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No. 2019 – 58


WHEREAS, Native Hawaiians are the indigenous people of the Hawaiian archipelago and have never given up their inherent right of self-determination nor their claims and rights to their land; and

WHEREAS, after the illegal overthrow of Queen Liliʻuokalani’s government and the establishment of the Republic of Hawaiʻi in 1894, the republic claimed the Crown Lands and merged the Government and Crown Lands into the “public lands” through the 1895 Land Act; and

WHEREAS, in 1898, the Republic of Hawaiʻi transferred over 1.8 million acres of Government and Crown Lands to the United States under the Newslands Joint Resolution; and

WHEREAS, when Hawaiʻi became a state in 1959, most Government and Crown Lands, including those lands included as part of the Hawaiian Homes Commission Act, were transferred to the State of Hawaiʻi, however the United States retained use and control of over 375,000 acres of land; and

WHEREAS, as part of the incorporation of Hawaii as a state of the Union, in section 5(f) of the Admissions Act the State of Hawaii’s public trust responsibilities to Native Hawaiians is clarified whereby “[t]he lands granted to the State of Hawaiʻi…shall be held by said State as a public trust for the support of …native Hawaiians.”; and

WHEREAS, in 1978, the people of Hawai’i overwhelmingly ratified amendments to the constitution including Article XII, Section 4, that confirmed the state’s Public Trust responsibilities; Section 5 that established the Office of Hawaiian Affairs (OHA); and Section 6 which requires the OHA Trustees to manage and administer income and proceeds from a variety of sources, including a “pro rata portion” of the public land trust; and

WHEREAS, the Hawaiʻi State Constitution does not define what percentage of the public land trust income and proceeds OHA should receive on behalf of Native Hawaiians because that determination was left to the Hawaiʻi State Legislature; and 

WHEREAS, the Hawaiʻi State Legislature determined that Native Hawaiians should get at least 20 percent of the Public Land Trust revenue (Hawai‘i Revised Statutes §10-13.5); and

WHEREAS, in a joint resolution adopted by the 103rd Congress of the United States, signed into law as Public Law 103-150, November 23, 1993, the U. S. Congress apologized to Native Hawaiians on behalf of the United States for the overthrow of the Kingdom of Hawaiʻi; and

WHEREAS, Act 178, Session Laws of Hawai‘i 2006, temporarily established OHA’s pro rata share of the income and proceeds of the public land trust for the betterment of the conditions of Native Hawaiians at $15,100,000 annually, and required state agencies to report public land trust revenues to the legislature each year; and

WHEREAS, based on the annual accounting of the amounts derived from the public trust and additional research commissioned by OHA of receipts from the Public Land Trust in fiscal year 2015-2016, OHA has determined the minimum amount of applicable total gross public land trust receipts to be at least $174,816,220 in fiscal year 2015-2016, for undisputed revenues and 20 percent of that income is $34,963,244; and 

WHEREAS, the Hawaiʻi Supreme Court has repeatedly held that the legislature has a constitutional obligation to clarify the pro rata portion of revenues derived from the public land trust to which OHA is entitled to for the benefit of Native Hawaiians under Article XII, Sections 4 and 6 of the Hawaiʻi State Constitution; and

WHEREAS, the pro rata share owed to Native Hawaiians from the Public Land Trust revenue is not a handout, a race base benefit, nor a privilege, but is their fair share of the trust lands that they collectively hold claim over and rights as recognized by the State and Federal governments; and

WHEREAS, the pro rata share owed is indisputably at least 20 percent of the total revenues of the Public Land Trust which is estimated to be at least $34,963,244 as of State Fiscal Year 2015-2016.

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, by the Association of Hawaiian Civic Clubs at its 60th Annual Convention in Lahaina, Maui, in the malama of Welehu and the rising of Lāʻau Pau, this 16th day of November 2019, urging the State of Hawai‘i to provide Native Hawaiians with their fair share of the Public land trust revenue; 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 Water, Land, and 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 Welehu and the rising of Lāʻau Pau on the 16th day of November 2019, at the 60th Annual Convention of the Association of Hawaiian Civic Clubs in Lahaina, Maui.

Hailama V. K. K. Farden, President