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What is a Ka Paʻakai analysis?

By Ashley K. Obrey, Senior Staff Attorney The “Ka Paʻakai” analysis is a legal framework that government agencies must follow when considering proposals that may impact the exercise of Native Hawaiian traditional and customary rights. Developed by the Hawaiʻi Supreme Court in Ka Paʻakai O Ka ʻĀina v. Land Use Comm’n, the three-part inquiry operationalizes constitutional protections for Native Hawaiian rights by requiring that state and county agencies conduct detailed investigations and make specific findings as to: The identity and scope of valued cultural historical, or natural resources in the…area, including the extent to which traditional customary native Hawaiian rights are ...

June 10, 2024|Categories: Access Rights, Ask NHLC, Traditional Practices|Tags: |

HI Supreme Court Concludes that State DOT, DHHL, and the Hawaiian Homes Commission Breached Trust Duties on Mauna Kea when DOT Seized Control of Access Road

DOT did not have the authority to unilaterally designate the [Mauna Kea Access Road] as a state highway. And although the record is unclear as to DHHL’s actions in 2018, it certainly should not have relinquished “control and jurisdiction” without consulting with the beneficiaries as required by 43 C.F.R. § 47. Such acquiescence deprived Native Hawaiian beneficiaries of income from and use of the land — an abandonment of mālama ‘āina, or care for the land. [Opinion at 41-42 (emphasis added)] On May 30, 2024, the Hawaiʻi Supreme Court issued a unanimous decision in favor of native Hawaiian beneficiaries ...

May 31, 2024|Categories: Access Rights, Hawaiian Home Lands, Mālama ʻĀina, Mauna Kea|Tags: |

NHLC welcomes its summer intern class of 2024

The Native Hawaiian Legal Corporation welcomes its 2024 Summer Students! NHLC’s experiential learning program welcomes undergraduate, law, and other graduate students throughout the year. Most are with NHLC during the summer. NHLC’s program is a unique opportunity for students to learn in an Indigenous-lead, Indigenous rights legal practice. Each summer the program welcomes students from across the country who have a passion for law, Indigenous justice, and pono stewardship of the ‘āina. This year's class include 6 law students and 8 undergraduate students representing 11 colleges and universities across the United States. NHLC is proud to be a part ...

May 29, 2024|Categories: Intern Program, NHLC News|

I lost my home in the August wildfires, and I haven’t been able to pay the mortgage since then. Could I lose my property to foreclosure?

By Sharla Manley, Of Counsel Attorney, Native Hawaiian Legal Corporation Native Hawaiian Legal Corporation (NHLC) started as an anti-eviction law firm aimed at addressing the crisis of Native Hawaiians increasingly being evicted from rural areas to make way for residential and industrial developments. Originally named the “Hawaiian Coalition of Native Claims,” the organization fought against a then-new wave of dispossession from the land to make way for a boom in urban development. The disaster resulting from the August 2023 wildfires threatens to dispossess Native Hawaiians again in a place that was once the capital of the Hawaiian nation. This spring ...

May 15, 2024|Categories: Ask NHLC, Disaster Recovery|Tags: |

Proposed Project Threatens Culturally, Ecologically Important Black Sands Beach

The Native Hawaiian Legal Corporation and the Center for Biological Diversity will appear before the Windward Planning Commission on Monday to urge commissioners to protect the natural resources, cultural practices and pristine landscape of the wahi pana of Punaluʻu, Kaʻū, from a 147-acre development.   The proposed Punaluʻu Village project would include 225 residential and vacation rental units, a retail and wellness center, and the rehabilitation of an existing golf course and tennis facilities. The resort would replace the now defunct Sea Mountain at Punaluʻu.   “Punaluʻu must be protected and we’ll fight this development tooth and nail,” said Maxx Phillips, Hawaiʻi ...

May 4, 2024|Categories: Access Rights, Mālama ʻĀina, NHLC News|Tags: |

On World IP Day, Celebrate Native Hawaiian & Other Indigenous Peoples’ IP Rights

By Makalika Naholowa’a, Executive Director April 26th marks World Intellectual Property Day. Intellectual property (“IP”) law creates intangible assets from inventions, creative expressions, trade identifiers like brand names and logos, and trade secrets. IP rules in the United States (“US”) have pre-colonial roots going back centuries in the British Isles and Europe.  As colonists from those societies established the US, they contemplated the recognition of intellectual property at the outset with specific reference in Article I, Section 8, Clause 8 of the Constitution, referred to by various names including the Intellectual Property Clause.    IP has evolved into a complex legal ...

April 26, 2024|Categories: Intellectual and Cultural Property|Tags: |

What is Huamakahikina?

Every spring, the week-long Merrie Monarch Festival celebrates King David Kalākaua and his legacy of reinstating the public practice of hula after it had been outlawed in the 1830s. In honor of this year’s 61st Merrie Monarch Festival, we are using this month’s column to provide general information about the Huamakahikina Declaration on the Integrity, Stewardship, & Protection of Hula. What is Huamakahikina? Huamakahikina is a coalition of Kumu Hula from Hawaiʻi, the continental United States, and various countries around the world and recognizes that Kumu Hula have a unique kuleana to the integrity, stewardship, and protection of hula. All ...

April 11, 2024|Categories: Ask NHLC, Traditional Practices|Tags: , |

How can a deceased owner sign a RoE to participate in the free Maui Wildfire Debris Removal program?

My ʻohana’s home burned down in the Lahaina wildfire. The property is owned by me and my deceased sibling. I want to sign up for the free Maui Wildfire Debris Removal program, but the county needs all owners to sign the Right-of-Entry Permit. What do I do? Do I have to participate in the debris removal program? By Liʻulā Christensen, NHLC Senior Staff Attorney The government debris removal program provides owners of homes lost in the Maui wildfires with debris removal paid for by FEMA and any insurance earmarked for debris removal. If there is no insurance, then the program ...

March 28, 2024|Categories: Ask NHLC, Disaster Recovery|Tags: |

Hawai‘i Law Restricting Midwives Challenged in Court

Native Hawaiian midwives and others sue state to block law that prevents them from serving communities in traditional ways. Today, the Center for Reproductive Rights and the Native Hawaiian Legal Corporation filed a case in the First Circuit Court of Hawai‘i challenging a new Midwifery Restriction Law that is preventing pregnant people in Hawai‘i from using skilled midwives for their pregnancies and births, as they have for generations. The Midwifery Restriction Law also endangers constitutionally protected Native Hawaiian traditional birthing practices. The nine plaintiffs include 3 midwives and 3 midwifery students who, under the Restriction Law, could now face criminalization for ...

February 27, 2024|Categories: Birthing, Traditional Practices|Tags: , |

The legacy of Clarabal v. the Department of Education

Six years ago this month, the first Hawaiian language rights case was heard by the Hawai‘i Supreme Court, Clarabal v. Department of Education. The oral argument was conducted in early February 2018, a month in which ‘ōlelo Hawai‘i is honored and celebrated.  At the heart of the case were two schoolchildren on Lāna‘i who were prohibited from communicating in ‘ōlelo Hawai‘i in the classroom. The Hawai‘i Supreme Court was asked by the Native Hawaiian Legal Corporation (NHLC) to decide that the State had a constitutional duty to provide reasonable and equal access to a Hawaiian language medium education to these ...

February 23, 2024|Categories: Traditional Practices|Tags: |
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