Candidate: Kūhiō Lewis
‘Aha District: O‘ahu
Address: 91-1346 Kinoiki Street, Kapolei, HI 96707
Phone: (808) 389-2006
Hui: Nā Makalehua
Hui: Ke Ao Malama
- What are your qualifications to be a delegate to the ‘aha?
My qualifications to be a delegate to the ʻaha are, 1.) my life experiences are similar to many other Native Hawaiians, 2.) I understand the Native Hawaiian community’s diverse views because I have worked closely with, and in, the Native Hawaiian community for the majority of my adult life, 3.) I am a single-father and homesteader working 60-hours a week to support my family and serve my community.
My Life Experiences are Similar to Many Other Native Hawaiians
I am blessed to care for my tūtū who once cared for me.I am persevering to survive and raise a family in our homeland
I am also the first in my ‘ohana to graduate from college.
I know how difficult getting an education can be, but also know the rewards it can bring.
I Work Closely with, and in, the Native Hawaiian Community: I am skilled at listening to various perspectives and finding common ground so we can accomplish our task in a way that reflects the full manaʻo of our people, and can win the support of our whole people.
Supporting my Family and Serving my Community: I want to strategically deploy our shared assets to efficiently address our greatest needs—housing, good jobs, and safe places for our children to grow and connect with the ‘āina.
- 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.?
I carry aloha and aloha ‘āina in my heart. Other core values of my campaign are:
Kuleana: I represent those who came before me, who taught, advised and raised me to respect our people and place. Inherent to this kuleana is the need to assess our current situation and use the knowledge and skills we have been given to identify and develop the best solutions going forward.
Hoʻopaʻapaʻa: Engage in a meaningful, lively discourse that encourages and requires diverse, and many times, opposing views in order to truly vet the best solutions for our future.
Pilina: Place a priority on maintaining the interpersonal relationships that bind us as a people.
- What three components of the constitution are you particularly interested in advocating and why?
Education: Education is key to the success of our people and to the continued sovereignty of our nation. While most functions of government will be determined through laws passed after the constitution is ratified, I believe a provision in the constitution that ensures our government remains focused on education as a priority is necessary.
Housing: Access to affordable housing and land needs to be a main priority of our government to ensure that our people can always in our ancestral homeland. I want a constitutional provision that prioritizes the acquisition of lands and creation of housing opportunities for our people.
Government Structure: I am committed to a government structure that distributes power widely, accounts for regional differences, and is responsive to the wide diversity of views and needs within our community. It must guard against corruption, provide for the civil rights of our people, and have a clear mission to serve our community’s needs. It needs to provide for a stable exercise of government authority and manage the lāhui’s assets in an accountable manner, consistent with our culture and values, and effectively addresses our priorities.
- What governance model will you advocate for?
A model that best addresses the current and long term needs of the Native Hawaiian people.
- Are you willing to discuss other governance models?
I am open to all governance models that help improve and advance the lives of Native Hawaiians.
- 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?
The ʻAha’s work is to organize our inherent right of self-governance into a formal government with the capacity to serve our community and address critical concerns. Our government should be directly accountable to our people through democratic elections. The distribution of a Native Hawaiian government’s power should account for the wide diversity of views and needs that exists within our people.
Aliʻi Trusts: A Native Hawaiian government is an excellent partner for the private aliʻi trusts as they work towards meeting the needs of our people. A Native Hawaiian government and aliʻi trusts relationship is best positioned to secure the manaʻo of our diverse community on our needs and priorities. Because those trusts were established by the wills of our beloved aliʻi, they should continue to operate independently after the government is formed.
Hawaiian Homes Commission Act: The public trusts managed by State offices will remain public trusts for the benefit of their existing beneficiaries. I also support a future where our Native Hawaiian government is managing those resources instead of the State. The management of indigenous resources by indigenous governments has proven more effective, in part, because those governments are directly accountable to the people served by those resources. The services they provide are built upon the cultural values of the people, and administered by and for the people themselves.
Federal Contracts and Grants for Programs and Services to Native Hawaiian People: Our Native Hawaiian government will also have the opportunity to create new programs, grow economic opportunity for our people, and work directly with the United States to expand contracting and grant opportunities available through the federal government. All of these efforts enhance our ability, as a lāhui, to better address critical community needs, strengthen future opportunities for our keiki, and do it in a way that is consistent with our own cultural teachings and traditions.
- In your governance model, would you be inclusive of people other than Native Hawaiians as citizens?
I am working to advance the indigenous right of the Native Hawaiian people to be self-determining through self-governance. It is a right that is recognized under both federal and international law, and it is a continuing right the Kingdom of Hawaii recognized even after its citizenry became multi-ethnic.
Some of our people are working to advance the claims of the Kingdom of Hawaii. These claims are separate from our Native Hawaiian rights, and cannot be addressed or harmed through the processes designed to address our indigenous rights of self-determination and self-governance.
- How do you see participation by others in helping the ‘aha on the various aspects of the draft constitution?
Through ho’opa’apa’a the best solutions emerge. ‘Aha delegates should invite various experts -not seated as delegates – to ensure we are well-informed about the diverse needs and concerns of our lāhui. We should commit ourselves to a process that results in a constitution that addresses our community’s needs and advances our priorities.
- 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.
Education is key. Engaging Native Hawaiians throughout the ‘aha through talk-stories, op-ed articles, and listening sessions should be incorporated. We should utilize technology to ensure Hawaiians who wish to stay connected have the ability to do so.
- Why should Native Hawaiians vote for you?
Native Hawaiians should vote for me because everyday Native Hawaiians need to be represented at the upcoming convention (ʻaha) and my life experiences are just like many other Native Hawaiians. The decisions made there will shape the foundation for a Native Hawaiian government that must improve the lives of Native Hawaiians. I will make sure that those decisions made take into consideration everyday Native Hawaiians and Native Hawaiian families.