Hawaiian Affairs Caucus logo

February 2, 2021

 

Senator Lorraine R. Inouye, Chair
Senator Gilbert S. C. Keith-Agaran, Vice Chair
Members
Senate Committee on Water and Land

 

Subject:  Testimony in Opposition to SB690, Relating to Fishing, Wednesday, February 3, 2021 1:00P.M., Conference Room 229, by Zoom

 

Aloha, Senator Inouye, Vice Chair Riviere

The Hawaiian Affairs Caucus strongly urges the committee to oppose passage of SB690, Relating to Fishing, Community-Based Subsistence Fishing Areas; Community Approval, that would require approval  by at least fifty per cent of the residents of the affected community for designation of community-based subsistence fishing areas.

Providing such a provision is contrary to the intent of the Hawaii State Constitution, Section 7 as it imposes an unnecessary,  burdensome requirement on Native Hawaiians who seek to have community-based subsistence fishing areas for the purpose of reaffirming and protecting fishing practices customarily and traditionally exercised for purposes of native Hawaiian subsistence, culture, and religion.  Consider, too, that imposing such a requirement would be extremely difficult and would incur costs not affordable to those who do “subsistence” fishing.

We emphasize, too, that Native Hawaiians were the first people of Hawai’i.  Through their aloha, they welcomed all people to Hawai’i, but today, find themselves more and more being subjected to the will and value systems of others.  STOP, we should not be strangers in our land subjected to government rules that make it difficult to exercise our customary and traditional practices.

We view this kind of legislative adjustment inappropriate and changes the original intent proposed by the late great U.S. Senators Daniel Inouye and Daniel Akaka who truly recognized the rights of Native Hawaiians and urge your committee to not pass this bill.

Respectfully

JUANITA MAHIENAENA BROWN KAWAMOTO
Luna Ho’omalu (Chair)


References:

The Hawaii State Constitution, Section 7, states, “

Traditional and Customary Rights

The State reaffirms and shall protect all rights, customarily and traditionally exercised for subsistence, cultural and religious purposes and possessed by ahupua’a tenants who are descendants of native Hawaiians who inhabited the Hawaiian Islands prior to 1778, subject to the right of the State to regulate such rights.[1]

The Hawaiian Affairs Caucus of the Democratic Party of Hawai‘i platform states,

Hawaiian Culture and Traditional & Customary Practices

  • We urge the state to protect all rights, including intellectual property rights, and those customarily and traditionally exercised by Native Hawaiians cultural and religious purposes and for subsistence, including fishing and farming.
  • We support the rights of Native Hawaiians to practice their culture and religious beliefs on Hawai‘i lands and sacred sites and urge all governmental entities to ensure access to and protection of Native Hawaiian sacred sites and cultural resources.