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Carmen “Hulu” Lindsey, Trustee, Maui

My heart is heavy because we, the Indigenous people of these islands have been gravely disrespected yet again.

You know from the media reports that the Speaker of House has steadfastly refused to allow OHA’s bills to be heard in the House. He is so strongly against lifting the restrictions on housing development on our three parcels along Ala Moana Boulevard in Hakuone that he won’t even allow a hearing!

Ask yourself what that says about our democracy.

Our lāhui and future generations of our beneficiaries would reap the benefits that would flow from OHA’s development of Hakuone. We see it as an economic engine, a place close to the urban core, where we can showcase our culture, allow families to thrive and encourage business growth. We believe it would be a positive step towards fulfilling our sacred mission to foster the wellbeing of Native Hawaiians. I am tired of seeing Kānaka Maoli dominate the statistics for houselessless, incarceration, and serious diseases. It breaks my heart to see children living with their parents in encampments and on sidewalks.

Our beloved monarch, Queen Liliʻuokalani did all she could to ensure the wellbeing of her people. Her statue graces the entrance to the State Capitol, but do you think our lawmakers give her wishes a second thought when they decide to deny her people a hearing in the House?

I don’t think so.

If they did, they would not be so cavalier about dismissing OHA’s bill – for the fourth time.

Let’s be clear: we are not asking for special treatment. We are asking for equal treatment. We are asking to be accorded the same privileges as the developers from the mainland whose towers continue to go up, unimpeded, just across from Hakuone.

Why are elected officials so accommodating to foreign investors and yet so afraid to allow Hawaiians to engage in development that would lift up our lāhui? Hakuone would be a crown jewel in downtown Honolulu, a place that is welcoming to all locals. Is that not something to celebrate and support?

Apparently not, according to the Speaker of the House and his supporters like Sen. Sharon Moriwaki who are very public in their opposition to OHA – even to the extent of spreading misinformation about our plans.

How can one person have a near despotic authority to suppress a bill that addresses the interests of 350,000 Hawaiians?

People flock to Hawai’i because of who we are: it is the culture of our people that attracts the tourist dollars that Hawaiʻi depends on. Yet, too many elected officials pay lip service to the value of our culture while denying us the right to be heard in the State House.

I understand that some Hawaiians do not want to vote because they feel doing so validates the illegal annexation of our islands.

But I beg you to consider this: not voting makes you irrelevant to the political process. It allows the people who hold power now to do as they please, secure in the knowledge that non-voting Hawaiians are not a threat to their positions.

If you care about securing your children’s future, if you care about fighting for justice, join us in making our voices heard at the ballot box in numbers they do not anticipate. Voting could not be easier. You will get your ballot in the mail. Make your choices and mail it back.

Go to https://olvr.hawaii.gov/register.aspx and make sure you and your ʻohana are registered to vote. We have power – if we choose to use it. I hope you will.