|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.