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OHA: Office of Hawaiian Affairs

Federal court rejects attempt to stop Native Hawaiian election

HONOLULU – “I’m pleased that the Federal District Court this morning affirmed our longstanding assertion that Native Hawaiians have a right to self-determination. Judge Seabright confirmed two key facts: First, the election being held by Na‘i Aupuni is a private election not subject to the limitations that the plaintiffs contended. Second, the Office of Hawaiian Affairs plays no role in determining the nature or outcome of the election,” said Robert Klein, Board Counsel for the Office of Hawaiian Affairs.

“OHA is proud to have provided grant funding to Na‘i Aupuni so that Native Hawaiians can exercise their inherent right to self-determination,” said Kamana‘opono Crabbe, OHA’s Ka Pouhana and CEO.

“The federal court has confirmed that Native Hawaiians have the right to bring our voices together to be heard. It’s now up to us. This is our opportunity as a community to take on the kuleana—the rights and responsibilities—to improve our lives. Native Hawaiians have the chance to engage in Na‘i Aupuni’s process to ultimately create greater well-being for our people today and for generations to come,” added Crabbe.  

With the federal court’s decision, the nation building process that Na‘i Aupuni has developed can proceed, including the election of delegates (beginning November 1) to an ‘Aha or convention, the convening of elected representatives to work towards a governing document, and a ratification referendum of that document for the approval or disapproval of the Native Hawaiian people. For more information about this process, please visit www.naiaupuni.org.

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