Bruce Lambert

Bruce Lambert

Bruce Lambert

Candidate:  Bruce Lambert
‘Aha District:  Mainland
Address: Upplandsg. 53, 11328 Stockholm, Sweden

  1. What are your qualifications to be a delegate to the ‘aha?

Native Hawaiian
Good Listener
Friendly to All
Tenacious, can be Tough
Positive, Hopeful & Creative

Four university degrees from four different nations, incl. doctorate in Management (Strategy) from Oxford University, UK. At Oxford I often participated in voluntary Balliol College Master’s Seminars, each time a challenging but widely different theme. I’d haul in research & study materials (pre-internet) and regularly be dipping into my materials along with the College Master himself, famed American medical doctor & hepatitis researcher Barry Blumberg. These circles had many very clever people, but our themes ranged from university funding, to geriatrics, to artistic impulse, etc. We might discuss oceanic pollution one day, and China’s development next time.  I did my best to learn and contribute, but was most impressed by Master Blumberg who served as catalyst and touchstone for the wide range of themes while not bashful to grab my reference books. He’d won the Nobel Prize for work saving millions of lives, but had no vain pretensions – always eager to listen & learn. I’ve no Nobel Prize yet, but try to channel his good example & the lessons of other kupuna.

  1. 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.?

Aloha — Love, trust & mutual respect are essential everywhere.

Pono — Surely in some ways native Hawaiian interests overlap with Federal interests and those of other residents & visitors. A key challenge is to find those common threads.

Chill — Many Hawaiians share a depth of character; not jumping-in to argue as quickly as folk from the mainland; appreciating good & bad in tandem. Some part of this is a spiritual maturity. Surely there’s better Hawaiian word for this than “shaka” but I don’t know it.

  1. What three components of the constitution are you particularly interested in advocating and why?

1) The key issue is inheritance. Imagine a large legal trust: we with native Hawaiian ancestry are heirs & beneficiaries to this great estate Hawai‘i. Our inheritance is not a reparation, nor an entitlement program, nor does it infringe on “equal opportunity” for other residents. We Hawaiians naturally inherit cultural legacy & common treasures, land, sea & air. But we’ve also legally-recognized inheritance & property rights under well-established legal precedent. Examples:

— When great-grandmother dies, age 85, her three great-grandchildren are each willed a third share of her estate. The fact is never mentioned that each is only 1/8th genetically descended from great-grannie. Yet the present systems of the USA and State of Hawai‘i abuse people of native Hawaiian ancestry, as Washington D.C. divides the Hawaiian community with “blood quantum” arguments. The US federal Hawaiian Homestead administration wrongly dispossesses & unfairly penalizes most mixed-race people. Inheritance should be secure for future generations regardless of whoever or not native Hawaiians marry.

— The Dukedom of Sutherland is a UK peerage created in 1833. In 2000 the present 7th Duke inherited his lands, titles & art collection now valued at over $800 million. His bloodline as “heir of the body” to the first Duke is 1/64th. Nobody asks of his sympathies; his cultural understanding was insignificant to inheritance.

— American families typically inherit smoothly without reproach. For example, who’s a Rockefeller? Wealthy industrialist John D. Rockefeller married Cettie Spellman, outside his blood family, so by “blood quantum” with father as basis the children were at most half Rockefeller (and half Spellman). Grandchild Nelson Rockefeller, former US Vice-President, was thus 25% Rockefeller blood quantum. Great-grandchildren (e.g. Sen. Jay Rockefeller & the late Arkansas Lt. Gov. Winthrop Rockefeller) have a bloodline one-eighth Rockefeller. This doesn’t interfere at all with inheritance of wealth, property or family pride, limit where they live or who they might marry.

Proper inheritance for Native Hawaiians need not fundamentally damage our wider multiethnic community. In many families now, simple intergenerational inheritance fluctuates among individual members. There’s no need for violence, mud-slinging, or maligning others as parasites. Non-Hawaiians will envy our inheritance. But we are already accustomed to wealthy people with family money living amongst us. Make no apology! Be a Proud land-owning Hawaiian. This inheritance component should be a central pillar of our constitution.

2) Another key component for any model is to recognize the violence of illegal occupation. The U.S. military has been a huge presence in Hawai‘i since the 1893 takeover, though before that Hawai‘i was a neutral kingdom by treaty among a wide family of nations. I’d like to reenact neutrality. Neutrality would aim at very substantial demilitarization.

3) Where possible, let’s build upon prior work by our predecessors such as the Ka Lāhui efforts, but adding our wider constituency of Hawaiians now living elsewhere as an important component to future success. This diaspora is a strength; we should cultivate our overseas links, with better flows both ways.

  1. What governance model will you advocate for?

I’m open-minded about governance form. But we shall need assorted checks & balances to avoid despotic leadership. I feel Native Hawaiians require more land & wealth, both individually-owned and collective. It’s said “Pressure Makes Diamonds” and we’re in such stage now; but I believe adding a measure of prosperity to our daily lives will lead to a wider blossoming of stability, opportunity, and better health. Many Hawaiian activists speak of a nurturing community — that does not yet exist — this process now plants seeds. Most suggested governance formats fundamentally redefine basic citizen-state interrelationships; achieving success will be tough. I speak from personal experience living in Japan for some 15 years, and Sweden for 20 years. Both places have very different strictures and obligations (and comforts) when compared to citizen-state relations in the USA.

  1. Are you willing to discuss other governance models?


  1. 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?

We cannot expect U.S. Federal occupation will smoothly end with graceful withdrawal. If any dimension of Hawaiian self-determined governance is deemed contrary to the U.S. Federal Government or so-called national security interests, I frankly believe they’ll use any & all Federal programs and penalties for carrot-and-stick leverage and collective punishment, disregarding international law. I’d prefer Federal grants & benefits continue & grow. Are there good reasons to interfere with the ali’i trusts? We should now be demanding Hawaiian Homelands be accelerated and magnified; I expect we can create more housing, vibrant common space, and better economic conditions if control of Hawaiian Homelands trust and other lands revert to a Native Hawaiian government.

  1. In your governance model, would you be inclusive of people other than Native Hawaiians as citizens?

Inheritance is the cornerstone of our Native Hawaiian rights & obligations to our land, environment & heritage. Yet we need resources, wealth & talent. After Native Hawaiians redefine core values such as our inheritance and the international neutrality guaranteed by treaty before takeover, we should create a path (not automatic) for newer migrants to contribute & assimilate.

  1. How do you see participation by others in helping the ‘aha on the various aspects of the draft constitution?

I’m impressed & deeply thankful for the fine people who’ve come forward to work on this process. A key challenge will be to continually enlist and recruit. The ‘aha will be just one stage of a long voyage.

I’m continually hopeful & positive, but my strongest sense of realism is understanding we as a people face resistance. Those of us who will sit for 40 days discussing Hawai‘i’s future will sometimes get sidetracked by inessentials and legal minutiae, maybe thrown-up to stymie us. We should prepare for assorted troubles.

For our work to be relevant and have any impact, it will be essential we have support.  We’ll need help on legal formats and tactics; we’ll need to publicize our efforts and subsequent output. We’ve good reason to expect major boredom & active ambush; supporters of Hawai’i might please start seeking ways we can outsource and overcome predictable roadblocks.

Can we find ways to get wide segments of our community working together? Many find politics, law & administration tiresome and ill-suited. Looking at the wider success of the Hōkūleʻa, I imagine we can (re)generate community success with fishponds and hukilau, getting down & dirty in a taro patch, evening meetings, children’s games, local food appreciation. We must continually mobilize diverse native Hawaiian fronts and keep a wide range of efforts relevant.

  1. 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.

This question goes far beyond the ‘aha. At assorted levels we are living alongside others. Our long history as a welcoming community is valuable and need not be destroyed. The Hawaiian Kingdom’s global relationships were built on Neutrality, a focus central to many of our treaties. I support restored neutrality, and thus demilitarization. Many Federal agencies & military facilities occupy lands without due process or proper compensation, in essence, as squatters. Federal preference for the relatively inexpensive status quo will shift if paying rents, faced with full-cost accounting & unable to dictate land use policies.

We should now be researching the range of options by looking at formats elsewhere, including Native American nations with the USA & Canada, Wales & Scotland with England and the UK, the Sami people with the Nordic nations, Svalbard, and degrees of autonomy such as in French Polynesia, Greenland, etc.

Sovereign Hawaiʻi can ally as a neutral state with others, surely it should be possible with the USA. But U.S. military spending & footprint are huge, and military personnel and their families are a major statewide voting force. It’s tough to discuss future alliances from under a military boot. Demilitarization of Hawaiʻi is distant, but justifiable.

  1. Why should Native Hawaiians vote for you?

We each stand on the shoulders of those who’ve worked & struggled before. Hopefully, we learn from their successes and errors. America instills a strong focus on individual achievement & wealth, but such forces are best moderated by people like me: who are happy to support others and facilitate wider success. But ‘aha participation is more than a staff position: I can help reign-in big personalities and work with others to subdue trouble, and even provide some humor.

My ‘ohana is far-reaching:

Kuali‘i & Ewaliko lineage; Lyman, Mills, Mattoon, Payne & Farden ʻohana. David Malo awards to great uncles Sen. Richard Ka‘ilihiwa Lyman & Dr. George Hi‘ilani Mills; Tutu Irma (Low) Farden worked many years in Assn. of Hawaiian Civic Clubs; assorted cousins crewed Hōkūleʻa (cousin Dave Lyman on inaugural 1976 Tahiti voyage; later captained); mother Louana Lyman Lambert Class of 1952 Kam School; etc.

In support of my candidacy, we can look back to the Kumulipo or the Chant of Kuali‘i, or to more recent aunts, uncles, cousins and brothers: many family members serve(d) Hawai‘i and earned trust & respect

We struggle today with a U.S. Federal system that allowed too much of Hawai‘i to be indiscriminately sold to non-resident non-Native speculators. Australia, Cayman Isles, Jersey, Rapa Nui, etc. limit or discourage non-resident speculation in property; Hawai‘i might do likewise (at least in some zones) by developing qualifications for purchasing, or new taxation formats.

Recent years highlight two Americans with Hawaiian background and ultimate political reach: President Barack Obama & Ed Snowden. Each manifests a range of notable dimensions best discussed elsewhere. But we can sense Pres. Obama’s background as an immigrant’s son born mixed-race in Hawai‘i, his family upbringing & feelings for nature and surrounding community, likely impact the decisions he’ll make tomorrow. Sadly, a few days before election as President, Obama lost his Tutu in Honolulu, and all America tragically lost benefits from that older generation’s strength & perspective. Jumping to the life of Edward Snowden in Hawai‘i, perhaps we can glimpse a geographic world of opportunity, and the attraction of Hawai‘i’s place appeal. We should also acknowledge the official secrecy and subterfuge right in our midst. As with the extensive military facilities at Pearl Harbor and throughout Hawai‘i, we face huge costs from the U.S. security state – and wider questions on the extent our community is held captive.

Not everyone shares my vision of a need for bold change. I will work hard, I will listen. Ultimately I hope to minimize the occupying military footprint. I want to avoid violence. I want more lands for the Hawaiian nation, more lands for each Hawaiian family, better balance and prosperity. I even want world peace. I’m dependable and willing to work. Vote Bruce Lambert.