POSTED: 17 MAY 2007 - 8:30am HST

Sovereignty For Kauai

Herb Kane painting of historic Kanapali, Maui. Westside Kauai might look like this in future

by Mark Jeffers 0n 16 may 2007

For the sake of our island home, we must choose a different form of government that does not reflect the "limitless growth mania" that plagues a great portion of the United States, its institutions, & corporations. Those of us who have traveled across the US in a car have seen the urban sprawl that creates a culture of "now" that is responsible for our many problems we currently face at home & abroad. Limitless growth does not work for island living because we are bound to live in a limited geographical home.

A former name of Kaua`i, 'Kamawaelualani' (The Middle of the Circle of the Sky) poetically expresses the pono place that our most lovely island must hold in the world politic. Many of our Kaua'i endemic flora, fauna, & fishes who live here express in the natural world the integrity of our island home as well. As a teacher, a storyteller, and a children's tv personality living on "Ato`oi", I sincerely appreciate the efforts of the Ali`i like Dayne Apoalani, and his Ohana who are all working for the influence of sovereignty on our islands.

An island works best when the family is the basic building block for the decision making of the people - not government, not religion, not business. In order for the family to have the power to make decisions that last, they must be free from the burden of land based debts. Each family must own debt-free land in order for its children to preserve the life of the island into the future. We learn to love the land by living on it and caring for it, not by strapping our children with unattainable monetary goals to pay for what is already theirs. Being rich makes someone else poor because everyone cannot be rich, but everyone can have a good life and be a part of a family, and care for where they live. The most important thing about the rule by chiefly families on Kauai is that everyone can show Love and Aloha to the Ali`i families. This Aloha gives the family members the mana to act with conscious when making important decisions like the development of our lands.

In as much as sovereignty is a very personal decision, I would ask everyone reading this letter to stop for a moment. Think what it means to make your own decisions, to speak from your heart, to not be fearful or intimidated. To become more an island of strong citizens each looking after the Aina and each other, like the feeling we all had after 'Iniki and 'Iwa about what needed to be done.
How can we all now simply create the needed coalition for a Sovereign Kaua`i, an island nation around Kaua'i and Ni'ihau?.

We can from this next 2008 election onwards declare ourselves a West Hawaiian Commonwealth, a constitutional government. We can do this by elevating to political status our Ali'i Nui families in each island ahupuaha district with an alliance relationship to our Island Prime Minister (elected mayor) and our Island Council. Each entity would be considered inter-dependent of each other and become major decision makers within their kuleana.

This would change our relationship with the State of Hawaii and with the United States of America, however a new relationship could be derived from this decision that would benefit our island and her people for many generations to come.
To accomplish this we must look for our model to our neighbors in other Pacific Island Nations who have changed their association with their, at one time, ruling colonial powers. We must design educational experiences for our young people that continually expose them to Pacific Island culture and all the living cultures of the world as we all move cautiously into the uncertain future.



POSTED: 22 APRIL 2007 - 11:00am HST

A Hawaiian embassy in Washington, D.C.

The `Iolani Palace might be a good model for an Hawaiian embassy in Washington DC

Hawaiians maintain their inherent sovereignty
by Gale Courey Toensing on 20 April 2007 in Indian Country Today

Why should Native Hawaiians who have never relinquished their inherent sovereignty settle for the lesser status of federal recognition that is being put forward in the ''Akaka Bill''?

They shouldn't, says J. Kehaulani Kauanui.

Kauanui, a Native Hawaiian and an assistant professor of anthropology and American studies at Wesleyan University in Middletown, presented a short history of Hawaii/U.S. relations and her views of the Akaka Bill in a talk called ''The Politics of Native Hawaiian Self-Determination: U.S. Federal Policy v. International law'' at Yale University on April 4th.

She began with thanks to the event sponsors - the Yale Group for the Study of Native America and the Program in Ethnicity, Race and Migration - and acknowledged the land now known as New Haven as the original homeland of the Quinnipiac people.

A heated debate about Hawaiian sovereignty now centers on the proposed Hawaiian federal recognition bill reintroduced into Congress by Sen. Daniel Akaka, D-Hawaii, in January after six years of defeat in the Senate, Kauanui said.

The Hawaiian sovereignty movement is split between those who support federal recognition and those who want full independence from the United States based on decolonization and de-occupation under international law, Kauanui said.

''At the heart of this division between federal recognition and independence is the debate as to whether or not, and if so, how Native Hawaiians fit into U.S. policy on Native American governing entities,'' Kauanui said.

A compelling argument against federal recognition is how federally recognized tribes are treated now,

Kauanui said.
''You have a backlash against tribal nations in this area who are absolutely entitled to federal recognition and you have the state bearing down on them, and the courts continue to erode tribal sovereignty. So the challenge for me, intellectually, legally and politically, has been how to formulate my critique of federal recognition for Hawaiians without it ever being misinterpreted as something that can be used against tribes here, because I support the federal recognition of tribes here,'' Kauanui said.

But the central argument against federal recognition rests on ''the particularity of the Hawaiian claims given the legal history of the Hawaiian kingdom,'' Kauanui said.

Those particularities are embedded as facts in Public Law 103-150 - an apology to the Hawaiian people that was signed in 1993 by President Bill Clinton.

The apology acknowledges the illegality of the U.S. government's military-backed regime change of ''the sovereign Hawaii nation'' in 1893 and its support for the illegally created ''provisional government'' in violation of treaties and international law. The insurgents were wealthy American and European financiers and colonists who owned sugar plantations.

The key statement in the apology reiterates Hawaii's continuing independence: ''The indigenous Hawaiian people never directly relinquished their claims to their inherent sovereignty as a people or over their national lands to the United States, either through their monarchy or through a plebiscite or referendum.

''This legal genealogy makes the current push for federal recognition as reflected in the Akaka Bill extremely problematic,'' Kauanui said.

The word ''people'' itself puts Hawaiians in line with international law that says all
peoples have the right to determine their political structures.

''When you say 'people,' you're saying a nation. A people is not an ethnic group,'' Kauanui said, quoting Lumbee legal scholar David Wilkins, who outlined four elements that set American Indians apart from racial minorities.

''Indians are nations, not minorities,'' Wilkins said, because they were the original inhabitants of the land; their pre-existence necessitated the negotiation of political compacts, treaties and alliances with European nations and the United States. As treaty-recognized sovereigns, Indian peoples are subject to U.S. trust doctrine, which is supposed to be a unique legal relationship with the federal government that entails protection; and, stemming from the trust relationship, the United States asserts plenary power of tribal nations, which it deems exclusive and pre-emptive.

Native Hawaiians who want to pursue self-determination through international law contest this U.S. use of the ''doctrine of discovery'' to indigenous peoples' lands and U.S. assertion to legal title to those lands while only recognizing tribal nations' use of the land, Kauanui said.

The ''provisional government'' ceded 1.8 million acres of Hawaiian lands to the United States in 1898, but those lands have never fallen into private hands.

''These are lands the U.S. government accepted from the people that stole them from the Hawaiian monarchy. Never has a penny exchanged hands and never has a case about the legal title of these lands ever been adjudicated so this is a major outstanding land claim - 1.8 million acres of some of the most expensive real estate in the world and one of the most militarized place in the world,'' Kauanui said, referring to the massive U.S. nuclear base in Honolulu, which is the central command for U.S. military interests in the Pacific Ocean.

Supporters of federal recognition say there is nothing in the Akaka Bill that would compromise or foreclose Hawaiian national claims under international law, but U.S. actions in asserting its plenary power to keep tribal nations both domestic and dependent belie that claim, Kauanui said.

Hawaiians may not be able to realize their independence right now, ''but just because you can't see it come to fruition right now doesn't mean you throw it down the toilet. You protect the claims. I'd rather stick with the status quo for the moment and work on cultural sovereignty, get the people stronger and work on educating people about their political rights,'' Kauanui said.

Under the Akaka Bill, Hawaii could never have casinos, never have criminal and civil jurisdiction, never petition the secretary of the Interior Department to take land into trust and never be able to make land claims under the 1790 Non-Intercourse Act, which would mean ''there goes those 1.8 million acres,'' Kauanui said.

No competing Hawaiian sovereignty group would have legal standing in any domestic court or at the United Nations. The Native Hawaiian government would be formed by a commission appointed by and answerable to the Interior secretary, unlike federally recognized Indian tribes who determine their own leadership and membership. And Hawaiians could not have their own civil or criminal jurisdiction.

''Why should we do that? It seems a more critical time than ever for Hawaiians and all U.S. citizens to critically question why there should not be a Hawaiian embassy in Washington, D.C. Instead of negotiating with the Department of the Interior, Hawaiians have the un-extinguished right to negotiate instead with the U.S. Department of State,'' Kauanui said.

For more on the issue see:
Island Breath: Rebuilding Hawaiian Kingdom 9/3/2005

Island Breath: Stop the Akaka Bill 4/9/2005

Island Breath: Bolye on Sovereignty 12/28/2004



POSTED: 12 APRIL 2007 - 8:30am HST

The US 1993 Hawaiian "Apology Bill"

Editor's Note: for a story in today's Garden Island News on sovereignty see

"...the logical consequences of this resolution would be independence."
- Senator Slade Gorton, Wednesday, October 27, 1993, 103rd Cong. 1st Sess.

United States Public Law 103-150
103d Congress Joint Resolution 19 - Nov. 23, 1993
To acknowledge the 100th anniversary of the January 17, 1893 overthrow of the Kingdom of Hawaii, and to offer an apology to Native Hawaiians on behalf of the United States for the overthrow of the Kingdom of Hawaii.

Whereas, prior to the arrival of the first Europeans in 1778, the Native Hawaiian people lived in a highly organized, self-sufficient, subsistent social system based on communal land tenure with a sophisticated language, culture, and religion;

Whereas, a unified monarchical government of the Hawaiian Islands was established in 1810 under Kamehameha I, the first King of Hawaii;

Whereas, from 1826 until 1893, the United States recognized the independence of the Kingdom of Hawaii, extended full and complete diplomatic recognition to the Hawaiian Government, and entered into treaties and conventions with the Hawaiian monarchs to govern commerce and navigation in 1826, 1842, 1849, 1875, and 1887;

Whereas, the Congregational Church (now known as the United Church of Christ), through its American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions, sponsored and sent more than 100 missionaries to the Kingdom of Hawaii between 1820 and 1850;

Whereas, on January 14, 1893, John L. Stevens (hereafter referred to in this Resolution as the "United States Minister"), the United States Minister assigned to the sovereign and independent Kingdom of Hawaii conspired with a small group of non-Hawaiian residents of the Kingdom of Hawaii, including citizens of the United States, to overthrow the indigenous and lawful Government of Hawaii;

Whereas, in pursuance of the conspiracy to overthrow the Government of Hawaii, the United States Minister and the naval representatives of the United States caused armed naval forces of the United States to invade the sovereign Hawaiian nation on January 16, 1893, and to position themselves near the Hawaiian Government buildings and the 'Iolani Palace to intimidate Queen Liliuokalani and her Government;

, on the afternoon of January 17,1893, a Committee of Safety that represented the American and European sugar planters, descendants of missionaries, and financiers deposed the Hawaiian monarchy and proclaimed the establishment of a Provisional Government;

Whereas, the United States Minister thereupon extended diplomatic recognition to the Provisional Government that was formed by the conspirators without the consent of the Native Hawaiian people or the lawful Government of Hawaii and in violation of treaties between the two nations and of international law;

Whereas, soon thereafter, when informed of the risk of bloodshed with resistance, Queen Liliuokalani issued the following statement yielding her authority to the United States Government rather than to the Provisional Government:

"I Liliuokalani, by the Grace of God and under the Constitution of the Hawaiian Kingdom, Queen, do hereby solemnly protest against any and all acts done against myself and the Constitutional Government of the Hawaiian Kingdom by certain persons claiming to have established a Provisional Government of and for this Kingdom.
"That I yield to the superior force of the United States of America whose Minister Plenipotentiary, His Excellency John L. Stevens, has caused United States troops to be landed a Honolulu and declared that he would support the Provisional Government.

"Now to avoid any collision of armed forces, and perhaps the loss of life, I do this under protest and impelled by said force yield my authority until such time as the Government of the United States shall, upon facts being presented to it, undo the action of its representatives and reinstate me in the authority which I claim as the Constitutional Sovereign of the Hawaiian Islands.".
Done at Honolulu this 17th day of January, A.D. 1893.;

Whereas, without the active support and intervention by the United States diplomatic and military representatives, the insurrection against the Government of Queen Liliuokalani would have failed for lack of popular support and insufficient arms;

Whereas, on February 1, 1893, the United States Minister raised the American flag and proclaimed Hawaii to be a protectorate of the United States;
Whereas, the report of a Presidentially established investigation conducted by former Congressman James Blount into the events surrounding the insurrection and overthrow of January 17, 1893, concluded that the United States diplomatic and military representatives had abused their authority and were responsible for the change in government;

Whereas, as a result of this investigation, the United States Minister to Hawaii was recalled from his diplomatic post and the military commander of the United States armed forces stationed in Hawaii was disciplined and forced to resign his commission;

, in a message to Congress on December 18, 1893, President Grover Cleveland reported fully and accurately on the illegal acts of the conspirators, described such acts as an "act of war, committed with the participation of a diplomatic representative of the United States and without authority of Congress", and acknowledged that by such acts the government of a peaceful and friendly people was overthrown;

Whereas, President Cleveland further concluded that a "substantial wrong has thus been done which a due regard for our national character as well as the rights of the injured people requires we should endeavor to repair" and called for the restoration of the Hawaiian monarchy;

Whereas, the Provisional Government protested President Cleveland's call for the restoration of the monarchy and continued to hold state power and pursue annexation to the United States;

Whereas, the Provisional Government successfully lobbied the Committee on Foreign Relations of the Senate (hereafter referred to in this Resolution as the "Committee") to conduct a new investigation into the events surrounding the overthrow of the monarchy;

Whereas, the Committee and its chairman, Senator John Morgan, conducted hearings in Washington, D.C., from December 27,1893, through February 26, 1894, in which members of the Provisional Government justified and condoned the actions of the United States Minister and recommended annexation of Hawaii;

Whereas, although the Provisional Government was able to obscure the role of the United States in the illegal overthrow of the Hawaiian monarchy, it was unable to rally the support from two-thirds of the Senate needed to ratify a treaty of annexation;

Whereas, on July 4, 1894, the Provisional Government declared itself to be the Republic of Hawaii;

Whereas, on January 24, 1895, while imprisoned in 'Iolani Palace, Queen Liliuokalani was forced by representatives of the Republic of Hawaii to officially abdicate her throne;

Whereas, in the 1896 United States Presidential election, William McKinley replaced Grover Cleveland;

Whereas, on July 7, 1898, as a consequence of the Spanish-American War, President McKinley signed the Newlands Joint Resolution that provided for the annexation of Hawaii;

Whereas, through the Newlands Resolution, the self-declared Republic of Hawaii ceded sovereignty over the Hawaiian Islands to the United States;
Whereas, the Republic of Hawaii also ceded 1,800,000 acres of crown, government and public lands of the Kingdom of Hawaii, without the consent of or compensation to the Native Hawaiian people of Hawaii or their sovereign government;

Whereas, the Congress, through the Newlands Resolution, ratified the cession, annexed Hawaii as part of the United States, and vested title to the lands in Hawaii in the United States;

Whereas, the Newlands Resolution also specified that treaties existing between Hawaii and foreign nations were to immediately cease and be replaced by United States treaties with such nations;

Whereas, the Newlands Resolution effected the transaction between the Republic of Hawaii and the United States Government;

Whereas, the indigenous Hawaiian people never directly relinquished their claims to their inherent sovereignty as a people or over their national lands to the United States, either through their monarchy or through a plebiscite or referendum;

Whereas, on April 30, 1900, President McKinley signed the Organic Act that provided a government for the territory of Hawaii and defined the political structure and powers of the newly established Territorial Government and its relationship to the United States;

Whereas, on August 21,1959, Hawaii became the 50th State of the United States;
Whereas, the health and well-being of the Native Hawaiian people is intrinsically tied to their deep feelings and attachment to the land;

Whereas, the long-range economic and social changes in Hawaii over the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries have been devastating to the population and to the health and well-being of the Hawaiian people;

, the Native Hawaiian people are determined to preserve, develop and transmit to future generations their ancestral territory, and their cultural identity in accordance with their own spiritual and traditional beliefs, customs, practices, language, and social institutions;

Whereas, in order to promote racial harmony and cultural understanding, the Legislature of the State of Hawaii has determined that the year 1993, should serve Hawaii as a year of special reflection on the rights and dignities of the Native Hawaiians in the Hawaiian and the American societies;

Whereas, the Eighteenth General Synod of the United Church of Christ in recognition of the denomination's historical complicity in the illegal overthrow of the Kingdom of Hawaii in 1893 directed the Office of the President of the United Church of Christ to offer a public apology to the Native Hawaiian people and to initiate the process of reconciliation between the United Church of Christ and the Native Hawaiians; and

Whereas, it is proper and timely for the Congress on the occasion of the impending one hundredth anniversary of the event, to acknowledge the historic significance of the illegal overthrow of the Kingdom of Hawaii, to express its deep regret to the Native Hawaiian people, and to support the reconciliation efforts of the State of Hawaii and the United Church of Christ with Native Hawaiians;
Now, therefore, be it

by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled,

The Congress -
(1) on the occasion of the 100th anniversary of the illegal overthrow of the Kingdom of Hawaii on January 17, 1893, acknowledges the historical significance of this event which resulted in the suppression of the inherent sovereignty of the Native Hawaiian people;
(2) recognizes and commends efforts of reconciliation initiated by the State of Hawaii and the United Church of Christ with Native Hawaiians;
(3) apologizes to Native Hawaiians on behalf of the people of the United States for the overthrow of the Kingdom of Hawaii on January 17, 1893 with the participation of agents and citizens of the United States, and the deprivation of the rights of Native Hawaiians to self-determination;
(4) expresses its commitment to acknowledge the ramifications of the overthrow of the Kingdom of Hawaii, in order to provide a proper foundation for reconciliation between the United States and the Native Hawaiian people; and
(5) urges the President of the United States to also acknowledge the ramifications of the overthrow of the Kingdom of Hawaii and to support reconciliation efforts between the United States and the Native Hawaiian people.

As used in this Joint Resolution, the term "Native Hawaiians" means any individual who is a descendent of the aboriginal people who, prior to 1778, occupied and exercised sovereignty in the area that now constitutes the State of Hawaii.

Nothing in this Joint Resolution is intended to serve as a settlement of any claims against the United States.

Approved November 23, 1993