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HOMESTEADERS SUBMIT WRITTEN COMMENTS TO DOI - GOV & AG SUPPORTS SAME POSITION
Tuesday, 08 November 2011

Waimanalo, Hawaii 

Hawaiian homestead residents and community association s submitted written comments to DOI before the announced deadline., lessee's, waiting list applicants and those preparing to submit their applications.

Below is a copy of the text document submitted below.  

______________________________________________________________________ 

Office of Native Hawaiian Relations

Department of Interior

1849 C Street, NW.

Washington, D.C. 20240

RE: Regulation Identifier No. 1090-AA98 

COMMENTS ON DEPARTMENT OF INTERIOR – OFFICE OF THE SECRETARY

43 CFR PARTS 47 AND 48 – RIN 1090-AA98; LAND EXCHANGE PROCEDURES AND PROCEDURES TO AMEND THE HAWAIIAN HOMES COMMISSION ACT, 1920

Overview 

Our ‘ohana (family) and others who may at their discretion use these writings appreciates the opportunity to participate in the U.S. Department of Interior (DOI) comments on the proposed procedures regarding land exchange and amendments to the Hawaiian Homes Commission Act, 1920. 

We realize the complexity of the process in place for seeking beneficiary consultation, community outreach, comments and then framing procedures based on the input expressed throughout the state from native Hawaiians, Hawaiian homestead lessees and Hawaiian homestead waiting list applicants.  Included in these statewide public comments were those Native Hawaiians ineligible as an applicant of the Hawaiian Homes Commission Act, 1920; however, their voices and concerns were heard. 

More so, there is a definite need among the native/Native Hawaiian population and others in general to educate the processes by which the DOI and other Federal agencies are required to comply with and guided ensuring equity and parity.  We noted through the efforts of Auamo I Na Alaka’i (AINA) a non-profit native Hawaiian serving organization whose mission is, 

“AINA supports all Hawaiian Homestead community organizations in Hawai‘i by strengthening their capacity building and discovering opportunities towards self-governance through education, training and exploration.” 

Before commenting on the proposed procedures, we acknowledge and support the Hawaiian Home Lands Recovery Act (HHLRA) as noted in the supplementary background information and the importance this information provide and its relationship to the HHCA.  Additionally, we firmly believe this legislation offers the Department of Hawaiian Home Lands (DHHL) the prospect to fulfill the HHCA through lands made available and not at the cost of an exchange, but rather, acquisition. 

Therefore, we firmly believe that all existing HHCA lands under its authority and possession should remain as such and not be subject to any partial or consideration for full land exchange between any and all private, public, state and federal entities. 

RE: Regulation Identifier No. 1090-AA98 

COMMENTS ON THE PROPOSED RULES 

These comments will be brief and address within 43 CFR Parts 47 and 48 which we strongly believe speaks to the intent of the proposed rules into law.  We urge the following amendments be added to Parts 47 and 48: 

To both Parts, under definitions:  [Parts §47.10 and Part §48.6] 

            Add at the end of the definition of HHCA…”which was not repealed and remains in effect with elements of both Federal and State law.”  [This is to clarify and reaffirm for those who may believe the law was automatically repealed two years after Statehood.] 

            Add “Rehabilitation of native Hawaiians means the educational, economic, political, social, and cultural process by which the general welfare and conditions of native Hawaiians are improved and perpetuated.” 

            Add “State means the State of Hawai’i which was admitted in the Unites States pursuant to the compact, the Hawai’i Admissions Act, 73 Stat 4, 1950.  It includes all of the State’s agencies and parts, including but not limited to, the Legislature and the Office of Hawaiian Affairs.” 

            Make the definition of “Secretary” consistent in both Parts and read as: “Secretary means the Secretary of Interior or the individual to whom the authority and responsibility, including oversight over the HHCA and the beneficiaries, have been delegated.” 

General Concerns on Outstanding Issues 

            We realize the ongoing issues ranging from settlement of claims and exchanges of HHCA lands through the HHLRA process; however, the lack of consistent communication either through beneficiary consultation or between DOI and DHHL should be strengthened.  

These proposed rules is, 

“…to remove the ambiguities the State of Hawai’i faces in the administration of the HHCA.  It is to facilitate the goal of rehabilitation of the native Hawaiian community consistent with the HHCA, the State of Hawai’i Admission Act and the HHLRA.  It also sets forth the authority, responsibility and oversight of the Secretary over the beneficiaries.” 

COMMENTS ON PART 47 – LAND EXCHANGE PROCEDURES 

            We firmly believe until all present recorded land inventories are defined and completed by DHHL that no land exchanges should be submitted for consideration andreviewed. Instead, we recommend that DOI should encourage and provide support to DHHL in the purpose of fulfilling its HHCA mission to the acquisition of lands within the State of Hawai’i.

RE: Regulation Identifier No. 1090-AA98 

COMMENTS ON PART 47 – LAND EXCHANGE PROCEDURES (Continued) 

By doing so, the obligation to the HHCA beneficiaries with respect to the “rehabilitation” would be fulfilled by providing access to, “educational, economic, political, social, and cultural process by which the general welfare and conditions of native Hawaiians are improved and perpetuated.” 

We submit also a written comment from a fellow "homesteader

"It is important to note that we object to any Land Exchange until we complete the Settlement of Federal Claims.  What lands may be received in settlement or what lands may be purchased with settlement funds, could critically affect whether existing available lands should, or more importantly, should not be exchanged.  This must be a condition precedent before an exchange be considered.” 

COMMENTS ON PART 48 – AMENDMENTS FO THE HAWAIIAN HOMES COMMISSION ACT (HHCA) 

Recent enacted state legislation directly placed the HHCA at risk laying claims to the right to amend based on the “State of Hawaii needs and wants.”  Although the State viewed this legislation as recognition of the native Hawaiian (50% or more aboriginal blood) population it sought also to provide Native Hawaiians (less than 50% aboriginal blood) parity without the consent of US Congress.  However, this particular section was later repealed a year later, but the law remains in full effect. 

Our concerns regarding Part 48 focuses upon the need to adequately monitor any legislation which would pose a threat to HHCA and begs the question of the DOI oversight pertaining to the beneficiaries.  The beneficiaries includes existing lessees, waiting list applicants and potential future beneficiaries of HHCA; likewise, the threat can occur from the U.S. Congressional level which diminish the benefits contrary to HHCA. 

SUMMARY

We urge the inclusion of these recommendations to the proposed procedures and with the justifications provided will validate the processes necessary to what we believe will strengthen the protection of HHCA and the rights of its beneficiaries. 

The DOI proposed procedures process allows everyone the opportunity to address the issues as stated in the announcement and though to some may be contrary to their personal beliefs, the parity provided allows reasonable contributions; conversely, we agree with DHHL in allowing more time for all beneficiaries to be educated in responding and participating in comment process.

Mahalo for allowing this written comment submission.  Aloha pumehana,

SIGNATURE///

 

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HHCA and DOI Rule Proposal Outreach to Keaukaha and Panaewa a Success!
Tuesday, 21 June 2011

 

                                                            Image

                             The Presentation on Hawaiian Homes Commission Act, 1920

                                  Awakens the 'uhane Within the Hawaiian Homesteaders

Waimanalo, Hawaii.

Colleen Hanabusa continued her presentation on the Island of Hawaii last weekend and addresses a good size crowd at the DHHL Conference room in Keaukaha.  The event was requested by Panaewa and Keaukaha Hawaiian homesteaders curious about the other presentations made throughout the state and in Hawaiian homestead communities.

"We were very pleased with the turnout at Keaukaha and squeezed everyone that could possibly fit in the room." commented Olinda Fisher, Nanakuli Hawaiian homestead resident who assisted Colleen with her presentation.

Similar to previous community presentations the focus on understanding the Hawaiian Homes Commission Act, 1920 and the proposed rules from the Department of Interior (DOI) were the main focus of the two-hour presentation.  

Although some late attendees may have missed the introduction of the presentation Colleen's answer concerning, "if she's only doing this for a political reason?"..she said, "No, I've been doing this on all the major Hawaiian islands for the benefit of the beneficiaries in making an education and well-informed decision." 

"Colleen continues to be a valued individual who studies and researched the HHCA, its original debates at the time of Prince Kuhio in Congress." added Paul Richards, AINA President.  "Also, Colleen was a workshop speaker at the 2015 Community Development and Finance Conference at Windward Community College and drew a conference room filled of inquiring minds!"

REMINDER!

DEADLINE FOR SUBMISSION OF WRITTEN COMMENTS ON OR BEFORE AUGUST 12, 2015. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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