The illogic of giving all the net income to OHA is compounded by the fact that OHA is required to use these funds, not for all Hawaiians, but solely for “for the betterment of Native Hawaiians” as defined in the HHCA (50% or more Hawaiian blood). As discussed earlier, there are only about 52,000 native Hawaiians now living here and they are only about 5% of our population.
Should public school children have been deprived of funds so that 5% of the population can receive extra benefits?
Statewide enrollment for the public schools for the current year is 187,395. Hawaii DOE, Statistical Research & Analysis Section. In addition, the University of Hawaii system serves 71,000 to 72,000 students in credit and non-credit programs during fall 1998. UH News.
Since the public land trust was first created 100 years ago, its primary goal has been public education. This is shown in its requirement that the revenues and proceeds of the ceded lands “shall be used solely for the benefit of the inhabitants of the Hawaiian Islands for educational and other public purposes.”
Does it make sense to take trust funds intended for educational purposes and which would benefit the 258,000 students now in Hawaii’s public schools and colleges and give those funds to about 52,000 people whose only qualification is that they happen to have more than 50% Hawaiian ancestry?
Is that fair to the 86,000 Hawaiians of less than 50% blood quantum, many of whom attend or have children who attend, Hawaii’s public schools and colleges?
Is it fair to the 962,000 other citizens, many of whom also attend or have children who attend our public schools and colleges?
We believe that all children in Hawaii, whatever their ancestry, should be given equal opportunity to the best possible public education.
We believe the State, as Trustee of the public land trust, has violated and is continuing to violate its fiduciary duty to about 1,000,000 of its citizens by diverting all of the income from the ceded lands to the about 52,000 citizens who happen to have 50% or more Hawaiian blood.
All parents of children in the public schools (including those of Hawaiian ancestry) and all those who think public education is important to Hawaii’s economy should stand up and demand that this giveaway to OHA be stopped.
Such payments to OHA, whether in cash or in land, may be disastrous to the state, not only financially, but morally and socially.
What is at issue is public land and public money–your land and money, the land and money needed to educate children, run the state, house the homeless and care for the needy–Hawaiian and non-Hawaiian alike.