"Ka Wai Ola o OHA", The monthly newspaper of the Office of Hawaiian Affairs, has a circulation of 60,000, paid for from the treasury of the State of Hawai'i. It is mailed free of charge to subscribers in Hawai'i and throughout the United States, and also distributed at every branch of the state library. Each month, each of the nine trustees has the right to publish a half-page signed editorial.
Haunani Apoliona, chairperson of OHA, used her three editorials from August, September, and October 2006 to publish a trilogy entitled "Nutgrass Network Conspiracy." Apoliona claims there is a vast conspiracy in Hawai'i and throughout the U.S., which is anti-ethnic-Hawaiian. Her tirade is reminiscent of Hillary Clinton's famous nationally televised rant that there was a "vast right-wing conspiracy" against Bill Clinton. Apoliona describes the anti-Hawaiian conspiracy, naming the most important institutions and individuals who dare to oppose racially exclusionary government handouts; who dare to oppose the Akaka bill that would create a race-based government exclusively for ethnic Hawaiians. Trustee Rowena Akana adds her one-cent worth, speculating that there is an un-named Honolulu mystery-man who established the conspiracy a few years ago and is bankrolling anti-Hawaiian lawsuits.
But the real conspiracy has been by OHA, a state government agency which may very well have spent $20 Million lobbying and advertising for the Akaka bill for six years while refusing to disclose how much was spent and who got rich from its sole-source non-bid lobbying and advertising contracts. OHA has assets of $400 Million; Kamehameha schools has assets somewhere between $6-15 Billion; numerous other race-based ethnic Hawaiian institutions have large staffs and multimillions of dollars annually in government grants. OHA has boasted that there are more than 160 federally-funded programs that are racially exclusionary for the benefit of ethnic Hawaiians. Those are elements of the real conspiracy -- which is supported by the power and resources of the State of Hawai'i whose government officials obligingly make public appearances at apartheid rallies to support racial segregation at Kamehameha Schools, provide legal defense for OHA's blatantly unconstitutional programs, and lobby Congress to pass the Akaka bill. The real conspirators try to discredit their opponents by calling them "racist", claiming that it is racist for individuals and civil rights organizations to oppose race-based government programs and racially exclusionary institutions, and to oppose establishment of a race-based government.
Let's give thanks to individuals and institutions willing to stand up against the evil empire of race-based institutions that are supported and defended by the power of state government. Haunani Apoliona apparently thinks she is naming a rogues' gallery of evil conspirators; but in fact, she is naming an honor-roll of courageous patriots and civil rights activists.
Ka Wai Ola o OHA, 2006 v.23 n.8 - August
p.22 Haunani Apoliona "Nutgrass Network Conspiracy", Part 1
'Nutgrass network' conspiracy?
Haunani Apoliona, MSW
Chairperson Trustee, At-large
(The following is part one in a series
that will highlight "nutgrass network"
connections, like the Grassroot Institute
of Hawai'i, the Heritage Foundation,
Citizens for Equal Rights Alliance and
Aloha For All. There will be more to come
in subsequent months.)
Aloha nui käkou e nä 'öiwi 'ölino.
Important decisions from diverse
opinions are made when we find
common ground. The capacity to find
common ground for fairness and justice
is a direct product of our values and
priorities. Our values and priorities move
us to act. Ironically, it is our actions
that decisively reveal our values and
priorities. But much more is revealed
to those who discern below the surface
observations, "to hear what is not said,
to see what can not be seen" as Queen
Reflecting on the June 8, 2006, decision by the U.S. Senate to choke hold and
stall the debate and vote on the Akaka
Bill, I decided to track the facts about the
values and priorities driving Grassroot
Institute of Hawai'i (GRIH), Heritage
Foundation, Citizens for Equal Rights
Alliance and Aloha For All, as well as
the values and priorities of other local
and mainland-based groups in the GRIH
network, how they interconnect and share
like-values in a "nutgrass network" (a
concept most understandable to those
who till the soil).
Do members of this nutgrass network
intentionally disregard or mischaracterize
the indigenous legal and political status
of American Indians, Alaska Natives and
Native Hawaiians in the 50 states? Is the
real and lasting negative consequences
to Native Hawaiian families caused by
the erosion of self-determination, loss
of connection with the land, degradation
of cultural and social institutions and
forced removal of indigenous governance
for commercial gain at the expense of
Native Hawaiians a trivial matter? Do
these select individuals believe no just
and fair reconciliation is necessary to
heal the deep and profound effects of the
methodically planned illegal overthrow
of Queen Lili'uokalani an indigenous
Do the values and priorities motivating
GRIH and their nutgrass network associates seek to strengthen or destroy the
unique spirit of Hawai'i and the fabric of
our island communities emanating from
out Native Hawaiian host culture? The
more profound question is, Will people of
compassion, honor, fairness, justice, who
celebrate diversity as a strength rather
than fear it, allow Hawai'i deteriorate in
spirit and culture? Future columns will
address these questions.
This nutgrass network conspiracy is
reminiscent of earlier Hawaiian history. This nutgrass conspiracy has a historical counterpart in Lorrin Thurston's
Hawaiian League of 1887, which was
purported to support "decent and honest
government in Hawai'i," grew in number
to 400 members and under Sanford Dole's
leadership forced King Kaläkaua to sign
the Bayonet Constitution in 1887.
In 1892, the core leaders of that
Hawaiian League, under Lorrin Thurston's
leadership, became the Annexation Club,
which called for the overthrow of Queen
Lili'uokalani. This group was renamed
the Committee of Safety (after the French
This latter group prevailed on U.S.
diplomat John Stevens to land 162 fully
armed American marines on January 16,
1893, to overthrow the Hawaiian monarchy. To save the lives of her subjects,
Queen Lili'uokalani surrendered, under
protest, on January 17, 1893.
The nutgrass conspiracy is comparable
to the secretive groups in early Hawaiian
history that operated by trying to install
their version of America with the intent
of concurrently destroying what was
Hawaiian. All who are part of the unique
multi-cultural Hawai'i of today, especially Native Hawaiians, should be wary
of these attempts to amalgamate Hawai 'i
into a "melting pot stew" with no appreciation of Hawai'i's current rainbow of
parallel colorful, distinctive strands of
unique peoples fueled by fundamental
disregard for the host culture.
Ka Wai Ola o OHA, 2006 v.23 n.9 - September
p.22 Haunani Apoliona "Nutgrass Network Conspiracy", Part 2
Aloha e nä 'öiwi 'ölino, nä
pulapula a Häloa, mai Hawai'i
a Ni'ihau, puni ke ao mälamalama. Our values define our priorities and move us to act. Ironically, it is our actions that decisively reveal our
values and priorities. But much more
is revealed to those who have the gift
of discernment, as Queen Lili'uokalani
said, "to hear what is not said, to see
what cannot be seen." This month highlights more on the "Nutgrass Network
Conspiracy" introduced in my August
trustee column, which referenced the
Grass Root Institute of Hawai'i (GRIH)
and their additional "nutgrass network "
organizations Heritage Foundation and
Aloha For All.
By connecting the dots on these
organizations and their leaders, we are
better informed about their collective
strategies to negatively impact Native
In August 2005, Derek Ferrar
authored a Ka Wai Ola article entitled,
"Who's behind the Grassroot Institute
of Hawai'i." The article revealed that
this "think tank" against federal recognition has ties to Hawai'i State Senator
Sam Slom and national far-right networks. GRIH's website names several
organizations as "helpful and friendly" to GRIH. These include: Small
Business Hawai'i,Hawai'i Reporter,
Americans For Tax Reform, the
Heritage Foundation, Reason Public
Policy Institute/Reason Foundation and
the Heartland Institute. Other organizations identified in working with
GRIH are the State Policy Network and
Evergreen Freedom Foundation.
In March 2006, Freedom Works
Chairman Dick Armey (a former
Congressman) and President Matt Kibbe
visited Hawai'i to "formally launch a
new partnership with Hawai'i's most
prominent free-market think tank, the
Grassroot Institute" (Freedom Works
press release). Freedom Works is a
national organization with over 800,000
members, including 1,900 in Hawai'i.
This same Freedom Works press release
stated that Armey and Kibbe came
to Hawai'i "to kickoff an aggressive
agenda for 2006 and beyond." Armey
states: "this trip will give us the opportunity to connect with our members,
build new relationships, and identify
opportunities to advance the cause of
freedom in the Aloha State."
The August 2005 Ka Wai Ola article
identified additional groups and an individual with ties to GRIH, including: the
Atlas Economic Research Foundation,
the Pacific Legal Foundation and
Bruce Fein, a former GRIH consultant,
Washington Times newspaper columnist
and Heritage Foundation scholar.
Bruce Fein is noted for writing analyses challenging the facts underlying
Public Law 103-150, also known as
The Apology Bill, enacted in 1993. He
authored articles opposing the Akaka
Bill, and his writing was entered into
the Congressional Record in 2005 by
Senator Jon Kyl of Arizona, opponent of
the Akaka Bill. Other continent-based
opponents to the Akaka Bill included:
Citizens For Equal Rights Alliance
Foundation, Wall Street Journal newspaper columnist John Fund and Morris
J. Levin, a former Washington, D.C.-based lobbyist for the organization
Aloha For All and Aloha Petroleum.
One lead Nutgrass in the Network is
Richard O. Rowland, GRIH president
and a former director on the Small
Business Hawai'i Board of Directors.
GRIH and Small Business Hawai'i
have several members in common.
Senator Sam Slom, President/Executive
Director of Small Business Hawai'i,
serves on the GRIH Advisory Board.
Jack Schneider,Small Business Hawai'i
Vice-President/Board Chairman serves
on the GRIH Board of Directors. Walt
Harvey of East O'ahu Realty serves on
the SBH Board of Directors and the
GRIH Board of Directors as Treasurer,
and also used his website to oppose the
Next month we document the "stated"
purposes of the remaining organizations
noted in this article along with who the
lead faces are. We will see connections
and overlaps in the continuing saga of
the "Nutgrass Network Conspiracy."
Ka Wai Ola o OHA, 2006 v.23 n.10 - October
p. 19 (regular section) Haunani Apoliona "Nutgrass Network Conspiracy", Part 3
Aloha e nä 'öiwi 'ölino, nä pulapula a
Häloa, mai Hawai'i a Ni'ihau, na puni
ke ao mälamalama. This October article
follows my August and September as the third in
my series entitled "THE NUTGRASS NETWORK
CONSPIRACY." Mahalo to Trustee Linda Dela
Cruz for lending me her 600 word space to allow
me to provide a more full and final comment on the
Those individuals and families in Hawai'i, the nation and the world who support
Native Hawaiians in the reconciliation process need to stay informed and enlightened
about those who do not support successful, just, or fair reconciliation for Native
Hawaiians; and, who very likely hold similar sentiment against Alaska Natives and
American Indians, the other indigenous people of America.
The "nutgrass network" rose to prominence in 2005 and 2006, as the federal recognition bill (S.147) was making its way through the U.S. Senate as well as gaining
attention in the U.S. House of Representatives. Their shared mission to harm and
delay passage of any federal recognition bill for Native Hawaiians accelerated the
collective activities or antics of the "nutgrass network" members and elevated them
above ground into the light.
In addition to those in the "nutgrass network " noted in my August and September
articles,there are a few more that include: The Hawai'i Reporter of Malia Zimmerman,
president, editor and founder of the Hawai'i Reporter website, who has also served
on the Grassroot Institute of Hawai'i board of directors. The Hawai'i Reporter has
reported on the Akaka Bill since 2002, and the majority of the guest editorials and
other reported pieces are mischaracterizations of the Akaka Bill or statements in opposition to the Akaka Bill. Americans For Tax Reform, of which Mr. Grover Norquist is
president, is based in Washington, D.C. Mr. Norquist serves on the Grassroot Institute
of Hawai'i board of advisors and on the board of directors of the National Rifle
Association of America, the American Conservative Union and the American Society
The document entitled Hawai'i Divided Against Itself Cannot Stand, prepared by
Bruce Fein, contains an analysis mischaracterizing the Akaka Bill and attacking the
facts of Public Law 103-150, the Apology Resolution. Fein's document was distributed at an Americans For Tax Reform meeting in Summer 2005.
The Heritage Foundation, founded in 1973 is a Washington, D.C.-based research
and educational institute – or think tank – with a mission to formulate and promote
conservative public policies based on the principles of free enterprise, limited government, individual freedom, traditional American values and a strong national defense.
The Heritage Foundation held two forums opposing the Akaka Bill. One, entitled An
Unconstitutional Act Is Back: the Return of the Native Hawaiian Sovereignty Act, was
held on May 26, 2006, featuring U.S. Senator Lamar Alexander (Tenn.). The other,
Native Hawaiian Sovereignty Act: A Step Toward Secession, was held on August 30,
2006, featuring Rubellite Johnson, Emeritus Professor, University of Hawai'i; Larry
Arnn, PhD., President of Hilldale College and Heritage trustee; and John Fund,
Editorial Board member of The Wall Street Journal.
Edwin Meese III, Heritage Foundation expert, Ronald Reagan Distinguished Fellow
in Public Policy and chairman of the Heritage Foundation's Center for Legal and
Judicial Studies; and Todd Gaziano, director of the Center for Legal and Judicial
Studies, co-authored a piece entitled Racist Bill Would Segregate Hawai'i, posted June
6, 2006 on the website Human Events – the National Conservative Weekly.
The Reason Foundation/Reason Public Policy Institute, founded in 1968, is a
California-based think tank that says it "advances a free society by developing, applying, and promoting libertarian principles including individual liberty, free market and
the rule of law." Grassroot Institute of Hawai'i has collaborated with Reason.
The Heartland Institute is Chicago based. Dr. Milton Friedman calls it a "highly
effective libertarian institute," and Cato Institute President Edward Crane says
Heartland "has had a tremendous impact, first in the Midwest, and now nationally."
Don Newman, of the Grassroot Institute of Hawai'i, wrote Politics Rules In Debate
Over Hawaiian Ethnicity Bill, which was published July 1, 2006, in Budget and Tax
News of the Heartland Institute.
Aloha For All (AFA) of H. William Burgess, Sandra P. Burgess, Kenneth Conklin,
and Thurston Twigg-Smith notes that their mission is ... "to spread the word that Aloha
is for everyone and that all citizens of Hawai'i, whatever their ancestry, are entitled to
the equal protection of the laws. To save Hawai'i from being torn apart by racial strife.
To eliminate all government programs Federal, State or local, which award benefits to
or impose detriments on Hawai'i citizens based on race or ancestry."
The mission statement of Wisconsin-based Citizens Equal Rights Alliance/Foundation (CERA/CERF) notes: "As Federal Indian Policy is unaccountable,
destructive, racist and unconstitutional, it is therefore CERA's mission to ensure the
equal protection of the law is guaranteed to all citizens by the Constitution of the
The Pacific Legal Foundation, headquartered in California with a Hawai'i office,
says, "PLF is renowned for battling those who would tread on individual liberty, for
confronting government bureaucrats who confiscate private property rights, for opposing government programs that grant special preferences on the basis of race and sex;
and for challenging misguided environmental laws that degrade human values."
The website of PLF's Hawai'i office site notes: "There are many hot issues bubbling
in Hawai'i right now that present a tremendous challenge to the continued certainty of
established rules of property – issues that warrant the proactive involvement of Pacific
"A classic example involves the local application of a 1996 case in which the Hawai'i
Supreme Court obliterated hundreds of years of established American property law in
favor of a system that legitimizes trespass or "gathering" rights by descendants of
Native Hawaiians on private property. In a single ruling, that court transformed private
property into public property without compensation (Public Access Shoreline Hawai'i
v Hawai'i County Planning Commission)."
The Atlas Economic Research Foundation (AERF), based in Virginia since 1981;
the State Policy Network (SPN), founded in 1992 and based in California; and the
Evergreen Freedom Foundation (EFF) are also noteworthy to the "nutgrass net-
Questions posed regarding the "nutgrass network" in my previous columns have
Q: How are these organizations connected; and, what values and priorities do
these groups hold in common? Q: Do they suggest that no fair and just reconciliation is necessary to heal the deep and profound effects of the methodically planned,
manipulated and implemented actions that culminated in the illegal overthrow of
Queen Lili'uokalani, the existing sovereign leadership? A: Reference the August and
September Ka Wai Olas, in addition to the information above.
Q: Do they intentionally disregard or mischaracterize the indigenous legal and
political status of American Indians, Alaska Natives and Native Hawaiians, the three
groups of aboriginal, indigenous, native groups in the 50 states? A: YES
Q: Do they trivialize or mischaracterize the real and lasting negative consequences
to Native Hawaiian families caused by the erosion of self-determination, loss of
connection with the land, degradation of cultural and social institutions and forced
removal of indigenous governance for commercial gain at the expense of Native
Hawaiians? A: YES.
Q: Do the values and priorities motivating the Grassroot Institute of Hawai'i and
its "nutgrass network" partners strengthen or destroy the unique spirit of Hawai'i that
honors obligation to Native Hawaiians, celebrates diversity of cultures for a healthy
society, and seeks to sustain our fragile ecosystem? A. DESTROY.
(Preamble, Hawai'i State Constitution): "We the people of Hawai'i, grateful for
Divine Guidance, and mindful of our Hawaiian heritage and uniqueness as an island
state, dedicate our efforts to fulfill the philosophy decreed the Hawai'i state motto,
"Ua mau ke ea o ka 'äina i ka pono."
** The bottom two main paragraphs in this essay by OHA trustee Rowena Akana speculate that there is an un-named shadowy mystery-man who is behind the anti-Hawaiian conspiracy and who is bankrolling the lawsuits seeking to dismantle OHA. The full article is provided for the sake of completeness, and because it is amusing to see how an OHA trustee makes a personal attack against a former OHA trustee, Clarence Ching, who dared to travel to Washington to lobby Congress against the Akaka bill.
Ka Wai Ola o OHA, 2006 v.23 n.8 - August
p.22 Rowena Akana "The Hawaiians' Phantom Menace" (Akaka bill Senate June, and anti-Hawaiian conspiracy)
The Hawaiian 's phantom menace
'Ano 'ai ke aloha iä käkou. In
early June, trustees traveled to
Washington, D.C., to witness the
long awaited vote on the Akaka Bill in the
U.S. Senate. What should have been a historic event quickly turned into a frustrating
experience. Listening to senators from the
South speak against the bill, calling it "racist
legislation," made me want to jump out of
the gallery and scream, "HYPOCRITES!"
Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-TN) shockingly
said that granting federal recognition for
Native Hawaiians could lead to Mormons, the
Amish and Hasidic Jews seeking their own
federal recognition! It was clear that his goal
was to lump Hawaiians together with other
minorities so he could argue that we all need
to be treated equally. It is an undisputed fact
that Hawaiians are indigenous people, similar
to Native Americans and Native Alaskans,
both of whom are already recognized. Sen.
Alexander is clearly discriminating against
Hawaiians. Who's the real racist?
When the vote was taken, we were four
votes shy. Two Democrats were out sick,
and thanks to arm-twisting by Senate Leader
Bill Frist (R-TN), at least three Republicans
switched their vote at the last minute. Sen.
Frist told them that their leadership positions
would be in jeopardy if they supported the
Akaka Bill, and they choose to protect their
political careers rather than keep their promises to Sens. Akaka and Inouye.
At the end of that sad day, two things were
clear. First, racism and ignorance is alive and
well in the U.S. Senate. Second, partisan politics have ruined Congress. The trustees later
learned that the Republicans were bitter with
the Democrats for voting against their estate
tax bill the day before. Killing the Akaka
Bill was just payback. I left Washington with
a feeling of disgust and disdain for our so-called leaders of America.
With so many important issues that need to
be dealt, these career politicians proved they
are preoccupied with keeping the status quo
and furthering their political careers. They use
inflammatory issues like gay rights, flag burning and immigration to detract us from the
real issues of importance, like New Orleans,
North Korea, Iran and Iraq. Is it any wonder
why Americans are losing respect for their
leaders and can't believe a word they say?
As bad as the southern senators were, it
was sickening to see former OHA Trustee
Clarence Ching sitting with William Burgess,
the lawyer who has consistently sued OHA, the
state and the Department of Hawaiian Home
Lands. Burgess has lobbied Congress to kill
the Akaka Bill and has called Hawaiians who
favor federal recognition "racists." And let's
not forget about State Senator Sam Slom, the
only member of the state Legislature in 2005
to vote "no" on the state resolution (HCR 56,
SD1) supporting the Akaka Bill. He was also
there with Burgess. It is just bizarre that a
Republican state senator would so vigorously
oppose a bill that the Republican governor so
strongly supports. Not to mention the fact that
all of Hawai'i's other elected officials including the mayors from all counties and the state
Legislature also supported federal recognition
in a non-partisan effort. It is egregious that
one elected official felt his opinion was more
important than all of the state's other elected
officials. Since when does a single opinion
become more important than the will of the
Where and when did this opposition to
Hawaiian sovereignty begin? Some rumors
have been circulating that it was started years
ago by a prominent kama'äina who called a
meeting of other like-minded people to his
home to discuss how they could band together
and prevent the Bishop Estate, DHHL and
OHA from becoming too powerful. After
all, with control over vast tracts of land and
revenues from ceded lands, Hawaiians could
one day dominate the state, and this is a
frightening thought for some. While I have
no evidence that this long-standing rumor
is true, I have been thinking very seriously
about it lately.
After the fall of the former Bishop Estate
trustees, all of their cases were later thrown
out of court, but it was too late to save most
of their reputations. Now we find ourselves
embroiled in more lawsuits to take out OHA
and Hawaiian Homes. So, could the rumor
be true? I think the question to ask is who is
paying for all of the lawsuits that Mr. Burgess
has filed? Perhaps then we may have the clues
to who is behind the movement to ensure
Hawaiians never regain sovereignty and that
all Hawaiian entitlements are erased. I mua e
Hawai 'i nei …
For more information on important
Hawaiian issues, check out my website at
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