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January 2007

Hawai`i News

The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals Rules in Favor of the Kamehameha Schools

By Rochelle delaCruz

Students at the Kamehameha Schools-Kāpalama Campus with a portrait of Bernice Pauahi Bishop, as they await the announcement of the ruling.

Photo by Thomas Yoshida


An 8-7 decision by the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals upheld the Kamehameha Schools’ policy of giving Native Hawaiians preference for admission to the school established by the estate of Princess Bernice Pauahi Bishop in 1883. The en banc ruling reversed last year’s decision by a three-judge panel that had ruled in favor of a non-Hawaiian student who sued when he didn’t get accepted into the school. The unnamed student has since graduated from another high school and is completing his first semester in college, but his case continues.

The Kamehameha admissions policy has been under attack for several years by non-Hawaiians who believe that they also have a right to benefit from Pauahi’s charitable trust, funded by her $6.8 billion estate. Those demanding access argue that Kamehameha’s “racially exclusionary policy” is illegal and violates U.S. federal civil rights laws. However, those in favor of the policy maintain that this demand for access ignores certain legal and historical facts: a) that the trust was established by Ke Ali`i Pauahi for her people in her last will and testament before the American takeover; b) that the U.S. overthrow of the Hawaiian monarchy in 1893 was itself illegal and c) that Native Hawaiians are still suffering from the effects of the illegal overthrow.

The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals agreed, with the key points of the ruling listed below:

  • All 15 judges acknowledged that Native Hawaiians suffer from severe socio-economic disadvantages.
  • All 15 judges believe that Kamehameha Schools should be commended for its work in trying to remedy these hardships.
  • All 15 judges acknowledged the validity of Kamehameha Schools’ mission, to improve the capability and well-being of Hawaiians through education.
  • All 15 judges acknowledged that Kamehameha Schools’ is completely private – and neither accepts nor seeks federal funding.
  • The ruling acknowledges Kamehameha’s unique history, as an institution founded during a time of Hawaiian sovereignty to remedy past harms and ongoing socio-economic and educational imbalances faced by the Hawaiian people.
  • The ruling acknowledges a special trust relationship between Congress and the indigenous people of Hawai`i.

Following the announcement of the ruling, Dee Jay Mailer, CEO of the Kamehameha Schools, said

Once again, we have to say mahalo palena `ole – gratitude beyond measure – to the thousands in our community who have expressed support for Kamehameha Schools and for the children we were founded to serve.  As this battle continues, we pledge to return your support by working harder than ever to extend the reach of this great legacy to as many haumana as we possibly can.

And Admiral Kihune, Chairman of the Kamehameha Schools Board of Trustees released the following statement:

Mahalo to all of you for coming to share our fantastic news today.  And mahalo to the judges of the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals, which ruled today that our policy is a permissible remedy for a specific people, the Native Hawaiian people.  The court recognized the circumstances that set us so firmly apart from a law that was enacted 150 years ago to protect newly freed slaves.  That we are a private institution founded during a time of Hawaiian sovereignty to remedy, through education, the imbalances endured by an indigenous people.  And that our mission has been recognized by Congress.

We are elated for the children we exist to serve.  The appeals panel today affirmed what we have always argued: that our policy, which is based on the intent of our founder Princess Bernice Pauahi Bishop, is legally justified and right.  It helps thousands and harms no one.

But we know that the fight is not over.  And we will do whatever is necessary to preserve our right to offer preference in admissions to children of Native Hawaiian ancestry.

Sacramento-based attorney Eric Grant, who is representing the plaintiff John Doe said, “The closeness of the decision bodes well for eventual resolution of the case by the U.S. Supreme Court.” He acknowledged that the high court takes only a small percentage of cases but thinks it will fit in with two other cases involving discrimination in Seattle and Kentucky schools.

According to the timetable set by the Supreme Court, a decision on whether it will hear an appeal could be made sometime in May or June.

The Kamehameha team in June 2006 after the hearing at the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals, from left: Trustees Diane Plotts and Constance Lau, attorney Kathleen Sullivan, Trustees Robert Kihune, J. Douglas Ing and Nainoa Thompson.

Photo by Ann Botticelli


Reflection on a Historical Moment in Time…

December 5, 2006

As the news spread among the students and faculty, it felt as though a heavy weight was lifted off the shoulders from the beneficiaries of Pauahi’s legacy. It was a sigh of relief; temporary as it may be. Although the court decision was close, it brought to an end to challenges against a legacy to perpetuate the education of children of Hawaiian ancestry.

An anticipated all-school assembly (K-12) took place the afternoon of December 5 at Kamehameha Schools Hawai‘i. It was a time to bring the entire ‘Ohana of the Kea‘au campus together to celebrate a historical moment in Kamehameha Schools history. With Kahu leading a prayer of thanks to Ke Akua, the entire student body was given the opportunity to express their emotions. From cheers and applause, to the oli mahalo by the upper Elementary students, a historical moment was celebrated.

As a graduate of Kamehameha Schools and a direct beneficiary of Pauahi’s legacy, I say mahalo to Ke Akua for the guidance and blessing in helping to fulfill the vision of Pauahi. ~Roy K. Alameida

Roy Alameida teaches at Kamehameha Schools--Kea`au on Hawai`i island.


The End of the Monarchy

By Roy Alameida

On January 17, 1893, as a quiet night fell across the Hawaiian Islands, the monarchy of the Hawaiian Kingdom came to an end. In protest, Queen Lili‘uokalani wrote: “I, Lili‘uokalani, by the Grace of God and under the Constitution of the Kingdom, Queen do hereby solemnly protest against any and all acts done against myself and the constitutional government of the Hawaiian Kingdom, certain persons claiming to have established a provisional government of and for this Kingdom. That I yield to the superior of the United States of America …” The Hawaiian monarchy came to an end with the Queen’s surrender. Despite widespread tensions and the menace posed by the presence of U.S. troops in front of ‘ Iolani Palace, the overthrow occurred without bloodshed. A Provisional Government was established with Sanford Dole, a American missionary descendant, as its president.

The lowering of the Hawaiian flag at the American takeover.
Click here for a larger image.

The Queen and her supporters did not give up easily. It was she, who with great dignity, argued that the kingdom was lost to people “who insisted upon hiding their notices under the guise of friendship for the Hawaiian people…They point to the noble causes of liberty and freedom,” she wrote. “Yet they [the Provisional Government] refuse to grant this liberty and freedom to the Hawaiian people.”

Arrested in 1895 and accused of misprision of treason, Lili‘uokalani was confined for eight months in a small room on the top floor of ‘ Iolani Palace. In Hawai‘i’s Story by Hawai‘i’s Queen, she wrote, “My own home became my prison.” It was during her confinement that she composed many songs, among them Ke Aloha O Ka Haku or The Queen’s Prayer, a song she wrote for her niece Princess Ka’iulani, heir apparent to the throne. Lili‘uokalani died in 1917 in Honolulu at the age of 79.


Ilima Piianaia, In Memoriam

By Laurence "Lonnie" Wiig

Recently we were saddened to learn of the death of Ilima Piianaia at the age of 59. She was the daughter of Annie and Abraham Piianaia. Perhaps some readers of the Northwest Hawai`i Times came to know Ilima in one capacity or another during her lifetime. She was involved in many aspects of the Hawaiian Renaissance, especially in the fields of education and government work. She was appointed Director of the Department of Hawaiian Homes Commission under Governor John Waihee and served in other offices on the Big Island and on O`ahu. I believe she made a number of journeys to promote inter-Polynesian understanding -- especially to Tahiti.

I remember Ilima having an eye for the humorous and keeping Hawai`i’s interests at heart.

I wrote the following eulogy to be read at the memorial service for Ilima Piianaia in December 2006 prior to her ashes being mixed in perpetuity with the soil and soul of Hawai`i in Nu`uanu Valley.

E Hawai`i, e ku`u one hanau e
O Hawai’i, O sands of my birth
Ku`u home kulaiwi nei
My native home

`Oli no au i na pono lani e
I rejoice in the blessings of heaven

E Hawai`i, aloha e.   E hau`oli na `opio o Hawai`i nei
Happy the youth of Hawai’i

‘Oli e! `Oli e!
Rejoice! Rejoice!

Mai na aheahe makani e pa mai nei
Gentle breezes blow

Mau ke aloha, no Hawai`i
Love always for Hawai’i.


Ilima –You are the white clouds talking to us from the blue skies over Nu`uanu
You are the happiness of plumeria and night blooming cereus at Punahou
You are waves lapping on the shores of O`ahu
You are the fragrance and beauty of pikake, maile, tuberose and orchid in Hilo. 

Ilima –You are the awareness of the vastness and importance of Polynesia
From Maori-land to Tahiti, Molokai to Rapa Nui.  

Ilima –Please walk with us again along the beaches of your beloved Hawai`i
Be with us again in our struggles in the State Capitol and the National Capitol
Share again the good times and explain to us the importance of friendship.  

Ilima Piianaia -- Mau ke aloha, no Hawai`i. Love Always for Hawai`i.

Laurence “Lonnie” Wiig
Da Pidgin Connekshun
Northwest Hawai`i Times


UH Football Team Gives Us Something To Be Proud Of

By Duane Shimogawa

University of Hawaii Football fans around the world won't know how monumental this season was until about 15 years from now. That's about how long it’s been since the Warriors won 11 games (1992). But this season, unlike the 1992 version of UH Football, can be duplicated in a jiffy.

Star quarterback Colt Brennan is the main reason why we should all be buying season tickets for next year as soon as they become available. Brennan and his star-studded cast teased Arizona St. in the first half of the Sheraton Hawaii Bowl. With a 10-3 lead, the Sun Devils looked as if they would be able to complete the upset, but then UH woke up and rose to the occasion.

In the end, UH took the 41-24 victory in front of a crowd of almost 45,000 screaming fans at Aloha Stadium. Along the way, Brennan also garnered the NCAA record for touchdowns in a season with 58. Meanwhile, head coach June Jones celebrated the win by becoming the winningest coach in UH history, surpassing Dick Tomey.

UH, who finished up this season at 11-3, gave us something to be proud of. Not only that, they also handed us a season to remember. And even if Brennan didn't walk away with the Heisman Trophy or the national title, there's still glimmering hope that next year will be the year!

Duane Shimogawa was the sports editor for the Garden Island newspaper on Kaua`i before moving to Yakima, Washington where he’s a news reporter for KNDO-TV.


Travel Alert!!
Booster Seat Law Takes Effect Jan. 1st

Going to Hawai`i with a keiki? A new statewide booster-seat law takes effect on Jan.1, 2007, requiring children between the ages of 4 and 7 to use a booster seat in a vehicle. Children taller than 4’9” are exceptions. Drivers who violate the law will face a $500 maximum fine, a mandatory court appearance, and must attend a four-hour safety class.

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