The Hawaii Supreme Court has ruled that kanaka maoli have no special or fundamental rights when it comes to building a nation.
The court issued its decision yesterday in a case stemming from the trespassing conviction of three citizens of the Reinstated Hawaiian Nation who landed on Kahoolawe in July 2006. They intended to stake a claim to all the lands owned by the Kingdom of Hawaii when it was illegally overthrown in 1893 and initiate a process to ascertain whether kanaka were likely to receive any assistance from the Hawaii judicial system in their efforts to re-establish their nation.
The Justices made it clear in their ruling that kanaka can't break Western law — in this case, landing without state permission on an island that is being held in trust until it can be returned to a sovereign Hawaiian entity — and claim they're doing it under the auspices of nation-building.
Though the high court rejected the nation-building arguments, it did overturn the trespassing convictions on a technicality. It's unknown whether Maui County will refile the charges.
With the court decision in place and the state Legislature clearly unwilling to deliver justice to kanaka maoli, I'm told the Reinstated Hawaiian Nation will now focus its efforts on international recognition. Will world opinion pressure the United States to address its admittedly illegal overthrow of the Hawaiian Kingdom?
The "Atooi Nation" flexed its muscles Monday night, joining with activists to shut down a Department of Water meeting on a proposed new horizontal well drilling project. Councilwoman JoAnn Yukimura told The Garden Island:
“Although I wasn’t able to stay for the whole thing, what I saw made me very sad because it looked like a community that was not able to talk civilly and with aloha about a very important issue.”
Sad, yes, but surely she's not surprised. I think we all knew this was going to be the new model for public meetings on Kauai, since it was used so effectively to muscle through Bill 2491/Ordinance 960 — with JoAnn's acquiescence. Go Team Fist!
What a great legacy for Councilman Gary Hooser, who blew off today's dreary Council meeting to get his ego stroked at the far more exciting People Not Profits march at the state Capitol. And you thought he was supporting Bill 2491 because he cares about Kauai.
Gary's son Dylan, meanwhile, is beginning to take a more visible role in politics — perhaps positioning himself for a Council run? The sunrise shell entrepreneur accompanied dad to opening day at the Lege, holding a “shame on you” poster outside the door of Kauai representatives, and last weekend's Filipino Chamber of Commerce banquet. As the old saying goes, the apple doesn't fall far from the tree, as evidenced by Dylan's Civil Beat commentary today, which is pretty much a verbatim rehash of Gary's claims, many of which have been discredited.
Interesting that Maui attorney Lance Collins is challenging the county's attempt to secure pro bono attorneys to defend us against the chem corps' challenge of 2491. Especially since Gary hosted Lance at a recent Northshore meeting on the benefits of County Council districts.
Could it be they're looking for a way out, or trying to force the county to foot the bill for a defense run by attorneys for nonprofits that stand to benefit greatly from the associated publicity?
Though some attorneys have told me there may be some merit in Lance's claim that the county's definition of pro bono can't extend to court costs and fees, it appears his assertion that the Council must approve special counsel is off-base. The Council approves funding for special counsel, but it is the County Attorney's office that determines when and if special counsel is used.
Maybe attorney Teri Tico, who stands to make millions off the sale of her Haena house — part of a four-lot subdivision she created that now includes three vacation rentals — could fund the defense, with other attorneys donating their time. I mean, they did promise, in an Oct. 18, 2013 letter to Mayor Bernard Carvalho:
We urge you to allow Bill 2491 to become law. We will be there to defend it.