(BIVN) – Two Kanaka Rangers who are heavily involved in the Beneficiary Trust Council and ʻAina Mauna Legacy issues went before the Office of Hawaiian Affairs in Hilo on Thursday, to update the Board of Trustees on pressing Hawaiian Home Lands matters.
Kepa Kaʻeo and Kalaniakea Wilson spoke during the Community Concerns portion of the OHA meeting held at Aunty Sally Kaleohano’s Lāʻau Hale.
Kaʻeo and Wilson have been busy on the Hawaiian Homes’ ʻAina Mauna lands for years. They organized data collection at the Hale O Kūhiō ranger station by the Mauna Kea Access Road since 2018 until the Department of Hawaiian Home Lands removed the structure this summer. They have since been active in the effort to stop the Thirty Meter Telescope planned for the summit area of Mauna Kea, but remain focused on getting Hawaiian Homes waitlisters on the land.
UPDATE (September 23) – Wilson later wanted clarify that “DHHL wait listers on Moku o Keawe are managing 63,000 acres on Hawaiian Homelands from 2014 in response to DLNR, DHHL, STATE of Hawaii and the University of Hawaii mismanaging Maunakea for decades from 1960,” he wrote.
“Live on the land, don’t die on the list,” is their motto.
Speaking on recent clashes with DHHL over unpermitted buildings, which resulted in the removal of Hale O Kūhiō, the dismantling of the keiki learning center near Puʻuhuluhulu, and the dispute over Mauna Kea Access Road jurisdiction, Kaʻeo pressed OHA for help.
“These things are uncalled for,” Kaʻeo said. “We need professional clarity. We do not want trustees or these other CEOs in these Native Hawaiian positions that want to attack, steal and lie about things that we know. We have the map in my backpack. This is what we carry. We know who owns the road.”
“Do you support the Beneficiary Trust Council and the communities of the Hawaiian homestead associations on this island, and our work?” asked Wilson, after presenting OHA with a thorough timeline of events.
“I have no power,” Wilson said. “I have no money. But I spent all my volunteer time trying to help all my family members that bring up concerns. We need action immediately. Don’t transfer the road from the beneficiaries on Moku o Keawe to the Department of Transportation. Please don’t support that. It’s our road. Keep it our road. We have the plan that we’ve been following, which is the ʻAinā Mauna Legacy plan. We have the community up there already to do the work. Just allow us to do the work and just stop law enforcement from harassing us. Stop government from harassing us and attacking us. Because we need to save our people. Our people are dying.”