East Hawaii News

Na’i Aupuni ‘Aha Begins Monday

January 30, 2016, 4:19 PM HST
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Kuhio Asam. UH alumni photo.

Kuhio Asam. UH alumni photo.

Over 150 delegates will convene on Oahu’s Royal Hawaiian Golf Course Monday for the start of a four-week Native Hawaiian Constitutional Convention, or ‘aha, which is expected to start a discussion that could possibly lead to Native Hawaiian self-governance.

The total number of delegates participating in the ‘aha is a majority number of the over 200 that had initially sought to participate via Na’i Aupuni’s Native Hawaiian election, which was halted by the United States Supreme Court. Organizers instead decided to open up the ‘aha to all of the candidates who wanted to participate.

There will be a presentation held each day of the week, starting on Monday with “Constitution Building: Process and Contents” by Zachary Elkins from 1:15 p.m. – 2:30 p.m. Tuesday’s presentation, “Federal Indian Law: Federal Recognition” by Rebecca Tsosie, will be done from 9:15 a.m. – 10:30 p.m. The topic turns to “International  Law: De-occupation, De-colonization, Indigenous Rights” on Wednesday from 12:30 p.m. – 1:45 p.m., hosted by Catherine J. Iorns Magallanes.

Wrapping up the first week of presentations is a piece about “Kingdom Law,” presented by Davianna McGregor from 12:30 pm – 1:45 p.m. on Friday. Before that, Melody Kapilialoha McKenzie will have a topic on the “US Constitutional Issues & Ceded Lands” on Thursday from 9:15 a.m. – 10:30 a.m.

The presentations will not be made available to the public, but will be broadcast by Olelo Community Media, where it will be streamed online.

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“We support and look forward to the participants, who are from varied backgrounds and with a wide range of beliefs, coming together to discuss and find common ground on manners in which to advance self-governance,” said Kuhio Asam, president of Na’i Aupuni, in a statement. “This is really a historic event and the scholar presentations will provide a strong overview of the many issues for discussion.

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“In order to foster a good dialogue, at this time, the ‘aha discussions are not open to the public or the media. However, these televised presentations will provide a good understanding of the complexity of the issues. Ultimately, the participants will determine their own parameters of sharing the content of the discussions with the public and the media.”

Facilitating the discussions will be Peter Adler, Linda Colburn, and Ku’umeaaloha Gomes of The Mediation Center of the Pacific.

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