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OHA: Office of Hawaiian Affairs


UPDATE: 2020 OHA At-Large Trustee candidate info can be found 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: In its master­plan, OHA has identified great opportunities for advancing native Hawaiians, and I commend OHA for the goals in this document. Unfortunately, the trustees have fallen short of ensuring that these goals are met. According to the State Auditor: “Ineffectual oversight bars OHA from ensuring grants achieve intended results…” Additionally, tens of millions of dollars have been wasted on political agendas such as the push for federal recognition. The solution is to stop wasting trust money on politics and, instead, to spend it on solving homelessness and meeting the real needs of Hawaiians for housing, healthcare, jobs, and education. OHA does not lack the resources to help the Hawaiian people. Rather, it needs to manage them in an accountable and non­political way. If elected Trustee, I will work hard to reform OHA so that it provides opportunities Hawaiians need.

➤➤ Q2 response: I stand with those trustees who oppose the nation­building efforts by OHA that are dividing Hawaiians from non­Hawaiians and Hawaiians from each other. True Hawaiian nationhood has always included all people regardless of race. As the 1840 Hawaiian Constitution states, “Ua hana mai ke Akua i na lahui kanaka a pau i ke koko hookahi, e noho like lakou ma ka honua nei me ke kuikahi, a me ka pomaikai.” ­­ “God hath made of one koko (blood) all nations of men to dwell on the earth, in unity and blessedness.” If we as OHA`s beneficiaries continue to elect trustees who pursue a separatist, race­based nation, we will exclude our hanai keiki, many of our parents, spouses, and our beloved haole friends from citizenship. If elected Trustee, I will work hard so that OHA stops dividing Hawaii`s people and starts uniting them.

➤➤ Q3 response: This is a great question because it looks to the future. In my university classes I teach students that Hawaiian wisdom has much to offer a world seeking economic and ecological sustainability. Sadly, the current trustee board has taken actions, which interfere with promoting Hawaiian values globally. Recently, OHA withdrew its approval for the Thirty Meter Telescope and then tried to keep the telescope if its sponsors would pay higher rent to OHA! Tragically, this financial greed has contributed to the potential loss of the telescope along with the loss of millions of dollars in scholarships, jobs and economic development for Hawaiians. The ancient Hawaiians were brilliant scientists and saw no conflict between sacred and scientific. That`s why Nainoa Thompson and other Hokule`a navigators studied the stars in the Bishop Museum Planetarium as part of their sacred training. If elected Trustee, I will work hard to ensure that our keiki thrive in a world where Hawaiian values and scientific progress go hand in hand.


➤➤ Q1 response: The role of OHA is to inspire and empower our lāhui to work to be healthy. One of the best ways to do this is for OHA to become a physically, mentally and spiritually healthy organization.
I have a unique perspective of Hawaiian health to bring to OHA. It started as a child at the Wai‘anae Coast Comprehensive Health Center, in the office of my grandfather Dr. Fred Dodge. It extends from there out to the deep seas where I spent much of my youth with my father Vince Dodge who was an ‘ōpelu fisherman, into some of the last lo‘i kalo (taro patches) at my Papa Eddie Poe’s kuleana farm in Wai‘anae Valley, up into the back of the valley at Ka‘ala Farms, where my father learned to pound kalo and make boards and stones from Anakala Eddie Kaanana, Walter Paolo and Eric Enos, across the ahupua‘a to Makaha Elementary and Hoa‘aina o Makaha with Uncle Gigi, and all the while I was living next to Uncle Joe and Aunty Margie Perreira, the most amazing pig farmers. In these places, I learned what a healthy lāhui can look like.➤➤ Q2 response: My strategy for nation building is one pōhaku at a time. The front line to nation building is the dinner table. Every family that strives to eat from the ‘āina will with each bite help to rebuild the nation from the mahi‘ai up. Before he was chief he was a farmer, and he was recognized as a chief when he could organize farmers to work collectively to ensure food security and prosperity. Our nation was and will be built with lepo and pōhaku with hands, hearts, tears and sweat of the lāhui.➤➤ Q3 response: The answers to complex issues ultimately boil down to how we choose to live everyday and what we value. Our mana grows when ancestral values become our values. Indigenous cultures and people across the honua use technology and social media to share how their ancestral practices are the answers to complex issues. Once we recognize solutions, we must strive to implement them. There has to be space for indigenous cultures to thrive in a way that does not intimidate cultures and practices that contribute to the problem, but instead inspires them to change. It’s okay to adopt a solution from a culture different from ours. We are all of the earth, and the idea that geography, ethnicity or class can somehow separate us from global challenges is only an illusion. He moku, he wa‘a, he wa‘a he moku, he honua, he moku i ke ao holooko‘a The island is the canoe, the canoe is the island, the world is an island in the universe.


➤➤ Q1 response: Opportunity must be aligned with a community readiness commited to achieve accountable outcomes for positive change to occur. Physical, mental and spiritual health of our Lahui, tested over time by diverse issues, stifled collaborative solutions for common concerns. Opportunities exist now for identified and willing Native Hawaiian leaders and collective people power, resources and a shared commitment to solutions to entice Native Hawaiian leaders of two major land preservation trusts — Kamehameha Schools and The Nature Conservancy (Hawai‘i) to collaborate with Native Hawaiians in implementing an environmental strategic plan for Hawaiian lands guiding generations to come. Opportunities exist now for OHA scholarships, educational/ community development grants to expand mentoring of leader and worker skills in planning and implementing community and nation building capabilities for state, national and global impact. Opportunities await our collaborative attention. Readiness in communities, with OHA collaborating, is the key.

➤➤ Q2 response: The nation building strategy initiated in 2015 by Native Hawaiians appeared headed for the election of delegates and convening of an ‘Aha (Native Hawaiian Convention). The ongoing pursuit of nation building was forced to strategically redirect its efforts due to litigation filed by the “Grass Roots Institute” and two additional Native Hawaiians in Federal Court to halt the planned Convention. Ironically, two of the three Native Hawaiian litigants suing OHA are now running for election to OHA in 2016. A draft Constitution and Referendum by registered Native Hawaiians are planned and nation building remains a work in progress. As a current OHA Trustee I am committed to OHA’s majority-approved position. However, as a re-elected Trustee I am committed to refining existing strategies consistent with additional input we seek from the majority of Native Hawaiians.

➤➤ Q3 response: Native Hawaiian ancestors foresaw the role of our Lāhui to ensure survival of our cultural values by enabling mutual respect and peaceful collaboration among nations (and cultures) of the world. Native leaders dispatched to other global communities engaged and learned skills in readiness for impacting Hawai‘i’s future.Modern technology enables Native Hawaiians to witness peoples and cultures without even leaving Hawai‘i yet understand that person-to-person contact is the preferred medium of communication. PVS’s Hōkūle‘a world voyage (supported by OHA) is a critical base from which Hawai‘i’s impact on island nations and global survival is crucial. OHA’s decade role with Papahānaumokuākea and its global status is a catalyst for expeditiously investigating the rising ocean tides issue which gravely affects Hawai‘i and Pacific archipelagos and adds cultivation of marine resources (on land and in ocean) critical to the lifelines of island nations globally. The East-West Center and the UH Matsunaga Peace Institute provide Native Hawaiians (and Pacific islanders) an institutional arena for mediation centers to address resolving differences/disputes among island nations and global countries.


➤➤ Q1 response: We must educate Hawaiians to better take care of their physical health by completing any necessary medical regime including medication, meal planning, and exercise as well as by continuing visits to their physician or physician’s assistant. Mental health is only found through happiness. Unless basic needs are satisfied, one cannot feel whole. No Hawaiian should be without shelter to sleep, food to eat, clothes to wear and self-esteem through gainful employment. Spiritual health is based in cultural beliefs. Hawaiian cultural beliefs are being slowly eroded by technology that captures the attention of our younger generations and distracts them (lures them away?) from our traditional values. It is paramount that we find ways to interest and educate our youth in the spiritual guidance provided by our heritage. If we fail so does our tradition, our culture and our heritage.

➤➤ Q2 response: No Nation can build, grow or survive without solidarity. Last count there were over 60 groups that claimed the number 1 spot representing Hawaiians. With this continuing division and competition for 1st place, a Hawaiian Nation will never exist. At some point humility must prevail and solidarity take place. Eventually we must set aside personal agendas and create forums of peace, unity and spiritual guidance. At these forums every problem or complaint presented must include answers or solutions as well. When that happens with positive forward united thinking, a nation begins and grows.

➤➤ Q3 response: The current voyage of the Hōkūle‘a across Earth’s oceans is an example on our continuing effort to join and grow the global movement toward a more sustainable world with an eye on climate change and the environment. Health and wealth disparities typically arise from a lack of knowledge. Leadership must help to educate our people in financial matters and healthy food lifestyles. Neither of these is adequately addressed in our current education system. We must develop better programs for them and make these programs readily available. Personal health is measured in quality of life. Helping people find their self-worth is paramount.


➤➤ Q1 response: Funding: Leverage funding with Federal dollars beyond the Native Hawaiian Health Act, pursuing philanthropic or other resources. Disburse funds to statewide health clinics to expand services on necessities including dental and prescriptions. Spiritual health is rooted in a belief system. That’s a powerful subject as an ordained minister researching the need for God theory. I welcome a broader discussion on this belief system. Advocate: Queen Emma’s Trust aka Queen’s Health System began with our Ali`i concerns for their people’s health and welfare. Form partnerships inclusive of aforementioned.

➤➤ Q2 response: I have a three-pronged plan in formulation, which could actually work to benefit all. To reveal this plan is detrimental given the current situation.Situation: My people are being held hostage to the whims of a few, MY way or NO way mentalist including Akina, Danners, Kauhane, Makekau, Trask, OHA (naming a few). They are manipulating the system, the process, and the facts to move their personal agendas. The “hostage situation” will continue from both federalist and independent strategist as long as “self” is the selfish intent. Examples: 1) The legal I.D. theft of over 100K signatories from OHA registries to make up the Kanaiolowalu list. Registries included vital personal information; 2) Persons in Washington D.C. advocating for Federal Recognition via a governing document – the 88 Constitution without the Native Hawaiian peoples’ permission nor ratification process; 3) Lawsuits to stop the delegate election opened the exploitation gates. My people didn’t have a chance at a democratic process via voting for delegates and constitution ratification. Is this what we deserve after 130 years of oppression–to be oppressed by our own? As a Nai Aupuni participant-it was a contrived process. More participants are realizing they were “duped.” It’s unfortunate that “foreign desires” have turned inward to personal wants; my people continually pay the price. Millions of dollars wasted in legal costs. See questions 1 & 3: Funding the needs.Again– MY way or NO way mentality. Sadly, some culprits are OHA Trustee candidates. God help us.

➤➤ Q3 response: Climate change is affecting coastal and mountain lands and its habitats: Ocean rise – No coastal development; Research, gather data, and implement proven solutions; Teach the next generation now. Health and wealth disparities are multi-leveled. Education remains vital in addressing these issues. Our mana becomes diluted in alteration while meeting daily needs. Sadly, Values have fallen on the wayside in light of social media and global dynamics. I propose OHA partner with the Native Hawaiian communities and start the conversation. Communities know best how to address their specific issues and needs. Mahalo for the great questions Aukahi, Vicky and Kamuela. The word limitation is always challenging. Please contact me. I’m sure you have your views; I welcome the discussion. Aloha No, Leona.


➤➤ Q1 response: Sadly the majority of the BOT has let economic opportunities like a medical marijuana dispensary and the development of the kaka‘ako makai properties, “which for all tense and purposes should and would yield great financial returns for the trust” purposely remained sidelined with out a master plan either do to incompetence or instructions that the new tribal entity will have the first shot at that and more. If it ever does comes about? Meanwhile reduced spending and an independent fiscal forensic audit are needed to ensure the sustainability of the trust and corpus assets to ensure OHA’s mandate is fulfilled.

➤➤ Q2 response: Question is loaded, with out merit and let alone biased!!! The only Nation that ever existed by and for Nā Kanaka the people and Hawaiians is the Kingdom of Hawai‘i, yet OHA has done every thing possible to promote, fund and continue the usurpation of the kingdom’s government while funding an extremely costly and unlawful process to reorganize the Kingdom and Hawaiians into a domestic dependent tribe. The reinstatement process of nation building has never been brought up, examined or afforded resources via symposiums, academic debate and community dialogue. Until such time as that happens justice and complete respect to the law and sprit of our ancestors will not be realized.

➤➤ Q3 response: Hawai‘i State Constitution, Article XII The board of trustees of the Office of Haw aiian Affairs shall exercise power as provided by law: to manage and administer the proceeds from the sale or other disposition of the lands, natural resources, minerals and income derived from whatever sources for native Hawaiians and Hawaiians, including all income and proceeds from that pro rata portion of the trust referred to in section 4 of this article for native Hawaiians; to formulate policy relating to affairs of native Hawaiians and Hawaiians; and to exercise control over real and personal property set aside by state, federal or private sources and transferred to the board for native Hawaiians and Hawaiians. The board shall have the power to exercise control over the Office of Hawaiian Affairs through its executive officer, the administrator of the Office of Hawaiian Affairs, who shall be appointed by the board. We have to mālama Hawai‘i’s people and environmental resources, and OHA’s assets, toward ensuring the perpetuation of the culture, the enhancement of lifestyle and the protection of entitlements of Native Hawaiians, while enabling the building of a strong and healthy Hawaiian people and nation. In order to achieve our Priorities and Strategic Results, we must stay focused on the roles of advocate, researcher, asset manager and community engager to improve conditions for all Native Hawaiians through systemic change. This can only happen with new trustees so please vote!


➤➤ Q1 response: A response to the candidate survey was not received as of press time.

➤➤ Q2 response: A response to the candidate survey was not received as of press time.

➤➤ Q3 response: A response to the candidate survey was not received as of press time.

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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