• Moses Haia III

    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.

    Professional Affiliations

    • Hawaii State Bar Association
    • Native Hawaiian Bar Association
    • Hawaii State Bar Association, Board of Director
    • Hawaii Veterans Memorial Fund, Board of Director
    • U.S. Commission on Civil Rights - Hawaii Advisory Committee, Board of Director
    • Native Hawaiian Chamber of Commerce, Board of Director
    • Council for Native Hawaiian Advancement, Board of Director
    • Native American Rights Fund, Board of Director Chair (2012-2018)

    Past Positions

    • Staff Attorney, Native Hawaiian Advisory Council (1995 to 1997)

    Acknowledgements

    • In 2007, he was recognized by a major Honolulu daily newspaper as one of “10 Who Made A Difference”  for his work related to the protection and preservation of historic and cultural properties
    • Honolulu Star Advertiser, Insight Section, "Name in the News", 2016 - Recognized as the Executive Director of the Native Hawaiian Legal Corporation advocates for Hawaiians seeking to return to their lands.

    Publications

    • 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)

    Education

    • William S. Richardson School of Law (J.D. 1994)
    • University of Hawaii (B.A., Political Science, 1989)
  • Alan T. Murakami

    Alan Murakami began his service here as a staff attorney in 1985.  He became litigation director in 1990 and in 2014, became NHLC's Community Engagement Officer. As a staff attorney, Alan 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.

    Case Highlights

    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.

    Publications

    • 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.

    Professional Affiliations

    • 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

    Education

    • University of California at Davis (J.D. 1978)
    • University of Hawaii (M.A., Economics, 1975)
    • University of Santa Clara (B.A., Economics, 1971)
  • Camille Kalama

    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.

    Case Highlights

    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.

    Professional Affiliations

    • Hawaii State Bar Association
    • Native American Rights Fund, Board of Director

    Clerkships

    • Chief Justice Ronald T.Y. Moon, Supreme Court of Hawaii (2005-2006)

    Acknowledgements

    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.

    Education

    • William S. Richardson School of Law (J.D. 2005)
    • University of Hawaii (B.A., Geography, 2000)
  • David Kauila Kopper

    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.

    Case Highlights

    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.

    Acknowledgments

    • 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

    Past Positions

    • 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

    Education

    • 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 Kotaki

    Li‘ulā Kotaki joined NHLC in 2011 as a staff attorney. She previously served as NHLC's Director of Development and Marketing heading our fundraising efforts.  She also served as an intake attorney, handling legal 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.

    Professional Affiliations

    • Hawai‘i State Bar Association
    • Native Hawaiian Bar Association
    • Phi Beta Kappa Academic Honor Society

    Acknowledgements

    • 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

    Past Positions

    • 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)

    Education

    • William S. Richardson School of Law (J.D., cum laude, 2009)
    • University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa (B.A., Ethnic Studies, 2005)
  • Summer Sylva

    Summer Sylva has been a staff attorney at Native Hawaiian Legal Corporation (NHLC) since 2014. Her work with Hawaii’s only non-profit law firm dedicated to Native Hawaiian rights first began in 2005 as a summer law clerk. NHLC’s work motivated Summer’s efforts to organize Cornell University’s first native water law and public policy symposium. It also inspired her law journal publication chronicling Na Moku Aupuni O Ko‘olau Hui’s early legal efforts to perpetuate taro farming by combating commercial diversions that had dewatered East Maui streams and tributaries for over a century.

    After graduating from Cornell Law School in 2007, Summer practiced commercial and bankruptcy litigation in New York and New Jersey for an international law firm. Summer moved home in 2011 and continued her private practice in business, construction, and real estate matters.

    In 2014, Summer returned to NHLC to litigate the East Maui water case that inspired her legal scholarship a decade earlier. As lead counsel, Summer and NHLC’s dedicated team of staff and attorneys secured a landmark victory — completely restoring  streamflow to 10 streams and requiring 90-percent habitat recovery to 5 additional streams — in the state’s largest water rights case spanning 17 years of litigation. Summer also represents the cultural practitioners who sued the state for failing to protect ceded lands in Pohakuloa from the harmful effects of military training exercises. Earlier this year, a state court for the first time recognized “malama ‘aina” as a legal duty, and ruled that the state’s leasing and (mis)management of tens of thousands of acres of ceded lands to the U.S. Army violated that duty.

    Summer’s ongoing legal and other advocacy statewide includes efforts to protect Native Hawaiian land and water rights, sacred places, traditional and customary practices, Hawaiian entitlement programs, and prisoners’ rights.

    Publications

    • "Whistleblowers:  Are They Your Brother's Keeper?"  White Collar Defense Alert - February 17, 2011
    • "Court Rejects Product Liability Iinsurance Claim Against General Liability Policy" International Law Office's Product Liability USA Newsletter, April 3, 2008
    • "Indigenizing Water Law in the 21st Century:  Na Moku Aupuni O Ko`olau Hui, A Native Hawaiian Case Study", Cornell Jorunal of Law and Public Policy, Vol. 16 (3), Summer 2007
    • Co-Author (Look, Mele/Baruffi, Gigliola), "Health of Hawaiian Women", Pacific Health Dialog, Vol. 5 (2), September 1998

    Professional Affiliations

    • Hawai‘i State Bar Association
    • Native Hawaiian Bar Association, Board of Director
    • New York Bar Association
    • New Jersey State Bar Association
    • The Association of the Federal Bar of New Jersey
    • Waimānalo Health Center, Board of Director, Board Secretary (2000-2004)

    Past Positions

    • Litigation Associate, Bays Lung Rose & Holma (2011-2013)
    • Litigation Associate, Holland & Knight LLP (2006-2011)
    • Research Administrator, Hawaii Cancer Research Center, Research Corporation of the University of Hawaii (2001-2004)
    • Editorial Assistant, J. of Climate, Research Corporation of the University of Hawaii (2003)
    • Editorial Assistant, J. of Physical Oceanograph, Research Corporation of the University of Hawaii (1998 to 2004)
    • Women's Health Researcher, Queen's Health System (Summer/Fall 1997)

    Education

    • Cornell Law School (J.D., Public Law Certificate, 2007)
    • Barnard College-Columbia University (B.A., Political Science, 1997)

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