Saturday, September 05, 2009


Kahoolawe brief filed, a must read

by Larry Geller

For those of you who follow or support the ongoing struggles over Hawaiian Sovereignty, this legal brief will be a pleasure to read. It may also serve as a template for future actions. I suggest reading it and letting the reasoning work on you.

Attorney Daniel Hempey has just filed his brief in the Henry Noa case. I’ll snip a little bit of this. The brief is worth reading also to understand that there are serious legal arguments that relate to the sovereignty of the Hawaiian nation. The issue is not one for discussion by ignorant comments posted to news articles. There is both depth and substance to these assertions.

I won’t snip the legal part since many readers may not want that depth of detail right away. But here is a short excerpt describing what happened on the day that is the subject of the case. I’ve taken out the footnotes and references for ease of reading:

Mr. Noa testified that he and Defendants Armitage and Kahookele went to Kaho`olawe “understanding that our intent is to be recognized, who we are as a people, as a Nation, to exercise a right as a Nation.” Upon landing on Kaho`olawe, the Defendants undertook a traditional ceremony.

“In our traditional practice, in our culture, it is well understood that when you have an event, be it a small event, or large event, you always pay respect to your ancestors, to your various Gods that our religion has or just to Akua itself. So, before we left, we already planned that we would institute a protocol, and part of that protocol was to ask our ancestors to welcome us to the island. We do that through prayer, and that is what we did when we arrived.

And it is a part of our traditional protocol in our case, because we’re a nation that is coming into being, we had already decided that we would build an ahu to signify our arrival, our accomplishment. Mr. Noa testified that this type of ceremony was practiced on the island of Kaho`olawe prior to 1893. He also testified that prior to 1893, Native Hawai`ians exercised management and control of the island of Kaho`olawe.

The State did not rebut this testimony.

Q: When you went to Kaho`olawe did you go there as an individual with the intention of breaking some State regulation? Or did you go there primarily for the purpose that you testified today?

A: No, we went there primarily for the purpose that I speak about today. That once we fulfilled our obligation as a nation, I truly believe that it’s now a nation’s responsibility to exercise those sovereign powers.”

Mr. Noa noticed that the Kaho`olawe transfer statute “basically said that management and control shall be returned back to the sovereign Hawai`ian governing entity.’ “And what I saw was the word sovereign. That was the key. It wasn’t just another entity. There are lots of entities on Hawai`i. A lot of organizations. You take the Office of Hawai`ian Affairs (OHA), I believe that’s an entity. But sovereign entities? No. There weren’t any. And this is what motivated us. This is what motivated myself to pursue establishing that sovereign nation.”

Check it out by downloading your own copy of the brief. Thanks to attorney Hempey for providing this copy.


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