Warning: This comedy video does contain vulgar language.
Warning: This comedy video does contain vulgar language.
This is part 3 of our story trilogy presenting a recent video interview with the fascinating – and controversial – political scientist, Dr. David Keanu Sai.
HAWAII – President Donald Trump’s first weeks in office have been a whirlwind of executive action and controversy. From the Oval Office, Trump’s social media tweets – once seen as inconsequential entertainment – can now carry international ramifications. How the new president handles it all remains to be seen. But he hasn’t minced words about the situation his administration is dealing with.
“To be honest, I inherited a mess,” President Trump said during a recent press conference. “It’s a mess, at home and abroad. A mess.”
Dr. Keanu Sai agrees with him, to some extent.
“They’ve inherited war crimes,” Sai said during a recent interview with Big Island Video News. “He did. He inherited it. And he is the successor of presidents since 1893 who have inherited war crimes committed in Hawaiʻi. Violations of international law of unimaginable proportions.”
Sai earned his Ph.D. from the University of Hawaii for his work on proving the continued existence of the Hawaiian Kingdom. Following the illegal overthrow of Queen Liliʻuokalani in 1893, there was never a legal treaty of annexation, Sai says. According to the political scientist, Hawaii is under a prolonged and illegal occupation, under international humanitarian law. Since the U.S. has not upheld the laws of the occupied state, the issue of war crimes under the Geneva Conventions comes into play.
Sai understands why many people don’t see it that way.
The fact that people in Hawaiʻi are clueless as to what Hawaiʻi was in the 19th century is the evidence of the crime. My great-grandparents were born in the Kingdom in 1880. I know nothing about the Kingdom. That wasn’t because I just didn’t know it. It’s because no one taught me. People did not teach anything because everything had to be Americanized. So, we’re the evidence of the crime. For Donald Trump and his administration, he really has nothing to do with Hawaiʻi. Nothing. Because he’s a president in America. The entities that have everything to do with our situation is the United States Pacific Command and the military here, boots on the ground. Because we’re in a sovereign country. We’re a separate country. Donald Trump is in another separate country. But he is responsible – as the president – for how the military operates here. But he also inherited all the liability of the previous presidents.”
Sai and Trump once shared similar, highly controversial positions on another presidential topic, although they arrived at their conclusions for different reasons. At the same time Donald Trump was trying to prove his predecessor in the White House was not born in the United States, Dr. Sai was lecturing on his own version of the “birther” movement.
Donald Trump, he was the birther man, right? I smiled when he first came out with ‘Barack Obama was not born in the United States’. I actually gave a presentation at NYU – also at Harvard – and it was titled ‘Why the birthers are right for all the wrong reasons.’ Barack Obama was born in Hawaiʻi. He was born at Kapiolani Hospital just about three years before I was born there. I was born in 1964. I believe he was born in 1961. He was not born in the United States, period. But I’m not saying he’s not an American. His mom was an American, so he’s an American citizen. There’s no doubt there. But he’s not natural born. Now, not being natural-born affects your status as a president, because under Article 2 of the United States Constitution the president and vice president have to be natural-born citizens. He wasn’t natural born. If he wasn’t natural-born, then he wasn’t president. If he wasn’t president, what was his administration for eight years? But see, that’s not my problem. That’s the United States’ problem.”
Does Sai believe President Trump has been fully apprised of the political situation in Hawaiʻi? He can only guess.
I would think (Trump’s administration) might want to keep this from (Trump), because he might use that to say he was correct against Barack Obama. The intelligence agencies fully apprised, I know, George W. Bush and Barack Obama. No doubt. Because there were international proceedings were taking place. Now, whether or not the intelligence group is advising Donald Trump about this? I don’t know. I would think they wouldn’t want to tell them because he’s going to take it out of context. Because, you’re talking about a powder keg here that can blow; economically, politically and criminally.”
Sai has been trying to educate the public on this subject for years, chronicling his work on the Hawaiian Kingdom blog. His has traveled the world, lecturing on this topic at the University of Cambridge, filing complaints and entering into proceedings at The Hague. He has recently initiated fact finding Commission of Inquiry as provided for by the Permanent Court of Arbitration, which arose out of the Larsen v Hawaiian Kingdom case.
My job is to fix this problem. There is no doubt that the (U.S.) State of Hawaii – although they’re illegal – they’re in control. To use a metaphor: I’m not about to have this plane called “Hawaiian” airlines, who’s flying high in the sky, disguised as if it’s “American” airlines, painted red white and blue. That paint is chipping off … This is Hawaiian airlines. We are still not in control of our plane but it is our plane. The Kingdom’s still exists. We’re not in control of it. I have to be careful that this plane doesn’t take a nosedive – economically, legally and politically – by people who are incompetent. So, I take every step very seriously to address this problem.”
Sai’s attempt to avoid a “nosedive” was recently thrust into the media spotlight. With the spending practises of the Office of Hawaiian Affairs under scrutiny, Sai’s contract to produce a manuscript on land tenure in Hawaii has become a controversy. The manuscript was never submitted for publication, although Sai was still paid $70,000 by OHA.
Sai even called one of the news stories on the controversial contract “fake news”. Something else he has in common with the Donald.
That goes to the heart as to why I refused – at this stage – to submit this manuscript that implicates all these people for war crimes, until I take the necessary steps to ensure that this plane doesn’t crash. That’s what’s important to me. Whether people believe it or not, it doesn’t matter. Can you falsify it? I’m not asking you to agree. And that’s my background. This is my approach as to how I do things. I take a very practical approach. I’m a retired (military captain). I still am an officer. These are some very hard issues and not everybody can grasp it. But there is no doubt that i know it and I’m responsible for it, because I know it. And that that’s what’s important.”
HILO, Hawaii – As the awareness builds over an international fact finding proceeding, there is a renewed interest in the Larsen v the Hawaiian Kingdom case that years ago led to the present day Commission of Inquiry.
Dr. Keanu Sai, a well known political scientist, represented the Hawaiian Kingdom in the tribunal convened at the Permanent Court of Arbitration at The Hague. In the video above, Sai details the proceedings and why he says they were so important. He also explains how the 2001 arbitration led to the Commission of Inquiry.
On January 24, 2017 the International Bureau of the PCA was notified by joint letter to initiate the fact finding proceedings. A $10,000 advance deposit has already been made towards the costs.
In recent weeks, Dr. Federico Lenzerini – a professor of international law from the University of Siena Law Department in Italy – has been making the rounds with Sai in Hawaii, building awareness of the fact-finding inquiry by filming TV interviews and even making a large presentation at the Kamehameha School Kapalama Campus on January 30.
HILO (BIVN) – Sai, a Ph.D. of political science from the University of Hawaii, says there is much more to the story of his unfulfilled contract with the Office of Hawaiian Affairs to produce a manuscript on Hawaii land title.
HILO, Hawaii – Political scientists Dr. Keanu Sai is objecting to his portrayal in a recent TV news story that reported on a contract he entered into with the embattled Office of Hawaiian Affairs to produce a manuscript on land tenure in Hawaii.
On February 14, Hawaii News Now reported that OHA – currently under pressure to conduct an audit of administrative expenditures – paid $70,000 to a “former felon at the center of the Hawaiian sovereignty debate for a report he never produced,” according to internal agency documents obtained by Hawaii News Now.
The news story reported “Sai said he dropped the study because it would have justified the current land title system, which he believes is illegal,” and that “he’s not returning the money to OHA.”
After the story aired, Sai fired back with an email to reporter Rick Daysog that he says he blind carbon copied to over 300 other recipients.
“I am very disappointed with your story on Hawai‘i News Now that sought to portray me as a fraud,” Sai wrote. “It was very distasteful, disrespectful and irresponsible.”
Sai said the report failed to state his reasoning for not submitting the manuscript for publication. “I’m protecting State of Hawai‘i officials, which includes the OHA Trustees, from criminal liability for committing the specific crimes of pillaging land revenues under international humanitarian law,” Sai wrote. “I will submit it for publication when I am satisfied that I’ve done all that I can to mitigate the criminal liability of State of Hawai‘i officials, even when they don’t believe I’m trying to help them.”
Sai was particularly unhappy with the reference to his felony conviction under Perfect Title, which he wrote about in detail in his email to Daysog.
“When you brought up Perfect Title Company in the interview, I told you that the attacks I received in the 1990s did not address historical facts and laws that apply to land titles in its title reports that the company produced, but rather the slandering of my name and reputation by constantly saying I was advising people to not pay their mortgages. I never did. In fact, I told you that a mortgage is a “security instrument” or “collateral” that secures the repayment of a loan. The loan is what you pay and not a mortgage. With or without a mortgage the borrower still owes the outstanding money left on the loan. As such, Perfect Title Company was advising its clients that they had title insurance to cover their debt owed under the loan. This is a called a lender’s title insurance policy that the lender requires the borrower to purchase in the event that that there’s a defect in title and the mortgage is, as a result, void. When Perfect Title Company’s clients began to file their insurance claims with their title insurance companies, the title companies in Hawai‘i, such as Title Guaranty led by their attorney John Jubinsky, an all out assault began against myself and Perfect Title Company in order to shift attention away from title companies. At a symposium put on at the Hawai‘i Prince Hotel by the Hawai‘i Developers Council in July of 1997 that centered on Perfect Title Company, Bruce Graham, an attorney and instructor of land titles at the William S. Richardson School of Law School and one of the panelists along with myself, admitted to me after that he could not refute Perfect Title’s land title reports. His only comment to me was that America’s here and that’s just how it is. I was not intimidated by this statement because I knew that America had nothing to do with title insurance. It was the title companies in Hawai‘i that would lose. From title insurance policies to the lie that Perfect Title was telling people not to pay their mortgage was absurd but it persisted even today in your story. This is how shallow your story is.
These malicious attacks in the media by the title companies led to a police raid of our office and my arrest for racketeering, tax evasion and theft. These outlandish allegations were unfounded but it was disseminated throughout the media as if I was part of the mafia. They later dropped these outlandish charges and indicted me on a so-called attempted theft of property by doing a title search and showing that the title was defective as a result of the illegal overthrow of the Hawaiian government in 1893. There were no lawful notaries after the January 17, 1893 to acknowledge the transference of title by deed. All titles could not be conveyed after January 17. The title companies and the State of Hawai‘i could not refute this fact. Furthermore, I told you over the phone that real estate is not the subject of larceny or theft. Only personal property, which is moveable, such as a car or cash, is capable of being stolen, but real property, which is immovable, such as real estate, is not capable of being stolen because you can’t move the land therefore you can’t steal it. The whole process was malicious, and where was the media in all of this. They were all complicit and whenever I was interviewed by reporters such as Barbara Marshall or Rob Perez they always twisted what I said in order to maintain their false narrative. I also remember you told me in the interview that you worked with Rob Perez at the newspaper during this time, which I then became very suspect because you apparently have the same bias.”
“I can only surmise that your story fits quite well under the heading of Alternative Facts and Fake News because the real facts apparently don’t matter to you,” Sai wrote at the conclusion of his email.
Sai sat down for an interview with Big Island Video News in an attempt to present his side of the story.
During the interview, Sai also discussed his involvement in a future Fact finding to be conducted through the International Court of Arbitration, and – the big news maker these days – President Donald Trump.
HAWAII ISLAND (BIVN) – A Fact Finding Commission is being initiated at the Permanent Court of Arbitration at The Hague. The new advocate for the Kingdom, Dr. Federico Lenzerini, spoke to Puna residents on Friday.
HAWAII ISLAND – The Counsel and Advocate representing the Hawaiian Kingdom in a recently initiated international fact finding proceeding spoke to a small audience at a Puna home on Friday evening.
Dr. Federico Lenzerini, Professor of International law from the University of Siena Law Department in Italy, talked about the complexities of a new special agreement to form a Commission of Inquiry under the auspices of the Permanent Court of Arbitration at The Hague. Lenzerini spoke in the garage of Kale Gumapac’s Hawaiian Paradise Park home.
Dr. Lenzerini, working alongside Dr. Keanu Sai – a well known political scientist and lecturer at the University of Hawai‘i – said the proceeding picks up where the Larsen v the Hawaiian Kingdom case left off in 2001.
On January 19, 2017, the Hawaiian Kingdom Government and Lance Paul Larsen entered into a Special Agreement to form a Fact-finding Commission that would delve into the alleged occupation of the Hawaiian Kingdom by the United States. Dr. Sai has been working as agent for the Kingdom in the international arbitration.
Over the past week, Lenzerini and Sai have been making the rounds in Hawaii, building awareness of the fact-finding inquiry by filming TV interviews and even making a large presentation at the Kamehameha School Kapalama Campus on January 30.
The Larsen dispute began in 1999. Larsen, a Hawaiian subject, alleged that the Government of the Hawaiian Kingdom is in “continual violation of its 1849 Treaty of Friendship, Commerce and Navigation with the United States of America”, as well as “the principles of international comity” by allowing “the unlawful imposition of American municipal laws … within the territorial jurisdiction of the Hawaiian Kingdom.”
Documents say Larsen “served an illegally imposed jail sentence resulting directly from the continued unlawful imposition and enforcement of American municipal laws within the Hawaiian Kingdom.”
The dispute was taken up by a Tribunal at the Permanent Court of Arbitration. Both parties were seeking a ruling from the tribunal that would “decide and determine the territorial dominion of the Hawaiian Kingdom under all applicable international principles, rules and practices.”
Dr. Keanu Sai represented the Hawaiian Kingdom as its agent in the proceeding. Dr. Sai maintained the party responsible for the violation of the Larsen’s rights, as a Hawaiian subject, was the United States Government. Both Larsen and the Kingdom agreed “the primary cause of these injuries is the prolonged occupation of the Hawaiian Islands by the United States of America.”
The United States was not a party to the agreement to arbitrate, and did not participate in the proceeding.
In its Award, the Tribunal determined that “there is no dispute between the parties capable of submission to arbitration” and that, “the Tribunal is precluded from the consideration of the issues raised by the parties by reason of the fact that the United States of America is not a party to the proceedings and has not consented to them.”
Although the Tribunal’s award did not make a determination involving the occupation, both Dr. Sai and Dr. Lenzerini say the Kingdom was acknowledged as a State for administrative purposes by the Permanent Court of Arbitration. The proceeding also opened the door to a fact finding inquiry.
“At one stage of the proceedings the question was raised whether some of the issues which the parties wished to present might not be dealt with by way of a fact-finding process,” the Tribunal’s award stated.
“In addition to its role as a facilitator of international arbitration and conciliation,” the Award document states, “the Permanent Court of Arbitration has various procedures for fact finding, both as between States and otherwise.”
The Tribunal noted a new special agreement would be needed between Larsen and the Kingdom before fact-finding could be initiated.
The Hague Conventions of 1899 and 1907 provide for International Commissions of Inquiry. However, the costs of the fact-finding process – which amounted in excess of $150,000, participants say, to be bore by the claimant, Mr. Larsen – delayed the action.
In the Special Agreement reached this January, it was decided that the Hawaiian Kingdom will bear the burden of costs for the fact-finding. On January 24, 2017 the International Bureau of the PCA was notified by joint letter to initiate the proceedings. A $10,000 advance deposit has already been made towards the costs.
Lenzerini, with his wife and child by his side, stopped by Gumapac’s house en route to a visit to see the volcanic activity down by Kalapana. Gumapac has worked closely with Dr. Sai on separate matters involving the U.S. occupation which have also been presented at the international level.
The Commission of Inquiry is not a Tribunal, Lenzerini told those assembled in Puna. There will be no judgement, only an evaluation of the facts under the perspective of international humanitarian law.
It is important that the determinations be made public, Lenzerini said, “so it will be possible to spread the knowledge of the history and of the truth of the Hawaiian kingdom within the international community,” since Larson and the Kingdom have agreed to make the findings public.
Next will be the nomination of an appointing authority who will be tasked with nominating the three-member Commission of Inquiry.
The appointing authority must be impartial, competent, and have “a very definite idea about who can be the best personalities to serve as members of the commission,” Lenzerini said.
These rules of international humanitarian law apply to military occupations even where there has been no resistance, as happened in Hawaii at the end of the 19th century.
The Commission of Inquiry will have the task to give an opinion on this point, according to Lenzerini: What is the position of the Hawaiian Kingdom under international humanitarian law, and what are the duties of the Hawaiian Kingdom towards its citizens, “first of all Mr. Larsen, then its citizens living here in Hawaii or abroad, and even aliens. Aliens who come here and are subject to the laws enforced in this land.”
Several rules of international humanitarian law are applicable, Lenzerini says, including pillaging, the obligation to administer the laws of the occupied country, deprivation of public property, and violation of a fair trial, among others.
Lenzerini cautioned those in attendance that “sometimes it is quite hard to guarantee the effectiveness of the rules” of international law.
“There are no avenues to claim respect,” Lenzerini said. Especially when – in this case, the United States – an “indispensable third party” is not a part to the agreement for international arbitration and cannot be bound by a commission’s rulings.
Lenzerini says that a fact finding is different, however. Although there will be no determination, Lenzerini believes the inquiry will provide a forum for the stories of Hawaii’s people to be known by the international community. He expects there could be an opportunity to provide testimony and evidence, depending on the will of the Commission that is formed.
These things usually last for quite a long time. “Talking about years,” Lenzerini said.
According to its website, the Permanent Court of Arbitration (PCA) is “an intergovernmental organization established by the 1899 Hague Convention on the Pacific Settlement of International Disputes. The PCA has 121 Member States.” The PCA is headquartered at the Peace Palace in The Hague, the Netherlands, and “facilitates arbitration, conciliation, fact-finding, and other dispute resolution proceedings among various combinations of States, State entities, intergovernmental organizations, and private parties.”
Pūnana Leo o Kona presents the 4th annual ʻAha Aloha ʻŌlelo on January 14, 2017 from 9:00am to 4:00pm at Makaʻeo (Old Airport Pavilion). ʻAha Aloha ʻŌlelo is an event for the entire ʻohana featuring live entertainment by Danny Carvalho, Kalani Peʻa, Duncan Kamakana Osorio, Jon Osorio and Jamaica Osorio. The event will also feature vendors, Hawaiian food and a Keikiland with bouncers, games and a petting zoo. A Hawaiian language competition with well over 100 competitors from schools such as Pūnana Leo o Kona, ʻEhunuikaimalino, Nāwahīokalaniʻōpuʻu and Pūnana Leo o Waiʻanae from Waiʻanae, Oʻahu will also be held. Tickets to the event are $10 or $12 at the door and keiki 10 and under are free.
The theme of this yearʻs Hawaiian language competition is built around a speech given on September 6, 1896 at a Hālāwai Makaʻāinana at Palace Square in Honolulu by James Keauiluna Kaulia, calling on the people of Hawaiʻi to “kūʻē loa aku i ka hoʻohui ʻia o Hawaiʻi me ʻAmelika a hiki i ke aloha ʻāina hope loa!” Kaulia was the President of the Hui Aloha ʻĀina, or Hawaiian Patriotic League when the question of annexing Hawaiʻi to the United States was before the U.S. government. Kaulia and others, including David Kalauokalani, Emma Nāwahī and Kuaihelani Campbell, led a petition drive protesting the annexation of Hawaiʻi to the United States of America. They sent out delegates to each island and all of its communities and through their collective efforts, over 37,000 signatures were gathered during a time in Hawaiian history where there were only about 40,000 Native Hawaiians alive.
After the gathering of the signatures, Kaulia and Kalauokalani, along with John Richardson and William Auld, traveled to Washington D.C. to deliver the anti-annexation petitions. Upon arriving to D.C., it was known that there were already 58 votes in U.S Congress for annexation, with only two more votes being needed to ratify the treaty presented to congress by the unlawful Republic of Hawaiʻi under Sanford Dole. The Commission was able to meet with many different Senators and Congressmen and they were able to have the annexation petitions read to the Senate and formally accepted. By the time the Commission left Washington D.C. to return back to Hawaiʻi, there were only 46 votes in the Senate for annexation, far below the 60 votes required to ratify the treaty. The treaty of annexation was dead. Hawaiʻi remained an independent country, as it has been since November 28, 1843, albeit under an illegal, unlawful and self-proclaimed government.
“These petitions show us the potential of our Lāhui. Our kūpuna were actively engaged in the political issues surrounding them and their country. We are in a point of history where we face very similar issues,” said Kahoʻokahi Kanuha, the organizer of the Hawaiian language competition. “I am hopeful that this competition and event will remind us of the inherited kuleana we have to this ʻāina. These petitions show us who we were, who we are and most importantly who we still must be.”
November 28th is the most important national holiday in the Hawaiian Kingdom. It is the day Great Britain and France formally recognized the Hawaiian Islands as an “independent state” in 1843, and has since been celebrated as “Independence Day,” which in the Hawaiian language is “La Ku‘oko‘a.” Here follows the story of this momentous event from the Hawaiian Kingdom Board of Education history textbook titled “A Brief History of the Hawaiian People” published in 1891.
The First Embassy to Foreign Powers—In February, 1842, Sir George Simpson and Dr. McLaughlin, governors in the service of the Hudson Bay Company, arrived at Honolulu on business, and became interested in the native people and their government. After a candid examination of the controversies existing between their own countrymen and the Hawaiian Government, they became convinced that the latter had been unjustly accused. Sir George offered to loan the government ten thousand pounds in cash, and advised the king to send commissioners to the United States and Europe with full power to negotiate new treaties, and to obtain a guarantee of the independence of the kingdom.
Accordingly Sir George Simpson, Haalilio, the king’s secretary, and Mr. Richards were appointed joint ministers-plenipotentiary to the three powers on the 8th of April, 1842.
Mr. Richards also received full power of attorney for the king. Sir George left for Alaska, whence he traveled through Siberia, arriving in England in November. Messrs. Richards and Haalilio sailed July 8th, 1842, in a chartered schooner for Mazatlan, on their way to the United States*
*Their business was kept a profound secret at the time.
Proceedings of the British Consul—As soon as these facts became known, Mr. Charlton followed the embassy in order to defeat its object. He left suddenly on September 26th, 1842, for London via Mexico, sending back a threatening letter to the king, in which he informed him that he had appointed Mr. Alexander Simpson as acting-consul of Great Britain. As this individual, who was a relative of Sir George, was an avowed advocate of the annexation of the islands to Great Britain, and had insulted and threatened the governor of Oahu, the king declined to recognize him as British consul. Meanwhile Mr. Charlton laid his grievances before Lord George Paulet commanding the British frigate “Carysfort,” at Mazatlan, Mexico. Mr. Simpson also sent dispatches to the coast in November, representing that the property and persons of his countrymen were in danger, which introduced Rear-Admiral Thomas to order the “Carysfort” to Honolulu to inquire into the matter.
Recognition by the United States—Messres. Richards and Haalilio arrived in Washington early in December, and had several interviews with Daniel Webster, the Secretary of State, from whom they received an official letter December 19th, 1842, which recognized the independence of the Hawaiian Kingdom, and declared, “as the sense of the government of the United States, that the government of the Sandwich Islands ought to be respected; that no power ought to take possession of the islands, either as a conquest or for the purpose of the colonization; and that no power ought to seek for any undue control over the existing government, or any exclusive privileges or preferences in matters of commerce.” *
*The same sentiments were expressed in President Tyler’s message to Congress of December 30th, and in the Report of the Committee on Foreign Relations, written by John Quincy Adams.
Success of the Embassy in Europe—The king’s envoys proceeded to London, where they had been preceded by the Sir George Simpson, and had an interview with the Earl of Aberdeen, Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs, on the 22d of February, 1843.
Lord Aberdeen at first declined to receive them as ministers from an independent state, or to negotiate a treaty, alleging that the king did not govern, but that he was “exclusively under the influence of Americans to the detriment of British interests,” and would not admit that the government of the United States had yet fully recognized the independence of the islands.
Sir George and Mr. Richards did not, however, lose heart, but went on to Brussels March 8th, by a previous arrangement made with Mr. Brinsmade. While there, they had an interview with Leopold I., king of the Belgians, who received them with great courtesy, and promised to use his influence to obtain the recognition of Hawaiian independence. This influence was great, both from his eminent personal qualities and from his close relationship to the royal families of England and France.
Encouraged by this pledge, the envoys proceeded to Paris, where, on the 17th, M. Guizot, the Minister of Foreign Affairs, received them in the kindest manner, and at once engaged, in behalf of France, to recognize the independence of the islands. He made the same statement to Lord Cowley, the British ambassador, on the 19th, and thus cleared the way for the embassy in England.
They immediately returned to London, where Sir George had a long interview with Lord Aberdeen on the 25th, in which he explained the actual state of affairs at the islands, and received an assurance that Mr. Charlton would be removed. On the 1st of April, 1843, the Earl of Aberdeen formally replied to the king’s commissioners, declaring that “Her Majesty’s Government are willing and have determined to recognize the independence of the Sandwich Islands under their present sovereign,” but insisting on the perfect equality of all foreigners in the islands before the law, and adding that grave complaints had been received from British subjects of undue rigor exercised toward them, and improper partiality toward others in the administration of justice. Sir George Simpson left for Canada April 3d, 1843.
Recognition of the Independence of the Islands—Lord Aberdeen, on the 13th of June, assured the Hawaiian envoys that “Her Majesty’s government had no intention to retain possession of the Sandwich Islands,” and a similar declaration was made to the governments of France and the United States.
At length, on the 28th of November, 1843, the two governments of France and England united in a joint declaration to the effect that “Her Majesty, the queen of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland, and His Majesty, the king of the French, taking into consideration the existence in the Sandwich Islands of a government capable of providing for the regularity of its relations with foreign nations have thought it right to engage reciprocally to consider the Sandwich Islands as an independent state, and never to take possession, either directly or under the title of a protectorate, or under any other form, of any part of the territory of which they are composed…”
This was the final act by which the Hawaiian Kingdom was admitted within the pale of civilized nations. Finding that nothing more could be accomplished for the present in Paris, Messrs. Richards and Haalilio returned to the United States in the spring of 1844. On the 6th of July they received a dispatch from Mr. J.C. Calhoun, the Secretary of State, informing them that the President regarded the statement of Mr. Webster and the appointment of a commissioner “as a full recognition on the part of the United States of the independence of the Hawaiian Government.”
Below is a reprint of an article published in the Polynesian newspaper in 1845. The author is William Richards being one of the commissioners along with Timoteo Ha‘alilio and Sir George Simpson who were commissioned by King Kamehameha III with the purpose of securing the recognition of the Hawaiian Kingdom as an independent State from Great Britain, France and the United States. Of the three, Ha‘alilio did not survive. He passed away on the ship The Montreal on his way home after departing Hawai‘i in 1842.
OFFICIAL JOURNAL OF THE HAWAIIAN GOVERNMENT.
HONOLULU, SATURDAY, MARCH 29, 1845.
The Montreal, from Boston, arrived off our harbor on Sunday last, at day break. Her ensign was noticed to be half-mast, and various conjectures began to circulate through the town, when William Richards, Esq., H.H.M.’s Commissioner to the U. States and Europe, whose arrival has been so long and anxiously awaited, landed and proceeded directly to the palace, where he immediately made known to their Majesties the melancholy news of the death of his fellow Commissioner, Mr. T. Haalilio, who died at sea on the 3d Dec. ult. The sad intelligence soon spread over the place; the flags of the men of war, merchant vessels, the consulates, batteries and other places, were immediately lowered to half-mast as a general expression of sympathy at the nation’s loss. Great hopes had been entertained both among Hawaiians and foreigners, of the good results that would ensue to the kingdom from the addition to its councils of one of so intelligent a mind, stored as it was with the fruits of observant travel, and the advantages derived from long and familiar intercourse in the best circles of Europe and the United States. A numerous band of personal friends to whom he had been endeared from his earliest intercourse by his sincerity of manners and peculiarly affectionate deportment, were earnestly looking to welcome him home. But above all, their Majesties, his intimate friends, the Governors, the other high chiefs and his widowed mother were awaiting his arrival with an earnestness of hope that the deepest affections of the heart can alone produce. The last tidings from him had been those of health. He was then soon to embark, and his speedy arrival to the shores and friends he loved so well, was anticipated without a doubt. So unexpected a termination of his existence, after having escaped the dangers of long and trying journe[y]s and voyagings, while as it were, on the very eve of again treading his native land, brings with it more than common anguish. It is not for us to life the veil and expose the scene which ensued at the palace upon the communication of the tidings. The whole court were there assembled. Those who had been suddenly deprived of their choicest hope when on the eve of its full indulgence, can alone estimate the bereavement.
It is satisfactory to know that every attention affection or sympathy could suggest, was afforded the deceased. Previous to our own departure from the United States, we were a witness to the deep interest and respect which Mr. Haalilio received in the refined society of Boston. But our already crowded columns will not allow us further to dilate. From Mr. Richards he received in all stages of his journey the most unremitting care, and towards the close of his life he was ever at his bed-side. Our readers will be able to glean from the brief memoir which follows this, prepared by Mr. R. some further insight into his life and untimely end. We say untimely, but man seeeth not as god seeeth.
Haalilio was born in 1808, at Koolau; Oahu. His parents were of respectable rank, and much esteemed. His father died while he was quite young, and his widowed mother subsequently married the Governor of Molokai, an island depend[e]nt on the Governor of Maui. After this death, she retained the authority of the island, and acted as Governess for the period of some fifteen years.
At the age of about eight years, Haalilio removed to Hilo on Hawaii, where he was adopted in the family, and became one of the playmates, of the young prince, now King of the Islands. He traveled round to different parts of the Islands with the prince, conforming to the various heathenish rites which were then in vogue. From that period he remained one of the most intimate companions and associates of the King.
At the age of about thirteen, he commenced learning to read, and was a pleasant pupil and made great proficiency. There were then no regularly established schools, and he was a private pupil of Mrs. Bingham. He learned to read English as well as Hawaiian, though at that period he did not understand what he read. He was taught arithmetic and penmanship by Mr. Bingham, and was early employed by the King to do his writing–not as an official secretary, but as an amanuensis or clerk. As be advanced in years he had various duties and employments assigned him, requiring skill and responsibility. Being associated with the King, he was always received into society with him, and thus enjoyed various advantages which he prized very much and improved in the best manner. He thus became acquainted with the usages of good society which he never failed to adopt as fast as he became acquainted with them.
To him also the King committed the charge of his private purse, which he held till the time of his embarkation. It thus became his duty to make most of the purchases required by the King, and he thereby had opportunity to become acquainted with the detail of mercantile business, of which he acquired a very commendable knowledge. His habits of business were many of them worthy of imitation even by the most enlightened. He was in a good degree systematic, and was extremely careful of every thing committed to this charge.
Besides acquaintance with mercantile transactions, he also acquired a very full knowledge of the political relations of the country. He was a strenuous advocate for a constitutional and representative government, and aided not a little in effecting those changes by which the rights of the lower classes have been secured. He was well acquainted with the practical influence of the former system of government, and considered a change necessary to the welfare of the nation.
The King and Chiefs could not fail to see the real value of such a man, and they therefore promoted him to offices to which his birth would not, according to the old system, have entitled him. He was properly the Lieutenant-Governor of the Island of Oahu, and regularly acted as Governor during the absence of the incumbent. It was expected also that he would succeed the present Governor in his office, had he outlived him. He was also elected a member of the council of Nobles, and materially aided that body in their deliberations. At the last meeting of the Legislature previous to his leaving the country, he was chosen President of the Treasury Board, and thus in a considerable degree he had control of the finances of the nation.
In the month of April, 1842, he was appointed a joint Commissioner with Mr. Richards, to the Courts of the U.S.A, England and France. He embarked on the 18th of July following on board the sch. Shaw, and arrived at Mazatlan Sept. 1st. While on the passage he often talked of home and friends with a tenderness and emotion that showed a high degree of sensibility and refinement. On his arrival at port, he was received with great hospitality. In crossing Mexico, he was deeply interested in noticing the peculiarities of the scenery, the character of the people, and the natural history of the country. Nothing escaped his observation; and the correctness and good sense of his remarks, rendered him not merely a pleasant but a profitable companion. After spending a fortnight at Vera Cruz, he was by the politeness of Capt. Newton received on board the U.S. steamer Missouri, about to sail to the mouth of the Mississippi. On board that vessel he had the company of Mr. Mayer, the U.S. Sec. of Legation at Mexico; and Mr. Southall, Bearer of Despatches, with whom he proceeded to New Orleans, and then by the mail route to Washington, where he arrived on the 3d of Dec. The results of his embassy there, are already before the public. After spending a month at Washington, and having accomplished the main objects of embassy there, he proceeded to the north, making a short stay of only two days in New York; but on his arrival in the western part of Massachusetts, was attacked by a severe cold, brought on by the inclemencies of the weather, followed by a change in the thermometer of about sixty degrees in twenty-four hours. Here was probably laid the foundation of that disease by which his short but eventful life has been so afflictingly closed.
He however so far recovered that he embarked for England in the steamer Caledonia, on the 2d of Feb. 1843, and arrived in London on the 18th of the same month, and was apparently at that time in perfect health. He immediately entered on the business of his embassy, and before six weeks had expired, had the happiness to receive from the Earl of Aberdeen, the official and solemn declaration that “Her Majesty’s Government are willing and have determined to recognize the independence of the Sandwich Islands under their present Sovereign.” He was also received and treated with high consideration by all persons of distinction to whom he was introduced. The Hon. Mr. Ellis; Sir Henry Pelly; the Earl of Selkirk; the Duke and Duchess of Sommerset; Sir Augustus d’Este, cousin of the Queen; the Lord Chamberlain; and the Mayor of London, were among the number of those from whom he received special attentions. While in Europe, as well as in the U.S.A., he made it a special business to visit and examine all objects of public interest which claim the attention of the traveller. The various manufacturing establishments, the museums, the hospitals, the prisons, the great works of architecture, the ancient palaces and cathedrals, the bridges, dockyards, and mausoleums of the dead,–the public schools and institutions of charity, and various religious establishments; all received his attention, and produced an influence on his mind which it was most interesting to witness.
After accomplishing the object of his embassy to England, he proceeded to France, where he was received in the same respectful manner as in England, and after carious delays, finally succeeded in obtaining from the French Government, not only a recognition of independence, but also a mutual guarantee from England and France that that independence should be respected. In Belgium he was honored with an interview with the King Leopold, and received the same recognition of independence as had been obtained from the other nations. The persons from whom he received special attentions in France, were M. Guizot; Count and Countess Gasparin; the Lafayette family; Count de la Bonde; Duke de Caze; Admiral Baudin; Duke de Broglie; the Baron Champloies; Count Pellet; Count Salvandy; M. de Toqueville; Lady Elgin, and others. In all the society he visited, he never failed to secure entire respect.
After spending about fifteen months in Europe, he returned to the U. S. A. in the Britannia, and reached Boston on the 18th of May ult. It should have been mentioned however, that while in Paris in June 1843, he was affected by a cold, rheumatic pains and coughs, which soon yielded to medical treatment, and his health again became good. But in Jan. last he was more seriously afflicted, being confined to his room, and mostly to his bed, for a period of more than four weeks. At this time his cough was very severe, the soreness of his breast great, and his symptoms in many respects threatening. He soon recovered, however, and on his arrival in the U.S.A. was in good health. He spent most of the summer in traveling. He visited Washington again, and proceeded to Wheeling, Va.; thence to Pittsburg, and on to Cleveland, Ohio, and down the lake to Buffalo, and Niagara Falls; thence through lake Ontario to Syracuse, Albany, and down the Hudson to New York.
He subsequently returned to Albany, and thence on through White-Hall and lake Champlain to Montreal in Canada. He returned through the interior of Vermont and New Hampshire to Boston, where he spent a few weeks, visiting the various places of importance in that vicinity; Cambridge, Charleston, Roxbury, Plymouth, Quincey, Newburyport, Andover, Lowell, and other places. It is impossible to describe the interest that he took in these visits, or the profit he appeared to derive from them.
But it is now time to revert to another trait in his character; I mean his religious views and affections.
But a few days after we embarked from the Islands, as he opened his trunk, I noticed the Hawaiian Bible lying in it, which he took and began to read. This was the commencement of a practice which he followed till his frame was too weak to follow it longer. Few if any days passed except when actually traveling or employed in important business, in which he was not seen reading that precious book. A few days previous to his death he told me he had read it twice through in course since he left the Islands, beside all his incidental reading. Besides the Scriptures, he read much in other books of a religious character, though his reading was by no means confined to nor was it principally religious books. After exhausting his Hawaiian library, he read considerable in English.
To show his feelings on the subject of prayer, I will mention, that after traveling in Mexico for a number of successive days, and every night being in the midst of company and bustle, without a possibility of retirement, we at last arrived at the hospitable dwelling of an E[n]glish gentlemen, who at bed time conducted us to a retired and pleasant chamber. Our host had scarcely left us when Haalilio turned his eyes and surveying the room for a moment said with an expressive countenance, “We have at last found a place where we can pray.” He showed that he was not a stranger to prayer. The apparent humility with which he made confession of sins, the fervency with which he asked Divine aid in the business of our embassy, and the tenderness with which he implored the blessing of Heaven on his friends and countrymen, early led me to feel that prayer with him was not a mere empty form. From that time down to the last sad hour of his life, I had evidence that in a good degree he kept the commandment.—”Be instant in prayer.” Many and many a night when he supposed me to be asleep, have I heard his voice or rather whisper, laying open his heart before his Maker.
By the deep interest which he manifested in a faithful observance of the Sabbath, he showed that he was not regardless of the Divine requisitions. While in France and Belgium, never a Sabbath passed in which he did not express his astonishment at the public, open, and constant violation of God’s holy day. On the contrary, while in England and the U. S. A. he as often expressed his admiration as he witnessed the stillness of the streets and the multitudes of those who thronged the house of God.
The illness which terminated his life commenced on the 13th of Sept. last, while in Brooklyn, New York. At first he merely complained of slight rheumatic pain, and indisposition to exercise. At the end of a week it suddenly increased and exhibited the usual marks of a cold. Medicine was promptly administered, and after keeping his room for a week, he was so much better as to leave it and take exercise in open air. But as he recovered from his rheumatism, I noticed an increase of cough, especially in the morning. To this I called the attention of the physician. He considered the cough as merely symptomatic, and giving a common cough mixture, predicted its early removal. On the 16th of Oct. he removed to Boston, and the first physicians of the city were immediately called. They pronounced his lungs sound, and his disease to be a slow fever. On the third day however, their opinion changed, and they thought his lungs affected, but not seriously. At their advice, and the advice of numerous other friends, he was removed to the Massachusetts Hospital, where every thing was done which science could prescribe, or medicine effect. But his disease made rapid strides, and his flesh wasted fast.
During the whole period of his illness he took a rational and correct view of his own case. He early discovered the danger of his symptoms, yet never appeared alarmed, nor renounced the hope of recovery, until a few days previous to his death. And in all circumstances he appeared calm and resigned, saying, “Father, not my will but thine be done.” While at the Hospital, I heard him whisper this in prayer, at the still hour of midnight, while he supposed I was asleep. On one occasion, I noticed him wiping the tear from his cheek, and went to his bedside to sympathi[z]e and comfort him. He immediately said, “I was not weeping for myself, but for you.” I inquired if he was not anxious to live and reach the Islands. He replied, “Not on my own account. I [s]hould indeed be glad to tell the chiefs and people what I have seen, and in their presence dedicate myself to God; but respecting myself I do not feel anxious.” The great subjects of those prayers which I overheard were confessions of sin, pleading for relief from suffering, imploring blessings on his mother, on the King and on his countrymen. He prayed also that he might live to reach the Islands; but this prayer was usually conditional, and ended with “Aia no ia oe”–it is with thee, or, they will be done. Before he came on board, he dictated a few affecting sentences to the King and Chiefs.–The second Sabbath we were at sea, he became convinced that he could not live, and gave farther charge to be delivered to the King and Chiefs. He expressed also a wish to be bapti[z]ed. On the evening of that Sabbath, while speaking of his pain and sufferings and immediate prospect of death, he added, “But this is the happiest day of my life. My work is done. I am ready to go.” He continued in the same general state of mind to the time of his departure. During the last few hours of his life he prayed several times, but I only understood one important sentence, which was nearly like this: “My Father, thou hast not granted my desire, once more to see the land of my birth, and my friends there, but do not, I entreat thee, refuse my request to see they kingdom, and my friends who are dwelling with thee.” At about four o’clock he slapped his arms about my neck, pulled my face down to his, and kissed me, then said, “Heaha ke koe?” What further remains? I replied, “Eternal life in Heaven, if you believe in Jesus. He will be your King, and angels will be your associates; there will be no groans there, no parting, no weakness, no anguish or pain, and no sin.” He replied, “That is plain; I understand it well; but I have no painful anxiety on that subject, and it was not to that that my question related. What further have I to do here?” I replied, “It is with the Lord; I know not: all your charges to me I have put down in writing, and shall faithfully deliver them according to your directions.” A little while after, he reached out his hand, took hold of mine and shook it with a smile, and then let go. At a quarter before seven, I perceived his again in prayer; but his voice soon died away, and I perceived that his end was near; and at seven, his spirit took its flight.
There is still much confusion regarding the terms sovereignty and independence in the Hawaiian community, which is the result of denationalization through Americanization. First there are two sovereignties – “internal” and “external.” By definition, sovereignty is the supreme governmental authority over the territory of a State. Where a particular State may have “internal” sovereignty over its territory, it may not have “external sovereignty” regarding its place as a State in international law. An example of this is the State of New York, which has “internal” sovereignty over its territory, but its “external” sovereignty is in the United States of America. It is the United States, and not New York, that is the independent State.
Because international law distinguishes between “internal” and “external” sovereignties, a State would remain independent and sovereign, despite its government, which exercises its internal sovereignty, having been overthrown by another State and subsequently occupied. This is why the law of occupation mandates the occupier to administer the laws of the occupied State under Article 43 of the 1907 Hague Convention, IV.
Section 358 of the United States Army Field Manual 27-10 clearly articulates this point, where “military occupation confers upon the invading force the means of exercising control for the period of occupation. It does not transfer the sovereignty to the occupant, but simply the authority or power to exercise some of the rights of sovereignty.”
Below is an article that was originally posted December 10, 2013
In Hawai‘i there is a political trend called the sovereignty or independence movement that began in the 1970s. This political wing, which grew out of the Hawaiian cultural renaissance movement, is comprised of diverse groups of aboriginal Hawaiians working toward the goal or aspiration of achieving sovereignty or independence. These groups vary in ideologies and organization, but all of them have been operating on the false assumption that the United States has independence and sovereignty over Hawai‘i and therefore the goal is separation or secession through a process commonly referred to as self-determination. According to the United Nations, self-determination is the right of the people of a non-sovereign nation to choose their own form of governance separate from the foreign State that has the sovereignty and independence under international law.
Actions taken by these groups are centered on political activism that have taken many forms at both the national and international levels. This political trend has led to confusion regarding Hawai‘i’s true status and basic terminology and the application of the terms “sovereignty” and “independence.” Also adding to the confusion is the psychological effects of “presentism” and “confirmation bias.” Presentism is “an attitude toward the past dominated by present-day attitudes and experience,” and confirmation bias is “a tendency to search for or interpret information in a way that confirms one’s preconceptions, leading to statistical errors.”
Sovereignty by definition is absolute authority exercised by a State over its territory, territorial seas, and its nationals abroad, which is independent of other States and their authority over their territory, territorial seas, and its nationals abroad. Authority over a State’s nationals abroad is called personal supremacy, and authority over territory is territorial sovereignty. Therefore, sovereignty is associated with political independence and the terms are often interchangeable.
The term State, under international law, means a political unit that has a centralized government, a resident population, a defined territory and the ability to enter and maintain international relations with other States. A State is a legal person in international law that possesses rights and obligations. A nation, however, is a group of people bound together by a common history, language and culture. Every State is a nation or a combination of nations, but not every nation or nations comprise a State. Since the nineteenth century, a State comes into existence only if other States have recognized it, which represents the entirety of the international order. In other words, a few States may have given explicit recognition, but the majority hasn’t. Until the majority of States have provided recognition to the nation or group of nations, international law does not recognize the new State because its independence over its territory, territorial seas, and its nationals abroad has not been acknowledged by the international community of States.
The most recent example of a sovereignty movement by a nation seeking State sovereignty and independence and ultimately achieving it was Palestine. On November 29, 2012, the member States of the United Nations voted overwhelmingly to recognize Palestinian Statehood. Up to this date, Palestine was a nation seeking sovereignty and independence, which is called self-determination. Once a State has been recognized the recognizing States cannot deny it later, and there exists a rule of international law that preserves the independence of an already recognized State, unless that State has relinquished its independence and sovereignty by way of a treaty or customary practice recognized by international law.
According to the Permanent Court of International Justice (PCIJ), in the 1927 seminal case S.S. Lotus between France and Turkey, “International law governs relations between independent States. The rules of law binding upon States therefore emanate from their own free will as expressed in conventions (treaties) or by usages generally accepted as expressing principles of law and established in order to regulate the relations between these co-existing independent communities or with a view to the achievement of common aims. Restrictions upon the independence of States cannot therefore be presumed.” In other words, once a State is acknowledged as being independent it will continue to be independent unless proven otherwise. Therefore, the State will still have sovereignty and independence over its territory, territorial seas, and its nationals, even when its government has been overthrown and is militarily occupied by a foreign State. During occupations the sovereignty remains vested in the occupied State, but the authority to exercise that sovereignty is temporarily vested in the occupying State, which is regulated by the Hague and Geneva Conventions, and international humanitarian law.
When the PCIJ stated that restrictions upon the independence of States could not be presumed, it did not mean that international law could not restrict States in its relations with other States that are also independent. In the Lotus case, the PCIJ explained, “Now the first and foremost restriction imposed by international law upon a State is that—failing the existence of a permissive rule to the contrary—it may not exercise its power in any form in the territory of another State. In this sense jurisdiction is certainly territorial; it cannot be exercised by a State outside its territory except by virtue of a permissive rule derived from international custom or from convention (treaty).” The PCIJ continued, “In these circumstances, all that can be required of a State is that it should not overstep the limits which international law places upon its jurisdiction; within these limits, its title to exercise jurisdiction rests in its sovereignty.”
The United States Supreme Court in 1936 recognized this restriction and limitation of a State’s authority in international law in U.S. v. Curtiss-Wright Corp. The U.S. Supreme Court stated, “Neither the Constitution nor the laws passed in pursuance of it have any force in foreign territory unless in respect of our own citizens…, and operations of the nation in such territory must be governed by treaties, international understandings and compacts, and the principles of international law. As a member of the family of nations, the right and power of the United States in that field are equal to the right and power of the other members of the international family. Otherwise, the United States is not completely sovereign.”
In 2001, the Permanent Court of Arbitration (PCA), in its dictum in Larsen v. Hawaiian Kingdom, verified Hawai‘i to be an independent State. In its arbitral award, the PCA stated, “in the nineteenth century the Hawaiian Kingdom existed as an independent State recognized as such by the United States of America, the United Kingdom and various other States, including by exchanges of diplomatic or consular representatives and the conclusion of treaties.” As an independent State, international law provided a fundamental restriction on all States, to include the United States of America, that it may “not exercise its power in any form in the territory of another State.”
Since 1898, the United States has unlawfully exercised its power within the territory of the Hawaiian Kingdom militarily, legislatively and economically. On July 7, 1898, the United States Congress enacted a joint resolution unilaterally annexing the Hawaiian Kingdom over the protests of Hawai‘i’s Queen and people. Two years later, Congress enacted another law by creating a territorial government that took over the governmental infrastructure of the Hawaiian Kingdom that was previously high jacked by insurgents since 1893 with the support of the United States military. In 1959, the Congress again passed legislation transforming the territorial government into the 50th state of the American Union. Under both international law and United States constitutional law, these Congressional actions have no force and effect in Hawai‘i. Despite the propaganda and lies that have been perpetuated since the beginning of the occupation that Hawai‘i was annexed by a treaty, the Hawaiian Kingdom continues to be an independent State that still retains its personal supremacy over its nationals abroad, and territorial sovereignty over its territory and territorial seas. The exercising of this authority, however, is limited only by the Hague and Geneva Conventions and the fact of an illegal and prolonged occupation.
A common statement made by sovereignty advocates is that the people have to collectively decide on the question of sovereignty and that it should be put to a vote. This is incorrect if Hawai‘i is already a sovereign and independent State. This prospect is valid only if Hawai‘i is a nation seeking sovereignty and independence, which is commonly referred to as “nation-building” under a people’s right to self-determination, but Hawai‘i is not. Self-determination and nation-building is the United Nations process by which sovereignty and independence is sought, but it is not guaranteed. This process provides to the people of a non-sovereign nation who have been colonized by a foreign State to choose whether or not they want independence from the foreign State, free association as an independent State with the foreign State, or total incorporation into the foreign State.
Recently, Maohi Nui (French Polynesia) has been reaffirmed by the United Nations as having a right to choose independence from France, free association with France, or total incorporation into France. Maohi Nui is by definition a sovereignty movement and education is key to ensuring that the people decide Maohi Nui’s status through decolonization with full knowledge, and not be influenced or coerced by political activism that is French driven. It won’t be easy for Maohi Nui, but the process of exercising self-determination should be fair under United Nations supervision and in line with General Assembly resolutions.
If other independent States cannot affect or change the independence of an established State and its sovereignty under international law, how can Hawai‘i’s people believe they can do what States can’t? Because the Hawaiian Kingdom continues to exist under international law as an independent State, not only is the sovereignty movement rendered irrelevant, but also the status of Hawai‘i as an occupied State renders the State of Hawai‘i government and other federal agencies in the Hawaiian Islands self-proclaimed. It is within this international legal framework that actions taken by Federal government officials, State of Hawai‘i government officials, and County government officials are being reported to international authorities for war crimes under the Hague and Geneva Conventions, and the Rome Statute that established the International Criminal Court.
Re-education is crucial for Hawai‘i’s people and the world on the reality that Hawai‘i is an already independent and sovereign State that has been under an illegal and prolonged occupation. Before restoration of the de jure Hawaiian government takes place in accordance with the 1893 executive agreements, international law mandates that the occupying Power must establish a military government in order to administer Hawaiian Kingdom law (Article 43, Hague Convention, IV) and to also begin the withdrawal of all military installations from Hawaiian territory (Article 2, Hague Convention, V). This is the first and primary step toward transition.
The following terms and definitions are from the Hawaiian history textbook “Ua Mau Ke Ea-Sovereignty Endures.”
Independent State—A state that has absolute and independent legal and political authority over its territory to the exclusion of other states. Once recognized as independent, the state becomes a subject of international law. According to United States common law, an independent State is a people permanently occupying a fixed territory bound together by common law habits and custom into one body politic exercising, through the medium of an organized government, independent sovereignty and control over all persons and things within its boundaries, capable of making war and peace and of entering into international relations with other communities around the globe.
Sovereignty—Supreme authority exercised over a particular territory. In international law, it is the supreme and absolute authority exercised through a government, being independent of any other sovereignty. Sovereignty, being authority, is distinct from government, which is the physical body that exercises the authority. Therefore, a government can be overthrown, but the sovereignty remains.
Colonization—Colonization is the building and maintaining of colonies in one territory by people from another country or state. It is the process, by which sovereignty over the territory of a colony is claimed by the mother country or state, and is exercised and controlled by the nationals of the colonizing country or state. Though colonization there is an unequal relationship between the colonizer and the native populations that reside within its colonial territory. These native populations are referred to as indigenous peoples and form the basis of the 2007 United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.
De-colonization—De-colonization is the political process by which a non-self-governing territory under the sovereignty of the colonizing state or country becomes self-governing. According to the United Nations Resolution 1541 (XV), Principles which should guide Members in determining whether or not an obligation exists to transmit the information called for under Article 73 e of the Charter, “A Non-Self-Governing Territory can be said to have reached a full measure of self government by: (a) Emergence as a sovereign independent State; (b) Free association with an independent State; or (c) Integration with an independent State.”
Self-determination—A principle in international law that nations have the right to freely determine their political status and pursue their economic, social and cultural development. The international community first used the term after World War I where the former territorial possessions of the Ottoman Empire and Germany were assigned to individual member countries or states of the League of Nations for administration as Mandate territories. The function of the administration of these territories was to facilitate the process of self-determination whereby these territories would achieve full recognition as an independent and sovereign state. After World War II, territories of Japan and Italy were added and assigned to be administered individual member countries or states of the United Nations, being the successor of the League of Nations, and were called Trust territories. Also added to these territories were territories held by all other members of the United Nations and called Non-self-governing territories. Unlike the Mandate and Trust territories, they were not assigned to other member countries or states for administration, but remained under the original colonial authority who reported yearly to the United Nations on the status of these territories. Self-determination for Non-self-governing territories had three options: total incorporation into the colonial country or state, free association with the colonial country or state, or complete independence from the colonial country or state. Self-determination for indigenous peoples does not include independence and is often referred to as self-determination within the country or state they reside in.
Sovereignty movement—A political movement of a wide range of groups in the Hawaiian Islands that seek to exercise self-determination under international law as a Non-self-governing unit, or to exercise internal self-determination under the 2007 United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. The commonality of these various groups is that their political platforms are based on aboriginal Hawaiian identity and culture and use of the United Nations term indigenous people. The movement presumes that the Hawaiian Kingdom and its sovereignty were overthrown by the United States January 17th 1893, and therefore the movement is seeking to reclaim that sovereignty through de-colonization. The movement does not operate on the presumption of continuity of the Hawaiian Kingdom as an independent state and the law of occupation, but rather on the aspiration of becoming an independent state or some form of internal self-determination within the laws of the United States.
The Smithsonian Asian Pacific American Center (APA) invited Dr. Keanu Sai, along with over forty artists and scholars, to participate in its initiative “A Cultural Lab on Imagined Futures.” APA’s initiative is a unique way to experience a museum. As an agency of the Smithsonian Institute, APA is “a migratory museum that brings Asian Pacific American history, art and culture to you through innovative museum experiences online and throughout the United States.” The traveling museums are called “Culture Labs.”
Imagined Futures will be held on Veterans Day weekend (November 12-13, 2016) at 477 Broadway, SOHO/Chinatown, New York City, from 11 am – 9 pm.
Dr. Sai’s exhibit is the American occupation of Hawai‘i seen through the lens of the science fiction movie “The Matrix.” The science fiction thriller “depicts a dystopian future in which reality as perceived by most humans is actually a simulated reality called ‘the Matrix,’ created by sentient machines to subdue the human population, while their bodies’ heat and electrical activity are used as an energy source. Computer programmer ‘Neo’ learns this truth and is drawn into a rebellion against the machines, which involves other people who have been freed from the ‘dream world.’”
The Matrix stars Keanu Reeves, as Neo, and the only way he could see the Matrix is to be unplugged by digesting a “red pill” offered to him by Morpheus, played by Lawrence Fishburne.
Dr. Sai is a political scientist whose academic research has exposed the American occupation of the Hawaiian Islands that began with the United States’ unlawful overthrow of the Hawaiian government in 1893 followed by the military occupation during the Spanish-American War. The American occupation is a subject taught in classes at the high schools and collegiate levels in Hawai‘i and abroad. He is the author of Ua Mau Ke Ea (Sovereignty Endures), a history book used in classroom instruction.
Dr. Sai also represented the Hawaiian Kingdom as lead Agent in international arbitration proceedings—Lance Paul Larsen v. Hawaiian Kingdom, held at the Permanent Court of Arbitration. The Larsen case was also cited by the Arbitral Tribunal in its judgment in the land mark South China Sea case, which was also held at the Permanent Court of Arbitration. Dr. Sai has been likened to the character Neo.
The Matrix star Keanu Reeves is a cousin of Dr. Sai. Keanu Reeves’ father and Dr. Sai’s mother are first cousins and both were named after Dr. Sai’s maternal grandfather, Henry Keanu Reeves. Both men are Hawaiian.
Dr. Sai’s Exhibit “Hawaiʻi Reloaded – The Matrix Alive!!”
What if the place you lived in and all that you knew to be “truth” was suddenly turned upside down and inside out? What if your understanding of who you are and your place in the world was flipped in an instance? What if you were living a lie and everyone you know were all a part of the lie unknowingly? All this sounds like the Warner Bros. Hollywood blockbuster film the “Matrix.”
Hawai‘i’s political and social history since 1893 is the “Matrix” and it’s called the 50th State of the United States of America. In the nineteenth century, Hawai‘i was known as the Hawaiian Kingdom that was internationally recognized as an independent country with over ninety embassies and consulates throughout the world, which included an embassy in Washington, D.C. The “truth” is Hawai‘i was never a part of the United States, but rather has been under an illegal and prolonged occupation since the Spanish-American War in 1898.
Listen and experience the real history of Hawai‘i through the lens of the Matrix, and what is Hawai‘i’s future going forward.
What is truth, what is justice, what is reality? It’s time to get unplugged!
This article originally appeared on September 26, 2016 at Ke Kaupu Hehiale. The author has granted permission to reprint the article for this blog.
“My grandmother knew and spoke to me about the events of 1893. She lived to be 100… fortunately, she lived often with us and so what I know is…my family said no to the Committee of Safety and to the provisional government…we said no in 1897 to annexation and signed the Hui Aloha ‘Āina petition here on Maui and in Honolulu…Years later I asked my mother, how did she vote in 1959 to the question about Hawaii becoming a state, and she said no. Now we know our history, we know what happened here in 1893, and we know that we are not an Indian tribe and not to be treated as such.”
(Waters Omar Fin, Jr., July 7, 2014 in Lahaina, Maui)
“Now we know that there was no treaty of annexation and we also know now that the joint resolution as an act of Congress has no power to acquire any island. An act of a legislature or an act of parliament has no power outside of its country to acquire dominion of another. If that were so, Hawaii could acquire the United States and probably should have…I want to say no, no, no, no to federal recognition, no to occupation, and no to the United States. Thank you.”
(Williamson Chang, June 23, 2014 in Honolulu, O‘ahu)
A few days ago, the US Department of Interior (DOI) released its final rulewith regard to establishing a process to federally recognize a Native Hawaiian government, subject to the plenary power of the US Congress. What happens next will hopefully involve vigorous debate in the Hawaiian community over questions of government and of the relationship we believe Hawaiʻi should have to the US. Most importantly we should talk about how our collective next moves impact our lands.
As we prepare for and engage in those discussions, we should return to the outpouring of sentiments and analyses that came out during the 2014 public meetings held by the DOI in Hawaiʻi. These were the only face-to-face public hearings EVER to be held across the archipelago on the topic of US federal recognition.
E kuʻu mau hoa ʻŌiwi, no matter where you stand on the issue of federal recognition, please take the time to really listen to the voices that poured forth at these meetings. I have too often heard these testimonies dismissed by those who support federal recognition, saying they were a skewed sample of our people. But the fact of the matter is that Kānaka turned out in unprecedented numbers to express their manaʻo about our political present and futures. Our great leaders of the past, such as Queen Liliʻuokalani, showed us how important it is to truly listen to and consider the voices of the people. These testimonies are a huge resource and they should be taken seriously. If you are not moved by them, you are not listening closely enough.
The Context and The Testimonies
Remember that the DOI released its Advanced Notice of Proposed Rule Making, asking for public comment on its five threshold and nineteen additional questions in 2014 only eight days prior the first meeting in Honolulu, giving people little time to prepare. Remember that at each of the fifteen meetings on six islands, Kānaka voices resounded like pouring rain on corrugated metal rooftops. Remember that the vast majority of them asserted Hawaiian independence and refused US authority. Remember that the meetings were made accessible through grassroots efforts to livestream them. (Most of these meetings can still be viewed on YouTube.) Remember how many of us remained glued to our screens, watching person after person after person refuse cheap gifts of recognition. Remember how many Kānaka expressed deep distrust for the US. Remember how some said they wouldn’t answer the DOI’s questions until Secretary of State Kerry answered Kamanaʻopono’s. Remember how the DOI left and life went on. Remember also how, in 2015, when the DOI released its proposed rule, they essentially ignored those voices and only counted the written testimonies, most of which were identical postcards.
Several months ago, I printed out the transcripts from all of those public meetings. Over nine hundred pages, they completely filled a large box that took two people to lift. The transcripts would have been even longer if the contracted professional transcribers understood the Hawaiian language. Instead, most of the transcripts just say “[speaking Hawaiian]” when a speaker chose to use our mother tongue. This happened fourteen times in the Keaukaha meeting alone, leaving out valuable manaʻo from the official record and showing that the DOI did not deem our language valuable enough to find translators.
I ran each community’s transcripts through a text-mining program that analyzes, among other things, the frequency of words used. What stood out to me was how often the words “know” and “no” were used. After words like “Hawaiian,” “people,” and “aloha,” no and know were usually among the top five and always among the top ten most frequently-used words at every meeting on every island. So this got me thinking: What knowledge were people asserting? How were know-ing and no-ing linked, if at all?
The time that I have spent reading these hundreds of pages of words of our Kānaka have shown me that there is a direct link between what people know and why they say “no” to the DOI and to federal recognition. The recurring phrase, “now we know,” comes directly from testimonies offered at these meetings and signals the impacts of massive educational efforts to uncover the history of Hawaiian independence over the past few decades. Our self-educational initiatives shifted the political grounds on which Kanaka stand. Forefronting broad-based popular education, Hawaiian social movements have greatly contributed to Kanaka Maoli assertions of cultural, genealogical and political identity. These “knowings” form the basis of a powerful refusal of settler state frameworks of recognition. Often speakers were asserting knowledge through “I know” or “we know” statements. Sometimes they were speaking about what is commonly known by the people and government of the US, but not acted upon. Other times they were telling the DOI panelists what they should know.
Here are eight overlapping categories of knowing—eight reasons—that fuel Kānaka refusal of US authority and of federal recognition. For each reason, I have selected a couple of salient examples from the testimonies to illustrate these themes, though there are hundreds more waiting for those who take the time to read them.
Ka Lāhui (collective identity)
One of the most common forms of knowing that Kānaka asserted was knowledge of “who we are” as Hawaiians, such as in this quote:
“We don’t need recognition. We know who we are in the hearts and minds of our people.”
(Remi Abellira, June 23, 2014 in Honolulu, Oʻahu)
These assertions of peoplehood were frequently expressed through connection to land and to an independent polity.
“We are Hawaiian subjects, as our kūpuna before us, who signed the Kūʻē Petitions of 1897. They laid a firm foundation for us. And all we have to do is remember and stand together with courage and let the United States, the State of Hawaiʻi, and the Office of Hawaiian Affairs know that we know who we are.”
(Leilani Lindsey Kaʻapuni, July 2, 2014 in Hilo, Hawaiʻi)
As this second quote illustrates, the affirmative statements were often paired with related statements in the negative (ex. “we are not Americans,” or “we are not an Indian tribe”) and/or with a rejection of recognition, based on the sentiment that because “we know who we are,” we don’t need an external entity such as the US to tell us.
Ka Moʻolelo (historical knowledge)
This theme represents the common rhetorical move that many testifiers made in calling upon facts of history.
“Congress can never create a congressional act to annex a country without a treaty. And they know it. Okay. They know it.”
(Kekane Pa, June 30, 2014 in Waimea, Kauai)
Such facts were sometime raised to dispel myths of history, such as the notion that the US legally annexed the Hawaiian Kingdom, exemplified by the quote above. Both Kekane Pa’s quote above and Josh Noga’s below also show the ways people emphasized that these facts are now well known but remain unacted upon by the US.
“There’s been a wrong, and you guys know the wrong. Everybody knows the wrong. They apologized in 1993, [with] the Apology Resolution. You violated the sovereignty of the Hawaiian Kingdom. But more importantly, you continue to deprive Kanaka Maoli of our human rights.”
(Joshua Ioane Noga, June 25, 2014 in Heʻeia, Oʻahu)
Assertions about historical knowledge were not just about the past but were marshaled to show how these histories ongoing relevance in the present and provide a basis for contemporary Kanaka resistance to US-determined political futures.
“We know the truth of our lahui’s history. It is this truth that compelled our kupuna to resist the United States’ occupation in these islands over a century ago, and it is this truth that has empowered many of us to continue on in this conscious struggle for the pono of our ʻāina and our lāhui today.”
(Noʻeau Peralto, July 2, 2014 in Hilo, Hawaiʻi)
Ka Moʻokūʻauhau (genealogical knowledge)
Ka Moʻokūʻauhau represents genealogical knowledge, which is more intimate than historical knowledge. Speakers referenced not only facts that they learned in schools or books, but spoke specifically about understandings that were directly transmitted within their families.
“I was seven years old when my tutu-man was with me, and all the ruckus was going about statehood, and as a seven-year-old, I said,
ʻPapa, what does that do for us?’
He said, ‘Nothing.’
I said, ‘Did you vote, Papa?’
‘No.’ He says, ‘They do not represent you.’ Know who you are. And I know who I am.”
(Sandra Phillips Pa, June 25, 2014 in Heʻeia, Oʻahu)
In many instances, testifiers spoke about elders who inspire their current political positions. Often these kinds of statements were about a familial connection to a legacy of kūʻē (opposition and resistance)
“I am here preserved by my ancestors that signed that Kūʻē Petition. My grandfather was 11 years old. My great-grandfather, the whole ʻohana was there in 1897 in that Kūʻē Petition. That made me a Hawaiian nationalist. I know who I am, and I am very proud … ‘aʻole to all the five questions for the record.”
(Renee Kanoi Bonnie Medeiros, June 30, 2014 in Waimea, Kauaʻi)
Ka Hoa Paio (opponents)
A corresponding counterpoint to Kanaka assertions of knowing “who we are,” the testimonies also include numerous examples of people making statements to the effect of: we know who you are as representatives of the US as well. The “you” in these comments was not typically aimed directly at the individuals sitting on the DOI panel, but rather the larger “you” of the United States and its role in oppressing Hawaiian people and nationhood.
“I don’t know you guys personally. But I will say that I no trust what is going on. Not because I do not trust you guys as individuals, but we can only trust the fruit that comes from the tree, you know. And the fruits from the tree so far will show bad fruits, was bad for us. And the taste in our mouth is bitter and we’re tired of it.”
(Hawaiʻiloa Mowat, June 28, 2014 in Kaunakakai, Molokaʻi)
Assertions of knowing the US were frequently tied to an expressed sense of distrust that grows out of the experiential knowledge of the US-Hawaiʻi relationship.
“Don’t you say you want to help us, because we know that you’re the very ones who continue to subject us to this persecution. And we’ll never accept the roll commission or anything that forces the issue of race upon us, and have us begging for freedom from the very country, the United States that continues to oppress us.”
(Trace Kaimana Kalei, July 2, 2014 in Hilo, Hawaiʻi)
Ke Kuleana (authority)
The theme of kuleana overlaps with the previous themes, in terms of building on knowledge of collective self, history, and genealogy. But the statements within this theme went further to explicitly address who does and does not have authority or jurisdiction in Hawaiʻi.
“If you knew just a little bit about our nation’s history and your nation’s history and relationship with our nation, then you would see, like so many people have already been saying, that you have no jurisdiction here. And so I don’t really feel a need to answer your questions in the first place, but because I know how your nation does things, I will say no, no, no, no, no…you have to go back and talk to the people who have the power in your nation. Or better yet, you know, if you want to give up your citizenship and come and join us, I’m sure we can talk story about that.”
(Shavonn Matsuda, July 5, 2014 in Hana, Maui)
Both Shavonn Matsuda’s quote above and Kale Gumapac’s below illustrate that these discussions of jurisdiction were also connected, at times, to instructions about how the US government or specific individuals could enter Hawaiʻi in a more respectful way to actually demonstrate a genuine desire for a nation-to-nation, government-to-government relationships.
“The constitution of the Hawaiian Kingdom continues to exist. You need to learn that constitution so that you can know when to ask permission to come into the Kingdom of Hawai`i. You did not ask that permission and I don’t know who invited you in, but they did the wrong thing.”
(Kale Gumapac, July 2, 2014 in Hilo, Hawaiʻi)
Ka Hilinaʻi (self-confidence, trust, belief)
While related to the theme of Ka Lāhui (collective identity), statements within this theme explicitly expressed confidence in Hawaiian capacity to govern ourselves in the present.
“We are wiser, we are smarter, we know what to do and we’ll govern our nation.”
(Kaipuaʻala Crabbe, July 2, 2014 in Hilo, Hawaiʻi)
In the example from ʻIʻinimaikalani Kahakalau below, this self-confidence was directly tied to self-knowledge that comes from cultural practice.
“I’m a student at U.H. Hilo, I’m a Chancellor’s Scholar, I’m a cultural practitioner, and I am saying no to all five of your questions. And the simple reason is because we can do it ourselves, ’cause we know ourselves the best. We can answer anything we need.”
(ʻIʻinimaikalani Kahakalau, July 2, 2014 in Hilo, Hawaiʻi)
Thus, such rejections of US authority were centered more on a self-assuredness of Hawaiian capacity for self-governance. We are the ones who know best how to govern ourselves. And this assertion of self-confidence was often accompanied by a critique of US ineptitude or violence in its treatment of Hawaiʻi.
Ke Kūʻike (recognizing one another by sight)
Most testifiers came to speak directly to the DOI panel, but in a handful of instances speakers seemed to be moved by the experience of seeing so many of their fellow Kānaka coming forward and thus began speaking to each other.
“It is wonderful to know that one day when I put my kino in the ground, that I know that in the future, the faces of our young people that’s here tonight, I can rest in peace, that you’ve come tonight to bring your voices, that you will stand for the journey that our people have sat for you. Your life is in — and the life of our people and our nation is in your hands. We trust you, we beg you to rise to the moment now and forever.”
(Dawn Wasson, June 25, 2014 in Heʻeia, Oʻahu)
This theme of ke kūiʻke, then, represents the knowing that resulted in the very moment of seeing, with their own eyes, other Hawaiians present and expressing themselves. In other words, it is a theme regarding the knowledge of collective self-recognition that grows out of direct sight and the feelings that arise when we come together as a lāhui. In the instance below, the speaker spent most of his three minutes explaining to the panel how he has seen “over 46 years of decimation of our Kanaka lifestyle. Thanks to the capitalism and greed that comes along with Americana.” But as time ticked down and the facilitator prepared to cut him off, he turned to speak to his fellow Kānaka,
“You’re looking into my eyes and my heart. Okay. So I’ve got 30 seconds…We need to get together as Kanaka Maoli. We need to get together and become strong. We can do this. We don’t need anybody else. It’s a five no.”
(Abraham Kaiwaiwa Makanui, July 1, 2016 in Kapaʻa, Kauaʻi)
Ka Hoʻomau (continuing to future generations)
Testifiers at the 2014 DOI meetings were aware not only of the people who were physically present in the room. Many were also conscious of the ways in which their words might be preserved for future generations. Thus, expressions within this theme spoke directly to what speakers want for future generations to know
“I am here to answer the five questions that are posed, and my answer to all five questions is no. I am opposed to the proposed rule change, I am opposed to federal recognition. I am opposed to the illegal U.S. occupation of Hawaiʻi. I wanted to come here tonight so that my opposition would be added to the historical record of these meetings, so that my keiki and my descendants will always be clear about how I felt about this process and your government, which was very much in line with the majority, the vast majority of testimony you’ve heard over the past week and a half. So they can look back, in much the same way you look back to the Kūʻē Petitions of our kūpuna who opposed annexation of Hawaiʻi to the United States.”
(Kuʻulani Muise, July 2, 2014 in Hilo, Hawaiʻi)
In Kuʻulani Muise’s and Alona Naomi Quartero’s quotes, above and below, both women connected past and future generations, situating themselves within a continuum of resistance.
“I will definitely let my children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren know that an injustice was done. So I stand here for them, knowing that I know that my tūtū signed the petition against annexation. I know our Queen did not want this. So I stand here, knowing all of this, to let my grandchildren know that I am here today.”
(Alona Naomi Quartero, July 2, 2014 in Hilo, Hawaiʻi)
These eight forms of knowing sustained Hawaiian refusal of the limited forms of recognition or, more precisely, what Glen Coulthard has rightly pointed out are settler state misrecognitions, at the 2014 DOI consultation sessions on its proposed rule for establishing a federal recognition process for Native Hawaiians.
A Few Closing Thoughts
If the DOI invested the time and energy to have face-to-face public meetings in fifteen Hawaiian communities on six islands, why did they ignore the overwhelming majority of the oral testimonies as they developed the final rule? For instance, in the final rule that was released a few days ago, these voices are quickly dismissed:
“Many commenters objected to any rulemaking by the Department, indicating their belief that Hawaii was illegally annexed by the United States, that Hawaii is currently being ʻoccupied’ by the United States, and that the Kingdom of Hawaii continues to exist as a sovereign nation-state independent of the United States… Response: The Department made no changes to the rule in response to these comments, which address the validity of the relationship between the United States and the State of Hawaii. To the extent commenters claim that Hawaii is not a State within United States, the Department rejects that claim. Congress admitted Hawaii to the Union as the 50th State. (p.60)
Perhaps DeMont Connor’s testimony provides a response to the question of why the US government would essentially ignore the overwhelming majority of testimonies at the only public hearings on federal recognition to ever be held on multiple islands throughout Hawaiʻi.
“This thing that you guys doing right now, it’s like I went steal your car, but I come to you and I tell you I no can give you back your car, but I gonna give you this brand-new bicycle, yeah, from Schwinn, the best top of the line, and I still jump in your car and I drive away. Come on, brah, we don’t need this. I apologize for you guys come all the way over here for this. I want to say Esther Kiaʻaina, aloha to you, sister. You know, we recognize you. Unfortunately you stay over there with them over there. Come home, sister, come home.”
(DeMont Conner, June 23, 2014 in Honolulu, O‘ahu)
The thief does not want to return the stolen goods. The DOI final rule illustrates this clearly when it “further clarifies that reestablishment of the formal government-to-government relationship does not affect the title, jurisdiction, or status of Federal lands and property in Hawaii” (p. 50). The language throughout the rule is also clear in asserting US plenary (meaning supreme) power over Indian affairs, under which it considers Native Hawaiians. Kānaka who oppose the rule are not attempting to foreclose options for our people. We refuse to assent to the US assertion of supreme authority over our lāhui and ʻāina.
Especially when we know that the US government uses recognition frameworks as a way to legitimize its seizure of Native lands, and when we know it has no intention of handing title of the lands it currently controls over to Hawaiians, we Kānaka really need to come together and have some hard conversations. For me, the 2014 oral testimonies to the DOI are evidence that the multi-generational work of nation-building makes the most lasting gains when Hawaiian people have taken a bottom-up approach to nation-building, focusing on broad-based education rather than on external recognition. The sentiments of distrust and refusal evident in the testimonies reject not only US federal and state recognition, but also top-down, non-inclusive, non-transparent, elitist politics that have not been patient in or committed to building broad-based conversation and consensus. Let’s change that together and recommit to meeting each other face-to-face and taking as long as we need to work this shit out together.