Activist Walter Ritte withdraws from Native Hawaiian election

Activist Walter Ritte withdraws from Native Hawaiian election
Published: Oct. 28, 2015 at 7:12 PM HST|Updated: Oct. 28, 2015 at 8:27 PM HST
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HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Longtime Native Hawaiian activist Walter Ritte announced Wednesday he is no longer running for a delegate spot in the upcoming Na'i Aupuni election, set for Nov. 1, 2015.

Native Hawaiians who are registered for the election will vote for delegates, who will then meet at a convention, or 'aha, next year to decide what type of nation or government, if any, will be created or reorganized.

Ritte said he's dropping out of the elections because he's concerned about the process -- and it's ultimate end.

"If you're going to plant a seed that is not pono, then you're going to harvest something that is not pono," he said. The election, he added, is "a fake pathway to nationhood and its disillusioned vision of sovereignty."

Ritte, who believes the Kingdom of Hawaii should be restored, not only removed himself for consideration in the vote, but urged others to do the same.

"We're hoping to create a groundswell to say that this is not ... the direction we should be going as a nation," he said. "It's being rushed, there are no rules. This thing is not the kind of place or thing we want to build our nation on."

The Office of Hawaiian Affairs created the registry for the upcoming election.

Na'i Aupuni, an independent organization, released this statement to Hawaii News Now in reaction to Ritte's comments:

"Na`i Aupuni encourages Native Hawaiians to voice their opinion on the Na`i Aupuni process because the voters and delegate candidates should hear all voices.

"However, the fact that some Native Hawaiians protest because they are concerned that their desired outcome will not be accepted emphasizes the need for a Native Hawaiian convention.  Without a process to vote in leaders who can advocate among each other to find a consensus, the Native Hawaiian community will never proceed forward in unity.  The outcome of the Na`i Aupuni process that involves 90,000 potential voters and 200 candidates cannot be preordained but it will be an important first step toward achieving Native Hawaiian solidarity."

Opponents of the election tried to stop it in court, arguing it's race-based and unconstitutional. U.S. District Court Judge Michael Seabright ruled last week that the election could go forward.

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