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Sovereignty in Action

Native Hawaiian advocates gather

The Obama administration and Sen. Daniel Akaka (D-HI) joined around 600 Native Hawaiian advocates at the largest annual gathering of Native Hawaiian organizations – the Native Hawaiian Convention.

This year’s topic was sovereignty in action, according to participant and Kalama`ula Mauka Homestead secretary Candice Davis-Bicoy. After attending the last Sovereign Councils of the Hawaiian Homesteads assembly, where she learned more about the Akaka bill, she said she attended the convention to learn more about politics.

Davis said she attended the debate between Democratic candidate Neil Abercrombie and Republican Duke Aiona, to learn “which governor is going to address Native Hawaiian issues, and homesteaders’ issues.”

“I’m still an opio [youth], most issues were discussed on a higher level with kupuna,” she said. “As an opio I appreciated being at that conference, to take in all that knowledge – what is pono, what is the right way to go.”

language and culture,” Ahuja said of what she learned from the convention. “There’s a number of charter schools to perpetrate that. We make sure the Department of Education knows about that, to make sure that doesn’t get lost.”

Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders are the fastest growing community in the U.S. – expected to make up 10 percent of the population by 2040, according to Ahuja. The initiative’s responsibility is to take the mana`o of groups like this, and work directly with 30 federal agencies to make sure their voices are heard.

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