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November 2004

Pacific Northwest News

Kau Inoa

By Rochelle delaCruz

Nearly two years ago, a group of Hawaiians gathered to discuss self-determination and agreed that the first step in this process was to identify Native Hawaiians, and so began Kau Inoa - to place your name. To sign up, Hawaiians must present a birth certificate or proof that they are registered with the Department of Hawaiian Home Lands, on the Hawaiian Registry or in Operation `Ohana. Those who are registered through Kau Inoa will then be able to participate in the formation of the new Hawaiian government.

Because of its resources, the State of Hawaii’s Office of Hawaiian Affairs (OHA) helps facilitate Kau Inoa, but it does not collect the information. This is done by Hawai`i Maoli, a non-profit entity of the Association of Hawaiian Civic Clubs, who cannot release any information without the permission of the registrant nor give the information to OHA.

In October 2005, OHA named six regional recruiters on the continent as Kau Inoa Outreach Coordinators: Sharon Ku`uipo Paulo for Southern California; Hanalei Aipoalani for Northern California; Lehua Vincent for Nevada; Regina Lynn Moses Mahiai-Hess for Oregon; Chester Mahelona for Texas and Danny Kaopuiki for Washington.

After a three-day training session in Honolulu, the coordinators are developing plans and programs for informing, educating and encouraging Native Hawaiians in their respective areas to sign up for Kau Inoa. According to the 2000 census, there are approximately 400,000 Native Hawaiians in the United States and 175,000 live outside of Hawai`i. There are an estimated 15,000 in Washington and 6,000 in Oregon. OHA believes that having in-state coordinators is the most effective way to reach Hawaiians who live outside of Hawai`i and is offering a small grants program which will enable individual groups such as Hawaiian civic clubs, canoe and hula hālau to earn money by helping with Kau Inoa signup efforts. Speaking in Seattle recently, Aulani Apoliona, OHA’s Kau Inoa Outreach Program manager, urged all off-island Hawaiians to register. “Perhaps you have no plans to return to Hawai`i,” she said, “but let’s keep that door open for your children and grandchildren, who may want to someday.”

For more information, contact Gina Mahiai-Hess in Oregon at (503) 810-2982 or gina@mahiaihula.com and Danny Kaopuiki in Washington at (206) 525-7492 or kaopu831@hotmail.com.

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