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Agard, Louis (with attachments)........
Carr, Donald, Acting Assistant Attorney General, Land and Natural Re-
DeSoto, Frenchy ............................................
Ka'ai'ai, Charles (with attachments).................
Kanahele, Kamaki (with attachments)
Kaopua, Herbert, Sr., president, Hawaiian Building and Construction
................. 807, 811
Kepa, Olive .......
Lee Loy, Emmett (with attachments)...
Pi'ianaia, Ilima (with report and exhibits) .............................................. 248, 483
Young, George Terry.
Note.—Other material submitted for the record will be retained in committee files.
ADMINISTRATION OF NATIVE HAWAIIAN
MONDAY, AUGUST 7, 1989
U.S. SENATE, SELECT COMMITTEE ON INDIAN AFFAIRS,
MEETING JOINTLY WITH THE COMMITTEE ON INTERIOR
Honolulu, HI. The committee met, pursuant to notice, at 8:55 a.m., at the State Capitol Auditorium, 415 South Beretania St., Honolulu, HI, Hon. Daniel K. Inouye (chairman of the Select Committee) presiding.
Present from the Select Committee on Indian Affairs: Senator Inouye.
Present from the Committee on Interior and Insular Affairs: Representatives Blaz and Faleomavaega.
Also present: Representative Akaka.
The CHAIRMAN. My fellow Americans, ladies and gentlemen, Aloha.
(Chorus of Aloha.)
The CHAIRMAN (continuing). This morning, as Chairman of the Select Committee on Indian Affairs, and on behalf of Congressman Morris Udall, Chairman of the Committee on Interior and Insular Affairs of the United States House of Representatives, I am most pleased and honored to welcome all of you to these joint hearings of the two committees on the subject of the lands set aside for the benefit of the native people of the State of Hawaii pursuant to the provisions of the Hawaiian Homes Commission Act.
On June 30, 1921, Prince Jonah Kuhio Kalanianaole, delegate to the United States House of Representatives from the Territory of Hawaii, came before the assembled members of the United States House of Representatives and spoke on a bill which was then pending before the Congress. I believe his words serve as a cornerstone and the inspiration for these hearings that the committees will be holding throughout this week on the islands of Oahu, Kauai, Molokai, Maui, and Hawaii.
I would like to quote from the statement he made on this auspicious day. He said the following words:
Chairman and gentlemen, this bill contemplates new legislation in the way of helping the Hawaiian people who are dying out get back onto the land and rehabili. tate themselves. It also affects the Organic Act. This matter has been considered thoroughly by the people, and was the issue in the last two elections. It is the most important matter that has ever been brought before the Congress.
To me, the rehabilitation portion is the most important. The Hawaiian people for the past 100 years have been dying off rapidly. This decline has been recognized by all of our kings since Kamehameha III. Kamehameha IV, Kamehameha V, and (Hawaiian names) had all recognized the decrease and urged that something be done to save the people.
At the present time we have not many lands left. The Hawaiians formerly were farmers, but under the new conditions they were driven out from their lands and came into the city. They were poor. They lived in small tenements. And the consequence is that they are dying out rapidly.
I hope that you will vote for this bill because it is for the benefit of the people of the whole of the Territory.
Now, 69 years later, we are here this morning to examine the intent of the law which Jonah Kuhio Kalanianaole urged his colleagues to enact to determine whether it has been fulfilled. Although known as the Hawaiian Homes Commission Act of 1920, the act was finally passed by the Congress and signed into law on July 9, 1921.
In the ensuing 68 years there have been various inquiries into specific subjects affecting the Hawaiian Homes Commission Act. There has never been any comprehensive oversight by the United States Congress to assess whether the Act's objectives are being realized. So today and throughout this week these hearings mark an important page in the history of the Native Hawaiian people. We are here because of the Native Hawaiian people, and we are here to ensure that the trust responsibilities that are owed to them are being carried out under the highest fiduciary standards, and it is for these reasons we hold these hearings.
Upon the enactment of the Hawaiian Homes Commission Act the United States Government assumed a trust responsibility for the lands that were set aside for the benefit of Native Hawaiians. The United States administered that trust from 1921 until 1959, when the responsibility of administering these lands was transferred to the new State of Hawaii. But the commitment and the responsibilities of the United States did not end with that transfer, and a 1979 interpretation of the Federal Government's responsibilities by the Deputy Solicitor of the United States Department of the Interior confirms this ongoing relationship.
The United States Department of the Interior defines the relationship of the Federal Government to the homelands trust as “more than merely ministerial or non-discretionary. The United States can be said to have retained its role as trustee under the Act, while making the State of Hawaii its instrument for carrying out this trust.”
In a few days we will be celebrating the 30th anniversary of statehood for Hawaii, and to those who would question the appropriateness of Federal Congressional oversight hearings on the Hawaiian Homelands, I would call their attention to section 5(f) of the Hawaii Admissions Act which states, “Such lands shall be managed and disposed by the State for the betterment of the conditions of the Native Hawaiians, and their use for any other object shall constitute a breach of trust for which suit may be brought by the United States."
It is this important power, the power to enforce the trust, and the fact that the United States reserved this power to itself, which provides the strongest evidence that the United States Congress intended a continuing Federal role in overseeing, monitoring, and enforcing the trust responsibility that was created for the benefit of Native Hawaiians.
These hearings are also being held to examine an important earlier work and to determine what has been done since that work was commissioned. In 1983, the Secretary of the United States Department of Interior and the Governor of Hawaii commissioned a task force to study the Hawaiian Homes Commission Act. This Federal/State Task Force on the Hawaiian Homes Commission Act submitted its study and findings and, in addition, made 134 recommendations-recommendations for actions that could be undertaken by the State and Federal governments to strengthen the Hawaiian Homes Lands program.
The committee's hearings are thus intended to assess the status of the implementation of the task force's recommendations, to find out what has been done, and to determine what additional action may be necessary.
I know that there has been much discussion and some controversy associated with these hearings since they were first announced in February of this year. As many of you are aware, the committee has had to make many changes in an effort to accommodate all of those who would be participating in these hearings. First, because these hearings are designed to focus on the Hawaiian homelands, the Hawaiian homestead associations felt that they should play a predominant role in the hearings. And so early on I made a commitment that the homestead associations would be allocated one half of the committees' hearing each day so that they could develop their own agenda and determine what information would be brought before the committees.
My colleagues in the Congress will tell you that this is not the customary practice in the Congress of the United States. Indeed, it is highly unusual to turn over the responsibility of Congressional hearings to a non-Federal entity.
Second, in May the Select Committee held meetings in Native Hawaiian communities to discuss these hearings and to hear firsthand from the people most directly affected by this program about their concerns. In those meetings and subsequently, the committee heard from Native Hawaiians who comprise a group of Hawaiians that have over 19,000 applications on the commission waiting list but who have yet to receive an assigned land. These individuals do not belong to homestead associations because they are not yet on the land, but they are beneficiaries of the Act. And they expressed the desire to present testimony to the committees. Accordingly, the committees initially set aside an hour of each day's hearing for non-homestead testimony; however, very recently, because of the heavy demand to testify, the committees have set aside an additional hour for non-homestead testimony on the islands of Kauai, Molokai, Maui, and Hawaii.
My colleagues will tell you that almost without exception Congressional committee hearings are held between the hours of 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. and are usually no more than 2 or 3 hours. But, in response to the requests of Native Hawaiians who are working people, the committees rescheduled these hearings so that those wishing to participate would not have to forego 1 day's wages to do so. It can be seen from the schedule which has been published in the papers and announced in the meetings that these hearings go far beyond the average 2 or 3 hour length.
Today's hearing covers an 11-hour period. Hearings on the neighbor islands will be about 10 hours in length with no break. It is not going to be easy, but we will go straight through without a break.
As I indicated, we rescheduled these hearings so that homestead testimony could be presented during non-working hours. But then we received complaints that the hearings would be going on too late into the evening and that the kupunas would not be able to attend. So again the committees adjusted the hearing schedule so that the hearings would end at 8 p.m. so that the kupunas, the most important of persons among us, could attend and participate in the hearings.
Originally, given the other demands on the time of Members of Congress, hearings were scheduled to be held on Oahu, Kauai, Molokai, and Hawaii; but the homestead associations on the Island of Maui complained, and so now we are holding an additional ten hours of hearings on the Island of Maui.
Finally, as many of you know, the committees' hearings were originally scheduled to be held in July, but we were informed by the Governor's office that the Governor's annual statewide planning meeting was scheduled for the same time, and that if the Department of Hawaiian Homes Lands participated in the hearings, it would be excluded from the statewide planning process. This seemed to be too high a price to pay for hearings that are intended to help to get more Native Hawaiians on the land, and we did not want to further jeopardize the status of the people on the waiting list or to further delay those who were waiting for the development of infrastructure so that they can get on the land. And so the committees adjusted the schedule once again.
My dear friends, I mention all of this because there are some in the Hawaiian community who seem to want to focus much of their energy not on the constructive and positive things that can be achieved through these hearings and not on the opportunity to make their concerns known to the Congress, but rather would spend their time being critical and focusing upon changes in the hearing schedule as if those changes were the most important issue and as if such changes were evidence of some bad motives or hidden agenda.
My friends, there is no hidden agenda here. These hearings are for the Native Hawaiian people and the schedule of the hearings has been changed several times to accommodate what the Native Hawaiian people have said were their concerns. Thus, I hope we can begin today and that we can go forward with our eyes fixed on what can be accomplished.
The record of these hearings will provide the basis for Congressional action to address the concerns that are expressed. Such action is warranted and recommended.
The record will also serve as a means of educating Federal agencies as to what they can do to support the development of the home lands.
And the record will serve to educate the American public, many of whom I believe have not the slightest notion of the history of the