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OHA: Office of Hawaiian Affairs

Archived: 2016 OHA TRUSTEE Hawai‘i candidates

UPDATE: For 2020 OHA Trustee Candidate info, click here & here.

2016 Community questions

Q1. What opportunities to do you see for OHA and its Board of Trustees to help improve the physical, mental, and spiritual health of our lahui?

– Aukahi Austin Seabury, Ph.D. Psychologist, Executive Director

Q2. What is your strategy for achieving nation building?

– Vicky Holt Takamine, Kumu hula

Q3. Many of the most pressing issues facing the lahui—such as climate change, and health and wealth disparities—are a part of global dynamics. How do we use our mana and ancestral values to help solve these contemporary, complex and pressing issues?

– Kamuela Enos, Sustainable agriculture and indigenous enterprise advocate

Candidate answers


➤➤ Q1 Response: Education is our best opportunity to help improve our physical, mental, and spiritual health of our Lāhui. we must embrace many of our Kūpuna teachings to further our understandings of our identity. To this end, native Hawaiians can begin the process of healing and faithfully select a pathway to the resurrection of Lāhui. while simplistic, educational forums, Hawaiian doctrine- placedbased education, secondary and post-secondary Hawaiian educational platforms must include the revisionist history of Hawai‘i if we are to improve who we are as a people and as Lāhui physically, mentally, and spiritually.

➤➤ Q2 Response: The immediate strategy for nation building requires building consensus. Over the years, OHA’s constituency has been divided due to its quasi relationship both with the State and Federal governments. The native Hawaiian communities have been polarized by OHA’s lack of independency and therefore nation building has been all but impossible. True consensus can only be achieved through a “grass-roots” initiative supplemented by various stages of educational opportunities to bring about real changes for Lāhui. OHA’s institutional forbearance and tolerance to bridge our communities will require a new paradigm to reach the native Hawaiian community to accomplish consensus and achieve Lāhui.

➤➤ Q3 Response: Native Hawaiians are represented negatively at every social economic, wealth, and health statistic. To reverse these trends, our native values such as Aloha, Aloha ‘Aina, Mālama Aina, Aloha Ka Po‘e, are re-established in the ‘Ohana and then manifested in our educational institutions. A monumental task but achievable through a new vision and strategies for the implementation of our ancestral values to solve our Island issues setting the stage for a global response. To make the point, we can learn from the Hōkūle‘a following years of dedication of our ancestral navigational wayfinding and building the “wa‘a.” Recent, global response to mālama honua “through experiential educational programs that inspire students and their communities to respect and care for themselves, each other, and the natural and cultural environments”


➤➤ Q1 Response: Health is one of OHA’s six strategic priorities. COLLOBORATION is the path OHA must take going forward. Why? The needs of our lāhui exceed OHA’s current resources to provide for these needs. My hope is that OHA will continue to work to find ways to partner with our Ali‘i Trusts: The Queen’s Health System, Kapi‘olani Children’s Hospital, Kamehameha Schools, Queen  Lili‘uokalani Trust and Lunalilo Home. Other potential partners to enjoin: Papa Ola Lokahi and its satellite centers, our Hawaiian focused charter schools, faith-based organizations and our Hawaiian churches. We need to pool our resources and work together to extend our reach.

➤➤ Q2 Response: Our lāhui, when surveyed in 1978 (OHA’s founding) and recently (four months ago) have made it clear; ‘bread and butter’ issues (education, health, housing and jobs) are what’s important to them. It wants OHA to focus on these issues. In 2016 the majority of respondents see nation building as a bottom of the barrel issue. OHA must refocus, reboot and rethink its basic priorities if it is to be in alignment with the wishes of our people. I do have a nation-building strategy modeled around the Waimea Nui Development Project. I like and support it as it brings people together.

➤➤ Q3 Response: We have a heritage we must celebrate and honor. Our ancestors knew what it meant to be GREEN and live GREEN centuries ago. By taking care of the land (mālama ‘āina), our forests, streams and ocean, we would be able to sustain ourselves forever. They knew to take just what they needed, when enough was enough. On the global level the Mālama Honua message being disseminated by Hōkūle‘a on its worldwide voyage is truly special and a beacon for all. It’s a message from our kūpuna. “Take care of the Earth and it will take care of you.” On the local level (yes it starts right here at home), this September Hawai‘i will host the World Conservation Congress. This is our opportunity to showcase the specialness and uniqueness of our cultural and natural assets, to boast in a quiet and humble way what our ancestors knew centuries ago which so many are just coming to know at a time when our Good Earth is in jeopardy because of industrialization, urbanization and rabid consumerism. Yes, environmental issues are global and overwhelming. Nonetheless in our small way in our isolated corner of the world’s biggest ocean we can be part of the solution. Enlist in a local aloha ‘āina initiative in your community, participate in a beach, stream or graffiti cleanup. Adopt a Highway (section of). Recycle. Be (and stay) informed about coral bleaching, rapid ‘ōhia death, and invasive species. Join the Outdoor Circle, Nature Conservancy, Sierra Club, some worthy conservation cause.

TRASK, Mililani B.

➤➤ Q1 Response: Initiating a program for Health & Wellness that integrates healthier practices in all 3 areas is a good beginning point. It should include education on the causes of poor health and how to take corrective measures (Dietary changes, exercise, regular check-­‐ups) as well as understanding Mental Health needs (stress, fear, anger, violence) and corrective measures (Counseling, medication, anger management etc.) Spiritual support comes from ceremony, prayer and church affiliation. This program needs to be pursued in conjunction with other groups providing services in these areas.  Partnerships increase expertise and provide for cost sharing. We have many Hawaiians with Health expertise, and today we have a Hawaiian Healthcare System that can interface with OHA on all islands.

➤➤ Q2 Response: Nation building can only be achieved by and through a statewide educational effort on our historical right to self-­‐determination. Hawaiian educators should be tapped to spearhead this effort. In order to be legitimate, Hawaiians and need to voluntarily enroll in this effort and democratic procedures need to be followed. (i.e. voluntary enrollment by 51% of peoples residing on the ‘āina, democratic elections of representatives, and majority ratification by the peoples themselves of any governing document. The initiative must arise from the peoples themselves, not the State Legislature or a State Agency like OHA. The current process stemming from Kanaiolowalu and Na ‘I Aupuni excluded the Hawaiian people and came from the State. No Democratic election of delegates occurred, nor is there any verified roll of Hawaiian residents of our State.

➤➤ Q3 Response: We need to think globally and act locally to address climate change. Hawaiian traditional knowledge can & should be applied to provide solutions. For example, mitigation the impacts of saltwater intrusion may require planting more salt tolerant species of traditional foods. Also, we need to integrate conservation practices (use less water, use water catchment, recycling and desalinization) into our daily lives. For Health – See answer to question 1. The application of Hawaiian Values is the appropriate way to live our lives whether we are addressing climate change or wealth & poverty disparities. Wealth & Poverty disparities may arise from unemployment, lack of critical skills or lack of education. There are many things that OHA can support including job training, supplemental skill building; literacy and basic accounting that would help unemployed Hawaiians find jobs. Hawaiian values are now being applied everywhere, recently I read about a book called “Managing with Aloha” that applies Hawaiian cultural values in the business arena.

View Candidate responses by race

OHA TRUSTEE Hawai‘i candidates
OHA TRUSTEE Moloka‘i candidates
OHA TRUSTEE Kaua‘i candidates
OHA TRUSTEE At-Large candidates


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