Helicopter training on Mauna Kea and Mauna Loa, Army-Native Hawaiian convenant and more military housing
July 26, 2011
The Army wants to conduct helicopter training exercises on Mauna Kea and Mauna Loa. Jim Albertini of Malu ‘Aina issued the following call to oppose the Army’s High Altitude Mountainous Environment Training (HAMET) on the slopes of the sacred Mauna Kea and Mauna Loa. The Army had conducted these helicopter training exercises in the past under temporary permits from the state. Now they are seeking a regular and permanent right of access which would also affect the endangered Palila bird . Recently, the Army had to move its helicopter training to Colorado, an existing high altitude training area, because the state required the Army to follow the law and complete an environmental review for its proposed actions which did not fit the Army’s schedule. The Army has previously violated permits and laws by recklessly landing in the protected Mauna Kea Ice Age Reserve and in other locations where it was not allowed to train. The draft environmental assessment is now out and public comments are being accepted until August 21st:
More military training on Hawaii Island for wars of aggression: Speak OUT!
“…no significant direct, indirect, or cumulative impacts on natural resources…” !!! WHO SAYS? The people, plants, animals, the aina, air, water, etc. are all interconnected. What effects one effects all. The impacts are not just physical, but cultural, psychological, and spiritual. The training proposed is all part of U.S. occupation and what the Nuremberg trials following WWII called the Supreme War crime –waging a war of aggression. We want to stop all these illegal wars. We do not want the U.S. training anywhere to do to others what the U.S. has already done to Hawaii: overthrow and occupy its government and nation, desecrate its sacred sites, and contaminate its air, land, water, people, plants, and animals with a wide range of military toxins. We want the U.S. to stop bombing Hawaii and clean up its opala (rubbish). Justice demands an end to U.S. occupation and the restoration of the Hawaii nation. And all of this being done on the slopes of the Sacred Mountains. Akua weeps.
> From Hawaii’s OEQC July 23, 2011 “The Envornmental Notice”
> High Altitude Mountainous Environment Training Draft EA
> Right of Entry via Hawai’i Department of Land and Natural Resources, Division of Forestry and Wildlife Special Use Permit
> Proposing Agency:
> United States Army Garrison, Hawai’i (USAG-HI), 851 Wright Avenue, Wheeler Army Airfield, Schofield Barracks, Hawai’i 96857-5000. Contact: Mr. William Rogers (808) 656- 3075
> Approving Agency:
> Department of Land and Natural Resources Kalanimoku Building, 1151 Punchbowl Street, Honolulu, Hawai’i 96813. Contact: William J. Aila, Jr., (808) 587-0400
> Portage, 1075 S. Utah Ave., Suite 200, Idaho Falls, ID 83402. (208) 419-4176
> Status: Anticipated Finding of No Significant Impact.
> 30-day comment period begins; comments are due on August 21, 2011.
> Send comments to the Proposing Agency and the Consultant
> The proposed action is to provide 90 helicopter pilots and crew 180 hours of high altitude training in October 2011 in preparation for deployment to Afghanistan to satisfy mandatory annual training requirements. The Army’s preferred alternative consists of flying to, hovering, and touch and go landings at three (3) landing zones (LZs) located on the slopes of Mauna Kea and three (3) LZs located on the slopes of Mauna Loa. Aircraft landing in the LZs would not be picking up or dropping off troops or supplies. Aircraft will be spending a minimal amount of time in the LZ areas, and ground time should not exceed 10 minutes per landing.
> Familiarity with this specialized high altitude environment is critical to save the lives of our 25th Combat Aviation Brigade aircrews and the Soldiers they transport when operating in support of Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan.
Based on careful review of the analysis and conservation measures set forth in the EA and consideration of public comments received to date, implementing the Preferred Alternative would result in no significant direct, indirect, or cumulative impacts on natural resources, cultural resources, water resources, recreational resources and other resources assessed in the EA. Implementing the Preferred Alternative is not a major federal or state action that would significantly impact the quality of the environment.
Meanwhile, the Army seems to be digging in for a longer stay. In a press release “Native Hawaiian Covenant promotes partnerships”, the Army describes how it is spending a lot of money to cultivate a stable of Native Hawaiian “leaders” to support the military mission in Hawai’i and counter the opponents of military activities. The Native Hawaiian liaison office functions as a cross between glorified hospitality program and counter insurgency asset:
Through the covenant, Army civilians and Soldiers new to the islands now receive an informative briefing on the Native Hawaiian people, history and culture. This critical information gives Army individuals an opportunity to learn the culture of the community around them and be sensitive to its customs.
In addition, Native Hawaiian cultural practitioners lead free Hawaiian workshops for those interested in learning about the different aspects of Hawaiian culture. Featured workshops include hula, ukulele, lei-making, Hawaiian legends, Hawaiian language, Hawaiian healing plants and coconut weaving.
“Positive responses from Soldiers and their families have been received through these briefings and workshops we offer,” said Annelle Amaral, Native Hawaiian liaison, USAG-HI. “We have found that it not only teaches the culture, but it provides an opportunity to spend time with their families and meet new friends. To be a part of this has been truly rewarding.”
A monthly “Ho olauna” bulletin is a resource for interested Army individuals, containing Hawaiian history, a featured Hawaiian word, upcoming Hawaiian events, happenings around town, a featured dining spot and volunteer opportunities. This resource keeps readers informed and offers opportunities for them to experience life outside the Army bases.
The program is also actively constructing its own list of “approved” Native Hawaiians that can be consulted to meet various federal requirements:
Through the covenant, the Army’s cultural and natural resources representatives are leading tours of the Kahuku Training Area and Makua Military Reservation for surrounding community members.
The program is even appropriating Kanaka Maoli concepts and mining the wisdom and reputation of elders to lend support to the military’s mission:
“Right now, we’re working on a ‘hanai’ concept, where we bring our young Army families and our elderly Hawaiian aunties and uncles together for a ‘talk-story’ session. This will fill the gap for one group (of people) who miss their families, and the other group (of people) who miss the opportunity to share life-lessons they’ve learned.”
Apparently, military personnel stationed in Hawai’i are not getting the message about malama ‘aina. Recently, fishermen and cultural practitioners at Ka’ena Point documented drunken and destructive military offroading. As previously reported on this site, this is a recurring problem. We recently did an ‘Olelo television program on the problem of military off-roading and the efforts to protect Ka’ena.
Military construction is also booming. Lend Lease company recently won an extension of its contract to construct, refurbish and manage thousands of homes for military personnel.
Lend Lease has secured approval from the US Department of the Army for a US$168m (£103m) change to the scope of its Island Palm Communities project in Hawaii.
Lend Lease will now build more larger homes than previously planned, reflecting the changing needs of military service members and their families.
Island Palm Communities, a partnership between Lend Lease and the Army, is the largest residential privatisation project ever awarded by the US Army. The partnership will develop, design and construct 5,241 new homes, renovate 2,515 existing homes, and provide property and maintenance management services through to 2054.
Lend Lease group chief executive officer and managing director Steve McCann said that the increased work scope reflected Lend Lease’s collaborative working relationship with the US Army. “We continue to work very closely with our long term partner to bring quality homes to US Army service members and their families,” he said.
Hawaii Independent: OHA considers legal action to protect cultural sites against Army Stryker vehicles
August 21, 2010
The Hawaii Independent reported that the Office of Hawaiian Affairs is considering legal action to get the Army to protect Hawaiian cultural sites. The report also exposes the fact that the Army Native Hawaiian liaison program and Native Hawaiian Advisory Council is a front for the Army that is incapable of standing up for Native Hawaiian culture, land or rights.
OHA considers legal action to protect cultural sites against Army Stryker vehicles
Aug 21, 2010 – 01:17 PM | by Samson Kaala Reiny
MOLOKAI—The Office of Hawaiian Affairs (OHA) is using a “balanced approach” to hold the Army accountable for protecting cultural sites from further desecration on its Stryker Brigade locations, according to OHA’s CEO Clyde Namuo at a board of trustees meeting on Molokai yesterday.
A member of the community complained that the letter OHA sent to the Army on August 13 had no legal teeth because no clear-cut demands or timelines were made.
The OHA letter only states that the Army “promptly evaluate the historic properties identified” as a result of the 2008 settlement between the two groups. It concludes by asking “in the spirit of cooperation and in good faith … a continued collaboration between our office and your agency.”
“I do believe it does have teeth because it states the Army is not fulfilling substantially [sic] the Programmatic Agreement,” Namuo said.
But Namuo thinks that OHA should connect with new Army personnel first. Colonel Mulberry, U.S. Army Garrison Commander, has only been on the job a few months and doesn’t know the issues. Namuo believes OHA should first reach out to him. There’s a chance he could be very receptive to concerns in the Native Hawaiian community.
“Past garrison commanders were sensitive,” Namuo said.
Nonetheless, Namuo believes the Army’s negligence in recent months, particularly with the unearthing of iwi at Schofield Barracks at Lihue in May, is telling.
“The spirit of the Army is not what we had hoped,” Namuo said.
August 11, 2010
On Friday, August 6, 2010, Annelle Amaral was the guest on the “First Friday” live call-in program on ‘Olelo Community Television, Channel 53. The taped program will run on subsequent Fridays for the month of August. The program is also available online on-demand: http://olelo.granicus.com/MediaPlayer.php?view_id=30&clip_id=15103
Annelle Amaral is the Native Hawaiian liaison for the Army Garrison Hawai’i. In 2008, she was awarded a contract (W912CN-08-C-0051) to perform the duties of the Army’s Native Hawaiian liaison in Hawai’i. The original contract and its eight modifications are worth $742,392 until August 15, 2010. Below is a partial transcript fo the First Friday program.
First Friday 8/6/2010 – Guest: Annelle Amaral
. . . Tonight we are going to be talking a look at a topic that has become controversial in the community because some people feel that there shouldn’t be a native Hawaiian covenant with the US Army. In part it is controversial because there’s not much known about what the covenant is, how it came about, and who the people are who are involved, and what the goal of this covenant really is. Tonight we’ll be taking a look at that . . .
. . . Joining us tonight to take a look at our main show which is focusing on the native Hawaiian covenant with the Army. Joining us tonight is Annelle Amaral someone who I have worked with for many years, someone who has been involved in many ways with the Hawaiian community. She was among the first women to become a fully vested police officer in the state of Hawaii. When she was a police officer she created the rape prevention education program which eventually covered all islands and reached 40,000 citizens. She was appointed to head up the affirmative action office by ex-governor George Ariyoshi she did a lot of grievances and mediation during that time. She went to the legislature in 1988 she served there until 1996 in the house of reps and was the majority floor leader when she left in 1996. She is a Hawaiian and in recent years she also had acted as a facilitator for some real difficult issues involving US government agencies private sector as well as the military. These issues such as the Superferry, Mauna Kea, and of course the Makua valley problems, and a number of other things. But let’s welcome to the show Annelle Amaral. And ask you Annelle to start by telling us a little bit about yourself and your background here in Hawaii.
Aloha and thank you for having me here, I appreciate it. Let’s see, what can I tell you about myself? I was born on the island of Hawaii raised here on Oahu. I’m a graduate of Star of the Sea High School, that’s a nice Catholic all girls school, not KS by the way. I also graduated from the University of Dayton. I have a BA in journalism, though I never worked in the field of journalism. You’ve given my background of work and what I found after sitting through far too many hearings at the legislature, and finding very little resolution there, I found myself drawn to the field of facilitation. Feeling as if, if people could just hear one another if they could just quiet the voices in their heads and listen to one another we actually would find ourselves agreeing more often than not, and though I after the leg became more and more involved with facilitation as a private business. It is to that end by the way that I end up here now as a contractor with the US Army. It was Peter Adler who was putting together a team of facilitators when the Stryker hearings first began back in I think was 2001. And he asked if I would join his team and I did.
There were about 7 of us then. It turned out I ended up being the last facilitator standing and ended up facilitating almost all the Stryker hearings and facilitating almost all of the Makua meetings. The last facilitation I did for Stryker was at Kawananakoa School and at the end of the day when everyone was headed home it turned into sort of a bad scene with one young lady screaming at me and with a group gathered around me and sort of shoving and pushing and a camera in my face to try to provoke me and I ended up being escorted to my car by the police. So I went to the then colonel, the garrison commander, the day after and told him it was time for him to look for another facilitator. That clearly I was no longer perceived as neutral and I could no longer function in this capacity. At that point, Col Margotta asked if I would consider another job, another task, and we talked about how hard the situation was becoming between Hawaiians and the Army and that clearly there had to be another way, another path. So he said to me, would you be willing to help us write a native Hawaiian community plan for the Army? And my response was I am not crazy. There is no way I’m going to write a native Hawaiian plan I said what I will do is I will help bring together Hawaiian leaders that could advise you and I would be happy to staff that effort and together we would write the plan, and if he was interested in that. And so that, actually, was the beginning of what ended up being the Native Hawaiian Advisory Council which is a group of people that come with either some substantive experience in broad subject matter areas like education, or economic development, or business, or people that come with a large constituency that have worked on Hawaiian issues like membership org like the Association of Hawaiian Civic Clubs and there’s another group, whose name slips my mind, but they represent cultural practitioners, Aha Kiole, and so we invited them to come and to work together to draft up a plan. The end result of what essentially is about a year and a half of work is the signing of a covenant that essentially sort of mirrors the family covenant with the Army . . . we recognize, we are committed to, that’s sort of the way the family covenant goes.
You know Annelle, back in March, KITV news had done coverage of this and they had quoted you saying the relationship between native Hawaiians and the Army has become increasingly hostile as the years have progressed and I think that that’s probably a good place to begin because as you had pointed out, the Stryker hearings were terrible and you know that from coming up to Hilo. There was strong opposition to Stryker and I’m not surprised that you had to be escorted to your car because the issues that Hawaiians have with the military have gone on for years starting from the overthrow and they really haven’t ever been addressed. I’d like to ask you Manu if you’d maybe look at some of these issues and then we can come back, because some of these issues such as the situation with Pohakuloa, Stryker, Makua we can then focus in on but there’s a background of history that really is a terrible history.
Yeah I would assume that that’s something that you looked at within your group because unfortunately the American military truly has a less than glorious history in the islands. We have to begin with the military’s involvement in the illegal overthrow of our queen . . . with the excuse of protecting American interests . . . theft of crown and government land . . . not looking back at 1893, let’s roll it forward . . .161 military installations in Hawaii . . . 7 superfund sites . . . military makes up top polluters . . . Kahoʻolawe . . . Stryker Brigade . . . most recent EIS seriously flawed . . . Makua . . . Schofield Barracks . . . Depleted Uranium . . .
I think Depleted Uranium is also a big one, I think we’ve talked about it for the Big Island, but you can see that a lot of the history and a lot of the problems relate specifically to military use and toxicity . . . I wanted to go back Annelle to the community plan of action, you had brought some people together. When I looked at the plan of action, it seemed that there was a framework to actually address some of these horrible things that Manu has raised I mean the actual language, the preambular section, here it says the military is recognizing here, “our training programs require access to lands for the purpose of conducting activities that we realize may impact the environment, social and cultural conditions. It is our responsibility to prevent pollution, minimize adverse impacts to land, and to conserve protect and preserve our natural and cultural resources. So in this action plan there actually is this recognition and there is this commitment and there is also a statement that we are going to be sensitive to the relationship with native Hawaiian peoples. Now this is strong words in a community plan of action how are the Native Hawaiian Adv council people who were working on this and who are working on this now. What is their actual role in ensuring that these commitments come about? We have some Hawaiians, actually we have a list that’s going to be showing provided to us by Annelle, some folks on the list are Hawaiian and they are members of the NHAC other signatories actually are folks signing for the military. But those Hawaiians that are the Native Hawaiian Advisory group worked on this plan and are aware of this commitment, what is their role? What are they doing?
The first thing that we’ve accomplished is that we have come to agreement on this language that we are talking about right now, this preamble, this one goal, this covenant, this promise, this sacred promise that we’ve made to one another. The next thing that we will do is start to work on steps to begin to address that. Now I will tell you that we have not yet come up with specific steps as it relates to this language that you just read out. We meet on a quarterly basis, the signing was in March, the meeting after that was in May, and actually that was a short meeting because our garrison commander left and we were being introduced to the new garrison commander. So the next meeting we’ll have in August. Our commitment is now that we’ve finished the business of putting together this broad language together we will begin to work on specific issues and identify the steps forward. Actually, the first meeting that we’re going to have in August what is on the table is a discussion first about economic opportunities. So that is in that meeting in august. But the work ahead is in these three documents that we were discussing.
You know Annelle, one of the things that you just bring up now, is looking for economic opportunities, and one of the big criticisms that has come out is that when this group came together, it was flawed because many of them were actually subcontractors from the military and that they were actually there they were receiving money from the military and the example was of course the Danners, Jade and Robin Danner who have military contracts for digitizing military data but the point was that are these really, these members of the NHAC, are they really independent can they really be honest if they in fact are receiving contracts from the US military and one of the purposes in the preamble is to create opportunities for mutual enrichment. That can have a cultural interpretation but clearly that has an interpretation in terms of the contract money that they’re getting from the US government.
I think you have to admit that the Council on Native Hawaiian Advancement does a little more than just digitizing some documents with department of defense some more than that. They are not entirely supported with that one contract. And it is true that also on our council sits Bruce Kepler, who is an attorney with an organization that gets department of defense money. My hope is, quite frankly, that we will be able to create an educational program to help more native Hawaiians who own their own businesses to be able to compete for these contracts and other contracts that are available right now for NHOs (Native Hawaiian Organizations). Right now we only have 15 native Hawaiian organizations, we get millions of dollars of contracts that go unclaimed by native Hawaiians because we’re not qualified, and instead, those contracts are picked up by native Alaskans and Native Americans.
Well the thing is what is really the purpose of the effort? Is the purpose of the effort to address the commitments . . . in the covenant or is it really just a cover so people who are getting these contracts can say that they are going to be a part of the advisory council, but to the extent that they are, what are they doing outside of that to address some of these environmental, social and cultural conditions . . . the long litany of which Manu just read?
Well Jade Danner is a member of our council and helped to craft this language as did all the other members of the council. So it would seem to me that all of us are part of producing a larger effort than simply economic development. Economic development is one piece of it, and as I said, we’re going to be discussing that in August. We haven’t started the discussion yet, but we will start and this is not an economic development council it is a council that deals with all facets of our life – employment and enrichment and sustainability of us as individuals is I think one good goal to go towards, but there are other aspects that we’ll be working on.
Do the council members paid for their membership, for participating?
No, they’re all volunteers.
I don’t know if you took a look at who the members of the council are – they are Peter Apo, Jade Danner, Chris Dawson, Neil Hannahs, Alan Hoe, Rev. Bill Kaina, Charles William Kapua, Jalna Keala, Bruss Kepler, Leimomi Kahn, Deejay Mailer, Kaleo Patterson and William Richards those are the Hawaiians that signed the covenant, but they also together comprise what we are calling the Native Hawaiian Advisory Council. Annelle, are these people here representing Hawaiian organizations? Are they representing the Bishop Estate? In what capacity are these people serving?
These people, Mililani, were invited because of the whole body of work that they as individuals have done in the Hawaiian community. The wisdom, the knowledge of all of their work when it’s brought to the table is amazingly powerful. But they do not come to the table representing their businesses or where they work, they come to the table as Hawaiians who love things Hawaiian and who want to help create some positive solutions. No, they don’t come representing their organizations.
When I looked at the materials you had sent me, it seemed that they were clearly identified because they were people who were high profile and because they would be viewed as Hawaiian leadership. Also when I look at some of the press releases that are coming out from the military itself they’re identified in this way. Here’s a press release: ʻNative Hawaiians and Army talk about ʻIwi Kupuna.ʻ This was the recent July NAGPRA event that you had . . . and this was released by the US Army Garrison Hawaii Public Affairs Department, it says, “among those attending were reps of native Hawaiian organizations, later it goes through identifying Bishop Estate, Kamehameha Schools, but the military itself is saying reps of NHOs, and you’re saying they really are not . . .
This is the workshop that we had though. So, the workshop we had on NAGPRA at the end of July, what we intended there was to invite individuals from different native Hawaiian organizations to hear what NAGPRA defines as claimants, to understand the law, and to make informed choices as to whether or not they or their organizations qualifies as claimants for the ʻiwi kupuna found at Schofield BAX. So in that press release, when we talk about organizations, those people were invited to that training were invited because of the organizations they belong to that’s different from the NHAC.
Do these organizations provide funding, did the Bishop Estate or Kamehameha Schools ever provide funding for this effort.
No. The work that we do, the work that I do is funded by the Army
You know there are so many things for me . . . when I look at this sheet for the NHAC and they are characterized as native Hawaiian leaders, I think that’s a loose interpretation because when I look at the names, and I know many of these people, I have aloha for many of them, but I don’t know what group of n Hawaiians they have led so I guess ʻleadersʻ meaning not that they lead native Hawaiians but they are native Hawaiians and maybe in a leadership position in their job or in their community.
These people have not led native Hawaiians? Rev. Kaina has not led native Hawaiians?
I’m not saying all of them, but I wouldn’t consider all of them for example Peter Apo as a native Hawaiian leader.
Ok, he’s a former legislator, he’s led somebody.
So that’s my point, the use of the term ʻNative Hawaiian leaderʻ is a little bit misleading or confusing. Because . . . when you have something like a huge media blast: US Army Hawaii Covenant with Native Hawaiiansʻ not with ʻsome Hawaiians in leadership positionsʻ but with ʻnative Hawaiians’ . . . it’s putting out to the general public that look, we are on this road, and native Hawaiians are on that waʻa also. It almost marginalizes those of us who have legitimate claims against the military for some of the wrongs that have been committed. So, my point is this kind of looks to me like an illusion of inclusion type deal . . . we are going to put this forward, we are going to have a big celebration, have a covenant signing and have a bunch of people willing to sign it, because I noticed that there were many people who could have tried to be involved in this, but the invitation wasn’t extended to them. And what we’re doing is we are making an illusion to the general public that things are going in a positive direction with the military and the Hawaiians and you read the covenant and I just don’t understand what the native Hawaiians are getting out of this. The Army is going to consider our culture and historical experience. I see the Army as being the recipient of everything here, and us, nothing that can even be quantified. And that goes even further for the things that you’ve been sponsoring. Like teaching the military wives hula or moʻolelo or oli …
It’s not things that get to the issue I think. But you know Manu, if I could just ask you, you’re a lineal descendent of Makua. I think maybe if we looked at an actual problem, the situation at Makua, the situation with Depleted Uranium on the Big Island, where there’s great concern. Initially Army said that there was no DU, but now we have the testing, we know there is. There was hope that when this covenant would be signed, there would then be a follow up and a way to address it. And I think that some of the folks in Makua were hoping that would come about as well, because there was an event in Makua. (To Manu) But yourself, as a lineal descendant, what issues do you raise, and how can these issues be addressed by either the military or yourself (Annelle), or possibly this Native Hawaiian community leaders group.
Well, they do not speak for me so I can’t even answer that question.
No I mean as a lineal descendent at Makua.
No, but you’re saying how can we work with them. So I don’t want them speaking for me. I find it very mahaʻoi that they went and signed this as native Hawaiians and they’re talking about many sensitive issues that Hawaiians do not want to be delegated to the sidelines on this because they are really, really important issues. So I don’t really have an answer for that . . . maybe in your plan Annelle, you guys have an answer of rolling it out to the people who have really been affected by the military and their misuse of the land, and maybe reaching out to lineal descendants, I don’t know. So is that a plan?
We don’t deal specifically with those issues, with any specific issue, quite frankly. The intention of the work of the council is to deal with the large issues that impact the lives of native Hawaiians and in a way that the Army may have some influence. So when it comes to Makua, I think that the division, the cultural resources deals directly with the issues around Makua, as does natural resources. The people in training, and so there are specific people who deal with the Makua issue. The council does not deal with that, neither do we deal with Depleted Uranium . . .
I think that’s the point.
It’s not within our skill range to deal with those specific issues.
But I think that’s the point, when you have a community plan of action, a preamble, and it says here . . . we realize that these things may impact the environment, social and cultural conditions. It’s our responsibility to prevent pollution, to minimize these adverse impacts. So, when we begin the native community plan of action, then we have this covenant, you would expect that there would be some responsible action on the part of the military to address this. When I went back and did the research for Makua, the military released these statements that say: ʻthe native Hawaiian community leaders day at the Makua Military Reserve was a Key part of releasing the military reserve EIS record of decision. This was done quote to counter negative media and native Hawaiian opposition when the record of decision was released. The strategic communications plan called for a community leader and media day consisting of noted native Hawaiian businesses, education and community leaders and all newspaper and TV stations. Native Hawaiian leaders were solicited from throughout the community. So what really happened was Native Hawaiian Community Leaders Day was sponsored but it was a cover for bringing out this EIS and the record of decision, and at the end, what happened was that the Army announced that they were planning to resume training with live ammunition at Makua on August 31st. I think that the point that Manu is making is a good one. In that we have issues, we have a covenant, we have a plan, we say we’re going to address it, but what actually happens is there’s a native community leadership day to cover a military announcement that they we’re going to resume bombing, and it comes up looking like Hawaiians are endorsing it because these leaders are there. So how is that actually addressing the concerns of lineal descendents and others in Makua who are saying that they don’t want any more live fire and actually you were informing us that everything had fallen apart after this and it was back in court.
Well, alright, so, back the truck up . . . the article that you are reading is 2009; the signing of the covenant is 2010. The leadership day is a day to announce the record of decision, and what the garrison commander does in that meeting where certain Hawaiians were invited, not all Hawaiians, but some Hawaiians were brought, was for the purpose of the garrison commander to make an announcement about the use of Makua for training. Live fire training has in fact, till now, till August 6th not taken place at Makua . . .
Why? Why hasn’t it taken place?
Well, as I’ve later read is there are different types of training strategies I think that are being planned for Makua, as well as for Pohakuloa. And that’s the bringing out with these commanders, bringing out their strategies for training. In part, the use of live fire has, I think, not taken place because there are still a couple of issues still pending in the court. One of them had to do with a shellfish study, and another had to do with cultural sites, so those are the two issues that I think are still pending in the courts, and that’s I think why live fire has not resumed live fire training. But when they are talking about the live fire training, they really are talking about a different kind of training in Makua than what you’ve seen in the past. That was the purpose of this prolonged explanation by the garrison commander in 2009. Given the situation in Afghanistan, the different way they would be using the land for training. Let me be real clear, the Army only has only one mission, and the only mission of the Army is to protect and defend this nation. And those that work for the Army only have one purpose, and that one purpose is to assure that the mission of the Army is carried out and that soldiers are trained properly to be able to carry it out. I mean, it’s that simple.
I think that puts things down pretty clearly, in that this is Hawaii, this is our land. We know that the mission of the military is basically for the making of war, and to defend a country, but it may not be ours. It’s the US and they are an occupying force. The thing is that if you’re . . .
Well, you and I disagree there because I see myself as American
…We still haven’t had reparations for the overthrow, we’ve had an apology. The US has admitted to the illegality of the overthrow. The US admitted to the illegality of the military occupation, but we’ve never seen the reparations, we’ve never seen the restitution. We have military bombing at Makua, it hasn’t been cleaned up. We have DU up on Pohakuloa, and that’s a problem . . .
And isn’t the Akaka Bill one of those steps toward getting reconciliation and reparations?
Mililani: The Akaka Bill? The Akaka Bill is not on this show, what’s on this show is the covenant and how it’s supposed to be addressing these issues.
Mililani: . . . You know we’re obviously . . . were coming to the end of our program now, we didn’t get to half of our questions . . . we may have to revisit this. In fact, the American Friends Service Committee has called in saying that their research shows that this contract is worth $742.000 is that correct and will they have a chance to make some response . . .
Yes AFSC, we will bring you on to respond to this show. And Annelle is it true that you have a contract for 3 years worth $750,000?
I . . . if they say it’s true it must be true . . .
August 11, 2010
Through the Freedom of Information Act, the AFSC Hawai’i recently obtained the contract between the Army Garrison Hawai’i and Annelle Amaral (W912CN-08-C-0051), the Army’s Native Hawaiian liaison in Hawai’i. The original contract and its eight modifications are worth $742,392 until August 15, 2010.
Download the contract and modifications here.
The statement of work states:
(a) Prepare a written Community Relations Plan (CRP) which shall present a clear, comprehensive and responsive program to present and explain the issues of the presence of the Army in Hawaii to the affected communities, neighborhood boards, special interest groups, resource agencies at all levels of government, and interested individuals.
(b) Represent USAG-HI leadership at community meetings with community groups to provide information to community on the Army’s positions, activities, accomplishments as they relate to Native Hawaiian issues and other concerns;
(c) Obtain outside points of view, opinions, or advice of noted community leaders, organizations, or experts to avoid too limited judgment on critical community and transformations issues, and provide feedback to USAG-HI leadership;
(d) Enhance USAG-HI’s understanding of, and develop alternative solutions to, complex community issues, and provide advice on Native Hawaiian issues and concerns, and propose a way-ahead;
(e) Provide training or workshops to USAG-HI or Army personnel on Native Hawaiian issues and concerns.
(f) Attend monthly USAG-HI command and staff meetings or special topic planning meetings. The SP shall attend meetings and serve as the subject matter expert and provide technical and functional advice and assistance on community support and related special project issues. Meetings will be held on the Islands of Oahu and Hawaii.
Her job is primarily to “fix” the Army’s community relations problem with Kanaka Maoli and organize a pro-military Native Hawaiian front. The “Native Hawaiian Covenant” and the Makua community leaders media event were examples of this tactic.
These are the same counterinsurgency methods used in Afghanistan and Iraq to try to win over a segment of the native population as a fig leaf of legitimacy for what is an illegal occupation. As is true for people around the world, no amount of community relations can change the basic historical truths and the material consequences of imperialism in Hawai’i. The Army cannot “P.R.” away a peoples’ hunger for justice.
As expected, the line of discourse has been “Can’t we all get along?”; “How can we have a win-win situation?”; “Can’t we have reconciliation?” The Army has acknowledged some of its past harm, and expressed an openness to listening and doing things better. But ultimately, the message is an appeal to support the troops, our loved ones in the military who need to train before they are put in harm’s way.
But there cannot be a real reconciliation without sincere and just resolution of the historical wrongs committed by the U.S. and its military in Hawai’i, or without addressing the immorality and illegality of the current policies/wars. As long as the military occupies hundreds of thousands of acres of Hawaiian national land and uses these lands to practice invading and waging wars against other countries, how can anyone seriously believe there can be reconciliation? The people of Hawai’i did not declare a war or launch an invasion of other peoples’ countries. The way to keep our loved ones safe is by keeping them out of the war.
In March, Annelle Amaral was quoted on KITV as saying
The only ones blowing things up is the military. Is the military “building bridges” by continuing destruction of sacred sites on land that was stolen from the Hawaiian Kingdom?
Some questions that emerge: Was this a congressional earmark or sole source (no-bid) contract? If so, who directed the earmark? Since the contract is listed as an “NHO award” (Native Hawaiian Organization), it was most likely awarded as a sole source contract, that is a contract that is awarded by the government without any request for proposals or competition, and an unlimited size award. Alaska Native and Native Hawaiian Organizations are given special contracting privileges – called “Special 8A” under the minority contracting set-asides.
The community relations plan developed by the Native Hawaiian liaison must be released to the public. What advice was given to the Army to solve it’s problem with the Kanaka Maoli?
Annelle Amaral was on “First Friday” on 8/6/10, a live call-in program on ‘Olelo Community Television, Channel 53. The taped program will run on subsequent Fridays for the month of August. It is also available online on-demand:
March 24, 2010
The Army is trying to patch up the broken relations with the Kanaka Maoli community through a concerted public relations and counter organizing campaign. They have hired Annelle Amaral to be a Native Hawaiian liaison to organize a Native Hawaiian front supportive of the Army’s activities in Hawai’i. She is quoted as saying:
“The relationship between Native Hawaiians and the military becomes increasingly hostile as the years progress. Enough already. It’s time for us to learn to work on building bridges instead of blowing them up.”
Um, the only ones blowing things up is the military. The activists are actually trying to stop the destructive activities of the military. Hawai’i did not invade the U.S., take American land or destroy American sacred places. Ms. Amaral needs to stop perverting the history of the U.S. military’s oppressive role in Hawai’i and start supporting her own people who stand up to defend the culture and land.
Native Hawaiians, Army Sign Covenant
Agreement Aims For Better Relations
Dick Allgire KITV 4 News Reporter
U.S. Army officials signed a covenant with Native Hawaiians Wednesay, which they hope will bring greater understanding, more dialogue, and better relations. A ceremony for the covenant signing was held on the lawn at Fort DeRussy in Waikiki. It’s an attempt by the U. S. Army to mend fences with the Native Hawaiian community.
Many Native Hawaiians blame the Army for its role in the overthrow of their kingdom, and with modern issues like the live fire training at Makua Valley, the relationship between Native Hawaiians and the military has been contentious.
“The relationship between Native Hawaiians and the military becomes increasingly hostile as the years progress. Enough already. It’s time for us to learn to work on building bridges instead of blowing them up,” said Hawaiian activist Annelle Amaral.
The covenant promises a mutually respectful attitude, more dialogue, and preservation of culturally sensitive areas.
“We are creating a visitors center at the Makua military reservation which will provide a location to describe the history of the valley and the rare cultural artifacts, and plants located in that beautiful valley,” said Maj. Gen. Michael Terry.
As Hawaiian and military leaders signed the covenant the Hawaiians at the ceremony made it clear they don’t represent all Native Hawaiians. They did stress the importance of good relations with the Army.
“To respect the importance of host culture needs and values, while also recognizing the contribution the military presence makes in assuring our security and freedom,” said Neil Hannahs, a Native Hawaiian Advisory Council member.
December 1, 2009
In July 2009, Chinook helicopters whisked a group of Kanaka Maoli leaders to Makua valley, purportedly to visit cultural sites and gain an understanding of the Army’s cultural preservation efforts. As the choppers descended on the valley from the sea, you could imagine Wagner’s Ride of the Valkyries over the signature slow, dull thud of the Chinook rotors. When the Hawaiian leaders got off the chopper, however, they were mobbed by a flock of reporters who snapped photos and video to tout the Army’s outreach efforts to Native Hawaiians. The incident caused significant pilikia (trouble) in the Hawaiian community. The image of renowned leaders in the Hawaiian movement were used to sell the message that Kanaka Maoli support the Army’s return to training in Makua.
At the time, it was not known that this publicity stunt was part of an aggressive community relations campaign by the Army to win over Kanaka Maoli support for its training. In March 2008, the Army awarded a hefty two-year “Facilitation Services Contract” (W912CN08C0051) to Annelle Amaral, a former state legislator, long time women’s rights advocate and leader in the Hawaiian community. The first year award was $246,272 a year, up to a total of $492,544.
A half-million dollars ought to buy a lot of facilitation services. The question is what is the scope of work under the contract, and why did she, a civil rights leader in the community, accept a contract that in essence helps the military better control the Hawaiian community as they are being assaulted with desecration, environmental destruction and land grabbing. Over the past several years, Ms. Amaral facilitated a number of public meetings on military environmental impact statements, including the controversial Stryker brigade EIS hearings where some of us were arrested for bringing signs and visual displays into the meeting. Perhaps it was this willingness to be tough with activists that won her this half million dollar deal. But it was terribly sad and deeply troubling to have Kanaka Maoli facilitators doing the dirty work of shutting down their own people and shielding the military from the well-deserved wrath of the community.
It seems from the article below, the services also include “proactive” outreach where leaders in the Kanaka Maoli community build ties with military leaders. While teaching the military about Hawaiian culture can seem harmless enough, even beneficial in some instances, the problem arises when these activities are part of an orchestrated campaign to mask real conflicts and grievances and to blur the contradictions between the interests of the military versus the Kanaka Maoli community. It is also a way to identify and organize those individuals in the community who support the military’s position, and attempt to neutralize or marginalize potential opponents. In community organizing, this is called “counter organizing”. In military doctrine it is “counter insurgency”. The goal is to establish control of a population.
Whether or not Ms. Amaral truly believes that she is helping Hawaiians by sensitizing the military to Hawaiian concerns, at the end of the day, her services help the Army to divide the community and suppress opposition, in essence to deliver her own community to military control.
Way of the Warrior: Native Hawaiian lecture series reveals ancient secrets
Sep 6, 2009
By Bill Mossman, U.S. Army Garrison-Hawaii Public Affairs
SCHOFIELD BARRACKS, Hawaii – The much-anticipated Native Hawaiian lecture series got off to a rousing start, Friday, as military leaders were introduced to one of Hawaii’s best-kept secrets: the ancient fighting art known as lua.
Practiced by the chiefs’ elite fighting forces in olden times, lua went underground for decades before resurfacing in recent years, thanks in part to event guest speaker Dr. Mitchell Eli.
An olohe (master) lua, Eli is a former student of Charles Kenn, the man credited with preserving the martial art for today’s generation of students.
“One thing about Hawaiians is that we are very good at keeping secrets,” explained emcee Annelle Amaral, Native Hawaiian liaison for U.S. Army Garrison-Hawaii (USAG-HI), to about 120 guests as they dined at the Nehelani, Schofield Barracks. “We have had to keep secrets, under self-preservation and the need to protect that, which is sacred … for too many generations.
“But what we have learned in contemporary days,” she continued, “is that within the telling of secrets, in the sharing of the knowledge of our kupuna, we have made our young people proud of their kupuna, made them proud of who they are.”
When it was his turn to speak, Eli first thanked the U.S. Army for a forum in which to share the history of lua. Then, after briefly discussing his background and familiarity with the Wahiawa community, Eli informed the Army’s senior leadership that they would be treated to a 35-minute film that would best explain the Hawaiian martial art.
Hosted by Green Beret Terry Schappert, the action-packed film, which first aired back in May on the History Channel, featured Schappert’s introduction to lua – a complex fighting system specializing in bone-breaking and joint-dislocating strikes with the hands and feet, as well as mastery over a slew of ancient weapons.
For Eli, a chiropractor who rarely speaks about lua in public, the film was an opportunity to demonstrate that members of differing cultures could come together for a common cause. Or as he put it, the video production was made possible through “the combination of good works between our culture, the military and those who assisted us.”
Following the presentation, Col. Teresa Parsons admitted the film was an “eye-opening experience” for her.
“I’ve always seen replicas of the war instruments, but I never knew of the skill sets of the Hawaiian warrior,” explained Parsons, who’s in her third tour of duty in Hawaii and currently working out of Tripler Army Medical Center. “I’m in awe, and have a new respect for another aspect of the Hawaiian tradition.”
Parsons was particularly fascinated by the leiomano, a handheld weapon fashioned with serrated tiger shark teeth on one end and a spear on the other. In the film, lua warriors demonstrated how the weapon could be used for lethal blows that tear away at not only flesh and sinew, but even bone.
“They made some serious holes with that weapon,” she commented. “I don’t even know if today we could repair the injuries that they have the ability to cause.”
Sponsored by USAG-HI through a $5,000 donation from the Kamehameha Schools, the event brought together the military community, including host Col. Matthew Margotta, commander, USAG-HI, and Hawaiian leaders from various Royal Hawaiian Societies charged with preserving Hawaiian culture
Societies in attendance included the Royal Order of Kamehameha, Hale O Na Alii, Ahahui Kaahumanu and the Daughters and Sons of Hawaiian Warriors, also known as Mamakakaua.
“We intentionally set up our tables so that there would be military and Hawaiians at them,” Amaral noted. “This will hopefully help when it comes to exchanging ideas with one another.”
The evening program began with Rev. William Kaina of Kawaihao Church offering the pule (prayer), in which he thanked the Soldiers in attendance for their dedicated service. Noted kumu hula Wayne Kahoonei Panoke followed. He offered a chant to introduce members of the Royal Order of Kamehameha, Chapter VIII, who were dressed in full regalia.
The members then offered a lei as hookupu (gift given in exchange for spiritual power, or mana) to a picture of Prince Jonah Kuhio Kalanianaole – as did Col. Margotta, who honored the Hawaiian monarch with a maile lei.
According to Amaral, Prince Kuhio is not only credited with restoring the Royal Societies following the overthrow of the Hawaiian monarchy, but with also being olohe lua to Kenn
Amaral added that she’s hoping to have Nainoa Thompson speak in September, when the second of a four-part lecture series resumes. Thompson is a Native Hawaiian navigator famous for commanding two double-hulled canoes, the Hokulea and Hawaiiloa, on voyages from Hawaii through Polynesia. He is also a member of the Board of Trustees for the Kamehameha Schools.
August 5, 2009
Since World War II, soldiers, marines, reservists and members of the National Guard have trained for combat at Mākua. KWO archive photo.
Mākua range re-opening cause for legal conflict and military outreach
By Liza Simon / Ka Wai Ola Loa
The U.S. Army is set to resume live-ammunition training in O’ahu’s Mākua Valley under a plan that military officials say scales back operations and decreases the risk of hazardous impacts. The claim is being disputed by community opponents who vow to continue their legal challenge that resulted in a 2001 court ban on combat exercises in the valley pending a complete environmental examination of the 4,190-acre Wai’anae Coast site.
Eight years after the ban was put in place as part of the Army’s legal settlement with community group Mālama Mākua, the Army in June released the court-ordered final environmental impact study. In a subsequent “record of decision” made public on July 24, Army officials said the EIS provides information that shows the military can effectively balance training needs with stewardship at Mākua by following a plan that it says rolls back the scale of an earlier “preferred alternative,” which called for an annual 200 Convoy Live Fire Exercises (LFX) and 50 Combined Arms Live Fire Exercises (CALFEXES).
“Rather, the Army has decided on a greatly reduced option to 32 CALFEXs and 150 convoy-live fire exercises per year without the use of tracer ammunition, anti-aircraft Tube-launched, Optically-tracked, Wire-guided- or TWO missiles, 2.75-caliber rockets, or illumination munitions of any kind,” said Loran Doane of the Army Garrison Media Relations in an email response to Ka Wai Ola Loa. “The elimination of these weapons systems greatly reduces the risk of range fires and environmental threats to endangered species and cultural sites, yet allows small units to train locally without the costly burden of additional deployments to Pōhakuloa (Hawai’i Island) or elsewhere,” Doane added.
At Mākua, a series of brushfires started by munitions explosions has spurred legal action to stop the Army from training in the valley. KWO archive photo
Doane also stressed that the Army followed guidelines of the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) in involving the local community in finalizing the Mākua Environment Impact Statement, or EIS. He said Native Hawaiians and their organizations participated in eight public meetings and gave oral and written comments, which were incorporated into the EIS. “(This) allowed for a full and fair discussion of significant environmental impacts. By providing means for open communication between the Army and the public, the procedural aspects of NEPA promote better decision-making,” Doane wrote.
But Wai’anae Harbor Master William Ailā Jr., a member of Hui Mālama O Mākua – an organization for cultural stewardship of Mākua Valley (and a supporter of Mālama Mākua, the group that filed the Mākua lawsuit) – said the EIS and decision to restart live-fire operations at the Mākua Military Reservation are flawed. “Based on my observations, the (soldiers) overshoot mortars beyond target areas. (Mistakes) are the nature of training exercises, but these adjacent areas have not been surveyed for either cultural sites or endangered species, so the EIS has no directions for mitigating those occurrences or any associated damage,” said Ailā.
As one of four Army training areas in Hawai’i, the military says Mākua offers unique topographical features and a perfect size that is strategically important for coordinated maneuvers of all military branches in Hawai’i.
Ailā argues that the fact that military has functioned efficiently for the last several years without Mākua is the “best indicator” that the Mākua Military Reservation is not so strategic. Ailā said the military should fulfill a promise it made to withdraw from the valley. The military facility is comprised of ceded lands classified by the state as a conservation district, and was set aside in World War II by the then-territorial government for military training purposes until 2025.
Once a thriving agricultural boon for Native Hawaiians, Mākua Valley is now littered with unexploded munitions. KWO archives photo
Terms of the 2001 legal settlement required the Army to cease firing mortars and artillery in Mākua until completing surveys of more than 50 endangered plant and animal species and 100 archeological sites in the valley. A history of accidental wildfires sparked by the combat training was one of the main drivers in keeping the court decision in place. A 2003 brush fire destroyed several thousand acres of valley vegetation. A fire associated with Mākua Army training in 1994 got out of control and jumped Farrington Highway, burning down makeshift beach encampments that were home to several Wai’anae families.
The final EIS evaluated fire and other hazards of military training pertaining to four alternative plans, each one varying in intensity and scope of proposed weaponry uses and number of exercises. Along with an assessment of impacts, each alternative was appraised for the capacity to provide the most realistic training and preparation for the types of threats that soldiers in Hawai’i would expect to encounter in combat situations in Afghanistan and Iraq. Three of the four alternatives describe different training levels based in Mākua; the fourth is situated in Pōhakuloa Training Area on Hawai’i Island. The EIS also analyzes the cost and logistics of mitigating impacts of training that violate state and federal laws protecting endangered species, archeological sites and human health.
But the EIS information does not satisfy Earthjustice attorney David Henkin, who has represented Mālama Mākua in the nine-year-old lawsuit against the Army at Mākua. “The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has been allowed access to the training area and has concluded that there will be destruction to the native forest (with the resumption of training), but it is their kuleana to make sure there is no extinction and they have concluded they have proper measures to achieve this, but this is not the same thing as avoiding damage to irreplaceable cultural and environmental treasures, which is too high a price to pay for military training at Mākua,” said Henkin, who also disputes that the Army’s newly announced plan for Mākua marks a decrease in training. “The proposal is to use the same company level of training that existed when litigation started up in 1998.” Henkin said the Army played a “common trick” on the public by first selecting an alternative using weapons systems banned for decades. “Then they ratcheted back from the horrendous to the awful and expected the public to see this as responsive.”
Henkin called the Army’s “record of decision” a violation of the 2001 legal settlement and said he will represent Mālama Mākua in federal district court as early as this month in asking Judge Susan Oki Mollway to set aside the EIS and continue the injunction against live-fire training in the valley on O’ahu’s Leeward Coast. He says that the Army did not give serious consideration to alternative plan four, which would have moved the training maneuvers to the roomier and more remote Pōhakuloa Training Area. Army claims that this would incur cost and impose the hardship of extended separation on military families are exaggerated, Henkin said.
The Army said it would not comment on the proposed litigation. Army spokesperson Doane said that the lead expert in mitigation measures at Mākua could not be reached for comment in time for Ka Wai Ola Loa publication. The final Mākua EIS summarizes regulatory and administrative steps for mitigating risks associated with the live-fire activities; this includes the conservation recommendations of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, which has authority to enforce regulations under the Endangered Species Act. In addition, Army officials have said they have plans to spend $6 million in Mākua on cultural and environmental site management.
The fact is that the Army is dedicating resources to staying at Mākua stems from fear of giving up property in Hawai’i, according to Ailā. “That was their foregone conclusion going into the EIS and that has swayed the results,” said Ailā, who traces his Native Hawaiian roots back several generations in the valley.
A live fire training area since World War II, Mākua is the preferred site for simulated combat maneuvers before deployment to the Middle East. KWO archive photo
“It has concerned me that the largest pieces of land were taken from and/or are near the largest population centers of Native Hawaiians,” said Ailā, referring to the demographic makeup of O’ahu’s Leeward Coast. “The ongoing conflict over Mākua is an environmental justice issue,” Ailā added.
Ailā said he agrees with a conclusion shared by the Earthjustice attorney Henkin that the EIS does not contain adequate information on below-ground testing for archeological sites and did not finish a marine resources study to meet the community’s satisfaction. Ailā said the question of whether the military activities are resulting in harm to limu and fish from watershed runoff from Mākua Valley was never determined, because the EIS investigators “gathered the wrong species of limu from near beaches.” In addition, he said the EIS study identified arsenic and an estimated 40 other contaminants in fish from the Wai’anae Coast but did not determine if the elements were from a natural source or associated with the live-fire exercises.
Meanwhile, Nānākuli resident Bill Punini Prescott, a retired sergeant first class, said the legal challenge and opposition to Mākua military presence does not have widespread support from Native Hawaiians, including himself. “My main concern is that our soldiers are adequately trained so that they are not in harm’s way when they are fighting for our country,” said Prescott. “My neighbor just spent one year away from his family in Iraq. Now he is being sent to Fort Hood for training, when he could have gone right down the road to Mākua,” said Prescott.
Prescott said he is also has concerns about the taxpayers money that Congress is giving to rebuild and make accessible Mākua cultural or environment sites. Heiau, stone terraces and water springs are found elsewhere on the Leeward coast, he said. “Practitioners are giving many different opinions on what is sacred. It does not sound like Mākua is the only place that they can observe their traditions,” he said.
Prescott said he believes a majority of Native Hawaiians are more concerned about loved ones who have gone on active duty deployment in the Middle East wars than with the task of making Mākua safe for public use again. “The cost is prohibitive. During World War II, the valley was the central training area for troops landing on (O’ahu’s) beaches. In support of these operations, there were preparatory landings from ships, and bombing by air and land artillery. As a consequence, there are unexploded munitions not only in the valley but on the mountain sides, as evidenced after heavy rains. Additional live firings during the Korean and Vietnam wars also added more unexploded weaponry, thereby adding to the cost for clean-up,” he said.
The 2001 court settlement has allowed for 26 non low intensity training events in five years on the condition that the Army would continue to work on the EIS, but last December’s heavy rains wrecked valley roads that function as legally required firebreaks. No training has taken place since then. This prompts Earthjustice attorney Henkin to suggest that the lack of effective fire suppression coupled with current dry weather conditions raises the risk for brushfires and will prevent the Army from immediately implementing its “record of decision.”
But Army spokesperson Doane said road repairs will move along quickly with a recent infusion of $6 million in federal aid. While acknowledging that firebreak road repairs must be done before live fire training starts up again, Doane said other types of combat-readiness exercises may begin immediately.
The resumption of flying bullets and exploding ordnance at Mākua coincides with a major Army outreach campaign to Native Hawaiians. The Army has briefed the Council on Native Hawaiian Advancement and Alu Like Inc. on the military in local economic development and employment issues, said Doane.
Earlier this year, Army Col. Matthew Margotta hired Annelle Amaral as the Army’s new Native Hawaiian liaison. Amaral, who said she has served as a mediator at oft-times contentious public meetings on the military’s plan for the Stryker Brigade in Hawai’i, said that Margotta epitomizes a new generation of military leaders who value cultural sensitivity. “He has said many times that ‘this is not your father’s Army,’” said Amaral, a former member of the Honolulu Police Department and a former elected official. She added that the new command this year has poured $1 million into ensuring that Mākua valley’s Hawaiian cultural sites are accessible
At the Army’s request, Amaral last month organized a helicopter tour of the Mākua range for Hawaiian leaders. “The idea was to invite those with large constituencies so they can inform others about the work that has been going on in the valley,” said Amaral, adding that the invitees asked many probing questions. “I was proud that they took this tack.”
Those who made the trip included Hawaiian business executive Chris Dawson and Hawaiian Civic Club leader Leimomi Khan.
Mākua Military Reservation critic William Ailā was not invited on the tour and neither were any other members of Hui Mālama O Mākua or Mālama Mākua. “I am disappointed that the people in the trenches working on the restoration of the valley were not there to give some historical context,” said Ailā. “As cultural practitioners, our access to the valley has been limited to about 20 percent of what it used to be,” he added, explaining that a new Pentagon policy prevents people from going anywhere in the valley where ground has been checked to a depth of 12 inches for unexploded ordnance. “They say it is about liability, but I am willing to sign a waiver. There’s an ongoing problem of access and just another reason to look forward to the promised return of Mākua to the community.”
The training site that is bordered by the ridge of the Wai’anae Coast mountains and continuous white sand beaches was once renowned as Hawai’i's breadbasket, Ailā said, adding that “more than 100 years ago, Mākua had a reputation on the U.S. continent for supplying the sweetest melons, abundant sweet potatoes and mountain apple.”
Kahu Kaleo Patterson, who took the Chinook helicopter ride into the valley last month, said the Army guides had “a lot of good things to say about wanting to reach out the community. “I would say it’s important to take the military up on its offer and reach back. Request the education (about their environmental work) they say they want to offer. Go see for yourself and don’t just jump on one side, based on what you hear second-hand.”
Patterson said that at the end of the tour he found himself standing next to Col. Margotta at on a high ridge overlooking the expansive ocean bay. “I told him that so many of our island families have buried loved ones or scattered their ashes out there. We’ve honored our loved ones by floating leis on the waves out there,” he said. “This is a reminder that this valley is not just filled with cultural resources and endangered species. It is very sacred and activity that takes place here should take this into consideration. If this place is eventually restored as an ahupua’a, it could have importance to all the world.”
“It’s too bad there is no section in that EIS that talks about spiritual impacts,” Patterson said.