- Associated Press - Sunday, January 31, 2016

HONOLULU (AP) - A group is urging people to protest a gathering of Native Hawaiians who are set to discuss the possibility of establishing a governing body.

The Honolulu Star-Advertiser reports (http://bit.ly/23CbURt) court disputes led organizing group Nai Aupuni to shorten the gathering and open it to 151 participants, with closed-door sessions starting Monday.

Attendees will first decide whether to pursue a governing entity for Native Hawaiians.

Participant Lilikala Kame’eleihiwa says she’s in favor of federal recognition that will allow Native Hawaiians to stake first claims on decommissioned military bases as other American tribes and native nations can.

She’s also pro-independence.

“People’s desires and political opinions make for political change, and laws and constitutions are rewritten,” said the director of the University of Hawaii’s Manoa Kamakakuokalani Center for Hawaiian Studies. “That is how the world really works.”

Protest Na’i Aupuni supporter Sweets Matthews says people should be able to choose their leaders and type of government. The group says the gathering is an attempt to weaken a movement for independence.

“This is not true self-determination as defined by the United Nations,” Matthews said in a press release. “Under international law, self-determination is a legal and human right, something the Hawaiian people have been consistently denied by the United States. We, as a people, are supposed to determine who our leaders are and what form of government we want.”

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Information from: Honolulu Star-Advertiser, http://www.staradvertiser.com

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