Kamehameha Schools needs to pay closer attention to what is good for Hawaiians



PLEASE FORWARD FAR AND WIDE to ensure people have access to this important mana`o. The Kamehameha Schools newsletter "Imua" refuses to print this op-ed by one of their alums. It is especially important that KS graduates see this article.


The Trouble with Kamehameha's Support of Federal Recognition by Randall Kekoa Quinones Akee

A recent Kamehameha Schools CEO alert dated Feb 3, 2004 by Dee Jay Mailer states that Kamehameha Schools fully supports federal recognition efforts for Native Hawaiians. This effort, undertaken by Hawai`i's Congressional delegation, governor, state agencies, and a small number of federally-funded non-profit agencies, has done little to foster input and dialogue with the average Native Hawaiian. Indeed, the process as of late has been primarily state-driven, with OHA, DHHL, and the governor taking the lead in these lobbying efforts. When has the will of the Hawaiian people, let alone the will of ke ali`i Pauahi, ever been well-represented by the State of Hawai`i?

It is important to note that federal recognition will not safeguard any of Kamehameha School's assets, nor will federal recognition ensure the continuance of the institution or end the potential for other legal challenges. Federal recognition deals with the political status of Native Hawaiians as a whole in relation to the federal government of the United States; this legislation does nothing to solidify or establish a relationship between private Native Hawaiian trusts or any other privately-held Native Hawaiian organizations.

Particularly disturbing is the fact that Kamehameha Schools, as a trust in perpetuity, is not taking the long-run view of this situation. Endorsing federal recognition, as the Akaka bill now stands, is clearly taking the short-run perspective on Native Hawaiian self-government. The bill neither guarantees a permanent revenue stream or resource base for a Native Hawaiian governing entity, nor does it establish explicit protection of Native Hawaiian rights.

The current legislation really seeks to protect two state agencies and their public trust assets. While this is an important effort, the question still remains: what long-run benefits and opportunities are we giving up in exchange? The reality is we don't know. We haven't discussed the alternatives thoroughly enough to really get a sense of what could be or what is desired by the Native Hawaiian community. Instead, Native Hawaiians and other state residents have been told that federal recognition is the ultimate solution to the problems for Native Hawaiian programs, services, and funding. As a leading Hawai`i educational institution, Kamehameha Schools could have taken the lead in fostering community input and voice; instead, like the other institutions that are behind federal recognition, they have sought to endorse the Akaka Bill with no justification or sharing of their research and analysis of the bill. Why would a private, non-profit trust undertake such an obvious political stance on such a poorly-formed piece of legislation?

The short-sighted view taken by Kamehameha Schools really stems from a misunderstanding about the funding of Native Hawaiian programs. The CEO alert cites the fact that federal recognition will serve to secure services and programs for Native Hawaiians. Unfortunately, this is not exactly true. An important distinction must be made between Native Hawaiian entitlements and Native Hawaiian appropriations. Most, if not all, of the federal programs and legislation established for Native Hawaiians are simply appropriations. This means that funding occurs at the will of Congress. An entitlement, on the other hand, refers to funding or programs that are immune to Congressional dictates -- a good example of this is Social Security. Individuals who have participated in the Social Security system are automatically entitled to receive their Social Security payments once they reach eligibility age. This program funding does not fluctuate according to political power plays or Congressional appropriations. Most Native Hawaiian programs do not enjoy this luxury. Hence, without a solid funding guarantee or resource base, a Native Hawaiian governing entity established under the current federal recognition legislation would be forced to seek federal appropriations on a continual basis.

Kamehameha was founded by Princess Bernice Pauahi Bishop to foster industrious Native Hawaiian men and women. There's nothing industrious about begging for federal funds for a Native Hawaiian nation for the rest of eternity.

Randall Kekoa Quinones Akee
Kamehameha Schools Alumni Class of 1990


Randall K. Q. Akee Doctoral Candidate

Political Economy and Government
Harvard University
akee [at] fas.harvard.edu


Aloha nou, Mahalo for post. I will send to whatever base I have. Randall is tuned but there is some slack key in his observation. If I may, Social Security is not Security. All entitlements are legislation of the federal trough whose benefit is controlled by the pen handlers. If one is runt in the herd or one is not in the federal pen one does not eat much or anything.

The problem with all of us is we are afraid of missing a meal or going without for a time because we have indoctrinated to think you can only exist in their pig pen. Queen Lili'oukalanai said, I rather eat pohaku (stones)than be hand fed by foreign control.

A sovereign Nation of Hawaii can only exist by Treaty.

No Treaty, a'ole sovereignty. The kanaka maoli will become what the Incas and Aztec nations have become, extinct. Anything less than a Treaty doctrine is serfdome for some and slavery for most. The "some" deny it now while the "most" are already there.

Hawaiians should wonder why the (5) Family of Nations in 1841 wanted this nation of heathens to become part of their Christian Family. No gold, no oil. What was it that Great Britain, France, Prussia, Switzerland and the new kid, the United States of America wanted?

The first people came here from afar. Is there some kind of secret passage or vortex?,or is just Hawaiians do not deserve such a paradise and the Pacific pear, as Minister Stevens "officially" claimed, is ready for plucking. I'd like to drop the "pl" and add you know what but we don't have to say it, we know it.

Mahalo Randall. May Iesu Kristo keep you trucking.

Aloha ke Akua,

Pilipo Souza