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Hale Pai
Pacific American News Journal

Mei-May 1996 Volume 2 Issue 5

The Kanaka Maoli Tribunal Komike's Statement In Opposition To House Bill 3283

By Jose Luis Morin, ESQ.

On behalf of the Kanaka Maoli Tribunal Komike, I wish to speak in opposition to the House Bill 3283 for the following reasons:

Renaming the "plebiscite" a "Native Hawaiian Vote" is a deception. The name change proposed by H.B. 3283 is an attempt to mask the true nature of the so-called "plebiscite." It is a process which purports to be "in the spirit of self-determination," but is not a true process for self-determination under international law. It is misleading to the Kanaka Maoli people to represent the State-sponsored, state-financed, State controlled plebiscite process as true process for self-determination. It is equally misleading to now rename the so-called "plebiscite" a "Native Hawaiian Vote" in order to further misdirect the Kanaka Maoli people into participation in a decidedly flawed process and a process which does not conform to international law.

By definition, a plebiscite is a vote. Therefore, to rename the "plebiscite" a "Native Hawaiian Vote" does not make the process a process of the Kanaka Maoli people nor does it make it anymore legal under international law. As a "vote," it can still be misused against the Kanaka Maoli people, as in 1959, "statehood" plebiscite was misused to deny the Kanaka Maoli people the use of the United Nations process for decolonization as a Non-Self-Governing Territory.

Renaming the "plebiscite" a "Native Hawaiian Vote" does remedy the serious flaws in this State sponsored process. Flaws in the State-sponsored "plebiscite" are increasingly apparent. Serious questions can be raised about the propriety of this State-sponsored process including but not limited to:

The improper use of State funds out of state:

The unwise and extravagant commitment of the state taxpayer dollars for an expensive process that begins with a so-called "plebiscite" but which involves further elections and constitutional convention for which no definite cost assessments have been made;

The inappropriate use of the Office Of Hawaiian Affairs (OHA) voter list believed to contain many names of non-Kanaka Maoli for a State-sponsored electoral process;

The automatic registration of persons on the OHA voter registry and the membership rolls of the Hawaiian Civic Clubs and the Kamehameha Schools Alumni Association without the consent of the persons listed;

The improper use of OHA trust monies for this so-called "plebiscite" and the self-serving nature of OHA's funding of the process, as a self-proclaimed "state-within-a-state" model for "sovereignty";

The States involvement ia a process which rushes Kanaka Maoli people into a "plebiscite" vote that binds the people into a presently undefined process for the election of delegates and equally undefined constitutional convention;
The impropriety of a state-created agency, the Hawaiian Sovereignty Elections Council (HESC) conducting a process which purports to be a process of self-determination and decolonization, but which fails to meet the most basic international standards for such a process,

The blatant inconsistency in the State government support for this so-called "plebiscite" for the benefit of the Kanaka Maoli people while the State continues to cut funds for health, education, housing, Hawaiian language programs and other services to the Kanaka Maoli people; and

The glaring contradiction of the State government purporting to hold this so-called "plebiscite" for the good of "Native Hawaiians" while the State is involved presently in seeking the eviction of Kanaka Maoli people from the Makua Valley and seeking the eviction of the Pai 'Ohana in Kona.

These irregularities bring into question the State's oversight responsibilities for elections and raise grave doubts as to the State's credibility and impropriety to engage in such a process. In addition, these issues raise the specter of serious violations of constitutional as well as state, federal and international law.

H.B. 3283 does not address the problem that this State-sponsored "vote" is not a true exercise in the people's right to self-determination under international law.

A true process for the exercise of a people's right to self-determination is internationally-supervised and complies with international standards, such as those found in United Nations General Assembly Resolution 1514 (XV) of . 3283, which amends Act 200 of 1994; H.B. 3283 falls outside internationally recognized standards for the true exercise of the right of self-determination and decolonization.

Based on the foregoing, The Kanaka Maoli Tribunal Komike urges that House Bill 3283 be rejected and that the entire "plebiscite" process be found ill-considered economically and legally and not in the best interest of the Kanaka Maoli people.

Jose Luis Morin is a civil rights and international human rights lawyer. He served as a member of the prosecutor/advocate team in the 1993 Peoples' International Tribunal in Hawai`i.


A vote of the People expressing their choice for or against a proposed law or enactment, submitted to them, and which if adopted, will work a change in the constitution, or which is beyond the powers of the regular legislative body. Black's Law Dictionary, Sixth Edition, 1991.
A process of referring to the electorate for approval a proposed new state constitution or amendment (constitutional referendum) or of a law passed by the legislature (statutory referendum). Black's Law Dictionary, Sixth Edition, 1991.


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Copyright 1996 Hale Pai Pacific American-News Journal
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