The state constitution provides hunting rights for native Hawaiians on state lands. Article 12, Section 7 on the Hawaiian Constitution says "The State reaffirms and shall protect all rights, customarily and traditionally exercised for subsistence, cultural and religious purposes and possessed by ahaupua’a tenants who are descendants of native Hawaiians who inhabited the Hawaiian Islands prior to 1778, subject to the right of the State to regulate such rights." TNC manages much of the native Hawaiian land on Molokai and is taking additional conservation programs that concern local residents.
Locals questioned how TNC was going to work to protect native Hawaiian gathering rights. It is not surprising that they are getting little of no information from The Nature Conservancy about its plans. TNC's mission would appear to be in direct opposition to the state constitution on this issue. Given TNC's history of bullyiny tactics, the residents have good reason to be concerned that their rights will be trampled.