Mililani Trask

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Mililani B. Trask
Mililani Trask.JPG
Born Mililani Bernardette Trask
Honolulu, Hawaii, US
Occupation Indigenous Consultants LLC (2009-Present), Executive Director, Gibson Foundation (1988-2004), Consultant to World Indigenous Peoples

Mililani Trask is a leader of the Hawaiian Sovereignty Movement and a political speaker and attorney. One of Trask's contributions to the Hawaiian sovereignty movement was her founding of Na Koa Ikaika o Ka Lāhui Hawaiʻi, a native Hawaiian non-governmental organization.[1]

Outside of Hawaiʻi, Trask has worked with the United Nations to aid indigenous people from around the world seeking independence. She was a member of the Indigenous Initiative for Peace, helped author the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples and was elected vice chair of the General Assembly of Nations of the Unrepresented Nations and Peoples Organization.[2] For seven years, she worked and studied under the guidance of Mother Teresa of Calcutta.[3] She is the younger sister of activist and writer, Professor Haunani-Kay Trask.[1]

Trask is currently seeking an At-Large Trustee position in the Office of Hawaiian Affairs.

Education[edit]

Licensure[edit]

Professional Positions[edit]

  • Prosecutor, Honolulu (1978–79)
  • Private Practice of Law (1979–88)
  • Executive Director, Gibson Foundation (1988–2004)
  • Trustee, Office of Hawaiian Affairs (1998-00)
  • Indigenous Consultant, Hawaii & New Zealand Geothermal Projects (2004-2009)
  • Principal At-Will, Indigenous Consultants LLC (2009-Present)

Early Works with Indigenous Peoples[edit]

In October 1993, Ms. Trask was invited to become a member of the prestigious Indigenous Initiative for Peace (IIP), a global body of indigenous leaders convened by Nobel Laureate Rigoberta Menchu-Tum, the United Nations Goodwill Ambassador to the UN Decade on Indigenous Peoples. Since that time, Ms. Trask has worked in the global arena for passage of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. In this respect, Ms. Trask attended and participated in the United National Global Consultations in Cairo, Beijing, Copenhagen and Vienna as a Pacific Delegate to the indigenous caucus.

In 1995, Ms. Trask was elected the second Vice Chair of the General Assembly of Nations of the Unrepresented Nations and Peoples Organization (UNPO), an international body composed of the unrecognized nations of the world. UNPO was founded in 1991 by his holiness, the Dalai Lama, as an alternative forum to the United Nations. Ms. Trask assumed the position vacated by Ken Sarowira, the Ogoni human rights' advocate, who was killed by the Nigerian Government.

Ms. Trask is a founding member of the Indigenous Women's Network, a coalition of Native American Women whose work includes community based economic development, social justice, human rights, housing and health.

Ms. Trask is an acknowledged Peace advocate and has studied and worked for seven years with Mother Teresa of Calcutta. Ms. Trask is the Convener for a Native Hawaiian NGO entitled Na Koa Ikaika o Ka Lahui Hawaii and the Director of an NGO ECO-SOC, Indigenous World Association, that has worked in the international arena on the Draft Declaration for Indigenous Peoples and the World Conference on Racism for 18 years.

From 1987-1998, Ms. Trask served and the Interim and elected Kia'aina (Governor/Prime Minister) of Ka Lahui Hawaii, the Native Hawaiian Nation, with a citizenry of over 20,000 Hawaiians. From 1998 – 2000, Ms. Trask was elected to the Office of Hawaiian Affairs as Trustee at Large. Ms. Trask has served as the Executive Director of the Gibson Foundation from 1987 to present, a private, non-profit dedicated to assisting Native Hawaiians with housing issues, and housing programs.

In 2001, Ms. Trask was nominated and appointed as the Pacific representative to Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues to serve a three-year term beginning Jan. 1, 2002. Ms. Trask was appointed to the position by the President of the Economic Social Council of the United Nations and is currently considered an indigenous expert to the United Nations in international and human rights law.

Formation of Ka Lahui Hawai'i[edit]

Trask returned to Hawaii and joined the growing native struggle over land control and development. She began community organizing on sovereignty issues, setting up conferences and workshops and doing extensive legal research into native land claims. In 1987, Trask and others founded the group Ka Lahui Hawai'i (the Hawaiian People). Ka Lahui is a self-proclaimed sovereign Hawaiian nation with over ten thousand members; a democratic constitution with a bill of rights; and four branches of government—including an elected legislature (the Pakaukau), representing thirty-three districts, and a judiciary system made up of elected judges and an elders council. Voting is restricted to those with Hawaiian blood. (Native Hawaiians are the 220,000 people of Hawaiian ancestry in the state, of whom about 10,000 are pure-blooded.) Trask has twice been elected kia'aina of the group, the equivalent of governor or prime minister. Trask hopes the nation will eventually be rooted in the nearly two hundred thousand acres of Hawaiian homelands and the 1.4 million acres of original Hawaiian lands ceded to the state by the federal government. In Ka Lahui Hawai'i, according to Trask, native Hawaiians would have a relationship similar to that existing between the United States and federally recognized Native American tribes and native Alaskans. The tribes, whose members have dual status as citizens of the United States and as "citizens" of the tribe, can impose taxes, make laws, and control their lands.

Community-Based Renewable Energy[edit]

In 2004, Ms. Trask started working extensively with New Zealand and Hawai'i based energy initiatives to bring affordable, clean, renewable energy to indigenous communities. She was crucial in developing a "Native-to-Native" model with Hawai'i based company, Innovations Development Group. She served as a consultant, ensuring that these energy initiatives put people before profits, safeguarded human rights, and respected cultural protocols. Ms. Trask has moved significant legislation that brought attention to the fact that mineral assets like geothermal are publicly owned and that all the people in Hawai'i should benefit from it. As a prior member of the International Indigenous Caucus on Biodiversity, she strongly advocated for indigenous peoples relative to their land and other natural resources on the United Nations Permanent Forum Focal Point on Human Rights and Health, as well as in her own community in Hawai'i.

Public & Professional Accomplishments[edit]

Pro-bono Community Positions[edit]

  • Legal Aid Society of Hawaii, Board (1982–85)
  • Kia’aina (CEO) Ka Lahui Hawaii, Hawaiian Nation (1988–98)
  • Counsel to E Ola Mau, Hawaiian Health Professionals (1987–89)
  • Native Hawaiian Land Trust Task Force, Counsel (1983–87)
  • Indigenous Women’s Network, Board (1984–present)
  • Hawaiian Women’s Political Action League, Board (1985–87)
  • Civil Rights for Hawaiians, Board, Counsel (1987)
  • Hawaii State Judiciary Water Rights Roundtable (1987–88)
  • Hawaii Democratic Movement, Board of Directors (1988)
  • Program Director, ANA Grant for Self-governance Project (1991–93)
  • Ka Ho’okolokolonui Kanaka Maoli Tribunal, Counsel (1993)
  • UNPO Vice Chair, General Assembly of Nations (Hague- 1995)
  • Chief Judge, Pacific Court of Women, New Zealand (1999)
  • Jurist, World Court of Women, Cape Town, South Africa (2001)

Honors, Appointments, Community Recognition[edit]

  • Legal Community Service Award, SC Law School (1977)
  • Reginald Scholar (National-1978)
  • Outstanding Young Woman of America (National – 1982)
  • Distinguished Service to Hawaii Nei Award, Alu Like, (HI -1982)
  • Presidential Appointee to Federal State Task Force on Hawaiian Home Lands (HI – 1982)
  • YWCA Professional Woman of the Year in the Field of Law (HI – 1987)
  • Delegate to Democratic National Convention (1988)
  • Best Hawaiian Leader of the Year Honolulu Weekly Reader Poll- HI (1993 & 1995)
  • Best Community Activist – Honolulu Weekly Reader Poll (1995)
  • Appointed to Indigenous Initiative for Peace by Nobel Laureate Rigoberta Menchu-Tum (International – 1993)
  • Bannerman Fellow (National – 1994)
  • Guatemala Silver Medal of Peace for Service to Indigenous Peoples, Presented by Rigoberta Menchu Tum (International–2000)
  • United Nations’ Appointee to the UN Permanent Forum, Pacific Region (International –2002 for a 3 yr. Term).

United Nations Consultations[edit]

  • 1993 - U.N. World Conference on Human Rights
  • 1994 - U.N. International Consultation on Populations
  • 1995 - U.N. World Summit for Social Development
  • 1996 - U.N. Fourth World Conference on Women
  • 2001 - U.N. World Conference Against Racism, S. Africa
  • 1993–Present - U.N. Working Group on Indigenous Populations
  • 1995–Present - U.N. Intersessional Working Group on Declaration.
  • 2002 - World Civil Society Forum, Geneva
  • 2003 - U.N. World Conference on Informational Society and UN Global forum on Indigenous Peoples and the Information Society
  • 2004 - U.N. Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues(NY)
  • 2004 - U.N. Human Rights Commission & Sub-Commission
  • 2005 - U.N. Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues(NY)
  • 2005 - U.N. Human Rights Council (Geneva)
  • 2005 - CBD ABS - Bangkok, Thailand
  • 2005 - World Social Forum, Porto Alegre
  • 2005 - Organization of American States (D.C.)
  • 2006 - Consultation on Declarations, Cancun, Mexico
  • 2006 - U.N. General Assembly (NY)
  • 2006 - U.N. Human Rights Council (Geneva)

Presentations, Conferences and Guest Lectures[edit]

  • 1987 – First Hawaiian Sovereignty Conference, Kamehameha Schools, Panelist
  • 1988 – Hawaiian Sovereignty Conference, State Capitol, Honolulu, Panelist
  • 1990 – Peoples Legislative conference on Hawaiian Rights, State Capitol, Honolulu – Speaker
  • 1991 – University of Wisconsin, Lecturer - Native Rights
  • 1991 – Aboriginal Public Policy Institute (APPI), International Indigenous Sovereignty Conference, Marin County, CA, Keynote Address
  • 1991 – Civil Rights Presentation, Honolulu, HI, Speaker
  • 1991 – United Church of Christ, Commission for Racial Justice at the People of Color First National Environmental Leadership Summit, Washington, D.C., Plenary Presenter
  • 1992 – Keepers of Treasure, Cultural and Historic Preservation Conference, Billings, Montana, Keynote Address
  • 1992 – World Council of Churches, Program to Combat Racism, Women Under Racism Global Gathering, Port of Spain, Trinidad, Keynote Address
  • 1992 – United Church of Christ, National Roundtable Discussion, National Priority Working Group, Perspectives on Columbus from diverse cultural, racial and ethnic backgrounds, Participant
  • 1992 – University of Hawaii at Manoa, Lecturer/panelist – Civil Rights Panel Discussion
  • 1993 (Jan. 17th), 100th Year Observance of the Illegal Overthrow of the Hawaiian Nation, Iolani Palace, Honolulu, HI, Keynote Address
  • 1993 – Peoples Water Conference, Kawaihao Church, Honolulu, HI, Panelist
  • 1993 – Los Angeles Association of Hawaiian Civic Clubs “Hawaiian Sovereignty”, LA, CA, Speaker
  • 1993 – Cherokee Nation, Indian International Council, Tulsa, Oklahoma, Keynote Address and Moderator
  • 1993 – University of Oregon, Lecturer, Indigenous Economics and Indigenous Human Rights
  • 1994 – International Transpersonal Association (ITA) “Toward Earth Community: Ecology, Native Wisdom and Spirituality”, Killarny, Co., Kerry, Ireland, Keynote Address
  • 1994 – United Nations International Conference on Populations and Development, International Women’s Health Coalition, Cairo, Egypt, Participant
  • 1995 – Public Forum, Featured Speaker, Feminist Family Values, the Foundation for A Compassionate Society, Featuring Angela Davis, Gloria Steinem, Maria Jimenez & Mililani Trask
  • 1995 – San Francisco State University, Lecturer – United Nations’ 50th Anniversary Speech and Indigenous Rights
  • 1995 – Fourth World Conference on Women, Beijing, China, Participant, Plenary Speaker
  • 1996 – Government of the Republic of Fiji’s Indigenous Peoples of the Pacific Workshop on the United Nations Draft Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, Suva, Fiji, Participant/Delegate
  • 1997 – Federal Bar Association Indian Law Conference “Self Determination and Indigenous People: Native Hawaiians and the UN Draft Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples”, Speaker
  • 1997 – Australian Reconciliation Convention, Council for Aboriginal Reconciliation, Melbourne, Australia, Plenary Speaker
  • 1998 – Native Hawaiian Rights Clinic, University of Hawaii School of Law, Speaker
  • 1998 – Trust & Fiduciary Obligations of Native Trustees; First Foundation, New Zealand, Plenary
  • 1999 – Pacific Court of Women, Auckland, New Zealand, Plenary
  • 1999 – University of Colorado at Boulder, Lecturer, Sovereignty Symposium
  • 2001 – WCAR Keynote, Colonialism, Reparations and Racism: Indigenous Perspectives
  • 2001 – Indigenous Rights, Contemporary Issues, UC Santa Cruz, Lecturer
  • 2001 – Sovereignty, Racism and Indigenous Peoples, Sydney, Australia
  • 2001 – World Court of Women Against Violence, Cape Town, South Africa, Jurist
  • 2001 – World Court of Women, Durban, South Africa, Witness
  • 2001 – Assembly of First Nations, Quebec, Canada, Plenary
  • 2001 – Indigenous Peoples & International Law, Indigenous Women’s Network, Mohawk Valley, New York, Keynote
  • 2001 – Globalization – Contemporary Issues, Jubilee South USTAWI, Seattle, Washington, Keynote
  • 2002 – World Conference on Sustainable Development, Plenary, Participant, South Africa
  • 2002 – University of Hawaii, School of Law – Symposium on Rice v. Cayetano, Keynote
  • 2002 – University of Hawaii, Panel – Mauna Kea & Hawaiian Cultural Issues
  • 2002 – Hamilton University, Guest Lecturer, Wellington School of Law
  • 2002 - Bates College, Maine – Guest Lecturer – Independence Movements of Indigenous Peoples
  • 2003 – RMIT/East West Center, Keynote – Diversity Conference
  • 2003 – University of Michigan, Keynote – Student Training
  • 2003 – Minnesota, Amnesty International Youth Training, Workshop
  • 2003 – The Ford Foundation, U.S. Environmental Justice Strategic Planning Conference, Washington D.C., Participant
  • 2003 – UNITAR – Diplomacy Training, Conflict Resolution and Prevention, Instructor and Participant
  • 2003 – University of California, Boalt Hall School of Law, Keynote – Coalition Building in Community Work
  • 2003 – Seattle, Washington, Environmental Justice Conference, Keynote
  • 2003 – Cook Islands, Consultation with Traditional Elders (Koutu Nui) and Government on Traditional Knowledge and Intellectual Property
  • 2003 – Teton Sioux Treaty Conference, South Dakota, Workshop and Keynote
  • 2003 – World Trade Organization, Cancun Mexico, Forum Representative
  • 2003 – CINE Conference, Montreal Canada, Indigenous Peoples, Nutrition and Environment, Keynote
  • 2003 – Ke Aha Pono – Hawaii Conference on Indigenous Knowledge, Keynote
  • 2003 – Hawaii Hawaiian Civic Clubs, Kauai Island, Workshop, Biodiversity and Hawaii Legislation
  • 2004 – World Court of Women, Crimes of War, Mombai, India; Witness
  • 2004 – World Social Forum, Participant, Mombai, India
  • 2005 – Color of Violence, Keynote, New Orleans
  • 2005 – Indigenous Caucus Consultation on CBD, Canada
  • 2005 - Maori Women’s Welfare League, Keynote, New Zealand
  • 2005 – Indigenous Caucus Consultation on Declaration, Mexico
  • 2006 – Arizona State University Law School, Keynote
  • 2006 – Hawaii State Bar Association, International Law and Akaka Bill Seminar/Trainings
  • 2006 – International Forum on Globalization, Keynote, NY

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Tourism and indigenous people: a resource guide. Ecumenical Coalition on Third World Tourism. 1995. p. 12. OCLC 35021069. 
  2. ^ Tsai, Michael (July 2, 2006). "Mililani Trask". The Honolulu Advertiser. Retrieved February 4, 2010. 
  3. ^ Burchett, Elisa (November 22, 2006). "Elisa Burchett asks, ‘Will African Group Proposal Derail Entire Indigenous Declaration Process?’". U.N. Observer. Retrieved 4 February 2010.