Candidate: Keoni Kealoha Agard
‘Aha District: Oʻahu
Address: 111 Hekili St., Ste. A477, Kailua, HI 96734
Phone: (808) 342-4028
- What are your qualifications to be a delegate to the ‘aha?
First, I am a graduate of Kamehameha Schools, Chaminade University and Wm. S. Richardson School of Law at Manoa Campus.
Second, I worked at the 1978 Constitutional Convention for the Hawaiian Affairs Committee, as one of a group of law students who were the staff for Representative Aunty Frenchy DeSoto; drafted proposed legislation and bills to amend the Constitution of the State of Hawaii. Most importantly, we wrote the legislation that created OHA and other provisions that effected the Native Hawaiian community.
Third, I worked at the 1979-1980 with the Majority Attorneys Office; hired through Speaker of House of Representatives as a staff attorney; conducted extensive legal research, drafted proposed legislative measures and legal opinions on numerous issues brought to our office.
Fourth, I was one of 77 duly elected delegates that served from 1999-2000 as Vice Chairman of the Native Hawaiian Constitutional Convention (also known as) “Aha Hawai’i ‘O’iwi” that resulted in drafting two draft constitutions; at times served as Acting Chair, when called upon; also administratively responsible for (10) ten committees established by General Assembly; responsible to oversee committee reports from each committee & to coordinate weekly committee meetings.
Fifth, I have working experience with our community with the Board of Directors for Alu Like, Inc. (employment and training programs for Native Hawaiians); Policy & Program Analyst for the Dept. of Hawaiian Home Lands (DHHL). (Recovered and returned over 18,500 acres of land from the State of Hawaii to DHHL, and helped to provide the proper basis for recovery of $600 million for unpaid rents past due to DHHL); Land title litigation attorney defending Native Hawaiian ancestral land claims for the Native Hawaiian Legal Corporation; President & Board Secretary for Hui Naauao, a coalition of 44 Hawaiian organizations that conducted statewide educational workshops on Hawaiian sovereignty and self-determination; Co-author of a book entitled “A Call for Hawaiian Sovereignty”; I have worked continuously since earl y 1970’s to slowly educate our community on the true historical facts regarding the illegal occupation of Hawaii by the U.S.
Memberships: Royal Order of Kamehameha I and Queen Emma Hawaiian Civic Club.
- 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- I will cherish the spirit of aloha and do my best to be consistent in carrying the spirit of aloha in difficult times
Ha’aha’a- be humble; I will serve with humility and treat others with due respect
Ho’omanawanui- be patient; I will be patient as we work through difficult issues that confront us
Lokahi – unite; I will focus on the objective to unite our elected delegates to bring about a majority decision on our preferred governance model
- What three components of the constitution are you particularly interested in advocating and why?
Citizenship: We must be inclusive. The Hawaiian Kingdom was multi-ethnic and learned to appreciate each other, despite our differences. The Aha must define citizenship consistent with the spirit of aloha.
Jurisdiction : There was an unlawful seizure in 1898 by the U.S. of our Crown & Government lands of approximately 2.1 million acres of land. At the outset, the Aha should declare jurisdiction over all of these same lands including: 1) Dept of Hawaiian Home Lands inventory, 2) lands held by OHA, 3) Kahoolawe, 4) Ceded Lands, 5) military surplus lands, 6) Mauna Ala, and 7) other lands to be negotiated.
Native Rights: Provisions must be made to protect the following, but not limited to water rights, land rights, gathering rights, fishing rights, burial protection and enforcement, and sacred sites.
- What governance model will you advocate for?
Our community was purposely misled to believe we were annexed by the U.S. Govt. back in 1898. Unfortunately, that statement cannot be farther from the truth.
The sole document that the U.S. relies upon is an 1898 joint resolution passed by Congress. However, a 1988 Dept.of justice legal opinion states that Congress cannot legislate beyond its own territory. In short, Congress cannot pass internal legislation to have any effect another foreign country, not within the boundaries of the continental U.S.
Further, Congress cannot acquire another foreign country (Hawaiian Kingdom) unless it does so by treaty. The 1897 treaty of annexation was defeated when Congress failed to secure a 2/3 vote. The 1897 Ku’e petitions (signed by over 90% of native population) that opposed annexation to the U.S…. helped to defeat the failed attempt by the U.S. to obtain a treaty of annexation. The plain facts (historical and legal) clearly demonstrate that there was no annexation, and the Hawaiian Kingdom continues to exist.
I will stand with Queen Emma, Queen Lili’uokalani , Prince Kuhio, James Kaulia and many others including my kupuna who would never give the sovereignty of the Nation of Hawaii away. I cherish their wisdom and mana‘o.
I will advocate for the restoration of Hawaiian Kingdom government in order to honor my ancestors who signed the 1897 Ku’e petitions.
- Are you willing to discuss other governance models?
Yes, I am willing to discuss other governance models. It is important that we vet our views to come to a majority decision. I look forward to the debate. I invite views to be shared. The focus should be on the merits of each idea, not on the individual that is offering it. It is ok to disagree. A healthy debate is good because out of it, we will gain a better understanding that will help all of us in making a better decision.
- 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?
My preferred governance model would allow our A’li’i trusts to operate on a tax favored basis and our gov’t will have the authority and power to legislate provisions for better and enhanced protection and preservation of our Ali’i trusts.
The Hawaiian Homes Commission Act of 1921 set aside approximately 200,000 acres of land for the “rehabilitation” of the Hawaiian race. Unfortunately, all the prime ag land was carved out by the Big Five. When the Act was passed, it left “rubbish” lands and lands without infrastructure and without water access, with little financial help from the federal govt. My preferred governance model would: 1) protect the existing leasehold rights of those that currently reside on Hawaiian Home Lands, 2) because less than 20% of the entire Hawaiian population can actually qualify to reside on HHL, (as each week goes by, the number that can qualify will decline). The new govt must have a healthy debate on how we can address the housing needs of those who comprise the remaining 80% or over 400,000 people. We must discuss and secure other sources of financing that can aid in making HHL more productive.
The U.S. under international law is obligated to aid in the transition of Hawaiians to take back their govt. Existing federal contracts, programs and services should be addressed in negotiations with the federal govt. to ensure that funding continues as part and parcel of U.S. obligation to assist and aid in the transition.
- In your governance model, would you be inclusive of people other than Native Hawaiians as citizens?
The Hawaiian Kingdom was multi-ethnic. We have lived and worked with non-Native Hawaiians all of our lives. We have inter-married all races here in Hawaii. Citizens and naturalized citizens of the Hawaiian Kingdom and their descendants are grandfathered in. Others can submit their papers to get their naturalized citizenship in my preferred governance model.
- How do you see participation by others in helping the ‘aha on the various aspects of the draft constitution?
Livestreaming our proceedings would enable our community to observe the proceedings live. Technology should be utilized to allow comments or input from participants outside of the Aha to be received by the elected delegates.
A Kupuna Council should be considered as part of an advisory group to the Aha to receive the mana’o of our elders, giving due respect to their experience and wisdom.
Minutes of committee meetings and of General Assembly should be made available within 2-3 day turnaround so delegates are timely informed on what transpired. We must do so in order to avoid unnecessary delays.
- 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.
Once the governance model is ratified the elected delegates job is nearly over, subject to an election of govt. officials of the new govt. It would be their responsibility, not the Aha delegates, to get our governance model implemented and recognized at the state, federal, or international levels.
As an Aha delegate, I would seek out key players of the newly elected officers and communicate my concerns so that they are aware. Furthermore, I would personally contact them to make suggestions on how they can or should proceed.
- Why should Native Hawaiians vote for you?
a) I am standing up to represent my kupuna and my ancestors who signed the 1897 Ku’e petitions.
b) We must finish the task of Aha Hawai’i ‘O’iwi, (Native Hawaiian Constitutional Convention of 1999-2000). I was one of 77 duly elected delegates that were voted in by our Hawaiian community. After much debate, we drafted and prepared two constitutions; however, the documents were never ratified because OHA pulled our funding. I want to complete the task that we were unable to finish back in 1999-2000.
c) I have 40 years experience directly working within and for our community with the Board of Directors for Alu Like, Inc. (employment and training programs for Native Hawaiians); Land title litigation attorney defending Native Hawaiian ancestral land claims in all four counties for the Native Hawaiian Legal Corporation; Policy & Program Analyst for the Dept. of Hawaiian Home Lands, (DHHL). (Recovered over 18,500 acres of land from the State of Hawaii back to DHHL, and helped to provide the proper basis for recovery of $600 million for unpaid rents past due to DHHL); President & Board Secretary for Hui Naauao, a coalition of 44 Hawaiian organizations that conducted over 300 statewide educational workshops on all islands, except Niihau, on Hawaiian sovereignty and self-determination; Co-author of a book entitled “A Call for Hawaiian Sovereignty.”
I have 40 years of interaction within our community which shows my solid commitment to our Hawaiian community.