts made with Hawaiian businesses, grants provided by the United States for programs and services to the Native Hawaiian people. Again we should determine our relationships with our fellows, or those we choose to be fellows with. We should not accept anything less than we already have. We should strive to determine our relationships with those who have forced themselves upon us. We have been raped for the past 120 years, and continue to accept rape as a viable option for resilience. Rape is not the victims fault, rape is an exercise in power, malicious and grotesque power. We will overcome by facing our oppressors, holding them accountable in our courts and have reparations for historical and residual physical, emotional and spiritual trauma.
- In your governance model, would you be inclusive of people other than Native Hawaiians as citizens?
Yes. Ideally all citizens, Hawaiian and Non-Hawaiian alike, will be able to pledge allegiance to the Hawaii governing entity. All citizens will be taxed, as per usual, for the upkeep and maintenance of public roads and services.
- How do you see participation by others in helping the ‘aha on the various aspects of the draft constitution?
The ‘aha should be livestreamed with accounts on twitter, facebook and Instagram to provide input by the public during the process, in ‘real time’. Each day constructive social media input by representative organizations or individuals should be cataloged and synthesized in the evening then brought to the floor each morning. If we wait to share information with our contingency until the end of the week suggestions will get lost in the shuffle. There should be real time engagement with our community through live streaming and social media engagement with a point source or with delegates. (Twitter/Instagram: @kteabam). In addition each business day delegates to the ‘aha should also provide time to catalog and synthesize work in process and publish, on social media as well as officials sites, for public comment.
- Looking ahead, as a delegate to the ‘aha, how would you assure that the governance model ratified by the Native Hawaiian people is implemented and recognized at the state, federal, or international level, as appropriate.
Traditionally, in functional societies, the people choose a governance model then a constitution is ratified by the population. We as Native Hawaiians still need to self-determine what governance model we are in support of. Government-funded nation building processes continue to put “the cart in front of the horse”. It is obscene that 9% of 560,000 self-identified Native Hawaiians within America are able to “speak” for 91%, this is an unacceptable process and behavior by “leaders” who say they have the best interest of the Hawaiian people “at heart”. We need to educate our people, Native Hawaiians and residents of Hawaii alike, as to what sovereignty is, how we would like to progress as a lāhui as well as how we can recognize our own independence (personal and nationality) before asking other entities to recognize us.
- Why should Native Hawaiians vote for you?
I have been on several delegations as a representative for Hawaii, always part of the marginal minority. Here we represent the views of our constituency and best interests of our people in local, National and International arenas. No one person is able to represent all points of view but I strongly advocate for the betterment of Native Hawaiians especially through education for the health and well-being of our people and reduction of incarceration rates as we (Native Hawaiians) are disproportionately identified in these arenas. We are a reflection of the land and the land is a reflection of us. If the land is sick we are sick and if we are sick the land is sick, this is our reality today. We need to exponentially decrease the disease across our lands and I believe I am able to advocate for alternative approaches, where we integrate our people back onto our landscapes, in a new constitution with a government model chosen by our people, for our people and our ‘āina.