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Native Hawaiian Leaders Condemn OHA Attack

January 24, 2019, 7:40 AM HST
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A prominent group of leaders in the Native Hawaiian community are calling for a greater level of accountability for entities, organizations, and their own communities and families in relation to the events that unfolded on Jan. 17, 2019, at the Office of Hawaiian Affairs.

They will issue a joint statement at a press conference at 11 a.m. on Thursday, Jan. 24, at Nā Lama Kukui (OHA Offices), 560 N. Nimitz Highway in Honolulu.

On Jan. 17, 13 men stormed the OHA offices in a failed attempt to seize the agency and its assets. In the process, they physically assaulted multiple staff (one whose ribs were fractured), intimidated dozens more, and tried to take possession of trust assets that belong to the Native Hawaiian people. Five of the 13 were arrested on minor charges and released on nominal bail.

The group is calling for a higher level of accountability from those who committed the acts, law enforcement to exact the appropriate punishment, and the Hawaiian community itself to hold each other accountable to an even higher standing of conduct, honoring the hard work by many for decades who serve their boarder community and act upon their sovereignty.

“The harmful acts that took place days ago stand in stark contrast to the expressions by hundreds of our people that gathered that very same day and time last week in peaceful demonstration at ʻIolani Palace to remember the events of Jan. 17, 1893,” noted Punihei Anthony, a Native Hawaiian advocate, educator and practitioner. “We are certain that our queen, who herself invoked a kapu maluhia or a decree of peace in the face of violence, would not condone these violent acts and neither do we.”

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Those standing in solidarity include well-respected Native Hawaiian advocates, educators, lawyer, healers, and cultural practitioners from communities, organizations and institutions across the state who are working in their own ways to pursue and act upon self-determination. While they represent a cross section of a diverse set of beliefs, strategies and political ideologies, they will stand united tomorrow to make this statement, calling for a higher level of accountability and holding themselves to that same standard.

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Those who have stepped forward include long-time advocates and supporters of various pathways to self-determination, current and past elected officials, community organizers and educators whose life’s work include protecting and revitalizing our ʻāina and fishponds, providing health services to our communities and educating our youth, and noted cultural practitioners and groups

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