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Na‘i Aupuni announces 152 ‘aha participants

By Staff | Dec 31, 2015

HONOLULU Na’i Aupuni last week announced the names of 152 Native Hawaiians who will take part in an ‘aha, a gathering to broadly discuss self-governance, in February 2016.

The ‘aha participants come from the 196 former candidates who stepped forward to run in an election that would have sent 40 of them to a constitutional convention.

Na’i Aupuni terminated the election on Dec. 15 because pending litigation would potentially have stalled the counting of the vote for years.

Instead, the organization offered all of the then-registered candidates terms to participate in a gathering to discuss self-governance.

A total of 152 participants had signed on for the ‘aha by the deadline, including Maui representatives Olu Campbell, Renee-May Filimoeatu, Edward Kaahui, Bronson Kaahui, Natalie Kama, Carol Lee Kamekona, Robert Luuwai, Sharolee Naeole, Sarah Nakihei, Stanley Ornellas, Justin Roman, Keoki Sousa and Kaniela Ing.

“Every former candidate had an opportunity to participate, and we are excited that a large group of committed persons who represent a broad cross section of the Native Hawaiian community, both in Hawaii and on the continent, will have an opportunity to discuss self-governance,” said Kuhio Asam, Na’i Aupuni president.

“Our goal has always been to establish a path to an ‘aha where Hawaiians can have a long-overdue discussion on the future of the Hawaiian people.

“These are Hawaiians who have shown a deep commitment to engage in serious, civil discussions on self-governance. We are very happy and encouraged that so many individuals have made a decision to be participants. They deserve everyone’s support.”

A component of the month-long ‘aha includes the discussions the participants will engage in with experts during the first week regarding constitution building; federal Indian law; international law regarding de-occupation, decolonization and the rights of indigenous people; U.S. Constitution issues that relate to Native Hawaiian self-governance; ceded lands; and Kingdom Law.

Peter Adler and Linda Colburn of The Mediation Center of the Pacific will serve as facilitators to lead the discussions with the experts and to assist the participants in organizing themselves.

Thereafter, whatever happens at the ‘aha will be completely up to the participants without interference by Na’i Aupuni or any government entity.