The mission of the Native Hawaiian Legal Corporation (NHLC) is to strengthen and enhance the lives of Native Hawaiians and Native Hawaiian communities through the protection and recovery of ancestral and trust lands, natural resources, and the preservation of customs and practices vital to the perpetuation of Hawai’i's indigenous people.
NHLC carries out its mission by integrating native values into the practice of western law and jurisprudence.
Moses Kalei Nahonoapi`ilani Haia III is the executive director of NHLC. Before his appointment, Moses was a staff attorney at NHLC, obtaining landmark victories in native rights cases seeking to protect ancient Hawaiian burials and Native Hawaiian water rights.
Before joining NHLC in 2001, Moses was a solo practitioner. His practice involved labor and employment law, civil litigation and native Hawaiian rights. Moses also previously served as a staff attorney with a native rights law firm, the Native Hawaiian Advisory Council, where he litigated a seminal water rights case involving the distribution of water from one part of O’ahu to another through the Waiahole Ditch.
- Hawaii State Bar Association
- Native Hawaiian Bar Association
- Staff Attorney, Native Hawaiian Advisory Council (1995 to 1997)
Recognized by major Honolulu daily newspaper as one of “10 Who Made A Difference” in 2007
- Editor and Contributor,E alu like mai i ka pono = Coming together for justice. This handbook describes the legislative process, administrative agencies that deal with Hawaiian affairs, and how Hawaiians can participate in governmental decision-making.
- Eric Yamamoto, Moses Haia & Donna Kalama,Courts and the Cultural Performance : Native Hawaiians’ Uncertain Federal and State Law Rights To Sue, 16 Hawaii L. Rev. 1 (Summer 1994)
- William S. Richardson School of Law (J.D. 1994)
- University of Hawaii (B.A., Political Science, 1989)
Alan Murakami has been NHLC’s litigation director since 1990, and an attorney with NHLC since 1985. He has specialized in litigating novel land and water issues affecting Native Hawaiians. In the process, Alan has created important precedent that allows Native Hawaiians to enforce their rights under two trusts established for their benefit and defined the trust obligations owed to Native Hawaiians. While defending Hawaiian families who retain legal interests in family lands against litigation challenging their ownership rights, Alan effectively persuaded the Supreme Court to articulate their due process rights.
Alan has a long and distinguished legal career serving Native Hawaiian communities. Before joining NHLC, he was the managing director of the Moloka`i and Wai`anae offices of the Legal Aid Society of Hawai`i from 1981 to 1983, serving disadvantaged Native Hawaiian communities.
Hustace v. Kapuni
Represented Native Hawaiian family in precedential case, articulating the due process requirements that must be met in quiet title lawsuits aimed at securing ownership of Native Hawaiian-owned land through adverse possession.
Napeahi v. Paty
Argued successfully for precedent that submerged lands are part of the public ceded lands trust and thereby subject to the land claims of Native Hawaiians.
Successfully represented a Hawaiian family in its petition before the Land Use Commission against plans by the Kahala Capital Corp. to construct a resort and golf course complex in areas that have been used by the family for nine generations. The LUC rejected the developer’s proposal and Kahala Capital appealed the decision to the circuit court. The court affirmed the LUC’s decision and the developer has not appealed.
Fishermen in Miloli‘i
Alan represented fishermen in Miloli‘i, the last traditional fishing village in the state. Their fishing grounds were threatened by a massive development in Ka‘u, initially approved by the State Land Use Commission. Alan successfully appealed that decision, which was reversed for failure to adequately consider and account for the impacts of the planned marina on these fishing grounds.
- Contributor, Native Hawaiian Rights Handbook
Awards and Recognition
- Hawai‘inuiākea School of Hawaiian Knowledge, “I Ulu I Ke Kumu” Award (2011)
- National Asian Pacific American Bar Association (“NAPBA”) Trailblazer Award (2007)
- In 1999, the state wide organization of the Hawaiian Civic Clubs honored Mr. Murakami for his legal advocacy to Native Hawaiians, especially beneficiaries of the Hawaiian Home Lands Trust.
- Hawai`i Advisory Committee to the United States Commission on Civil Rights
- Japanese American Citizens League
- National board member for the Rural Community Assistance Corporation and the Community Based Economic Development
- University of California at Davis (J.D. 1978)
- University of Hawaii (M.A., Economics, 1975)
- University of Santa Clara (B.A., Economics, 1971)
David Frankel joined NHLC in 2006 as a staff attorney. At NHLC, David focuses on Native Rights cases. Before NHLC, David worked as a staff attorney at Legal Aid and served as director of the Sierra Club Hawai’i Chapter from 1996-1998. He has worked within state government as well, as a planning and policy analyst for the Office of State Planning, committee clerk for the State House of Representatives, and legislative auditor for the County of Hawai’i.
In Kaleikini v. Thielen, David recently persuaded the state Supreme Court to overturn a lower appellate court, and rule that Native Hawaiians have the right to challenge, through an administrative hearing, a developer’s plans for how to treat Native Hawaiian burials.
He also obtained a settlement, on behalf of Jimmy Helenihi, under which the Department of Hawaiian Home Lands will be awarding leases for three Panaewa agricultural lots that have remained fallow for nearly a quarter-century.
David has helped protect burial and cultural sites at Pāo`o (“SECRETS”) on the Kohala Coastline from development; obtained a change in the land use designation just south of the Kaloko Honokōhau National Historical Park from urban expansion to open, thereby providing greater protection of cultural resources; fought the now-defunct resort proposals at Punalu`u and Honokōhau on Hawai`i Island; successfully prevented subdivisions that jeopardized cultural resources in Ka`u and La`au; and blocked drainage projects that jeopardized limu beds in Ewa.
- Protecting Paradise: A Citizen’s Guide to Land & Water Use Controls in Hawai`i (Dolphin Press, 1997)
- Enforcement of Environmental Laws in Hawai`i, 16 University of Hawai`i Law Review 85 (Summer 1994)
- The Hawai`i Supreme Court: An Overview, 14 University of Hawai`i Law Review 5 (Summer 1992)
- An Analysis of Hawai`i’s Superfund Law, 1990, 13 University of Hawai`i Law Review 301 (Summer 1991)
- William S. Richardson School of Law (J.D. 1992)
- University of Hawa’i, (M.A., Urban and Regional Planning, 1993)
- Carleton College (B.A., Russian Studies, 1985)
Andrew Sprenger concentrates on Native Hawaiian land title matters. He has been with Native Hawaiian Legal Corporation since 2002.
Prior to his work with NHLC, Andrew worked as an attorney for legal services offices in the Navajo Nation and in the Federated States of Micronesia.
Andrew has also worked as a staff attorney for U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit where he primarily reviewed civil rights, habeas corpus and environmental appeals for the bench. He is a member of the Hawaii State Bar, the New Mexico State Bar, the Navajo Nation Bar, and is licensed to practice in the Supreme Court of the Federated States of Micronesia and the island state of Pohnpei, FSM.
Blocked the sale of a 100-acre parcel of ancestral Hawaiian land near the Kona airport and secured the preservation of 92 acres, worth over $9 million, for a Native Hawaiian family trust.
Defended Native Hawaiian family with claims to a six-acre parcel of former sugar cane land in North Kohala against a quiet title action brought by a development corporation. Prevented a forced sale of this parcel of land.
Litigated influential federal civil rights action seeking to prevent Kaiser Permanente from destroying ‘iewe (a Native Hawaiian child’s placenta traditionally cleaned or buried after the child’s birth,as part of an important ritual ), pursuant to State infectious waste policy.
Obtained a settlement agreement between the State of Hawaii’s Department of Public Safety and a private prison to allow Native Hawaiian practitioners to practice religion in a facility in Oklahoma.
- New Mexico
- Navajo Nation Bar
- Staff Attorney, Micronesian Legal Services Corporation (1998-2002)
- Staff Attorney, United States Court of Appeals (1993-1998)
- Staff Attorney, DNA-People’s Legal Services, Incorporated (1990-1993)
- Mercer University School of Law (J.D. 1990)
- University of Florida (B.A., Journalism, 1987)
Camille Kalama serves as NHLC's intake attorney, handling all inquiries for legal services. She joined NHLC as a staff attorney in 2006 after clerking for one year at the Hawaii Supreme Court. Camille views her work with NHLC—to protect and preserve native rights and resources—as her kuleana or responsibility as a Native Hawaiian. At NHLC, Camille focuses on Native Rights and Hawaiian Homes.
Prior to joining NHLC, Camille was involved in the Polynesian Voyaging Society and was named NCAA Woman Athlete of the Year for the state of Hawaii in 2001.
Defeated a motion for preliminary injunctive relief brought by Kim Taylor Reece, a professional photographer well-known for his depiction of hula dancers, against a Native Hawaiian artist.
Successfully challenged summary possession action against Native Hawaiian family in quiet title action.
Assisted a lessee with rebuilding his lot and maintaining his Hawaiian Home Lands lease.
- Chief Justice Ronald T.Y. Moon, Supreme Court of Hawaii (2005-2006)
The Hawaii State Bar Association (HSBA) selected Camille to serve as one of 15 fellows in its 2010 Leadership Institute. The Hawaii State Bar Association Leadership Institute encourages diversity among the leaders of the bar by recruiting and targeting members with a keen interest in expanding their talents and services to the bar and community at large.
- William S. Richardson School of Law (J.D. 2005)
- University of Hawaii (B.A., Geography, 2000)
Ashley Obrey joined NHLC as a staff attorney in 2010 after a clerkship with the Chief Justice of the Hawai'i Supreme Court. She recently coauthored an article addressing the promise of reconciliation for Native Hawaiians. Ms. Obrey also recently participated as a panelist at the Inaugural Hawai'i Fred Korematsu Day celebration where she discussed the status of the United States/Native Hawaiian initiative aimed at reparatory justice.
- CALI Excellence for the Future Highest Grade Awards in Appellate Advocacy, Historic Preservation, Reparations, and Race, Culture and the Law
- Best Brief Award in Appellate Advocacy
- University of Hawai`i Law Review
- Chief Justice Ronald T.Y. Moon, Supreme Court of Hawai’i (August 2009-August 2010)
- Earthjustice Law Clerk (Summer 2008)
- Equal Justice Society Scholar Advocate (Summer 2007)
- Prospects for Reconciliation: The United States and Native Hawaiians (coauthored with Eric K. Yamamoto and Sara Lee), 6 World Association for Island Studies Journal 73 (2012).
- Reframing Redress: A "Social Healing Through Justice" Approach to United States-Native Hawaiian and Japan-Ainu Reconciliation Initiatives (coauthored with Eric K. Yamamoto), 16 Asian Am. L.J. 1 (2009)
- From Heart Mountain to Iraq: Lt. Watada and a Continuing Line of Resistance (coauthored with Eric K. Yamamoto), UCLA Amerasia Journal, Volume 13, Number 3 (2007)
- William S. Richardson School of Law (J.D. 2009)
- Pepperdine University (B.A., Journalism, magna cum laude, 2005)
David Kauila Kopper is a staff attorney at NHLC. He concentrates his practice on land title disputes with an emphasis on quiet title and partition actions, native tenant rights, burial site protection, government lease program disputes, summary possession actions and contract disputes.
Obtained humanitarian parole for a minor Tongan national so that he could be reunited with his hanai mother living in Hawai'i.
Successfully litigated a lawsuit against the Department of Land and Natural Resources to enforce two widows' rights to succeed to their deceased husbands' long term leases for property in Kahana Valley State Park.
Successfully negotiated resolutions of Department of Hawaiian Home Lands lease disputes.
- Fourth Place Overall, National Native American Law Student Association Moot Court Competition, Vermillion, South Dakota, February 2010
- CALI AWARD for Highest Grade, Jurisprudence, William S. Richardson School of Law, Fall, 2009
- CALI AWARD for Highest Grade, Real Property, William S. Richardson School of Law, Spring, 2008
- CALI AWARD for Highest Grade, Legal Practice II, William S. Richardson School of Law, Spring 2008
- Executive Editor for Publications, University of Hawai`i Law Review, 2008-2009
- Native American Moot Court Team, William S. Richardson School of Law, 2008-2009
- William S. Richardson School of Law (J.D., magna cum laude, 2010)
- Herberger College of Fine Arts, Arizona State University (B.M., Music Performance, magna cum laude, 2006)
Li‘ulā Nakama serves as NHLC's Director of Development and Marketing. She previously served as an intake attorney, handling inquiries at NHLC. Throughout law school and during her Post-JD Research Fellowship at Ka Huli Ao, Li‘ulā researched the Hawaiian Homes Commission Act, the empowerment of Hawaiian Home Lands community associations, and the future of these lands in a post-Akaka Bill society. She graduated from the William S. Richardson School of Law with a Pacific Asian Legal Studies Certificate with a Specialty in Native Hawaiian Law. She previously worked for NHLC as a summer law clerk in 2007.
- Hawai‘i State Bar Association
- Native Hawaiian Bar Association
- Phi Beta Kappa Academic Honor Society
- CALI Award for Highest Grade, Environmental Law, William S. Richardson School of Law, Fall 2007
- CALI Award for Highest Grade, Legal Practice, William S. Richardson School of Law, Fall 2006
- Renewable Energy Project Assistant, Hawai‘i State Energy Office (2010-2011)
- Post-J.D. Research Fellow, Ka Huli Ao Center for Excellence in Native Hawaiian Law (2009-2010)
- William S. Richardson School of Law (J.D., cum laude, 2009)
- University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa (B.A., Ethnic Studies, 2005)
Native Hawaiian Legal Corporation was born during a period of reawakening for the Hawaiian people. During the 1970s, Native Hawaiians were engaged in monumental land struggles. They were increasingly evicted from rural areas to make way for residential or tourist-related developments (Kalama Valley and Makua Valley). They were also evicted from one of the last fishing villages on O’ahu so that the State could build an industrial park. By the second half of that decade, Native Hawaiians were protesting the military’s use of the island of Kaho‘olawe as a bombing target. Meanwhile, a renaissance in Hawaiian culture was blossoming. Native Hawaiians were learning how to navigate across the Pacific using traditional methods aboard Hokule’a, a replica of voyaging canoes used by pre-historic Polynesians. They were revitalizing the indigenous language, which was outlawed shortly after the overthrow of the Hawaiian government.
This reawakening was another phase of dealing with a legacy of colonization. The Native Hawaiian people, who inhabited these islands as early as 300 A.D., had a complex culture and land tenure system. Recognized as a nation in the international community, the Native Hawaiian monarchy had treatises with other countries. But with Western contact, their sovereignty slowly eroded until a group of businessmen, supported by the U.S., overthrew the Native Hawaiian monarchy in 1893.
The loss of sovereignty and their lands have plagued Native Hawaiians. The U.S. recognized that lands set aside by the Hawaiian Monarchy for the benefit of the Hawaiian people (or ceded lands) retained a special character, and until today must be used for the betterment of Native Hawaiians. And the U.S. also adopted a law, the Hawaiian Homes Commission Act, aimed at returning Native Hawaiians to the land. But justice was still out of reach.
As part of a grassroots effort to remedy the injustices suffered by Native Hawaiians, NHLC was formed in 1974. The concept of creating a law firm devoted to the needs of Native Hawaiians arose out of the difficulty Native Hawaiians faced in getting leases under the Hawaiian Homes Commission Act. Those lands were increasingly being leased to non-beneficiaries of the Act, while Native Hawaiians languished on a waiting list for decades. Originally named the “Hawaiian Coalition of Native Claims,” the organization fought against a then-new wave of dispossession from the land to make way for a boom in urban development. Since then, NHLC has worked steadily to establish Native Hawaiian rights jurisprudence.
“Over the years, what we have done is we’ve been able to establish that these practices are credible, that they exist, and that they need to protected.”
The Board of the Native Hawaiian Legal Corporation provides leadership and raises funds for the organization. Each board member serves a term of four years.
- Paul Nahoa Lucas, Esq.,President
- Keith Lee, Esq.,Vice President
- Paula Chong, Esq.,Secretary
- Stacy Rezentes, Esq.,Treasurer
- Pua Burgess
- Roy Catalani, Esq.
- The Honorable Walter Heen
- Sabra Kauka
- Jon Matsuoka
- Robert Merce
- Adrian Rosehill, Esq.
- Teresa Tico, Esq.
SPOTLIGHT ON NEW BOARD MEMBERS
NHLC recently welcomed three individuals to its Board: Puanani Burgess, Roy Catalani, and Teresa Tico. These new Board members explain why they wanted to serve on NHLC’s Board.
Community Development Consultant
It is an honor to serve an organization, whose reach and impact on the lives of Native Hawaiian people, families and communities is without parallel.
My first introduction to NHLC was over thirty years ago during the time of the resistance to the building of West Beach in the Ewa Plain. It was a complex, emotional and precedent-setting case which impacted the ways communities negotiated, utilized the legal and administrative procedures and systems to have our ideas about what we wanted and did not want in or near the Wai’anae Coast Community respected and heard. Alan Murakami was our attorney, adviser, champion and friend. He respected the community’s right to decide its fate and supported us, although I’m sure the decision to negotiate a settlement caused him pain. Ultimately, we did not “win” the case and settled out of court with the West Beach developers, which had its positives and negatives. The positive, was that the community-based economic development movement gained momentum and recognition as a viable and necessary process for community control of its resources and economic development.
Many communities became self-determining and developed community development organizations and projects. In Wai’anae: Wai’anae Coast Community Alternative Development Corporation was born which developed backyard aquaculture which continues in Wai’anae and other places in Hawai’i, Samoa, Dudley Street Neighborhood in Boston. Ka’ala and Hoa ‘Aina O Makaha blossomed and the State developed the Community Based Economic Development Program. All of this came out of the work of NHLC and its dedicated and courageous staff and board.
Many other projects and businesses were developed through the CBED movement throughout Hawai’i. Mahalo.
For this and in gratitude for the many other instances of NHLC’s powerful advocacy and legal representation, I would like to reciprocate and help bring a community perspective to the board and my experience in donor development and fund raising to help develop resources for the coninuation of NHLC’s ongoing commitment to the well-being of ative Hawaiians and the ‘Aina.
I support the mission and practice of NHLC and want to work on its behalf as a way of continuing my own service to the Po’e Hawai’i.
I am committed to developing a community that is grounded in justice. This includes a commitment to asserting, protecting and defending native Hawaiian rights to land, natural resources and rightful entitlements.
I am certainly not an expert on asserting the rights of native Hawaiians. However, I am not unfamiliar with Native Hawaiian rights related to water, land and other natural resources. I served on the Land Use Commission for eight years (from 1997 to 2005) and during that time, authored an article on the Land Use Commission, with Professor Casey Jarman, recognizing, among other things, that one of the foremost challenges of the Commission is the integration of traditional and native Hawaiian rights with western private property laws.
I am also familiar with and joined in the struggle for justice by others of our community. For example, I have represented, pro bono, persons from foreign countries seeking political asylum in the United States. I served as co-counsel (again, pro bono) in representing Americans of Japanese ancestry that were evicted from their farms in Kahuku and Puunene during World War II and, in 1997 and 1998, respectively, obtained an apology and financial redress from the U.S. government for these communities under the Civil Liberties Act of 1988. I have also publically supported, as a business leader, civil unions and the very recent House Bill 444 currently before the Governor.
I seek to serve on the NHLC Board simply because I believe that we have not yet, as a State or as a community, made right the illegal overthrow of the Kingdom of Hawai’i. Although I believe that the cause has always been right, I also believe that the native Hawaiian community must, as part of its sovereignty, choose its own leaders and advisors. Now that I have been asked to do so, I seek to so serve, with a deep sense of humility and respect for NHLC and the communities and people it serves.
With my background in litigating kuleana rights issues, I have a fairly comprehensive understanding of the history and complexity of these cases. For the past 10 years, I have been representing a family who owns a kuleana at Pila’a, Kaua’i, and whose kuleana rights have been challenged by the owner of the ahupua’a.
Kuleana rights are being challenged in our appellate courts today, and have already been eroded throughout the past century. These rights are integral to “Preserving, Protecting and Defending Native Hawaiian Rights To Land, Natural Resources, and Related Entitlements,” the mission of NHLC, and to Hawaii’s cultural identity. If we are not diligent, they will continue to be eroded. I would like to be on the front line in the campaign to preserve, protect and restore kuleana rights.
Airport Lei Sellers Association Keola Akana Julian Ako Malia Akutagawa Liberta Albao In honor of Alan Murakami Nancy Aleck In memory of Chuck Frankel Rodney C. Amian Becky Ashizawa In memory of Uncle Sonny Kaniho, Aunty Irene Torrey & Uncle Jimmy Akiona John & Maile Bay Mark & Missy Beavers In honor of NHLC Mona Bernardino Richard Bidgen Puanani Burgess On behalf of my family Catherine Butler Fred Cachola Central Pacific Bank Catherine Chang In honor of Melody MacKenzie Anna Chavez & Eugene Eidenberg In honor of the people of Kaua`i, protecting sacred grounds of Native Hawaiian sites, culture and environmental health for all Lynn Ching Paula Chong In memory of Dorothy Kamakaokalehua Passos Stefanie Chong-Kuma Choo Osada & Lee Cathy & Lowell Chun-Hoon Dedicated to Melody MacKenzie Irene Cordeiro-Vierra Tara M. Deponte Elizabeth Daoang Yvonne DeLuz Dolores Furtado Martin Foundation In memory of Ernest "Juggie" Heen Duane & Beverly Donovan Tom Dye In memory of Dr. Marc Gregory E. Enomoto Dawn Farm-Ramsey Martha Evans Finance Factors Foundation Alice D. Fisher Pearl Ling & Jeff Fleener Larry Foster Friends of Maile Shimabukuro Jean Fukuji Stephen, Maylyn & Makanalani Gomes In memory of Julia Malia Gomes Art Goto Sunny Greer In memory of Papa Henry Allen Auwae Sherie & James Gusukuma Moses & Lynn Haia Elizabeth Han Brook Hart Hawaii Community Stewardship Network Hawaiian Organics Nancy Hedlund In memory of Aunty Beatrice Kekahuna Walter Heen David Henkin Eden Elizabeth Hifo Karen Holt William Hoshijo Bertha Huihui Thelma Kaahui In memory of Abraham Kaahui Eunice Ishiki-Kalahele Robert Gilbert Johnston Nancy Walsh Jones In honor of all the Hawaiian Homes beneficiares who continue to wait for lots Charles Ka`ai`ai Bonita Chang & Kyle Kajihiro Lori Kanaeholo Tomie Kaniho Sabra Kauka In honor of Alan Murakami Arn & Sandy Kawano Sally & Robin Kaye Gladys Kotaki Ward & Karen Kotaki Winona Kukona Kukula Pono Guye Lee Keith & Brenda Lee Lee & Sakumoto Ian Lind Gina Lobaco In honor of Bob Merce & Teri Tico Paul F. N. Lucas Melody MacKenzie In honor of Alan Murakami & his 30 years of service at NHLC! Kepa Maly Martha Martin Lucy Matsuda In honor of grantors of Kahanu Garden Lynne Matusow Patricia Mau-Shimizu Ron McOmber In memory of Phyllis McOmber Susan Malterre-Htun Diane Mark Bob & Marian Merce Jamee Miller Lee Miller Leimomi Morgan Steve Moore Albert Morita Alan Murakami Carol Muranaka Dana Naone Hall Julia Neumann Robert Nip Stephen Obrey Carleen Ornellas Leighton K. Oshima Mary C. Osorio Charles Palakiko Patricia Robb Sherryl Royce John Robert Sabas Dana & Kurt Sato Brian Smith Laura Smith Art Spencer In memory Herbert & Hazel Nobrega Spencer Oswald Stender Cynthia Surrisi Miwa Tamanaha Teresa Tico Clifford Wassman The Way Trust Mahealani & Ed Wendt Laureen Wong Michael J.Y. Wong, Esq. Napali Woode WSDC Foundation Eric Yamamoto Ian Yee Bryant Zane
Millie Ahloy William & Melva Aila Linda Alicea Carlos Andrade Anonymous In memory of Robert Paul Dye Anonymous On behalf of Kauai Anonymous On behalf of Kauai Anonymous Dedicated to Laulani Teale. In honor of her birthday Anonymous Dedicated to Nahoa Canoe Club Anonymous For Sharla Manley Becky & Carl Ashizawa In memory of Uncle Sonny Kaniho and Aunty Irene Torrey Carl Ashizawa Joanie Bagood On behalf of those who care for Mokauea Island (past & present) Melissa Beavers Anderson & Shiela Black Jyo Bridgewater-Borg Leimomi Brigoli Fred Cachola In Honor of Kupaainalua & Halulukamanaoualanipili Dayne-Raynard, Kennedy & Annika Carlson Carol-Louise & Steve Carper Roy Catalani Dawn Chang Hookano Family Land Trust Wehilani Ching Paula Chong Stefanie Chong-Kuma Daniel & Wendy Coats David Cruz Lori & Russell Cruz Keala Dolor-Tripp In memory of Martha Mileka Kahanu Iwanaga Lincoln Drake Thomas Dye In memory of Robert Paul Dye Martha & Andrew Evans Priscilla Falk Finance Factors Foundation David Frankel Joseph & Shellene Gilman Butch Gima On behalf of Lanaians for Sensible Growth Maggie, Ikaika & Bishop Gomes In memory of Julia Malia Gomes Stephen, Maylyn & Makana Gomes In memory of Julia Gomes Teresa Gomes In memory of Julia Gomes Ariela Gross In honor of Sharla Manley Barbara Haia Courtney Lee Haia Thomas Haia & Family In memory of Moses K. N. Haia, Jr and Gertrude T. Haia Carlton Handley Robert & Pearl Hill Lea Hong Charlene Huffman Anni Huynh Mitchell Imanaka Sharon Inada Tania Joao Jonathan Starr Foundation Camille Kalama Walea Kalama Winona Kamai Eric Kapono Jamae Kawauchi Robin & Sally Kaye Marilyn Khan Robert Klein On behalf of Klein Ohana Helene Kuaana Marty Kuala Keith & Brenda Lee Rhona-Joy Lubomirski Iwalani Lum Kepa & Onaona Maly Sharla Manley Diane Mark Louise Mata Kawika McKeague In memory of Kahoonei Panoke Pat McManaman Ron & Phyllis McOmber Heidi Meeker Bernadette “Gigi” Miranda Dedicated to Laulani Teale. In honor of her birthday Albert Morita Laura & Jerry Mueller John & Christine Mumford Alan Murakami Devon Myers On behalf of Devon Myers & Stephen Liu Stephanie Nagata Liula Nakama Beverly Nakamoto Anthony Ornellas Carleen Ornellas For my grandchildren who have to live on the continent for now Kale Ornellas Kanoe Ornellas Kino & Tara Ornellas Kelli Perreira Robert & Delilah Perreira William S.K.A Perreira Jodi Pestello On behalf of Trenton Wailehua Fairfax Reilly Ruel Reyes Glenn Reys Adrian Rosehill In honor of Ambrose J. Rosehill Kelea Sandfort Laura Sato Kevin Smith Scott & Kristen Smutz Art Spencer Dedicated to Herbert & Hazel Nobrega Spencer. Andrew Sprenger & Cindy Kagiwada Melvin & Shirley Suganuma Raynette Suganuma-Carlson In memory of Raymond and Maria K . Suganuma Raynette Suganuma-Carlson Laulani Teale Janet Templo Diane Texidor Reno Villaren Sheryl Vuillemot Trenton Wailehua Lattisha Wallace Edward & Mahealani Wendt Evern Williams On behalf of Haumea Eric Yamamoto Debbie Yoshizumi
For the past ten years at the Council for Native Hawaiian Advancement's Annual Convention, NHLC has presented the Native Hawaiian Community Advocate Award recognizing outstanding individuals with a personal contribution to Native Hawaiian rights and leadership.
NHLC is pleased to award its 2013 Native Hawaiian Advocate of the Year Award to Mac Poepoe. Uncle Mac noted the slow decline of fish and shoreline species, and in the early nineties, consulted with other Molokaʻi fishermen to bring about a change. That decision led to the creation of the Hui Malama o Moʻomomi, a grassroots organization dedicated to conserving and maintaining resources, and returning to the traditional Hawaiian best practices of resource management. He has revitalized the Northwest coastline of Molokaʻi from ‘Ilio Point to Nihoa, and trained many people from young to old about the importance of konohiki thinking. It has been a challenge to redirect attitudes from the Western view of “individual rights” to the Hawaiian view of “for the next generations”, but his determination to continue the effort of malama ‘aina has resulted in an awareness, not only in his own community on Molokaʻi, but many communities throughout the state and internationally, about the importance of Hawaiian-style stewardship and community self-management.
Native Hawaiian Legal Corporation awarded Ed Wendt its 2012 Native Hawaiian Community Advocate of the Year Award for his tireless struggle on behalf of himself and Wailuanui/Ke`anae kalo farmers, gatherers, and fishers seeking to enforce their constitutional rights to pursue their Hawaiian traditions and customs dependent on free-flowing streams. This award recognizes Ed's decades-long struggle against the 4th largest landowner in Hawai`i, Alexander and Baldwin (A&B), which is the largest private diverter of water in the United States. With permission of the State of Hawai`i, A&B, through its subsidiary East Maui Irrigation Company, has diverted over 100 East Maui streams collected on 33,000 acres of conservation lands. A&B uses this water to irrigate 27,000 acres of sugar cane fields managed by another A&B subsidiary, Hawaiian Commercial & Sugar plantation, the last of dozens of plantations that once operated in Hawai`i. Ed is President of Na Moku Aupuni O Ko`olau Hui, the community organization he helped found in the 1990's to oppose the continuing diversions of water that was sapping the culture and spirit of his community.
NHLC is especially pleased and honored to present the 2011 Community Advocate Of The Year, Dana Naone Hall.
Dana is one of the founding members of Hui Ala Nui O Makena, an organization dedicated to the protection and preservation of historical, cultural and native Hawaiian rights. Her more than thirty years of advocacy has produced impressive results that we all have benefitted from. She successfully fought the closure of that part of the alanui fronting Seibu’s Maui Prince Hotel and, in the process, protected the area’s rich coastal resources. She was also instrumental in efforts to relocate the Ritz Carlton Hotel away from the shoreline dunes at Honokahua. Her work in that case led to significant protections for iwi kupuna. She also successfully opposed a private golf course development slated for the Waihe’e shoreline, an area rich with archeological and cultural sites. Because of her dedication, that important cultural landscape will be preserved in perpetuity. Dana has also served with distinction as a member of the Maui-Lanai-Molokai Islands Burial Council. As a member, vice-chair, and chair, she established an impressive record of resolving very contentious matters involving development projects and native Hawaiian burials.
Dana has no need for official recognition of her more than three decades of tireless and very effective advocacy on behalf of Native Hawaiians. Dana continues to step up because of her sense of justice and unflinching courage under fire. She is an inspiration to us, she holds a very special place in Hawai‘i’s history, and our recognition and acknowledgement of that is long overdue.
In 2010, NHLC presented its Community Advocate of the Year Award to two cousins from Honopou, island of Maui, Hawai`i - Beatrice Kekahuna and Marjorie Wallett (posthumous). Honopou is one of the few remaining natural areas of Hawai`i that directly supported the ancient traditions and customs of Hawaiians. Beatrice and Marjorie were the stalwarts of Hawaiian traditional and customary use of Honopou Stream. They were raised in Honopou, helping their families survive on the bounty that the stream provided in supporting taro growing, native stream life, and the fresh water interface with the ocean so vital to the gathering and fishing traditions of the coastline.
Beatrice Pualani (Kepani) Kekahuna, also known as (Aunty) Nani, was born on June 3, 1932 to Juliana (Koko) and Lokana Kepani in Huelo, Maui, Hawaii. She was the second youngest in a family of 12 children. She had a humble upbringing on the east side of Maui. As children, she and her siblings would explore the valleys near their home, following the fresh water streams to the ocean. Taking care of taro patches was a way of life for them. In turn, the taro provided food for such a large family. These waters also fed the opa`e, hihiwai and o`opu on which she was raised. They also nurtured the fisheries on the East Maui coast which provided her ohana an important source of food. Her early life in East Maui gave her an intense appreciation for how water sustains life. She was brought up to believe if you took care of the land, the land will take care of you.
To this day, she is still cultivating taro as well, yet many things have changed from her childhood days. The diversion of our natural streams by giant agribusiness interests has made it difficult to maintain the taro patches that used to flourish during her childhood. Without enough water, the taro will not grow properly. Without access to home-grown taro or the fish, o`opu, opa`e and hihiwai she once regularly gathered, she sees tradition slipping away. This is why Beatrice is also active in the pursuit of water rights for taro farmers and gathering/fishing rights for subsistence gatherers.
No small part of NHLC’s ability to sustain its representation of East Maui residents is dependent on people like Aunty Beatrice and her recently departed cousin Marjorie Wallett. They stepped forward when they saw their streams dying from diversions meant to grow sugar. Aunty Beatrice’s warmth, patience, and persistence has been undiminished against the economic forces of the 12th largest landowner in the state and state government officials who are too often influenced by powerful political and economic forces. Her dedication to this cause has been inspiring, effective, and we express our deepest and sincere appreciation to her. Mahalo Aunty Beatrice!
Aunty Marjorie Wallett was born on March 28, 1932 in Honokohau, Maui. When she was about ten years old, the family moved to Honopou where they learned to work in the kalo lo’i. This area on Maui is the land base for one of the few remaining vestiges of Native Hawaiian culture and tradition. It is under assault from the economic and political forces that threaten to disrupt the practices that have sustained our way of life for centuries. When Aunty Marjorie moved back to Honopou after working on the mainland for 30 years, taro farming appeared to be dying off – the victim of diminishing water in the streams due to diversions by HC&S and A&B.
So when the concern for protecting our water rights arose, she didn’t hesitate to defend the rights of kalo farming on Honopou Stream and the streams of East Maui. In 2001, she was one of NHLC’s clients, who stepped up to launch the first formal challenge to water permits then being regularly issued by BLNR each year, as well as to demand the restoration of stream flow by the CWRM. During all of the many hearings and meetings held since then, her quiet nature belied the gentle ferocity with which she persisted in demonstrating her resolve.
Aunty Marjorie died on April 3, 2010 after a short illness. While she lived to see the CWRM take action to partially restore Honopou, today, her work to implement that decision—to give it meaning—continues through her daughter Lyn Scott. Attorneys at NHLC have rededicated their efforts to making stream restoration a reality in her memory.