The Federal Recognition Biz -- (A) OHA's Marketing of the Akaka Bill through Lobbying and Advertising; and (B) The Council for Native Hawaiian Advancement and its Connection to Alaska Oil Interests

The first half of this webpage will discuss OHA's marketing of the Akaka bill, as documented by Pacific Business News. The second half will describe the Council for Native Hawaiian Advancement (an umbrella organization of large, powerful "Hawaiian-serving" institutions) and its strange financial relationship with Alaska oil interests.


In August 2003 the Pacific Business News (Hawai'i's local version of the Wall Street Journal) began a series of articles on the Akaka bill. The first article (August 4) focused on how much federal cash is coming into Hawai'i for racially exclusionary programs benefitting ethnic Hawaiians. It said the Akaka bill is needed in order to protect those programs against the Arakaki2 lawsuit that challenges OHA as being unconstitutional. That article mirrored OHA propaganda that it is urgent to pass the Akaka bill because the lawsuit is likely to be successful in its assertion that OHA and the race-based programs are violations of the 14th Amendment equal protection clause. But while OHA says the urgency is to save those programs so that poor downtrodden Hawaiians can keep getting help, PBN impies the urgency is business-related -- to keep the cash flowing into Hawai'i and Hawai'i's businesses from the federal pork barrel. The second article (August 11) describes OHA's huge marketing campaign to win hearts and minds through advertising and to lobby for the bill in Washington. The third article (August 25) describes OHA's outreach to ethnic Hawaiians living on the mainland to recruit them into lobbying for the bill, and also briefly mentions some of the other Hawaiian organizations engaged in similar outreach programs. Excerpts from those PBN articles are provided at the end of this webpage, along with URLs where the entire articles can be read.

The August 11 PBN also contains an article on a completely different topic that helps us reason by analogy about the business impact of the Akaka bill. This other article describes fears that thousands of jobs will be lost in telemarketing companies because so many millions of people are placing their names on the federal "do not call" list. What should we conclude? Should millions of people continue to be exposed to unwanted and intrusive phone calls just to keep telemarketers employed and keep the economy rolling? Of course not! There may be some temporary economic disruption as human and financial resources are re-deployed into more productive activities, but eventually the telemarketers will find some other line of work. Will consumers in need of goods and services go without simply because the telemarketers stop calling them? Of course not! Consumers will continue buying what they need, and will be "educated" about their choices through other forms of advertising. Should 1.2 million people of Hawai'i be subjected to racial separatism and the creation of an apartheid government, just to keep tens of millions of federal dollars flowing into Hawai'i for race-based programs? Of course not! Let government money be given to needy people based on need alone, not race; and let the bureaucrats at OHA find other ways to earn a living -- ways that might actually help needy people instead of advertising and lobbying for a morally bankrupt political agenda.

PBN seems to have enlisted itself as a tool in OHA's marketing strategy to pass the Akaka bill. PBN stresses the size of the federal cash inflow and the urgency of passing the Akaka bill to protect it; yet PBN is silent on the disastrous effects the Akaka bill would have on local businesses, local communities, and the democratic and constitutional rights of all Hawai'i's people (with special special damage to ethnic Hawaiians). Newspapers, and other mass media, can generally be expected to favor the Akaka bill, for two reasons: they hope to receive substantial income from OHA advertising now and from Akaka tribe advertising eventually; and Hawai'i media are far to the left politically, favoring social welfare programs supported by our supersized government.


The Office of Hawaiian Affairs has a massive investment portfolio whose value has varied between $250 Million and $400 Million during the past few years. Its value depends on stock market gyrations, and the inflow of cash from 20% of ceded land revenues which are siphoned out of all other departments of the state government.

The Hawaiian grievance industry plucks at everyone's heartstrings (and seeks millions in grant money) by portraying ethnic Hawaiians as a poor, downtrodden people with the worst statistics for health, housing, education, and incarceration. Yet OHA hoards cash in the stock market and spends far more on bureaucratic overhead, lobbying, and advertising than on programs to benefit needy people. OHA conducted a series of "community meetings" and commissioned a survey of ethnic Hawaiians by SMS Research and Marketing Service to discover what priorities Hawaiians wanted OHA to focus on. Education, healthcare, housing, and cultural preservation ranked highest, while sovereignty and "nationhood" ranked rock bottom. Most ethnic Hawaiians aren't very interested in "nationhood." Despite the survey and community input, OHA's expenditures and activities clearly show the opposite ordering of priorities, as the "Ho'oulu Lahui Aloha" campaign for "nationhood" gets the lion's share of money and attention.

In 2003 Governor Lingle fulfilled a campaign pledge by making it her top priority at the start of the legislative session to send $20 Million of state money to OHA, mostly to make up for payments that had been stopped in 2001 when the Hawai'i Supreme Court nullified the law requiring such payments. Interestingly, she ordered the money to be taken from other departments whose budgets were already being cut because of the state's fiscal crisis; and she then imposed a further 20% restriction on departmental budgets even while she was ordering them to resume sending checks regularly to OHA forever for 20% of their revenues from ceded lands.


On February 28, 2001 the Honolulu Advertiser reported that OHA's governing board passed a resolution setting aside up to $9 Million for advertising and lobbying for the Akaka bill.

In February 2003 OHA opened a lobbying office in Washington D.C., just the day before Governor Lingle and the OHA trustees testified for the Akaka bill at the Senate Select Committee on Indian Affairs. OHA trustees and staffers frequently fly to Washington for direct lobbying and also for indirect lobbying in the form of carefully staged propaganda festivals masquerading as "cultural" events, such as a hula demonstration at the Smithsonian, or the laying of lei on the statue of King Kamehameha in the Congress' Statuary Hall.

On May 24, 2003 the Honolulu Advertiser reported that OHA paid a retainer fee of $450,000 to the well-known Washington D.C. lobbying firm Patton Boggs to create legal briefs in favor of the Akaka bill and to lobby for the bill in the U.S. Senate and in the Justice and Interior Departments.

Since 2000 OHA has had an expensive Akaka bill advertising campaign on TV, radio, and in the newspapers. Residents will easily remember the most recent run of TV commercials variously featuring an ethnic Hawaiian man, woman, or little girl staring forlornly into the viewer's eyes with a slight frown and pursed lips, accompanied by the haunting plea: "Recognize me." In July 2003 we were treated to lengthy newspaper commentaries by OHA trustee Boyd Mossman, or OHA Administrator Clyde Namu'o, pleading with readers to support the Akaka bill because otherwise Hawaiian culture and people would soon die out -- the essays were essentially advertisements, although probably not paid for; published in all the major newspapers, written by OHA bureaucrats being paid with public money.

On August 7, 2003 OHA sponsored a prime-time televised 90-minute infomercial, repeated on August 9. It was a "forum" in which all participants were sovereignty activists, mostly from OHA, although two participants were independence activists (one opposed the Akaka bill in a low-key polite way while the other straddled the fence and said maybe the bill is OK as a way to save racially exclusionary benefit programs, if we could "improve" its language to reserve the "right" to become independent).


Below are excerpts from the articles in Pacific Business News describing the flow of federal money into Hawai'i for racially exclusionary programs, and the OHA marketing campaign to pass the Akaka bill. Perhaps the PBN articles should be seen as a part of the OHA marketing campaign! Both OHA and PBN try to persuade people that it is urgent to pass the Akaka bill in order to keep federal money flowing into Hawai'i for the racial programs. OHA emphasizes that the urgency is allegedly to protect poor, downtrodden Hawaiians. PBN emphasizes that the urgency is allegedly to protect Hawai'i businesses that benefit from service-provider contracts and from the ripple effect, or multiplier effect, of federal dollars. OHA would very much like to get the Hawai'i business community to support the Akaka bill, and PBN seems happy to help with that. Thus far, PBN has said nothing about the disastrous effects of tribal recognition on local businesses and local communities, the impact on democratic and constitutional rights for ethnic Hawaiians and non-ethnic Hawaiians, or the political instability resulting from racial balkanization.

For information on the disastrous effects the Akaka bill would have on local businesses and local communities, see:

For information on how the Akaka bill would damage the democratic and constitutional rights of ethnic Hawaiians, see:


Pacific Business News, August 4, 2003
Native Hawaiian issues will impact businesses
by Terrence Sing

*** Excerpts ***

Tens of millions in federal money now flowing into Hawaii -- and how hundreds of millions in existing state assets are directed -- are at stake as Native Hawaiian self-determination legislation moves through Congress and a lawsuit plays out here in U.S. District Court.

Legislation and litigation concerning Native Hawaiians have converged to create a pivotal era for all Hawaii citizens -- not just Native Hawaiians -- because of the enormous economic and business ramifications that will come about no matter which side prevails.

A lawsuit challenges the constitutionality of the Office of Hawaiian Affairs and Hawaiian Homes Commission under the 14th Amendment. The suit, if successful, essentially would return to general state use the hundreds of millions of dollars and thousands of acres of land currently dedicated exclusively to the benefit of Native Hawaiians. Plaintiffs say their victory would create an economic boon worth at least $100 million annually.

Opponents of the lawsuit see it differently. They say if the lawsuit is resolved in the plaintiffs' favor, the state could lose millions in federal money and end up shouldering the financial burden for myriad Native Hawaiian socio-economic issues that are abetted in part by the kinds of grants and benefits recent lawsuits are challenging.

"Currently, the economic impact is about $147 million to Hawaii residents," said Robin Danner, CEO of the Council for Native Hawaiian Advancement, a nonprofit dedicated to organizations serving Native Hawaiians. "That's to native or non-native. That's impacting the construction worker, the accountant, the bank teller, the social worker. It's not isolated to the Native Hawaiian impact -- it's definitely an economic issue."

If the Akaka Bill is signed into law, however, proponents say it could result in more federal funding, spur economic development through self-determination, and deflect future legal challenges of benefits for Native Hawaiians only.

The outcome of the lawsuit and the Akaka Bill could have a dramatic effect upon not only Native Hawaiians, but also Hawaii's economy. Federal appropriations for Native Hawaiian programs in fiscal year 2002 included:

* Education: $30.5 million
* Affordable housing: $9.6 million
* Health care: $7 million
* Strengthening community colleges (academics): $3.25 million
* Vocational education: $2.9 million
* Community development: $2 million
* Strengthening community colleges (agriculture): $1.5 million
* Housing loan guarantees: $1 million
* Culture and arts: $740,000

Under the state's administration, the following are apportioned for Native Hawaiian benefit:

* OHA trust fund, which is approximately $300 million.
* Department of Hawaiian Home Lands assets -- 200,000 acres on 69 parcels statewide.
* 1.4 million acres in ceded land that itself is at issue in recent litigation.

And under private administration for Native Hawaiian benefit are such resources as:

* Kamehameha Schools, a $5.4 billion trust that last year spent about $215 million on education for Native Hawaiians. A recent U.S. District Court lawsuit challenges the school's Hawaiian-preference admission policy, asserting -- similar to the Arakaki case -- that such preference is invalidly race based.

* Sandwich Isles Communications, currently developing high-tech initiatives on Department of Hawaii Home Lands with about $400 million in loans from the U.S. Department of Agriculture Rural Utilities Service. The scope of the entire project is about $500 million.

NOTE FROM KEN CONKLIN, WEBSITE EDITOR: For information about how the Akaka bill is pork barrel politics balkanizing Hawai'i, including information about additional racially exclusionary programs and the dollar values of some of them, see:


Pacific Business News, August 11, 2003
Marketing spreads Hawaiian message
by Nina Wu

*** Excerpts ***

As the U.S. Senate prepares to debate federal recognition for Native Hawaiians, a multimedia marketing campaign to garner support for the legislation is gaining momentum.

Armed with all the tools of marketing, including slick brochures, radio spots, movie theater on-screen ads, television commercials and forums, the Office of Hawaiian Affairs is reaching out like never before.

In the last fiscal year, OHA spent $148,640 on federal recognition-related advertising. Most of it was spent on radio spots, along with display ads in community newspapers and movie theater spots.

Now OHA is focusing its energy on the publicity campaign to get the bill passed. Most of its literature is designed in-house, and Boyd has a team of five, including a graphic designer, who put it all together.

The press packet includes a copy of the Apology Bill (Public Law 103-150), a three-page foldout brochure detailing the history of federal recognition, an outline of milestones in the U.S.-Hawaiian relationship and answers to frequently asked questions.

There is even a compact disc, titled "Na Oiwi Olino" -- People Seeking Wisdom -- which features an introduction by OHA Chairwoman Haunani Apoliona, an interpretation by kupuna Malia Craver and chant composed and performed by Boyd and Apoliona.

"The idea there is to inspire people," Apoliona said. "There is a body of chants that have become the rallying cry for the movement. They add fuel to the identity of Native Hawaiians. Imagine thousands of voices singing at one time. This connects spirits."

OHA has produced about 500 of the CDs and is giving them away to anyone who requests them.

In addition to the publicity spots, OHA has a Web site,, dedicated to federal recognition for Native Hawaiians. Outside of Hawaii, OHA is leading an effort to educate U.S. citizens about the Akaka bill and is encouraging them to write their congressional representatives. The final decision, after all, will play itself out in Congress and the courts.

OHA also sponsored the televised Forum on Federal Recognition at the East West Center this week, featuring panelists who are both for and against Senate Bill 344 -- the so-called Akaka bill, named for its sponsor, Sen. Daniel Akaka, D-Hawaii.

Various voices on opposite spectrums of the recognition debate have less elaborate campaigns.

On one end, there are pro-independence activists who oppose the Akaka bill because it acknowledges the legality of the 1893 overthrow of Queen Liliuokalani. It also means working within the U.S. government, which they mistrust.

Nation of Hawaii, a group that opposes Akaka for this very reason, has an online campaign,, which does battle against OHA's campaign. Though they have no radio spots or newspaper ads, the Web site features a "call to action" urging people to write their congressional representatives asking them to stop the Akaka bill. Nation of Hawaii also provides a downloadable flyer that it urges people to hand out at OHA presentations.

Sandra Burgess, one of the 16 plaintiffs in a lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of OHA and the Hawaiian Homes Commission under the 14th Amendment, has gathered more than 1,000 signatures for a petition opposing the Akaka bill.

She and her husband, William Burgess (who filed the so-called Arakaki suit in federal court), put together, a Web site with arguments against what they call "special entitlement" programs for Native Hawaiians. Other than that, there is no ad campaign to rally opposition against the Akaka bill.

"It's not like we have $350 million like OHA," Burgess said. "Ours is more grassroots, word-of-mouth. When I explain what the Akaka bill does, most people are just incredulous."

Burgess, who is Filipino, Chinese and Hawaiian, said she opposes the Akaka bill because she doesn't believe taxpayers should have to shell out money for just one racial group. She and her husband write letters to newspapers and speak out against the Akaka bill whenever possible.

Like OHA, the Council for Native Hawaiian Advancement is gearing some of its outreach towards the business community.

The council distributes a policy brief detailing the economic impact of Native Hawaiian federal recognition. It calculates that the annual loss of $70 million in direct federal funding results in the loss of $147 million in total production, $69 million in household income and 3,100 jobs for Hawaii residents.

The council will host the second annual Native Hawaiian Conference Aug. 27-30 at the Sheraton Waikiki. Sponsors of the conference include American Savings Bank, First Hawaiian Bank, Bank of Hawaii, the state's Community Based Economic Development Division, Carlsmith Ball LLP and Bishop Museum.


Pacific Business News, August 25, 2003
Hawaiians lobby nationally
by Terrence Sing

*** Excerpts ***

Hawaiians across the nation are being swept up in a political current to lobby Congress for passage of the Akaka Bill, which would grant Native Hawaiians federal recognition and could protect millions of dollars in native benefits currently challenged in court.

Whether the Akaka Bill passes or whether, on the other side of the issue, lawsuits succeed in bringing down benefits exclusive to Native Hawaiians, it's an issue with vast economic implications worth hundreds of millions of dollars.

The bill could nullify legal challenges to Hawaiian programs brought on by the Arakaki lawsuit currently being fought in U.S. District Court as well as legal challenges to Kamehameha Schools' Hawaiian-only admission policy, because it would grant Native Hawaiians federal recognition as an indigenous people with political rights and self-determination similar to Alaska Natives and American Indians.

"There are a few people who are trying to do their best to overthrow a lot of the entitlements," said Charlie St. Germain, who has written seven letters to his California congressional delegation, urging them to support the Akaka Bill.

St. Germain is worried Hawaiians may lose what few entitlements they have left, including the Office of Hawaiian Affairs and its $300 million trust, as well as 200,000 acres of largely undeveloped land managed by the state Department of Hawaiian Home Lands. If the Arakaki lawsuit is successful, both OHA's and DHHL's assets would revert back to the state. And about 30,000 Hawaiians now living on Hawaiian Home Lands would possibly be kicked off the land. If Kamehameha Schools is forced to admit non-Hawaiians, it means about $215 million the trust spends annually to educate Native Hawaiian children would be extended to include non-Hawaiians.

"Hawaiian programs are being challenged and maybe eventually we'll end up with nothing," St. Germain said.

"We are trying to press it for a vote in September," said Sen. Daniel Akaka, D-Hawaii. "Right now, it's not any place until Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist tells us that he'll do it."

Akaka and Sen. Daniel Inouye, D-Hawaii, plan to lobby colleagues they know are holding up the bill when the session resumes in September.

Gov. Linda Lingle, the Hawaii State Legislature, various Hawaiian organizations and the Office of Hawaiian Affairs are all lobbying for the passage of the bill, Akaka said, adding "We know she can make a difference with the Bush administration."

The Office of Hawaiian Affairs has launched its own initiative to reach Hawaiians on the mainland. It also has retained high-powered Washington, D.C., law firm Patton Boggs LLP to provide legal rebuttals to any concerns raised in Congress or by the Bush Administration.

And OHA is looking for more mainland residents like St. Germain to participate. The plan is to get 100 letters to each of the 100 U.S. senators this month from their own constituents before Congress reconvenes Sept. 2, said OHA Administrator Clyde Namuo.

OHA trustees plan to be in Washington, D.C., in mid-September where they will be joined by Hawaiian civic organizations to promote the Akaka Bill.

A separate group of community-based Hawaiian organizations has launched its own initiative to reach mainland Hawaiians. It comprises the State Council of Hawaiian Homestead Associations, Hui Kakoo Aina Hoopulapula, the Association of Hawaiian Civic Clubs, Kamehameha Schools Alumni Association and the Council for Native Hawaiian Advancement.

The group is conducting workshops across the nation to educate people about the Akaka Bill.

Though the opposition is not standing still, efforts besides those of the anonymous senators seem small in comparison to Akaka Bill advocates.

Aloha4all is a loose confederation of Hawaii residents who oppose the Akaka legislation and includes some of the Arakaki lawsuit plaintiffs. "We have a multiethnic group that opposes the Akaka Bill and also opposes OHA and the Hawaiian Homes Commission and the entitlement programs," said retired Honolulu attorney William Burgess, who represents the plaintiffs in the Arakaki lawsuit and is also a member of Aloha4all.

Over the past two years, Burgess and wife Sandra Puanani, who is one of the Arakaki plaintiffs, have been to Congress twice to educate members about his group's position on the Akaka Bill.

"Aloha4all has no resources or war chest to lobby nationally the way OHA does," he said, but acknowledges they have generous friends with deep pockets. "There's telephone, e-mail, faxes and writing letters. Not just my wife and I, but a lot of others do that. We have people in Washington in both houses that are supportive of our point of view."


** UPDATE ON AUGUST 26, 2005 **
Pacific Business News, From the August 26, 2005 print edition

OHA big money on media

Kristen Consillio

The Office of Hawaiian Affairs has tripled the amount of money it is spending to promote Native Hawaiian issues, launching an ambitious campaign that includes everything from T-shirts to TV shows.

OHA spent $1.3 million in the fiscal year that just ended and plans to spend $1.36 million in the coming year. That is up from $439,000 in fiscal 2004.

The OHA initiative has provided an unexpected windfall to local media used to seeing big money for issue campaigns only in election years.

In recent months, OHA has sponsored events like the Na Hoku Hanohano music awards, aired radio and TV commercials promoting its newspaper and Hawaiian registry, booked newspaper ads supporting passage of the Akaka Bill and produced a 30-minute TV special. It also is handing out bumper stickers, pens and T-shirts.

In addition, OHA gave PBS Hawaii a $121,250 grant last month to produce a television documentary on Hawaii's alii trusts.

The spending comes at a time when trustees say OHA needs to bring its constituents together on critical issues such as the Akaka Bill, which aims to give federal recognition to Native Hawaiians.

"In OHA's history we've never spent this kind of money," said trustee Oswald Stender of Honolulu. "One reason is because we didn't have the money at that time, and two there's never been an issue more urgent than the Akaka Bill."

OHA last month took out a two-page ad for about $26,000 in the Sunday edition of The Honolulu Advertiser, detailing its support of the Akaka Bill.

In the past year, OHA partially subsidized a documentary on Native Hawaiians produced by Edgy Lee and related media productions totaling $262,000. It also has spent thousands on sponsorships of Hawaiian programs and events.

It hired a public information specialist, Keaumiki Akui, specifically for governance issues.

"It was an unusually large chunk of money to do that," said Manu Boyd, OHA's director of public information, referring to the newspaper ad. "The Edgy Lee film -- that was unprecedented -- and the two-page Sunday ad is something not typical of what we would do."

Haunani Apoliona, chairwoman of the trustees, did not return calls from PBN.

While trustees approve OHA's overall budget, they typically don't get involved in individual expenditures, leaving those decisions to administrator Clyde Namuo.

"For us, the legal challenges are the reasons our communications strategy has changed and why our expenditures are so much greater than in past years," Namuo said. "The purpose for increasing our communication is to get the community ready for self-determination."

Over the last year, the agency has put out significantly more periodicals, as well as advertisements promoting the Kau Inoa Native Hawaiian registry, the Native Hawaiian Coalition, the Akaka Bill, the OHA newspaper and other outreach programs.

Several OHA trustees said that while they knew the agency was spending more on its communications strategy, they didn't know how much was being spent.

"They don't break it up into subaccounts and that's why the problem," said Trustee Donald Cataluna of Kauai. "It's put under big subjects. We do have a budget approved for the fiscal year but in that budget it's not specific enough."

Until recently, OHA operated on an annual budget of about $17 million. OHA receives about $2.5 million from the state and the balance of its budget from its trust fund from ceded land revenue.

OHA trustees voted to increase their budget this year by about $10 million, with more money devoted to expand education and grant programs.

In the last month, OHA spent $19,000 to air on KHON during prime time three broadcasts of a 30-minute special called "The Hawaiian Connection." Boyd said it cost about $5,000 to send three staff members to the Mainland to tape the show but that all of the production was done in-house.

The show featured interviews with Native Hawaiians living in the Washington, D.C.-area, focusing on their enjoyment of Hawaiian food, culture and activities like hula and canoe-paddling far from home.

The show, hosted by Boyd, closed with a "blooper reel" of outtakes from the interviews.

"I found out about that show 24 hours before I saw it on TV," Cataluna said. "I don't know what the point was because I didn't really like that show, and I especially didn't like the end showing all the bloopers -- it was kind of childish.

"Most people don't realize Hawaiians are the only ones that don't have a country to go to. So we want to let people know about this. That to me should've been the main issue for these television programs, not to see what they eat in Washington, D.C. -- that turned me off."

Cataluna said he doesn't have an issue with the amount of money the agency is spending to promote issues such as the passage of the Akaka Bill but said the trustees don't know whether the money is being spent haphazardly and with no way to measure its impact.

Trustee Boyd Mossman of Maui said he supports the expenditures because of what is at stake with federal recognition.

"Are these expenditures hitting the mark? As far as I'm concerned on federal recognition they're being used with the objective in mind; however, all of us have ideas on how we could better spend the money on any particular objective," Mossman said. "I would've spent more on federal recognition. I would've had more ads on TV on why we need federal recognition. [But] the more reasonable of us realize that we cannot be micromanaging this organization."

Namuo said the multifaceted outreach plan is getting results.

"Considering that we had probably 2,000 or 3,000 Kau Inoa registrations a year ago and we're up to almost 28,000 now, I would suggest we're hitting our market," Namuo said. "It may not all be related to promoting the Akaka Bill, but it's all related to organizing the community."



The Council for Native Hawaiian Advancement (CNHA) is a consortium of wealthy, powerful institutions (both government and private) receiving hundreds of millions of dollars in federal and state grants. Their three primary purposes for creating this consortium were (1) to share information on how to squeeze more money out of government; (2) to pool their lobbying efforts to pass federal legislation to send more money to these organizations; (3) to be an umbrella organization for the Hawaiian institutions lobbying for the Akaka bill. These are the large wealthy "Hawaiian" institutions, and "service providers" who live off of race-based federal grants. OHA, DHHL, Alu Like, Papa Ola Lokahi, Kamehameha Schools, Native Hawaiian Legal Corporation, Native Hawaiian Leadership Project, etc. All these racially exclusionary organizations are threatened by lawsuits that eventually will put them out of business unless the Akaka bill is successful in turning ethnic Hawaiians into a federally recognized Indian tribe.

In September 2002 the CNHA (Council for Native Hawaiian Advancement) held its first annual convention. University of Hawai'i President Evan Dobelle was the keynote speaker and pledged to harness UH as an active political supporter to help convert the dream (dare we say nightmare?) of Hawaiian sovereignty into a reality. For the first annual conference, there was a registration fee of $350 and an exhibitor fee of $450. The annual dues for Native Hawaiian-serving Organizations with an annual operating budget of more than $250,000 are calculated at 1/10 of 1% of their annual operating expenses with a minimum of $250 and a maximum of $15,000. The agenda and workshop descriptions read like a who's who of persons and organizations in Hawaii, plus Alaska corporations and at least one American Indian Organization. The Arctic Slope Regional Corporation donated $25,000.00 as one of the conference sponsors. If the Native Hawaiian recognition bill passes, ASRC might be hoping to make major profits in Hawai’i in partnership with the Akaka tribe. Also sponsoring and attending the conference were Ukpeagvik Inupiat Corporation, numerous banks, insurance firms, construction firms, law firms, and Rural Community Assistance Corporation. The RCAC was probably there in relation to Al Hee's Sandwich Islands Communication company's $500 Million cable wiring project on Hawaiian Homelands. (Al Hee is brother of former OHA chairman Clayton Hee). The cable wiring project is perhaps the most blatant example of nepotism and sole-source contracting which will be normal business practice under the Akaka bill. For more information about that, see

Note that Section 10 of the latest Akaka bill language specifically allows such shenanigans which would ordinarily be prohibited by federal contracting laws. Section 10 is oxymoronically named "Ethics" and reads as follows (I have dubbed it the Dawson/Hee Provision, in honor of Beadie Dawson [the Dawson Group] and Clayton and Al Hee):

"The provisions of section 208(a) of title 18, United States Code, prohibiting involvement by a Federal Government officer or employee in particular matters where the officer or employee or his or her spouse or minor child has a financial interest shall not apply to Native Hawaiians employed by the United States Office for Native Hawaiian Relations if the financial interest that would be affected by the particular matter involved is that resulting solely from the interest of the officer or employee or his or her spouse or minor child that results from his or her status as a Native Hawaiian."


The Second Annual Convention of the Council for Native Hawaiian Advancement was held August 27-30, 2003 at the Sheraton Waikiki. For several months before that meeting, information gradually became available about some of the financial shenanigans of the CNHA and its leaders, the sisters Robin Danner and Jade Danner. The following information is taken from message 493 of the Nation of Hawai'i:
and a webpage of the Nation of Hawai'i at:

The independence activists at Hawaii-nation say: "Please understand that this is not a personal attack on the Danners, but rather on the external forces out there beyond the reef that came into play to utilize the Danner sisters as instruments of advocacy and influence. It is an indication of how the Oil-igarchy has managed to dupe some of our leaders - and has caused divisiveness amongst us."

* We have become aware of a contractual relationship between Danner and Associates and Arctic Power. Danner and Associates is a company run by Robin Danner's sister, Jade Danner. Robin Danner's interests in Danner and Associates are unclear, but the Council for Native Hawaiian Advancement received reimbursement for Robin Danner's travel expenses to lobby on behalf of Arctic Power 11 months ago.

* Several weeks ago Ho'oipo Pa asked Robin Danner publicly about her role in Danner and Associates and about any connections she might have to Arctic Power and her response was that she would get back to her. Danner has still not responded.

* Arctic Power is an Alaska lobbying company funded by the state of Alaska and oil companies, like the Inupiat owned Arctic Slope Regional Corporation, to lobby the US Congress to open the Arctic National Wilderness Refuge for oil drilling.

* Arctic Slope Regional Corporation has given $100,000 to the CNHA, who used part of that money in an effort to persuade the Hawaiian community to support the Akaka Bill during a Native Hawaiian convention just 4 months ago here in Honolulu.

* Those of us who know this legislation is not in the best interests of the Hawaiian people, and who have been trying for years now to have our voices heard on this matter, object to the use of Alaska oil money in a supposedly Native Hawaiian organization's efforts to push this or any form of federal recognition linked to a model of sovereignty placing us under the DOI onto the Hawaiian people with out our consent or proper consultation.

* A local Hawaiian writer - Keala Kelly, wrote an investigative story about the connections between Danner and Associates and Alaska oil interests. The Honolulu Weekly planned to publish the story. A week after pressure from Robin Danner not to run the story, the Honolulu Weekly decided the story was not publishable. We believe that story needs to be published because we know the story is true. We had hoped that story would come out before the reading of the Akaka Bill tomorrow in Washington DC, but the Honolulu Weekly held it for 3 weeks, leaving very little time for the writer to find a publisher.

* In the meantime, the Honolulu Advertiser Opinion Section printed an article that addresses some of the issues written about in that expose.

Our statements are supported by the following evidence, which can be found on the web at :

* A contract between Danner & Associates, Jade Danner and Artic Power for $5,000 to lobby on their behalf

* Jade's activity log on Artic Power work, including statements regarding work with Senator Akaka's office and the kokua of family members in that work, including Robin Danner's kokua in a presentation to the Teamstear's Union

* A CNHA reimbursement request by Robin Danner, sent to Jade Danner, who then sent it to Artic Power for expenses covering air fare for Robin's presentation to the Teamsters

* A copy of Jade's cover letter to Artic Power that accompanied her activity to log relating to this particular period of time

* Copy of Jade's invoice for this period, requesting $7,500 for 1 1/2 months time on the job.


Hawai`i Island Journal August 1-15, 2003

From Native Hawaiian to Native American? (As the Akaka Bill drives forward in Congress, Hawaiian voices are urging a closer look)

by Anne Keala Kelly

** Excerpts selected for their focus on the business aspects of the Council for Native Hawaiian Advancement, and of the lobbying effort for the Akaka bill **

A bill that, in its initial form, gave some autonomy to Hawaiians has at last been stripped down to mean total control will belong to the Department of the Interior and a select few Hawaiians. Many Hawaiians still don't understand the process of federal recognition despite four years of questions, disagreements, and an apparent lack of support for the bill outside of the homesteads. And presently, homesteaders are the only members of the Hawaiian community being targeted for "education" about the bill by the Council for Native Hawaiian Advancement (CNHA).

With so much riding on whether or not Hawaiian people undergo the conversion from Native Hawaiian to Native American, one would think that the Hawaiian leaders and elected politicians in Washington D.C. might slow down the race to pass this thing long enough for Hawaiians to actually read it. But that doesn't appear likely.

"Ninety-nine percent of Hawaiians don't know what's in this most recent draft of the bill," said Haunani-Kay Trask, a professor at the Center for Hawaiian Studies, UH-Manoa. "Structurally, the whole point of self-determination means that the Hawaiian people determine their future. They don't allow the feds or the state to determine it - that would be state determination, not self-determination. Our people are so colonized, though, 27 military bases, six million tourists a year . . . that'll change your thinking."

OHA is the only Hawai'i state agency with an office in Washington D.C., which Trask believes was the plan all along. "They're gearing up to federalize themselves. What they are doing isn't representative of democracy - this isn't a Hawaiian agency, it's a state agency becoming a federal puppet."

With so much confusion over the details of the actual legislation, many find the lack of restraint on the part of legislators and OHA trustees to be alarming. Combine that with the few community meetings being staged to sell this legislation only to homesteaders, and Hawaiians as a people begin to take on the appearance of steers being herded to the slaughterhouse.

The CNHA and the State Council of Hawaiian Homestead Associations (SCHHA-pronounced shaw) only held two poorly publicized meetings on Oahu. And at those meetings, which lasted two hours, they used a thick reference booklet called "Lawsuits & Legislation: The Arakaki Suit & Akaka Bill Explained," and a power point presentation.

Didi Lee Kwai, elementary school teacher and homesteader in Papakolea, attended one of the two meetings on Oahu and was disappointed in the presentation. "One problem was that they didn't allow a chance to ask questions," said Kwai.

Also slipped into the CNHA booklet is another booklet called the "CNHA Policy Brief: The Economic Impact of Native Hawaiian Federal Recognition." It manages to detail terrifying threats that have been brandished like guns since the U.S. Supreme Court's Rice v. Cayetano decision of February 2000, allowing non-Hawaiians to vote for OHA trustees.

The booklet asserts that without federal recognition it is likely that the Arakaki lawsuit, which challenges the validity of the Hawaiian Homes Commission Act as race-based, will succeed, which would supposedly put an end to OHA and the Hawaiian homesteads. The booklet says that in the event of a victory for Arakaki, "homesteaders will face eviction . . . programs that benefit scores of organizations and thousands of individual Native Hawaiians will be eliminated." It then lists nine state and non-profit organizations that receive federal grants adding up to over $59 million per year.

In a nutshell, page two of the CNHA Policy Brief lays out the specifics used by state agencies like OHA and SCHHA to push the Akaka Bill. The logic they invoke, however, requires that Hawaiians must literally surrender all of their claims for the bargain basement price of $59 million, give or take a few million. And that's with no assurance that the federal obligations to Hawaiians will be maintained.

When the Chair of the CNHA, Ray Soon, was still the Director of the Department of Hawaiian Homelands (DHHL), he initiated the transfer of $150,000 of trust assets to SCHHA. Micah Kane, a leading Republican who played a key role in Linda Lingle's gubernatorial campaign, completed the transfer when he became the DHHL director. Once transferred, the money was allocated to lobby for the Akaka Bill. SCHHA then hired the CNHA to put together a plan. So the money literally went from Soon's old job to his new job. Robin Danner, president of the CNHA and the Vice Chair of SCHHA, was also on both the giving and receiving end.

The distrust many Hawaiians have for state agencies like OHA and DHHL, and monolithic non-profits such as the CNHA, stems in part from this mode of shifting Hawaiian money. More recently, questions have arisen regarding Danner, who appeared on the Hawaiian political scene about four years ago after she moved from Alaska to Kauai. Although she is Hawaiian, she lived much of her life in Alaska and worked with Alaska Natives in the Arctic region who, along with the oil industry, have been lobbying to open the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge for oil drilling.

The Alaska connection to Native Hawaiian specific policies and law making in Washington D.C. is an area of analysis just beginning to happen in the Hawaiian community. More often than not, the dog that wags the federal tail that creates legislation pertaining to Hawaiians is shielded by distance and political/legal double-speak. But given the confusion over who is doing what and why, a genealogical sense of how Alaska State interests are connected directly to the Hawaiian predicament and the push to federally recognize Hawaiians may be helpful.

The Akaka Bill, which has undergone more facelifts than Cher, has recently reportedly been renamed the Akaka /Stevens bill. A Republican from Alaska, Senator Ted Stevens is a longtime friend of Senator Inouye, and the one responsible for every congressional initiative to open drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. He helped usher in the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act (ANCSA), which divided all Alaska Natives into two groups: those who have corporate relationships with the oil industry and those who do not. Some Alaska Natives now have money, but most have very little, and in addition, they lost their hunting and gathering rights in many areas of Alaska. ANCSA did for, or rather, to, the Alaska Natives what the Akaka Bill promises to do: extinguish all native title to land.

Why bring any of this up now? Because Alaska oil dollars made their way into the Hawaiian community as financial support for the CNHA's efforts to lobby for the Akaka Bill. Last September, some of that money was used to pay for the CNHA's "1st Annual Native Hawaiian" conference in Waikiki, a gathering which itself became a lobbying effort for the Akaka Bill.

Between all the members of CNHA, that organization controls virtually all of the Native Hawaiian federal dollars that flow to Hawaiian non-profits. So, the force with which CNHA, SCHHA, and OHA have pushed for this bill has come under criticism in the Hawaiian community as being nothing more than a handful of well-established Hawaiians preserving their own bank accounts over the well-being of all Hawaiians.


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