ASSOCIATION OF HAWAIIAN CIVIC CLUBS
No. 2017 – 34
URGING THE HAWAIʻI STATE LEGISLATURE AND GOVERNOR OF THE STATE OF HAWAIʻI TO PROVIDE THE OFFICE OF HAWAIIAN AFFAIRS WITH THE FIRST RIGHT OF REFUSAL FOR ALL REMNANT LANDS WITHIN THE STATE OF HAWAIʻI
WHEREAS, Article 12, Section 5 of the Constitution of the State of Hawaiʻi, established the Office of Hawaiian Affairs (OHA) to hold title to “all the real and personal property now or hereafter set aside or conveyed to it which shall be held in trust for native Hawaiians and Hawaiians,” and established a board of trustees; and
WHEREAS, Article 12, Section 6 of the Constitution of the State of Hawaiʻi further delineated the powers for the board of trustees of the Office of Hawaiian Affairs, including “to exercise control over real and personal property set aside by state, federal or private sources transferred to the board for native Hawaiians and Hawaiians;” and
WHEREAS, the Office of Hawaiian Affairs currently owns approximately 28,000 acres in Waimea Valley (1,800 acres), Wao Kele o Puna (25,856 acres), Pahua Heiau (1.15 acres), Kakaʻako Makai (30.7 acres), Kekaha Armory (1.46 acres – lease), Kūkaniloko (511 acres), Na Lama Kukui (183,000 square foot commercial property and 4.98 acres), Palauea Cultural Preserve (20.7 acres), and Waialua Courthouse (1.06 acres – lease); and co-manages Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument (139,797 square miles); and
WHEREAS, under Public Law 103-150, the Apology Resolution, the U. S. Congress acknowledged that in 1898, through the federal Newlands Resolution, the self-declared Republic of Hawaiʻi ceded 1.8 million acres of crown, government, and public lands of the Kingdom of Hawaiʻi, without the consent of or compensation to the Native Hawaiian people of Hawaiʻi or their sovereign government, to the United States; and
WHEREAS public lands also largely consist of “ceded” lands, acquired through the illegal overthrow of the Hawaiian Kingdom, to which Native Hawaiians have never relinquished their claims; and
WHEREAS, in recognition of the importance of our public lands, their historic character, and to protect public lands from being sold without the most compelling justification, advance notice to OHA and a 2/3 supermajority approval of the legislature are generally required prior to their sale (known as the “Act 176 process”); and
WHEREAS, it is intended that remnants are meant to be a narrow exception to the legislative approval requirement, mainly applicable to formerly condemned lands or abandoned roads, ditches, or similar rights-of-way, however, the state has recently sold five acres of public, “ceded” lands in Hāna, Maui, including a stream and waterfall, as a “remnant” – for a mere $5,000 an acre, and a seven acre parcel of public lands in Nuʻuani, both without advance notice to OHA and without legislative approval; and
WHEREAS, the Association of Hawaiian Civic Clubs have expressed concerns about the inappropriate sale of “ceded” and public land trusts lands in the past; and
WHEREAS, continued misuse of the remnant exception for the sale of public lands may severely undermine if not dismantle existing protections of the Native Hawaiian people’s public land base; and
WHEREAS, OHA’s mission to better the conditions of Native Hawaiians and its authority to hold lands in trust for Native Hawaiians aligns with the call by Native Hawaiians to stem the loss or depletion of the lands initially transferred to the United States under the Newlands Resolution; and
WHERAS, the State of Hawaiʻi is the largest land holder in the State of Hawaiʻi with at least 1.3 million acres of land; and
WHEREAS, given that the State of Hawaiʻi comprises only 4 million acres of land, Hawaiʻi’s complex land tenure system, scarcity of available land, high cost of living, and high percentage of Native Hawaiian who are homeless, the conditions of Native Hawaiians through the increase and preservation of lands into public trust for their benefit will serve the State of Hawaiʻi’s interests.
NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, by the Association of Hawaiian Civic Clubs at its 58th Annual Convention in Seattle, Washington, in the malama of ʻIkuwā and the rising of Māhealani, this 4th day of November 2017, urging the Hawaiʻi State Legislature and Governor of the State of Hawaiʻi provide the Office of Hawaiian Affairs with the first right of refusal for all remnant lands within the State of Hawaiʻi; and
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that a certified copy of this resolution be transmitted to the Governor of the State of Hawai‘i, President of the State Senate, Speaker of the State House of Representatives, Chair of the State Senate Committee on Hawaiian Affairs, Chair of the State House Committee on Ocean, Marine Resources & Hawaiian Affairs, Chair of the Board of Trustees of the Office of Hawaiian Affairs and all County Mayors.
The undersigned hereby certifies that the foregoing Resolution was duly adopted in the malama of ʻIkuwā and the rising of Māhealani on the 4th day of November 2017, at the 58th Annual Convention of the Association of Hawaiian Civic Clubs in Seattle, Washington.
Annelle C. Amaral, President