Category Archives: News

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

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.

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.

Move forward and vote despite protests

NAʻI AUPUNI

Move forward and vote despite protesters discouraging your vote or discrediting candidates’ desire to lead.

Protesters are concerned that their desired outcome will not prevail at the ‘aha.  But, leadership is about bringing your voice to the table and advocating your views to other leaders – not walking away from the table.  Na`i Aupuni has set up a process whereby elected leaders can discuss various options and issues to find a consensus so that the Native Hawaiian community may proceed forward in unity.

The protesters argue that the outcome of the Na‘i Aupuni process is predetermined.  But how can the outcome be “rigged” when it involves 200 candidates campaigning for votes from 89,000 potential voters for 40 delegate seats to participate in an 8 week convention?

During the first week of the ‘aha, the delegates will hear from experts on constitution building, federal recognition, international law including de-occupation, de-colonization and the rights of indigenous people under international law, constitutional law, Kingdom law and the claim to the ceded lands. After that, the elected delegates will meet to share, compare, and test their different ideas – exploring what it will take to reach consensus among Hawaiians regarding self-governance. If the delegates create a self-governance document or propose a government, voters will take part in a ratification vote.

The Na`i Aupuni election of delegates and ‘Aha is the best opportunity Native Hawaiians have to move forward and positively change the status quo of Native Hawaiians.  Proceed, just as did those who came before with strength and determination – and vote – even though others have attempted to discourage you or discredit a diverse group of 200 leaders who have bravely risen to the call as committed, caring, and conscientious candidates who are asking for your vote.

The protesters have not proposed an alternative plan to form an effective government or bring about unity among Native Hawaiians.

Hele mua

naiaupuni.org

Na‘i Aupuni Election Is Open

NAʻI AUPUNI

Election Notice

Na‘i Aupuni, an independent organization made up of a volunteer board of directors from the Hawaiian community, is providing a process for Hawaiians to elect delegates who will convene to develop a governance document that may be ratified by Hawaiian voters. This is a notice of the election and voting is now open. This notice is being sent to persons who have been certified by Native Hawaiian Roll Commission as of October 15, 2015. Please complete your ballot by November 30, 2015 at 11:59pm Hawaii time.

Voting Instructions

Go to the voting site by clicking the “Vote Now” button below

Enter your Election Code: XXXXXXX (If you are registered, you will receive an Election Code and PIN from Election America.)

Enter your Voting PIN: XXXXXXX (If you are registered, you will receive an Election Code and PIN from Election America.)

Click on Enter and follow the voting instructions.

If you experience any technical difficulty while voting, please contact Election-America: naiaupuni@election-america.com.

www.naiaupuni.org

Federal judge won’t stop Native Hawaiian election

Attorneys in the case discussed the judge's ruling out U.S. District Court on Friday

Attorneys in the case discussed the judge’s ruling out U.S. District Court on Friday. Lead Naʻi Aupuni lawyer Bill Meheula is at center.

Posted: Oct 23, 2015 11:30 AM HST Updated: Oct 23, 2015 11:40 AM HST

The Na’i Aupuni election is set for Nov. 1, 2015.

Native Hawaiians who are registered to vote will have the opportunity to elect delegates who will then meet at a convention, or ‘aha, next year to decide what type of nation or government, if any, will be created or reorganized.

Seabright ruled that even though public funds were used for the effort there was enough separation between the organizations and the state that it is essentially a private election, which can be conducted among a specific group.

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.

The lawyers who brought the lawsuit are expected to appeal.

Meanwhile, the state argued constitutional protections only apply to government agencies or private entities acting on behalf of the state.

Bill Meheula, an attorney for Na’i Aupuni, maintained the lawsuit ignored the facts.

“They sued us under the law that says if we’re going to be a state actor, we have to change state law — and we’re saying we’re not changing state law. What we’re doing is we’re electing delegates, Hawaiian leaders, to come together and decide Hawaiian future in terms of self-determination and we don’t know what that’s going to be.”

But Robert Popper, a Judicial Watch lawyer representing the plaintiffs, had said the vote is a clear violation of the 15th Amendment.

“You can’t hold a race-based election — and that’s exactly what’s going on,” he said. “Based on our history, if anything is not permitted it’s to screen people based on their race and then decide if they can vote.”

The state says their involvement was limited to creating the roll of eligible Native Hawaiians, kana’iolowalu, who chould choose to participate — and has nothing to do with the election itself to determine self-governance.

Native Hawaiians are the only indigenous group in the United States that hasn’t been allowed to establish their own government.

In court on Tuesday, both sides argued Na’i Aupuni would be a historic election because it would provide the first chance for self-determination since the Hawaiian kingdom was overthrown in 1893.

Seabright had said he’ll rule from the bench with an explanation for his decision, and will issue a detailed written order later.

Copyright 2015 Hawaii News Now. All rights reserved.

http://www.hawaiinewsnow.com/story/30337706/federal-judge-wont-stop-native-hawaiian-election

Judge to rule Friday on fate of Native Hawaiian election

Posted: Oct 20, 2015 4:34 AM HSTUpdated: Oct 20, 2015 5:15 PM HST

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) — A federal judge will rule Friday on whether an election for Native Hawaiians is constitutional and can move forward next month.

A group of both Native and non-Native Hawaiians has sued to prevent the election — saying it’s unconstitutional to restrict voting to only Native
Hawaiians.

But the state argues constitutional protections only apply to government agencies or private entities acting on behalf of the state.

Robert Popper, a Judicial Watch lawyer representing the plaintiffs, said the vote is a clear violation of the 15th Amendment.

“You can’t hold a race-based election — and that’s exactly what’s going on,” he said. “Based on our history, if anything is not permitted it’s to screen people based on their race and then decide if they can vote.”

The Na’i Aupuni election is set for Nov. 1, 2015. Native Hawaiians who are registered to vote will have the opportunity to elect delegates who
will then meet at a convention, or ‘aha, next year to discuss and decide what type of nation or government, if any, will be created or reorganized.

Bill Meheula, an attorney for Na’i Aupuni, said: “They sued us under the law that says if we’re going to be a state actor, we have to change state law — and we’re saying we’re not changing state law. What we’re doing is we’re electing delegates, Hawaiian leaders, to come together and decide Hawaiian future in terms of self-determination and we don’t know what that’s going to be.”

The state maintains their involvement was limited to creating the roll of eligible Native Hawaiians, kana’iolowalu, who chould choose to participate
— and has nothing to do with the election itself to determine self-governance.

But Dr. Kelii Akina, president of the Grassroots Institute of Hawai’i and one of the plaintiffs, said the vote affects everyone so shouldn’t be restricted to a particular group.

“We all have the same stake in our lives here together and what’s going on is our right to determine the future excludes people and it’s excluding
people on the basis of race. It’s excluding people who may not hold a political viewpoint,” Akina said.

Native Hawaiians are the only indigenous group in the United States that hasn’t been allowed to establish its own government.

In court Tuesday, before Judge Michael Seabright, both sides argued Na’i Aupuni would be a historic election because it would provide the first chance for self-determination since the Hawaiian kingdom was overthrown in 1893.

Seabright says he’ll rule from the bench with an explanation for his decision. He’ll issue a detailed written order later.

Copyright 2015 Hawaii News Now. All rights reserved.

http://www.hawaiinewsnow.com/story/30305794/judge-to-rule-friday-on-fate-of-native-hawaiian-election