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volunteers, and they have requested time in our portion to present testimony to you prior to going into the more technical areas.
On our commission we have a very wonderful mix of people. On our commission we have a kupuna. This kupuna is a homesteader. She keeps us straight. She has been a very, very long-time community activist. I'd like to call on Alvina Park, who will present testimony on behalf of the other members of this commission. Thank you.
STATEMENT OF ALVINA PARK, COMMISSIONER, HAWAIIAN
HOMES COMMISSION, HONOLULU, HI
The CHAIRMAN. Alvina, welcome.
I should mention the names of the other commissioners here. They are sitting in the chairs over there. We have Andy Apana; Nani Brandt from Molokai; Dennis Kauahi from Oahu, like myself; Edison Keomaka, who is not here today; George Robertson; and Walter Smith, who has had an operation and is not here this day.
Ano'ai Senator Inouye and members of the committees. I am Alvina Park, Commissioner and Nanakuli homesteader.
We are members of the Hawaiian Homes Commission appointed by the Governor of Hawaii to set the policies that guide the work of the Department of Hawaiian Home Lands. As you know, the Hawaiian Homes Commission was created by the Hawaiian Homes Commission Act of 1920.
We aloha you today for your deep concern and interest in the welfare of our Native Hawaiian beneficiaries. We accepted the responsibility as commissioners because we love our people and we love our Hawaii nei. We are comprised of a small body of volunteers who come from homesteads, successful businesses, union leadership, and social work. These experiences collectively provide us with a depth of expertise and training that is bound by a firm commitment to our people and the values of our unique heritage.
We are pleased that the Senate Select Committee has decided to see how they can assist Hawaiian Hawaiians to achieve self-sufficiency. We want you to know that as Hawaiians, ourselves, who share the same spirit of lahui or union, we are also part and parcel of the entire State community, for we cherish our Hawaiian values of inclusiveness, of the extended ohana, bringing together all who share our beloved aina. The evidence of this statement is obvious in our veins today, for in them lie a rich diversity of cultures and creeds made whole in the spirit of aloha i kekahi i kekahi, or profound love for one another.
We are sorry that the good members of the Senate Select Committee on Indian Affairs did not consult individually with us in any of the preliminary planning for these hearings. As policy makers, we were surprised at the exclusion because we mistakenly assumed that by your previous public statements your staffs approach would be balanced.
We also want to emphasize, Senator, that we do not commit breaches against our own people. While we are not afraid to listen to the many views Hawaiian express on their aspirations, dreams, and destinies, we listen to all sides of the issues and concerns and do not hesitate to make decisions on policies that we feel will best kokua to the general welfare of our beneficiaries. We make no apology for our leadership, for we acknowledge our God of Aloha who gives us continued strength and courage to do the things that are pono or just.
Your publicly stated intention to create a separate sovereign entity may have already compromised the fairness of these hearings. We are not docile, Senator. Our record of our actions speaks for itself. We make every attempt to do the right thing, just as we know that you do, too, in the exercise of your Federal responsibilities. We do not, in any way, create a diminishment or reduction of services to our beneficiaries in any deliberate way, and we are proud of our service to the community and the communities at large.
The sovereign Kingdom of Hawaii spanned a 2,000 mile long island chain. Like our American nation, it, too, was one nation, indivisible. It was not the scattered bits and pieces of reservations that our American Indian brothers and sisters currently live on. We were and continue to be one people, brought together historically by the Great Paiea, Kamehameha the First, and in that spirit of wholeness we have preserved our lahui despite the odds. Senator, even after the overthrow and down through the generations of other forms of local government, we have strengthened our understanding of cultural pride, identity, and unity. Our kupuna repeatedly described this cultural kaona with these simple words: we know who we are.
Permit us now to share our mana'o, our vision for our people in the years to come. For we know in the words of our Prince Jonah Kuhio Kalanianaole that we must look forward, taking from our extraordinary past those enduring values that are essential in the shaping of our common futures.
Our courageous ancestors sailed the Pacific with a confidence based on an intimate knowledge of islands and their seas handed down through generations of 1,000 or more years in oral tradition.
Our children, too, will man the space stations that explore the universe and find the cure for cancers. They will develop the complex technologies that will create further marvels of creativity and unparalleled imagination. They will embrace the Pacific in a new yet old way, and affirm the values of extended ohana. They will share our islands in global, meaningful ways that will ennoble all citizens. They will provide excellent leadership from both tradition and innovation. They will excel in their thirst and pursuit of new knowledge. They will write the new mo'o'olelo or literature of human interaction that will sustain their children during the next millenium.
And we will do these things, Senator, in the context of what we all collectively decide for ourselves. We have seen our American Indian nations. Most of them are not models to copy.
If we so choose, we will make our own model that is Hawaiian culturally based, and we know that it will not exclude anyone. We
have done this throughout our history since the great Pacific voyages. The witness of the past two centuries of a dynamic Native Hawaiian social interaction has enriched us immeasurably. Our inclusiveness has created a wonderful example of a new humanity that is light years ahead of a troubled nation and world. In our Hawaii today, Senator, we all sing the same songs. The simple act of going to a Cazimero Brothers native concert will validate the kaona of our statement.
In practical terms, Senator, we are pleased with Governor Waihe'e's Administration and our legislators' support. Your Federal assistance in helping to place every single Native Hawaiian applicant on the land would be equivalent to the cost of one stealth bomber. This simple equation denotes the sad ethics and alien morality of these times. Small wonder that America's native minorities still wait patiently for a national understanding of what aloha i kekahi i kekahi means.
Despite the challenges, Senator, we look confidently toward our future. Our children are learning the multi-cultural ways. Our leaders embrace a constantly evolving emergence of a new Hawaii with pride and skill. A greater number of our people are contributing to the vitality and life of our land with joy and generosity.
We know who we were. We know who we are. And we know who we will become. Hanau ka 'aina, hanau ke ali'i, hanau ke kanaka. The land, the chiefs, and the people all belong together.
I thank you, Senator.
The CHAIRMAN. I should tell you that I was very disturbed to listen to your testimony in which you suggested that we did not include any of you in the preliminary planning of these hearings and you were surprised at the exclusion because you mistakenly assumed by my frequent public statements that it would be balanced.
The record will show that all commissioners were invited, and I think your Ms. Pi'ianaia will vouch for that. In fact, according to our records, Andy Apana, Nani Brandt, George Robertson, and Walter Smith, Jr., did attend our meetings on other islands. We invited all of them. I don't know why you didn't receive notice of the meetings. Furthermore, I am certain you realize that originally we had set our hearings for July.
Ms. PARK. Yes.
The CHAIRMAN. But when we were advised that it would coincide with the Governor's meeting and therefore make it impossible for Ilima and her staff to participate, we postponed the July hearings until August. This was to accommodate the Hawaiian Homes people.
And so I was surprised to read your statement because you can ask Andy Apana, Nani Brandt, George Robertson, and Walter Smith. They were at our meetings.
Ms. PARK. I see. Well, then, my dear Senator, I am in error.
The CHAIRMAN. You mean you didn't have any notice of these meetings?
Ms. PARK. No.
Ms. Pi’IANAIA. I do believe that there were phone calls made to various commissioners to invite them to the many meetings, and they were made from your office. I'm not sure what happened on this one.
The CHAIRMAN. But you are aware that commissioners did participate in our meetings? Ms. PARK. I'm aware that some commissioners did. Yes.
The CHAIRMAN. Second, Ms. Park, the last thing I would do would be to impose my will on the Native Hawaiian people on the matter of sovereignty. It is such a personal thing that I made it clear in my statement-at least I hope I did—that if a consensus is not reached among the Hawaiian people, sovereignty will go nowhere. It has to come from the people. The desire must come from the people. The type of sovereignty will have to be determined by the people. And if the people don't want sovereignty, so be it. Ms. Park. I heard you this morning, and I thank you. The CHAIRMAN. Mr. Akaka. Mr. AKAKA. Mr. Chairman, I thank Mrs. Park for her testimony. As she has enlightened not only this member, but certainly those attending our meeting this afternoon. We see that some of this information has been corrected. I hope that Ms. Park will take it in a positive way the purpose of our being here. But I assure you, Mrs. Park, this is how the Congress functions. It is sometimes very tedious. It is not really a glorious job when you sit for hours and hours listening to testimony, but it is part of the process. I appreciate your comments to the effect that if there were any misunderstandings I hope the Senator has clarified those points. I appreciate your being here. Thank you. Ms. Park. Thank you very much. The CHAIRMAN. Thank you, Mrs. Park. Ilima. Ms. Pi'iANAIA. There are two other commissioners who have asked to be allowed to read their testimony. These are two commissioners from the Island of Oahu. Edison Keomaka is out of State, but he has asked one of his fellow leaders within the union to read his statement on his behalf, so Mr. Mel Kalama will be reading Mr. Keomaka's statement. And then our newest commissioner, Dennis Kauahi.
STATEMENT OF MEL KALAMA, REPRESENTING EDISON
KEOMAKA, MEMBER, HAWAIIAN HOMES COMMISSION
Senator and members of the Select Committee on Indian Affairs and the U.S. House of Representatives Committee, my name is Mel Kalama. I am representing Keomaka Edison, who is a member of the Hawaiian Homes Commission who is unable to be here at this time.
Before I proceed with my testimony in support of the Department of Hawaiian Home Lands, an agency of the State of Hawaii, allow me to give a brief background of the composition of the Com
iianing the one Lanihere, of HaJohn
mission. This introduction may be helpful in giving you and the committee an insight as to why we are supportive of the Department of Hawaiian Home Lands.
The Commission is composed of eight members. Three are residents of Honolulu, one is a resident of the County of Hawaii, one is a resident of Maui, one is a resident of Molokai, one is a resident of Kauai, and the eighth member is the chairperson. Seven of the commissioners are appointees of Governor John Waihe'e. I am proud to say that all of the members are of Hawaiian descent.
With the Governor, John Waihe'e, and the Director of the Department of Hawaiian Home Lands, Ilima Pi'ianaia, ours is a joint commitment of serving the Native Hawaiians as defined under title two of the Hawaiian Homes Commission Act of 1920.
Many things will be said and much more will be written about the Department of Hawaiian Home Lands, and you will probably become acquainted with all of them. I do not believe we need to dwell on them, but we do need to give them our attention if for nothing else but to understand the experiences that they have been through. Someone has said, “Life can be understood by looking backwards, but it only can be lived by looking forward.” I hope the wisdom of that thought holds true for all of us.
It is not our intent to hide or be stopped by those few individuals who stand on the side and criticize and cast stones, for we have set our goals to meet the needs of our people—the Native Hawaiians. As a team working together, we have set our number one priority, and that's to move in one direction, which is vertically up.
Like yourselves, we are servants of the people. We know that we are faced with a difficult job. We understand that there are many obstacles that need to be handled or must be removed if we are to achieve our goals. We are committed to doing that. Governor John Waihe'e, in his Inauguration Address, couldn't have made it more clear when he said, “This is a new beginning." For the commissioners and many Native Hawaiians, this is a new beginning.
In fairness we ask: Do not judge us by our predecessors' records, but judge us by our accomplishments. A dream is just a dream until it becomes a reality. We will strive to make the Native Hawaiians' dream come true.
I thank you for the opportunity to testify.
The CHAIRMAN. Thank you, sir. And give our thanks to the commissioner. Mr. KALAMA. Thank you. [Prepared statement of Edison Keomaka appears in appendix.] STATEMENT OF DENNIS KAUAHI, MEMBER, HAWAIIAN HOMES
COMMISSION Mr. KAUAHI. Senator Inouye and members of the committee, Aloha kakou.
My name is Dennis Kauahi and I come before you today as a Native Hawaiian and as a member of the Hawaiian Homes Commission to testify in support of the Department of Hawaiian Homelands program. I am most honored and committed to the service of my fellow Native Hawaiians. It fits well with both my personal and professional beliefs and goals.