Neighborhood Board Launches Series To Discuss Sovereignty

The Hawaiian Affairs Committee of the Makakilo/Kapolei Honokai Hale Neighborhood Board will host a yearlong series, “The Sovereignty Conversation – Community

Forums,” to discuss Hawaiian sovereignty, starting with a Jan. 21 meeting from 7 to 9:30 p.m. at Kapolei High School.

Speakers include musician Palani Vaughn, University of Hawaii professor Jon Osorio and attorney Poka Laenui. Their talks will be followed by a panel and a chance for attendees to share their views and ask questions.

The series will continue on the third Tuesday of each month. Comprised of 12 programs, the forum will cover Hawaiian history, various models of sovereignty and how to achieve these models.

Board member Kioni Dudley says that the board wanted to host the event in order to raise awareness about the Hawaiian sovereignty movement.

“We just really wanted to make sure that everybody knows what the possibilities are,” explained Dudley, who is co-author of the book A Call for Hawaiian Sovereignty and chairman of the Hawaiian Affairs Committee of the Makakilo/Kapolei/Honokai Hale Neighborhood Board.

“The goal is to really get the people of Hawaii talking about sovereignty.”

The committee also intends to involve non-Hawaiians in the discussion.

“It is time now to engage these other people. Everybody is going to need to have an awareness of what is going on,” he explained. “Even if we had the Akaka Bill form of sovereignty, which is a (Native American) tribal-type model and the most conservative form of sovereignty, everybody would be affected.”

Dudley is not Native Hawaiian himself, but said he supports sovereignty because of his love for the Islands. He also is the director of Save Oahu Farmlands, which has lobbied for the preservation of West Oahu lands in opposition to developments like Hoopili.

“It all comes out of my love for the land. I just came to really love Hawaii, and I see it all being paved over, and I really ache at that.”