THE SENATE

S.R. NO.

25

TWENTY-FIFTH LEGISLATURE, 2009

S.D. 1

STATE OF HAWAII

 

 

 

 

 

SENATE RESOLUTION

 

 

URGING THE GOVERNOR AND THE ATTORNEY GENERAL TO WITHDRAW THE APPEAL TO THE UNITED STATES SUPREME COURT OF THE HAWAII STATE SUPREME COURT DECISION, OFFICE OF HAWAIIAN AFFAIRS V. HOUSING AND COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT CORPORATION OF HAWAII, 117 HAWAII 174 (2008).

 

 


WHEREAS, in 1978 the people of Hawaii, in recognition of the historic injustices committed against the Native Hawaiian people, voted overwhelmingly to amend the Hawaii State Constitution to address those injustices; and

 

WHEREAS, in 1978, the people of Hawaii amended the Hawaii State Constitution to include Article XII, Section 4, which identifies the Native Hawaiian people and the general public as the two beneficiaries of the public land trust; and

 

WHEREAS, other amendments adopted in 1978 to the Hawaii State Constitution include the establishment of the Office of Hawaiian Affairs, protections of traditional and customary rights of the Native Hawaiian people, adoption of the Hawaiian language as one of the two official languages of Hawaii, and a mandate to include Hawaiian language, culture, and history educational programs in the public schools; and

 

WHEREAS, the Seventeenth Legislature determined that 1993 should serve as a year of special reflection on the rights and dignities of the Native Hawaiian people in Hawaii and in American society, and consistent with that determination, passed a series of legislative enactments that further committed Hawaii to reconciliation with the Native Hawaiian people; and

 

WHEREAS, in House Concurrent Resolution No. 179, Regular Session of 1993, the Legislature recognized the illegality of the 1893 overthrow of the Kingdom of Hawaii and the lingering claims of the Native Hawaiian people to their national lands with a request to the President and Congress to formally apologize to the Native Hawaiian people for the overthrow; and

 

WHEREAS, in House Concurrent Resolution 213, Regular Session of 1993, the Legislature recommitted itself to address the historic wrongs committed against the Native Hawaiian people by the United States government in the 1893 overthrow of the Kingdom of Hawaii; and

 

WHEREAS, in Act 354, Session Laws of Hawaii 1993, the Legislature acknowledged that many Native Hawaiians believe lands taken without the consent of the Native Hawaiian people should be returned and if not, then monetary compensation should be made; and

 

WHEREAS, in Act 354, Session Laws of Hawaii 1993, the Legislature pledged its continued support to the Native Hawaiian people by taking steps to promote the restoration of the rights and dignity of the Native Hawaiian people and committed substantial state resources to educate the general public about Hawaiian sovereignty; and

 

WHEREAS, in Act 359, Session Laws of Hawaii 1993, the Legislature found that in 1898, Hawaii was annexed to the United States through the Newlands Resolution without the consent of or compensation to the indigenous people of Hawaii or their sovereign government, and that as a result, the indigenous people of Hawaii were denied the mechanism for expression of their inherent sovereignty through self-government and self‑determination, their lands, and their ocean resources; and

 

WHEREAS, in Act 340, Session Laws of Hawaii 1993, the Legislature placed the island of Kahoolawe, a place of extraordinary cultural significance, into the public land trust under the condition that the State would eventually transfer the management and control of Kahoolawe to a future sovereign Native Hawaiian entity upon its recognition by the United States and the State; and

 

WHEREAS, in Act 340, Session Laws of Hawaii 1993, the Legislature envisioned a future sovereign Native Hawaiian entity capable of receiving the island of Kahoolawe from the State, and endorsed a broad and progressive view of the reconciliatory process, which includes an entity representative of the Native Hawaiian people capable of formally dealing with the State; and

 

WHEREAS, in Act 329, Session Laws of Hawaii 1997, the Legislature found that the events of history set forth in the 1993 Federal Apology Resolution (Public Law 103-150), contribute to "a deep sense of injustice among many Native Hawaiians" and further recognized that "the lasting reconciliation so desired by all people of Hawaii" is possible only if the Legislature fairly acknowledges the past; and

 

WHEREAS, the Governor has affirmed the State's commitment to reconciliation with the Native Hawaiian people, and the Legislature continues to believe that the health and well-being of the Native Hawaiian people is intrinsically tied to deep feelings of attachment to the land; and

 

WHEREAS, on January 31, 2008, the Hawaii State Supreme Court in Office of Hawaiian Affairs v. Housing Community Development Corporation of Hawaii (117 Hawaii 174), interpreted the State's trust obligation in relation to ceded lands under state law and enjoined the State from selling or otherwise transferring to third parties any ceded lands from the public lands trust until the claims of the Native Hawaiian people to the ceded lands have been resolved; and

 

WHEREAS, the Governor and Attorney General petitioned the United States Supreme Court to review the decision of the Hawaii State Supreme Court and that petition has been granted; and

 

WHEREAS, the Legislature finds that pursuing such an action is detrimental to the interests of all of the people of Hawaii and to the ongoing reconciliation process between the State and the Native Hawaiian people; now, therefore,

 

BE IT RESOLVED by the Senate of the Twenty-fifth Legislature of the State of Hawaii, Regular Session of 2009, that the Governor is urged to withdraw the appeal to the United States Supreme Court of the Hawaii State Supreme Court decision, Office of Hawaiian Affairs v. Housing and Community Development Corporation of Hawaii, 117 Hawaii 174 (2008); and

 

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the Senate declares the public policy of the State of Hawaii is to honor the decision of the Hawaii State Supreme Court; and

 

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that certified copies of this Resolution be transmitted to the Governor and the Attorney General.

Report Title:

Native Hawaiians; Appeal; United States Supreme Court