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Ceded land/Reservation land

August 21, 2008
By

I’m going to be the first person to admit that my knowledge of federalist land reform is questionable, but this issue needs to be addressed in that a Supreme Court decision may be impending over the next few months.

According to an April 30 article in the Star-Bulletin, Hawaii State Attorney General Mark Bennett, under the Lingle Administration has filed a writ of appeals brief to the Supreme Court, to overturn the February Hawaii State Supreme Court ruling which ruled in favor of OHA, prohibiting the sale of ceded land for development.

This news threatens not only the “ceded” land protections of the Hawaii Constitution, but according to an anonymous source, threatens indigenous land rights and treaties in several other states. Having this case appealed to the Supreme Court puts at risk many of the legal defenses afforded Native American Reservation lands. In other words, if the Supreme Court decides to hear this appeal, this present “conservative” court, will more likely than not rule in favor of state’s rights and put to risk national parks, reservations and other federal lands. This issue is a much larger issue than the ceded lands issues in that it affects all indigenous peoples in the United States.

Since the Supreme Court is not currently in session, there is yet time for the writ of appeals to be withdrawn. Once the court agrees to hear the case, then it is unlikely for the case to be withdrawn.

Public attention needs to be focused here– as the State has been practicing strategic campaigns towards this end– divide and conquer, distract and plunder–it may be worthwhile to pay attention and keep attention focused to this issue.

When and if the State’s constitutional convention takes place as proposed, revised land issues will surely take central stage, and a Supreme Court ruling in favor of the state is all that it would take to redefine the debate over ceded lands.

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