**Correction: I was just informed (at 4:55am this morning, 2/18) that SB609 is not dead and that the HWN/WLH committees have until March 5th to re-introduce this bill for decision making. It has to pass through both committees which will require a coordinated effort by its proponents but very possible nevertheless. Stay tuned as this process continues... Senate Bill 609 which proposed to remove the Protect Kaho`olawe `Ohana from the Kaho`olawe Island Reserve Commission and reduce the number of commissioners from 7 to 5 is dead. The measure was deleted from both the decision making meetings of the Hawaiian Affairs Committee and the Water, Land and Housing Committee schedule on 2/16 and 2/17 respectively. The video above is an excerpt from the hearing held on Saturday, Feb 12, 2011 of Gov. John Waihee. His testimony was given last and put the entire struggle for Kaho`olawe, the island's special status and the role played by the Protect Kaho`olawe `Ohana (PKO) into proper perspective. It was this testimony that killed SB609. Thanks to `Olelo Television for recording the entire hearing. This is not the end of the struggle though. SB609 brought attention to serious matters with the stewardship of Kaho`olawe. Over the coming months the PKO will need to tighten up their organizational structure and operate as a cohesive entity, especially in light of SB816 which apportions ten per cent of the conveyance tax to the Kaho`olawe rehabilitation trust fund and is progressing through the legislature.
On October 22, 2010, the 20th anniversary of stopping the bombing of Kanaloa Kaho‘olawe, presents the opportunity to reflect on what has been accomplished over the last 20 years and what is planned for Kaho‘olawe's future. The Protect Kaho‘olawe ‘Ohana (‘Ohana) together with the Kaho‘olawe Island Reserve Commission (KIRC) worked to restore the island's cultural and natural resources. More than 6,000 cultural practitioners, families, students, teachers and community groups were taken to Kaho‘olawe to experience the island and learn how be good stewards of the ‘āina. ‘Ohana members, volunteers and KIRC staff rededicated cultural sites, built new ones, and revived traditional cultural ceremonies. All this as a new generation steps forward to take responsibility to be kahu ‘āina and ‘ohana for Kaho‘olawe. Kanaloa Kaho‘olawe is in transition at this time. Under Hawai‘i law, the state of Hawai‘i holds the island in trust for eventual transfer to the sovereign Hawaiian entity when it is reestablished and recognized by the federal and state governments. Passage of the Akaka Bill begins the process that realizes the transfer of Kaho`olawe. The ‘Ohana will kick off the Year of Kanaloa Kaho‘olawe, from October 22, 2010 to October 22, 2011, with a celebration on Friday October 22nd at the University of Hawai‘i Mānoa Center for Hawaiian Studies Halau O Haumea from 5:30 pm to 9:00 pm. The event is free and the public is invited. The program will honor ‘Ohana members Geoge Helm and Kimo Mitchell, who gave their lives for the island, and all the members of the ‘Ohana who perservered for 14 long years after their disappearance to finally stop the bombing of the Kaho‘olawe. Organizers of the event plan to unveil a cultural plan that reestablishes Kanaloa Kaho‘olawe to its original sacred status as an center for learning indigenous Hawaiian knowledge - of the universe, the earth and all living things.