ASSOCIATION OF HAWAIIAN CIVIC CLUBS
No. 2017 – 53
COMMENDING THE NATIVE HAWAIIAN LEGAL CORPORATION FOR ITS STEADFAST WORK IN PROTECTING NATIVE HAWAIIAN RIGHTS, CUSTOMS, AND PRACTICES
WHEREAS, the Native Hawaiian Legal Corporation was first established 43 years ago in 1974 in response to growing awareness of the social, cultural, health, and economic issues faced by Native Hawaiians; and
WHEREAS, the Native Hawaiian Legal Corporation’s board, its lawyers, and its support staff have operated as a tax exempt 501(c)(3) non-profit public interest law firm with a mission “to perpetuate, through legal and other advocacy, the rights, customs and practices that strengthen Native Hawaiian identity and culture”; and
WHEREAS, the Native Hawaiian Legal Corporation’s advocacy efforts have heightened an awareness and an understanding of the role that Native Hawaiian customs, traditions, and ways of knowing play in forming the foundation upon which Hawai‘i’s constitution, laws, and judicial opinions are based; and
WHEREAS, the Native Hawaiian Legal Corporation protects and defends Native Hawaiians’ rights to their traditional ancestral and kuleana lands in the face of powerful and affluent economic interests in quiet title, partition, and adverse possession lawsuits and legal proceedings; and
WHEREAS, the Native Hawaiian Legal Corporation has championed the rights of Hawaiian beneficiaries of the Hawaiian Home Lands trust to be awarded homestead leases under the Hawaiian Homes Commission Act and to assure that the provisions of the Hawai‘i constitution that “sufficient sums” shall be made available by the Hawai‘i State Legislature to accomplish the purposes of the Act are in fact provided; and
WHEREAS, the Native Hawaiian Legal Corporation protects and defends the rights of Native Hawaiians to practice their traditional and cultural ways including accessing, caring for, and gathering the resources necessary to maintain their health, their cultural identity, and their connection to the ‘āina; and
WHEREAS, the Native Hawaiian Legal Corporation has defended, protected, and assisted Hawaiian communities to reestablish the return of life-giving water to streams and communities to mālama ‘āina, to reestablish kalo cultivation and the health of these communities and traditional watersheds, and to ensure that the provisions of the Hawai‘i constitution, state statues, including the Hawai‘i Water Code, which characterize the use of fresh water as a public trust, will be honored and given full force and effect as intended by the people and their elected representatives when they created these documents; and
WHEREAS, the Native Hawaiian Legal Corporation has protected the rights of Native Hawaiian individuals and families under state and federal laws to ensure that the sanctity, repose, and reverence of their Native Hawaiian ancestors’ human remains and to guarantee that these remains will be treated with dignity, compassion, and respect when threatened with being disinterred, unearthed or destroyed; and
WHEREAS, the Native Hawaiian Legal Corporation is committed to protecting the rights of Native Hawaiians to speak and learn in their Native Hawaiian language and to practice their Native Hawaiian traditions, culture, and religion as a means to support, maintain and foster their collective Hawaiian identity; and
WHEREAS, the Native Hawaiian Legal Corporation represents Native Hawaiians regardless of their financial means or their ability to pay, which creates a need for it to obtain funding from large governmental organizations such as the State of Hawai‘i and the Office of Hawaiian Affairs; and
WHEREAS, on occasion, the Native Hawaiian Legal Corporation, on behalf of its clients, have had to oppose actions by these funders to advance justice and compliance with Hawai‘i state laws; and
WHEREAS, the Native Hawaiian Legal Corporation’s legal representation of Native Hawaiians and their rights and interests is a key ingredient in protecting Hawaiian culture, traditions, and values and in ensuring that the Hawai‘i of the future is in fidelity with the host culture of the indigenous people of Hawai‘i, Native Hawaiians.
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, commending the Native Hawaiian Legal Corporation for its steadfast work in protecting Native Hawaiian rights, customs, and practices; and
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that the Association of Hawaiian Civic Clubs acknowledges a responsibility to support and encourage the continuation of the Native Hawaiian Legal Corporation’s advocacy of Native Hawaiians, their rights, and their interests; and
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that the Association of Hawaiian Civic Clubs acknowledges and appreciates the funding by the State of Hawai‘i, the Office of Hawaiian Affairs, and others, and encourages continued and increased appropriations for Native Hawaiian legal services; and
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that a certified copy of this resolution be transmitted to the Native Hawaiian Legal Corporation, as well as 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