Testimonies to the U.S. Department of Interior Eerily Similar to Voices of the Past

The hearings held by the U.S. Department of Interior throughout the Hawaiian Islands are attracting both Hawaiians and non-Hawaiians to give testimony—the sleeping giant has awakened. What is astonishing is the level of legal sophistication and historical accuracies displayed by those giving their testimony. Combined with emotions, these testimonies are eerily similar to the voices of Hawaiians documented in an article in the September 30, 1897 publication of the San Francisco Call newspaper.

This is a re-posting of a blog entry on January 29, 2014.


Miriam_MichelsonThe article was published and authored by Miriam Michelson who was an American journalist and writer. It was written as Michelson was leaving Honolulu harbor on board the Steamship Australia heading to San Francisco. Michelson was sent to the Hawaiian Islands to do a story on annexation. Her story centers on a signature petition against annexation being gathered throughout the islands by the Hawaiian Patriotic League (Hui Aloha ‘Aina) and she bears witness to one of those meetings in the city of Hilo on the Island of Hawai‘i.

It is a powerful article that speaks to the issue of annexation from the Hawaiian perspective and the article’s title clearly speaks to the veracity of what the reader will read. Not known at the time, however, was whether or not the signature petitions would prevent the United States Senate from ratifying the so-called treaty of Senator_Hoarannexation. Before the Senate convened in December of 1897, officers of the Hawaiian Patriotic League and the Hawaiian Political Association traveled to Washington, D.C. and met with Senator George Hoar of Massachusetts. Senator Hoar agreed to submit the signature petition onto the record of the Senate when it convened, and by March of 1898, the signature petition successfully killed the treaty as the Senate was unable to garner enough votes for ratification.

Here follows a snippet of the article, which is quite lengthy, but you can read it in its entirety by going to this link and downloading the entire article in PDF format. “Strangling Hands Upon A Nations Throat


The strongest memory I have of the islands is connected with the hall of the Salvation Army at Hilo, on the Island of Hawaii. It’s a crude little place, which holds about 300 people, I should think. The rough, uncovered rafters show above, and the bare walls are relieved only by Scriptural admonitions in English and Hawaiian:

“Boast not thyself of to-morrow.” “Without Christ there is no salvation.”

As I entered, the bell on the foreign church, up on one of the beautiful Hilo hills, was striking ten. The place was packed with natives, and outside stood a patient crowd unable to enter. It was a women’s meeting, but there were many men present. The women were dressed in Mother Hubbards of calico or cloth and wore sailor hats—white or black. The men were in coats and trousers of American make.

Presently the crowd parted and two women walked in, both very tall, dressed in handsome free-flowing trained gowns of black crepe-braided in black. They wore black kid gloves and large hats of black straw with black feathers. The taller of the two—a very queen in dignity and repose—wore nodding red roses in her hat, and about her neck and falling to the waist a long, thick necklace of closely strung, deep-red, coral-like flowers, with delicate ferns interspersed.

This was Mrs. Kuaihelani Campbell, the president of the Women’s Hawaiian Patriotic League. Her companion was the secretary of the branch in Hilo.

It was almost pitiful to note the reception of these two leaders—the dumb, almost adoring fondness in the women’s eyes; the absorbed, close interest in the men’s dark heavy faces.

After the enthusiasm had subsided the minister of the Hawaiian church arose. He is tall, blonde, fair faced, three-quarters white, as they say here. Clasping his hands in front and looking down over the bowed dark heads before him he made the short opening prayer. He held himself well, his sentences were short and his manner was simple.

There is something wonderfully effective in earnest prayer delivered in an ancient language with which one is unfamiliar. One hears not words, but tones. His feelings, not his reason, are appealed to. Freed of the limiting effects of stereotyped phrases the imagination supplies the sense. Like the Hebrew and the Latin the Hawaiian tongue seems to touch the primitive sources of one’s nature, to strip away the complicated armor with which civilization and worldliness have clothed us and to leave the emotions bare for that wonderful instrument, a man’s deep voice, to play upon.

The minister closed and a deep murmuring “Amen” from the people followed.

I watched Mrs. Emma Nawahi curiously as she rose to address the people. I have never heard two women talk in public in quite the same way. Would this Hawaiian woman be embarrassed or timid, or self-conscious or assertive?

Not any of these. Her manner had the simple directness that made Charlotte Perkins Stetson, two years ago, the most interesting speaker of the Woman’s Congress. But Mrs. Stetson’s pose is the most artistic of poses—a pretense of simplicity. This Hawaiian woman’s thoughts were of her subject, not of herself. There was an interesting impersonality about her delivery that kept my eyes fastened upon her while the interpreter at my side whispered his translation in short, detached phrases, hesitating now and then for a word, sometimes completing the thought with a gesture.

Emma_Nawahi“We are weak people, we Hawaiians, and have no power unless we stand together,” read Mrs. Nawahi, frequently raising her eyes from her paper and at times altogether forgetting it.

“The United States is just—a land of liberty. The people there are the friends, the great friends of the weak. Let us tell them—let us show them that as they love their country and would suffer much before giving it up, so do we love our country, our Hawaii, and pray that they do not take it from us.”

“Our one hope is in standing firm—shoulder to shoulder, heart to heart. The voice of the people is the voice of God. Surely that great country across the ocean must hear our cry. By uniting our voices the sound will be carried on so they must hear us.”

“In this petition, which we offer for your signature to-day, you, women of Hawaii, have a chance to speak your mind. The men’s petition will be sent on by the men’s club as soon as the loyal men of Honolulu have signed it. There is nothing underhand, nothing deceitful in our way—our only way—of fighting. Everybody may see and may know of our petition. We have nothing to conceal. We have right on our side. This land is ours—our Hawaii. Say, shall we lose our nationality? Shall we be annexed to the United States? Aole loa. Aole loa.”

It didn’t require the interpreter’s word to make me understand the response. One could read negation, determination in every intent, dark face.

“Never!’ they say,” the man beside me muttered. “Never! they say. ‘No! No!’ they say-”

But the presiding officer, a woman, was introducing Mrs. Campbell to the people. Her large mouth parted in a pleased smile as the men and women stamped and shouted. She spoke only a few words, good-naturedly, hopefully. Once its seemed as though she were talking them all in her confidence, so sincere and soft was her voice as she leaned forward.

Kuaihelani_Campbell“Stand firm, my friends. Love of country means more to you and to me than anything else. Be brave; be strong. Have courage and patience. Our time will come. Sign this petition—those of you who love Hawaii. How many—how many will sign?”

She held up a gloved hand as she spoke, and in a moment the palms of hundreds of hands were turned toward her.

They were eloquent, those deep lined, broad, dark hands, with their short fingers and worn nails. They told of poverty, of work, of contact with the soil they claim. The woman who presided had said a few words to the people, when all at once I saw a thousand curious eyes turned upon me.

“What is it?” I asked the interpreter. “What did she say?”

He laughed. “‘A reporter is here,’ she says. She says to the people, ‘Tell how you feel. Then the Americans will know. Then they may listen.’”

A remarkable scene followed. One by one men and women rose and in a sentence or two in the rolling, broad voweled Hawaiian made a fervent profession of faith.


“My feeling,” declared a tall, broad-shouldered man, whose dark eyes were alight with enthusiasm. “This is my feeling: I love my country and I want to be independent—now and forever.”

“And my feeling is the same,” cried a stout, bold-faced woman, rising in the middle of the hall. “I love this land. I don’t want to be annexed.”

“This birthplace of mine I love as the American loves his. Would he wish to be annexed to another, greater land?”

“I am strongly opposed to annexation. How dare the people of the United States rob a people of their independence?”

“I want the American Government to do justice. America helped to dethrone Liliuokalani. She must be restored. Never shall we consent to annexation!”

“My father is American; my mother is pure Hawaiian. It is my mother’s land I love. The American nation has been unjust. How could we ever love America?”

“Let them see their injustice and restore the monarchy!” cried an old, old woman, whose dark face framed in its white hair was working pathetically.

“If the great nations would be fair they would not take away our country. Never will I consent to annexation!”

“Tell America I don’t want annexation. I want my Queen,” said the gentle voice of a woman.

“That speaker is such a good woman,” murmured the interpreter. “A good Christian, honest, kind and charitable.”

“I’m against annexation—myself and all my family.”

“I speak for those behind me,” shouted a voice from far in the rear. “They cannot come in—they cannot speak. They tell me to say, ‘No annexation. Never.’”

I am Kauhi of Kalaoa. We call it Middle Hilo. Our club has 300 members. They have sent me here. We are all opposed to annexation—all—all!”

He was a young man. His open coat showed his loose dark shirt; his muscular body swayed with excitement. He wore boots that came above his knees. There was a large white handkerchief knotted about his brown throat, and his fine head, with its intelligent eyes, rose from his shoulders with a grace that would have been deerlike were it not for its splendid strength.

“I love my country and oppose annexation,” said a heavy-set, gray-haired man with a good, clear profile. “We look to America as our friend. Let her not be our enemy!”

“Hekipi, a delegate from Molokai to the league, writes: ‘I honestly assert that the great majority of Hawaiians on Molokai are opposed to annexation. They fear that if they become annexed to the United States they will lose their lands. The foreigners will reap all the benefit and the Hawaiians will be placed in a worse position than they are to-day.”

“I am a mail carrier. Come with me to my district.” A man who was sitting in the first row rose and stretched out an appealing hand. “Come to my district. I will show you 2000 Hawaiians against annexation.”

“I stand—we all stand to testify to our love of our country. No flag but the Hawaiian flag. Never the American!”

There was cheering at this, and the heavy, sober, brown faces were all aglow with excited interest.

I sat and watched and listened.

At Honolulu I had asked a prominent white man to give me some idea of the native Hawaiian’s character.

“They won’t resent anything,” he said, contemptuously. “They haven’t a grain of ambition. They can’t feel even envy. They care for nothing but easy and extremely simple living. They have no perseverance, no backbone. They’re unfit.”

Yet surely here was no evidence of apathy, of stupid forbearance, of characterless cringing.

These men and women rose quickly one after another, one interrupting the other at times, and then standing expectantly waiting his turn—too simple, too sincere, it seemed to me, to feel self-conscious or to study for a moment about the manner of his speech, so vital was the matter delivered.

They stood as all other Hawaiians stand—with straight shoulders splendidly thrown back and head proudly poised. Some held their roughened, patient hands clasped, some bent and looked toward me, as though I were a sort of magical human telephone and phonograph combined.

I might misunderstand a word or two of the interpreted message, but there was no mistaking those earnest, brown faces and beseeched dark eyes, which seemed to try to bridge the distance my ignorance of their language and their slight acquaintance with mine created between us.

I verily believe that even the most virulent of annexationists would have thought these Hawaiians human; almost worthy of consideration.

The people rose now and sang the majestic Hawaiian National Hymn. It was sung fervently, a full, deep chorus of hundreds of voices. The music is beautifully characteristic, with its strong, deep bass chords to which the women’s plaintive, uncultivated voices answer. Then there was a benediction, and the people passed out into the muddy street.


Star Advertiser: Hawaiians reject federal input

The Star Advertiser reports “Interior Department meetings draw testimony opposed to recognition of a future native nation

Advertiser Photo 1The vast majority of people who testified before a federal panel Monday soundly rejected any attempt by the Obama administration to pursue federal recognition of a future Native Hawaiian governing body.

In often passionate, sometimes heated testimony, dozens of speakers said they opposed any effort by the Department of the Interior to start a rule-making proc­ess that could set the framework for re-establishing a government-to-government relationship with Native Hawaiians.

At the first two of 15 public meetings scheduled over the next two weeks, most of those testifying said the department does not have the authority to re-establish that relationship and implored the agency to halt the proc­ess and not interfere in Hawaiians’ right to political self-determination.

“We don’t need you folks to come in and tell us what to do,” Hawaiian activist Dennis “Bumpy” Kana­hele told the panel Wednesday morning at the state Capitol auditorium.

He expanded on those remarks at an evening meeting in Wai­ma­nalo, where 154 people signed up to speak.

“You gotta realize that a crime has taken place,” Kana­hele said. “And the United States essentially came back to the crime scene. We need to decide how to govern ourselves. We don’t need the federal government.”

At the evening session he was followed by Brandon Maka­‘awa­‘awa of Wai­ma­nalo.

“In the past the Native Hawaiian people have suffered the manipulation of our rights to self-determination on numerous occasions,” he said. “Once again our inherent sovereignty and rights to self-determination are being undermined by these DOI meetings. It is our political right to govern ourselves. The Native Hawaiian people have already begun the proc­ess and should be allowed to finish it without the interference of the U.S. government.”

Many of the speakers said they are not interested in seeing Hawaiians attain a tribal status similar to American Indians, which was what backers of the so-called Akaka Bill in Congress unsuccessfully attempted to do for more than a decade.

They said Hawaii is an illegally occupied sovereign nation and that any government-to-government dealings should be between a kingdom government and the U.S. secretary of state, who deals with foreign nations on behalf of the United States, not the interior secretary.

DeMont R.D. Conner of Nana­kuli used the analogy of a car theft and the federal government’s 1993 apology for the 1893 overthrow of the Hawaiian monarchy to question the department’s current actions: The thief apologizes to the owner but keeps the car.

“Go back and tell your boss, ‘Give ’em back the car!'” Conner told the panel.

More than 140 people signed up to testify at the Monday morning session, which was attended by an overflow crowd of more than 200 people and lasted more than three hours.

“It’s very simple: You don’t have jurisdiction here,” said testifier Remi Abellira, adding, “We don’t need recognition. We know who we are.”

Over the next two months, the department is taking public comments at the Hawaii sessions and at additional meetings in Native American communities on the mainland. It also is soliciting written comments.

The feedback is meant to help the Obama administration determine whether it should propose a federal rule that would facilitate the proc­ess for re-establishing a government-to-government relationship.

It also is soliciting comments to determine what form that proc­ess should take — if the administration decides to pursue that path — and whether the federal government should assist the Native Hawaiian community in reorganizing its government.

“Be clear. This is only a first step,” Rhea Suh, the Interior Department’s assistant secretary for policy, management and budget, told those at the morning session.

Suh was one of six officials from that agency and the Justice Department to sit on the panel.

Sam Hirsch, a Justice Department attorney, told the crowd that the federal government does not have procedures in place to pursue administrative recognition of a Native Hawaiian government.

That’s why the meetings are needed should the Interior Department decide to pursue that path, Hirsch said.

But he emphasized that the sessions will not address what structure the yet-to-be-formed Hawaiian government should take.

“That’s a matter for the community” to decide, Hirsch said.

To the main questions asked by the panel, University of Hawaii law professor Williamson Chang offered these comments: “I want to say no, no, no. No to federal recognition, no to occupation, no to the United States.”

Walter Ritte of Molo­kai testified that the department’s timing couldn’t be worse, particularly as Hawaiians are engaged in a controversial nation-building effort.

“You’re bringing confusion,” he said.

Of the several dozen who testified at the morning session, only a few supported the department’s plan.

Office of Hawaiian Affairs Chairwoman Collette Machado was among those, and her time at the microphone eventually turned into a shouting match with members of the audience.

Davianna Pomaikai McGregor, a UH ethnic studies professor, also offered supporting testimony, saying the proc­ess should not interfere with the re-establishment of the kingdom government.

“We should be supporting both efforts,” McGregor told the Hono­lulu Star-Advertiser after she testified.

Other than occasional jeers from the audience and a few profanity-laced comments, most of the morning session was civil. Some participants came decked in traditional garb or carrying signs, such as “What Tribe Has a Palace.”

Several expressed frustration that the federal government has solicited similar feedback about recognition over the years, yet nothing came of it.

“It’s the same old garbage,” one speaker said.

Sovereignty Conversations: Law School Professor Williamson Chang

Another series in The Sovereignty Conversations titled Na Maka Hosted by Lela Hubbard and Juanita Brown Kawamoto. In this Episode we have a re-cap with Juanita and Professor Williamson Chang of the University of Hawai‘i Richardson School of Law on the United States Department of the Interior’s Native Hawaiian Recognition hearings held at the Hawaii State Capitol on June 23, 2014.

The U.S. Department of Interior in Violation of International Law

The only way that the Department of Interior can have authority to hold hearings in the territory of the Hawaiian Kingdom, being a foreign State, is to first show that the Department of Justice, through its Office of Legal Counsel, has answered Dr. Crabbe’s question “Does the Hawaiian Kingdom, as a sovereign independent State, continue to exist as a subject of international law?” in the negative. Until then, the Department of Interior is violating the basic principle of international law, whereby governments have the obligation and duty to not intervene in the internal affairs of another sovereign independent State, which is precisely what the United States did in 1893.

There is a common misunderstanding that the United States federal government can enter the territory of other countries unfettered. Governments, which are the physical machineries of sovereign States, have omnipotent authority within their own territorial limits, and range from constitutional governments to totalitarian regimes. But when governments deal with other foreign countries their actions are regulated by international law, which includes treaties (agreements) and customary international law.

The United States federal government was established in 1789 with three branches of government called the Executive (President), Legislative (Congress) and Judicial (Supreme Court) branches. Of the three branches, the President alone is responsible for the enforcement of the laws that Congress has enacted as well as international laws that bind the United States abroad. To carry out this duty, the President has departments and agencies, which serve as the administrative arm of the Presidency.

In 1789 there were only three departments under the President: the Department of Foreign Affairs, which later in the same year was changed to the Department of State; the Department of the Treasury; and the Department of War, which was later changed to the Department of Defense in 1949. Today there exists twelve additional departments: Department of Justice (est. 1870), Department of Agriculture (est. 1862), Department of Commerce (est. 1903), Department of Labor (est. 1913), Department of Health and Human Services (est. 1953), Department of Housing and Urban Development (est. 1965), Department of Transportation (est. 1966), Department of Energy (est. 1977), Department of Education (est. 1980), Department of Veteran Affairs (est. 1989), Department of Homeland Security (est. 2002), and the Department of Interior (est. 1849).

Each department has a specific role and function under the President’s authority and duty to enforce the law. Only the President represents the United States in foreign affairs—neither the Congress nor the Supreme Court has that authority. According to the United States Supreme Court, U.S. v. Curtiss-Wright Export Corp. (1935), there exists the “plenary and exclusive power of the President as the sole organ of the federal government in the field of international relations—a power which does not require as a basis for its exercise an act of Congress.” To carry out this function, the President has the Department of State and the Department of Defense. All other departments are limited in authority to the territory and jurisdiction of the United States.

The Department of State is “responsible for international relations of the United States, equivalent to the foreign ministry of other countries,” through diplomats that include Ambassadors and Consuls. The Department of Defense is responsible for “coordinating and supervising all agencies and functions of the government concerned directly with national security and the United States Armed Forces.” Within the Executive branch, the Department of State is the lead advisor to the President on foreign policies, and the Department of Defense carries out these foreign policies if international law authorizes it, e.g. war or status of forces agreements.

As a foreign State, the Hawaiian Kingdom has dealt with the Department of State and the Department of Defense, but has never dealt with any of the other Departments because the Hawaiian Kingdom was never part of the United States, especially the Department of Interior.  The Department of Interior is responsible for the domestic affairs of the United States that included “the construction of the national capital’s water system, the colonization of freed slaves in Haiti, exploration of western wilderness, oversight of the District of Columbia jail, regulation of territorial governments, management of hospitals and universities, management of public parks, and the basic responsibilities for Indians, public lands, patents, and pensions,” which now includes Native Hawaiians.

With the recent attention surrounding the Department of the Interior’s public meetings throughout the Islands, focus is now on centering on “authority” and not “policies.” This is attributed to the education of the masses as to the legal and political history of Hawai‘i, which has drawn attention to the Office of Hawaiian Affairs CEO Dr. Kamana‘opono Crabbe’s letter to the Secretary of State John Kerry requesting clarity as to the continued existence of the Hawaiian Kingdom as an independent and sovereign State under international law. Under the international law principle presumption of continuity, since the Hawaiian Kingdom was an independent State, which the Department of Interior and the Department of Justice admit in their joint report in 2000, international law provides that an established State is presumed to still exist until proven extinguished under international law.

According to Professor Crawford, The Creation of States in International Law (2006), p. 34, who is not only the leading authority on States, but was also the presiding arbitrator in Larsen v. Hawaiian Kingdom, “There is a strong presumption that the State continues to exist, with its rights and obligations, despite revolutionary changes in government, or despite a period in which there is no, or no effective, government. Belligerent occupation does not affect the continuity of the State, even where there exists no government claiming to represent the occupied State.” So despite the illegal overthrow of the Hawaiian Kingdom government by the United States on January 17, 1893, and the prolonged occupation since the Spanish-American War in 1898, the Hawaiian Kingdom, as a State, would continue to exist even if there was no Hawaiian government. The presumption of continuity places the burden on the United States to show under international law, and not United States law, that the Hawaiian Kingdom does not continue to exist. A congressional joint resolution of annexation is not evidence that the Hawaiian Kingdom ceases to exist an independent State under international law, but rather is the evidence of the violation of international law and Hawaiian sovereignty.

In like fashion to the Department of Interior’s public meetings, a Congressional committee called the Hawaiian Commission for the creation of a territorial government was holding public meetings in Honolulu from August through September 1898. The Commission was headed by Senator Morgan and established on July 9, 1898 after President McKinley signed the joint resolution of annexation on July 7, 1898. The Hawaiian Patriotic League who was responsible for securing 21,269 signatures against annexation submitted a memorial, which was also printed in two Honolulu newspapers, one in the Hawaiian language and the other in English. The memorial stated:

WHEREAS: By memorial the people of Hawai‘i have protested against the consummation of an invasion of their political rights, and have fervently appealed to the President, the Congress and the People of the United States, to refrain from further participation in the wrongful annexation of Hawai‘i; and

WHEREAS: The Declaration of American Independence expresses that Governments derive their just powers from the consent of the governed:

THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED: That the representatives of a large and influential body of native Hawaiians, we solemnly pray that the constitutional government of the 16th day of January, A.D. 1893, be restored, under the protection of the United States of America.

The memorial is still relevant today and relies on the executive agreement entered into between President Cleveland and Queen Lili‘uokalani in 1893 that bound the President and his successors in office to restore the Hawaiian Kingdom government as it stood before the invasion of United States troops on January 16, 1893, and thereafter the Queen or her successors in office would grant amnesty to the insurgents and their supporters. This Agreement of Restoration is a treaty under international law and remains binding on the office of the President today.

“If they can get you asking the wrong questions, they don’t have to worry about answers.” – Thomas Pynchon, Gravity’s Rainbow

By What Authority is the U.S. Department of Interior In Hawai‘i?

JewellThe U.S. Department of Interior (DOI) will be in the Hawaiian Kingdom holding public meetings throughout the Islands from June 23 to August 8, 2014 to get responses from the Native Hawaiian community to consider reestablishing a government-to-government relationship between the United States and the Native Hawaiian community. Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell who visited the country last year heads the DOI.

In a press release of June 18, 2014, the DOI stated, “The purpose of such a relationship would be to more effectively implement the special political and trust relationship that currently exists between the Federal government and the Native Hawaiian community. Today’s action, known as an Advanced Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (ANPRM), provides for an extensive series of public meetings and consultations in Hawaii and Indian Country to solicit comments that could help determine whether the Department develops a formal, administrative procedure for reestablishing an official government-to-government relationship with the Native Hawaiian community and if so, what that procedure should be.”

“When I met with members of the Native Hawaiian community last year during my visit to the state, I learned first-hand about Hawaii’s unique history and the importance of the special trust relationship that exists between the Federal government and the Native Hawaiian community,” said Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell. “Through this step, the Department is responding to requests from not only the Native Hawaiian community but also state and local leaders and interested parties who recognize that we need to begin a conversation of diverse voices to help determine the best path forward for honoring the trust relationship that Congress has created specifically to benefit Native Hawaiians.”

At the center of the public meetings are five “threshold questions” for the community to respond to:

  1. Should the Secretary propose an administrative rule that would facilitate the reestablishment of a government-to-government relationship with the Native Hawaiian community?
  1. Should the Secretary assist the Native Hawaiian community in reorganizing its government, with which the United States could reestablish a government-to-government relationship?
  1. If so, what process should be established for drafting and ratifying a reorganized Native Hawaiian government’s constitution or other governing document?
  1. Should the Secretary instead rely on the reorganization of a Native Hawaiian government through a process established by the Native Hawaiian community and facilitated by the State of Hawaii, to the extent such a process is consistent with Federal law?
  1. If so, what conditions should the Secretary establish as prerequisites to Federal acknowledgment of a government-to-government relationship with the reorganized Native Hawaiian government?

The DOI stated, “Over many decades, Congress has enacted more than 150 statutes that specifically recognize and implement this trust relationship with the Native Hawaiian community, including the Hawaiian Homes Commission Act, the Native Hawaiian Education Act, and the Native Hawaiian Health Care Act. The Native Hawaiian community, however, has not had a formal governing entity since the overthrow of the Kingdom of Hawaii in 1893. In 1993, Congress enacted the Apology Resolution which offered an apology to Native Hawaiians on behalf of the United States for its role in the overthrow and committed the U.S. government to a process of reconciliation. In 2000, the Department of the Interior and the Department of Justice jointly issued a report on the reconciliation process that identified self-determination for Native Hawaiians under Federal law as their leading recommendation.”

A careful review of the joint report by the DOI and the Department of Justice, the report acknowledges that the Hawaiian Kingdom was a recognized sovereign and independent State. “The United States clearly viewed the Kingdom of Hawai‘i as an independent nation as evidenced by the negotiation and signing of several treaties (p. 22).” The report also acknowledges President Cleveland’s withdrawal of the first treaty of annexation entered into with the so-called provisional government and President Harrison’s administration; the subsequent investigation, which concluded the provisional government was self-proclaimed and that the United States was responsible for the illegal overthrow of the Hawaiian government; and the executive agreement between the Queen and the President whereby the U.S. would restore the government and the Queen to grant amnesty.  “President Cleveland did not desire, nor did he have the support of Congress, to engage United States military forces to declare war against the American citizens who controlled the Provisional Government (p. 28).” This was an act of non-compliance to the agreement of restoration, which allowed the insurgents to maintain unlawful control.

The report also acknowledges the failure of the second treaty of annexation entered into between the insurgency, calling themselves the Republic of Hawai‘i, and President McKinley, which resulted in Congress passing a joint resolution instead. The reported stated:

“With the election of President McKinley in 1896, the pro-annexation forces gained strength. The Republic of Hawai‘i continued to push for annexation although many Native Hawaiians were opposed. In September 1897, the “Petition against the Annexation of Hawaii Submitted to the U.S. Senate in 1897 by the Hawaiian Patriotic League of the Hawaiian Islands”, expressed the views of Native Hawaiians. The petition, signed by 21,169 people (more than half of the Native Hawaiian population) from Kaua‘i, Maui, Hawai‘i, Moloka‘i, O‘ahu, Lana‘i, and Kaho‘olawe provides evidence that Native Hawaiians were against annexation and wanted independence under a Monarchy (p. 29).”

“Consistent with the wishes expressed by Native Hawaiians, the Treaty of Annexation failed to pass the United States Senate by a two-thirds majority vote. However, by 1898, with the outbreak of the Spanish-American War in both the Pacific and Caribbean, the Newlands Joint Resolution of Annexation (Annexation Resolution) was offered by the pro-annexation forces and passed by a simple majority of the United States Senate and House of Representatives, thus becoming the instrument used to effect the annexation of the Republic of Hawai‘i. The constitutionality of the use of a Joint Resolution in lieu of a Treaty to annex Hawai‘i was a contentious issue at the time (p. 30).”

From this point the report continues a narrative of historical events to the present day that “assumes” the joint resolution of annexation extinguished the Hawaiian Kingdom as an independent and sovereign State. To support this erroneous position, the report restates a section of the 1993 Apology resolution, “Whereas the Newlands [Annexation] Resolution effected the transaction between the Republic of Hawai‘i and the United States Government (p. 30).” This resolution is problematic on two points: first, as an act of Congress the resolution has no effect beyond United States territory; and, second, the Republic of Hawai‘i was not a government, but self-declared, which the Apology resolution admitted.

What the report conveniently omits is the conclusion of the Department of Justice’s Office of Legal Counsel opinion on the “Newlands [Annexation] Resolution” in its 1988 Opinion “Legal Issues Raised by Proposed Presidential Proclamation To Extend the Territorial Sea.”  Douglas Kmiec, Acting Assistant Attorney General, authored the memorandum for Abraham D. Sofaer, legal advisor to the U.S. State Department. The Opinion states that the “clearest source of constitutional power to acquire territory is the treaty making power (p. 247).” When it came to Hawai‘i, however, Kmiec had a difficult time explaining how the Congress could acquire territory by a joint resolution. Kmiec referenced a U.S. constitutional scholar, Professor Willoughby, who stated:

“The constitutionality of the annexation of Hawaii, by a simple legislative act, was strenuously contested at the time both in Congress and by the press. The right to annex by treaty was not denied, but is was denied that this might be done by a simple legislative act… Only by means of treaties, it was asserted, can the relations between States be governed, for a legislative act is necessarily without extraterritorial force—confined in its operation to the territory of the State by whose legislature it is enacted (p. 252).”

After covering the limitation of Congressional authority and the objections made by members of the Congress, Kmiec concluded, “It is therefore unclear which constitutional power Congress exercised when it acquired Hawaii by joint resolution. Accordingly, it is doubtful that the acquisition of Hawaii can serve as an appropriate precedent for a congressional assertion of sovereignty over an extended territorial sea (p. 252).” There has been no followup opinion from the Department of Justice’s Office of Legal Counsel since 1988 that qualified how Congressional legislation could annex foreign territory. If the Department of Justice was unclear as to which constitutional power Congress exercised in 1898 when it purported to have annexed Hawaiian territory by joint resolution, it should still be unclear as to how Congress “has enacted more than 150 statutes that specifically recognize and implement this trust relationship with the Native Hawaiian community, including the Hawaiian Homes Commission Act, the Native Hawaiian Education Act, and the Native Hawaiian Health Care Act” stated in its press release.

It is clear that the Department of Justice had this information since 1988, but for obvious reasons did not cite that opinion in its joint report with the DOI that covered the portion on annexation (p. 26-30). To do so, would have completely undermined all the statutes the Congress has enacted for Hawai‘i, which would also include the lawful authority of the State of Hawai‘i government itself since it was created by an Act of Congress in 1959.

This was precisely the significance of the Office of Hawaiian Affairs CEO Dr. Kamana‘opono Crabbe’s questions to Secretary of State John Kerry. Without any evidence that the United States extinguished the Hawaiian Kingdom as an independent and sovereign State under international law, the Hawaiian Kingdom is presumed to still be in existence and therefore under an illegal and prolonged occupation.

So before the “five threshold questions that will be the subject of the forthcoming public meetings regarding whether the Federal Government should reestablish a government-to-government relationship with the Native Hawaiian community” can be answered by the community, the only question that should be posed to the DOI at the public meetings is:

“Since the Department of Justice’s Office of Legal Counsel did not respond with evidence to the Office of Hawaiian Affairs CEO Dr. Kamana‘opono’s questions dated May 5, 2014 that the Hawaiian Kingdom does not exist as an independent and sovereign State under international law, I have to presume the Hawaiian Kingdom continues to exist. Therefore, my question to you is by what authority is the Department of Interior claiming to be here in Hawai‘i, being a foreign sovereign and independent State, since the Department of Justice has already concluded that Congress could not have annexed the Hawaiian Islands by a joint resolution?”

KITV News: Hawaii community responds to feds considering Native Hawaiian recognition

KITV photo 2

To view KITV news video of the story click here.

HONOLULU —There’s excitement, applause and also some words of caution after the federal government took the first steps toward possibly establishing a government-to-government relationship between the United States and Native Hawaiians.

The federal government says it’s taking its first step toward re-establishing a government-to-government relationship with Native Hawaiians.

The Department of the Interior announced a month long series of meetings with Hawaii residents and they start Monday.

“I think it’s a sign of panic and desperation on the part of the federal government and the Department of Interior,” said Williamson Chang, University of Hawaii law professor.

KITV photo 1

Under current rules, this can only be done with residents in the lower 48 states. So, the department would first have to change those rules.

Chang says he sees this as being spurred on by the recent letter by Office of Hawaiian Affairs CEO Kamana’o Crabbe to U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry. The letter asked for a legal opinion about Hawaii’s political status under international law.

“So, I think that’s changed the ball game completely. OHA is asking, ‘Are we still a nation?’ And that I think scared them that if there is, this is what’s going on in Hawaii and we have something to worry about,” said Chang.

“Why not go for the sure thing where Hawaiians become like a federally recognized Indian tribe. We know how to deal with them. They’re not going to embarrass us internationally if we do that,” Chang continued.

Chang says they may also be under pressure to do something before President Obama leaves office.

Hawaii’s entire congressional delegation as well as the Governor and OHA’s trustee chair Colette Machado released statements commending the Obama Administration for its commitment to engaging Native Hawaiians in open dialogue.

KITV photo 3OHA’s Crabbe stated:

“… we see this as only one option for consideration. The decision of whether to walk through the federal door or another will be made by delegates to a Native Hawaiian ‘aha and ultimately by our people. We are committed to keeping all doors open so our people can have a full breadth of options from which to choose what is best for themselves and everyone in Hawai’i.”

Public Meetings in Hawaii – June 23 through July 8


Monday, June 23 — Honolulu – 9:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m.
Hawaii State Capitol Auditorium

Monday, June 23 — Waimanalo – 6:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m.
Waimanalo Elementary and Intermediate School

Tuesday, June 24 — Waianae Coast – 6:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m.
Nanaikapono Elementary School

Wednesday, June 25 — Kaneohe – 6:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m.
Heeia Elementary School

Thursday, June 26 — Kapolei – 6:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m.
Makakilo Elementary School


Friday, June 27 – Lanai City – 6:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m.
Lanai Senior Center


Saturday, June 28 – Kaunakakai – 1:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m.
Kaunakakai Elementary School


Monday, June 30 – Waimea – 6:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m.
Waimea Neighborhood Center

Tuesday, July 1 — Kapaa – 6:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m.
Kapaa Elementary School

Hawaii Island

Wednesday, July 2 — Hilo – 6:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m.
Keaukaha Elementary School

Thursday, July 3 — Waimea – 10:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.
Waimea Community Center

Thursday, July 3 — Kona – 6:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m.
Kealakehe High School


Saturday, July 5 — Hana – 1:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m.
Hana High and Elementary School

Monday, July 7 — Lahaina – 6:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m.
King Kamehameha III Elementary School

Tuesday, July 8 — Kahului – 6:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m.
Pomaikai Elementary School

Washington Post: Feds take step toward Native Hawaiian recognition

The Associate Press Reported in the Washington Post.

HONOLULU — The federal government announced Wednesday it will take a first step toward recognizing and working with a Native Hawaiian government at a time when a growing number of Hawaiians are questioning the legality of the U.S. annexation of Hawaii.

The U.S. Department of the Interior will host a series of public meetings during the next 60 days with Native Hawaiians, other members of the public and Native American tribes in the continental U.S. to discuss the complex issue, Rhea Suh, assistant secretary for policy, management and budget for the department, said during a conference call with reporters.

“This does not mean we are proposing an actual formal policy,” Suh said. “We are simply announcing that we’ll begin to have conversations with all relevant parties to help determine whether we should move forward with this process and if so, how we should do it.”

Native Hawaiians have been taking steps to form their own government, but the possibility of federal recognition and a growing sense that many Hawaiians want to pursue independence led some observers to call for a delay in the nation-building process. Kamanaopono Crabbe, the CEO of the Office of Hawaiian Affairs, suggested a delay of at least six months after questions were raised about whether the Hawaiian kingdom still exists in the eyes of the United States.

“While a rulemaking process proposed by the DOI is designed to open the door to a government-to-government relationship between the United States and our people, we see this as only one option for consideration,” Crabbe said in a statement. “The decision of whether to walk through the federal door or another will be made by delegates to a Native Hawaiian ‘aha (convention) and ultimately by our people. We are committed to keeping all doors open so our people can have a full breadth of options from which to choose what is best for themselves and everyone in Hawaii.”

Two potential steps — creating a government and seeking federal recognition — can happen at the same time, said Jessica Kershaw, a spokeswoman for the Interior Department.

Critics have said the path the federal government is pursuing is inappropriate because it appears the end goal is to incorrectly recognize Native Hawaiians as a Native American tribe. However, the federal government’s process leaves it up to Hawaiians to define themselves, and there would be discussions about whether it makes sense for Hawaiians to pursue a similar tribal designation, Suh said.

“There is nothing in this process that speaks to how the native community should be defined,” Suh said. “This process only pertains to the relationship between the U.S. government and the native Hawaiian community.”

The community meetings would start next week in Honolulu and would continue on neighboring islands.

Williamson Chang, a law professor at the University of Hawaii, believes the legal questions raised recently about whether the Kingdom of Hawaii still exists pushed the federal government into action.

“I consider Hawaii to be occupied or under a state of emergency,” Chang said. “The one thing I’m sure of is the United States does not have jurisdiction.”

A federal recognition that is similar to a tribal designation would be a step backward in the eyes of many Hawaiians, because the U.S. previously recognized the Hawaiian government as equal, not beneath, the U.S., Chang said.

“One solution could be complete independence, but I don’t think the United States would stand for that,” Chang said. “The Big Island could be spun off and become an independent nation, where Hawaiians could say they have a homeland.”

Who Were These Insurgents Calling themselves the Committee of Safety?

BlountJames Blount, who served by appointment of U.S. President Grover Cleveland as a Special Commissioner to investigate the overthrow of the Hawaiian Kingdom government on January 17, 1893, began his investigation in the Hawaiian Islands on April 1. For the next four months Special Commissioner Blount would submit periodic reports to U.S. Secretary of State Walter Gresham in Washington, D.C., which came to be known as the “Blount Reports.” On July 17, 1893, Blount submitted his final report. It was from these reports that Secretary of State Gresham would conclude the investigation and notify the President on October 18, 1893 that “should not the great wrong done to a feeble but independent State by an abuse of the authority of the United States be undone by restoring the legitimate government?  Anything short of that will not, I respectfully submit, satisfy the demands of justice.” Here follows a portion of the final report of July 17, 1893 that centers on the insurgents calling themselves the “Committee of Safety” and at the end identifies their nationalities (citizenry).

Committee of Safety with names


Special Commissioner James Blount reported:

Nearly all of the arms on the island of Oahu, in which Honolulu is situated, were in the possession of the Queen’s government. A military force, organized and drilled, occupied the station house, the barracks, and the palace—the only points of any strategic significance in the event of a conflict.

Barracks Troops

The great body of the people moved in their usual course. Women and children passed to and fro through the streets, seemingly unconscious of any impending danger, and yet there were secret conferences held by a small body of men, some of whom were Germans, some Americans, and some native-born subjects of foreign origin.

On Saturday evening, the 14th of January, they took up the subject of dethroning the Queen and proclaiming a new Government with a view of annexation to the United States.

The first and most momentous question with them was to devise some plan to have the United States troops landed. Mr. Thurston, who appears to have been the leading spirit, on Sunday sought two members of the Queen’s cabinet and urged them to head a movement against the Queen, and to ask Minister Stevens to land the troops, assuring them that in such an event Mr. Stevens would do so. Failing to enlist any of the Queen’s cabinet in the cause, it was necessary to devise some other mode to accomplish this purpose. A committee of safety, consisting of thirteen members, had been formed from a little body of men assembled in W. O. Smith’s office. A deputation of these, informing Mr. Stevens of their plans, arranged with him to land the troops if they would ask it “for the purpose of protecting life and property.” It was further agreed between him and them that in the event they should occupy the government building and proclaim a new government he would recognize it. The two leading members of the committee, Messrs. Thurston and Smith, growing uneasy as to the safety of their persons, went to him to know if he would protect them in the event of their arrest by the authorities, to which he gave his assent.

At the mass meeting, called by the committee of safety on the 16th of January, there was no communication to the crowd of any purpose to dethrone the Queen or to change the form of government, but only to authorize the committee to take steps to prevent a consummation of the Queen’s purposes and to have guarantees of public safety. The committee on public safety had kept their purposes from the public view at this mass meeting and at their small gatherings for fear of proceedings against them by the government of the Queen.

After the mass meeting had closed a call on the American minister for troops was made in the following terms, and signed indiscriminately by Germans, by Americans, and by Hawaiian subjects of foreign extraction:

Hawaiian Islands,
Honolulu, January 16, 1395.
To His Excellency John L. Stevens,
American Minister Resident:

SIR: We, the undersigned, citizens and residents of Honolulu, respectfully represent that, in view of recent public events in this Kingdom, culminating in the revolutionary acts of Queen Liliuokalani on Saturday last, the public safety is menaced and lives and property are in peril, and we appeal to you and the United States forces at your command for assistance.

The Queen, with the aid of armed force and accompanied by threats of violence and bloodshed from those with whom she was acting, attempted to proclaim a new constitution; and while prevented for the time from accomplishing her object, declared publicly that she would only defer her action.

This conduct and action was upon an occasion and under circumstances which have created general alarm and terror.

We are unable to protect ourselves without aid, and, therefore, pray for the protection of the United States forces.

Henry B. Cooper,
P.W. McChesney,
W.C. Wilder,
C. Bolte,
A. Brown,
William O. Smith,
Henry Waterhouse,
Theo. F. Lansing,
Ed. Suhr,
L. A. Thurston,
John Emmeluth,
Wm. B. Castle,
J.A. McCandless,

Citizen’s Committee of Safety.

The response to that call does not appear in the files or on the records of the American legation. It, therefore, can not speak for itself. The request of the committee of safety was, however, consented to by the American minister. The troops were landed.

On that very night the committee assembled at the house of Henry Waterhouse, one of its members, living the next door to Mr. Stevens, and finally determined on the dethronement of the Queen; selected its officers, civil and military, and adjourned to meet the next morning.

Col. J. H. Soper, an American citizen, was selected to command the military forces. At this Waterhouse meeting it was assented to by all that Mr. Stevens had agreed with the committee of safety that in the event it occupied the Government building and proclaimed a Provisional Government he would recognize it as a de facto government.

When the troops were landed on Monday evening, January 16, about 5 o’clock, and began their march through the streets with their small arms, artillery, etc., a great surprise burst upon the community. To but few was it understood. Not much time elapsed before it was given out by members of the committee of safety that they were designed to support them. At the palace, with the cabinet, amongst the leaders of the Queen’s military forces, and the great body of the people who were loyal to the Queen, the apprehension came that it was a movement hostile to the existing Government. Protests were filed by the minister of foreign affairs and by the governor of the island against the landing of the troops.

Messrs. Parker and Peterson testify that on Tuesday at 1 o’clock they called on Mr. Stevens, and by him were informed that in the event the Queen’s forces assailed the insurrectionary forces he would intervene.

At 2:30 o’clock of the same day the members of the Provisional Government proceeded to the Government building in squads and read their proclamation. They had separated in their in march to the Government building for fear of observation and arrest. There was no sign of an insurrectionary soldier on the street. The committee of safety sent to the Government building a Mr. A. S. Wilcox to see who was there and on being informed that there were no Government forces on the grounds proceeded in the manner I have related and read; their proclamation. Just before concluding the reading of this instrument fifteen volunteer troops appeared. Within a half hour afterward some thirty or forty made their appearance.

A part of the Queen’s forces, numbering 224, were located at the station house, about one-third of a mile from the Government building. The Queen, with a body of 50 troops, was located at the palace, north of the Government building about 400 yards. A little northeast of the palace and some 200 yards from it, at the barracks, was another body of 272 troops. These forces had 14 pieces of artillery, 386 rifles, and 16 revolvers. West of the Government building and across a narrow street were posted Capt. Wiltse and his troops, these likewise having artillery and small-arms.

The Government building is in a quadrangular-shaped piece of ground surrounded by streets. The American troops were so posted as to be in front of any movement of troops which should approach the Government building on three sides, the fourth being occupied by themselves. Any attack on the Government building from the east side would expose the American troops to the direct fire of the attacking force. Any movement of troops from the palace toward the Government building in the event of a conflict between the military forces would have exposed them to the fire of the Queen’s troops. In fact, it would have been impossible for a struggle between the Queen’s forces and the forces of the committee of safety to have taken place without exposing them to the shots of the Queen’s forces. To use the language of Admiral Skerrett, the American troops were well located if designed to promote the movement for the Provisional Government and very improperly located if only intended to protect American citizens in person and property.

They were doubtless so located to suggest to the Queen and her counselors that they were in cooperation with the insurrectionary movement, and would when the emergency arose manifest it by active support.

It did doubtless suggest to the men who read the proclamation that they were having the support of the American minister and naval commander and were safe from personal harm.

Why had the American minister located the troops in such a situation and then assured the members of the committee of safety that on their occupation of the Government building he would recognize it as a government de facto, and as such give it support? Why was the Government building designated to them as the place which, when their proclamation was announced therefrom, would be followed by his recognition. It was not a point of any strategic consequence. It did not involve the employment of a single soldier.

A building was chosen where there were no troops stationed, where there was no struggle to be made to obtain access, with an American force immediately contiguous, with the mass of the population impressed with its unfriendly attitude. Aye, more than this—before any demand for surrender had even been made on the Queen or on the commander or any officer of any of her military forces at any of the points where her troops were located, the American minister had recognized the Provisional Government and was ready to give it the support of the United States troops!

US troops 1893

Mr. Damon, the vice-president of the Provisional Government and a member of the advisory council, first went to the station house, which was in command of Marshal Wilson. The cabinet was there located. The vice-president importuned the cabinet and the military commander to yield up the military forces on the ground that the American minister had recognized the Provisional Government and that there ought to be no blood shed.

After considerable conference between Mr. Damon and the ministers he and they went to the government building.

The cabinet then and there was prevailed upon to go with the vice-president and some other friends to the Queen and urge her to acquiesce in the situation. It was pressed upon her by the ministers and other persons at that conference that it was useless for her to make any contest, because it was one with the United States; that she could file her protest against what had taken place and would be entitled to a hearing in the city of Washington. After consideration of more than an hour she finally concluded, under the advice of her cabinet and friends, to order the delivery up of her military forces to the Provisional Government under protest. That paper is in the following form:

I, Liliuokalani, by the grace of God and under the constitution of the Hawaiian Kingdom, Queen, do hereby solemnly protest against any and all acts done against myself and the constitutional Government of the Hawaiian Kingdom by certain persons claiming to have established a provisional government of and for this Kingdom.

That I yield to the superior force of the United States of America, whose minister plenipotentiary, His Excellency John L. Stevens, has caused United States troops to be landed at Honolulu and declared that he would support the said provisional government.

Now, to avoid any collision of armed forces and perhaps the loss of life, I do, under this protest, and impelled by said force, yield my authority until such time as the Government of the United States shall, upon the facts being presented to it, undo the action of its representatives and reinstate me in the authority which I claim as the constitutional sovereign of the Hawaiian Islands.

Done at Honolulu this 17th day of January, A. D. 1893.

Liliuokalani R.
Samuel Parker,
Minister of Foreign Affairs.
Wm H. Cornwell,
Minister of finance.
Jno. F. Colburn,
Minister of the Interior.
A.P. Peterson,
Attorney- General.

All this was accomplished without the firing of a gun, without a demand for surrender on the part of the insurrectionary forces until they had been converted into a de facto government by the recognition of the American minister with American troops, then ready to interfere in the event of an attack.

In pursuance of a prearranged plan, the Government thus established hastened off commissioners to Washington to make a treaty for the purpose of annexing the Hawaiian Islands to the United States.

During the progress of the movement the committee of safety, alarmed at the fact that the insurrectionists had no troops and no organization, dispatched to Mr. Stevens three persons, to wit, Messrs. L. A. Thurston, W. C. Wilder, and H. F. Glade, “to inform him of the situation and ascertain from him what if any protection or assistance could be afforded by the United States forces for the protection of life and property, the unanimous sentiment and feeling being that life and property were in danger.” Mr. Thurston is a native-born subject; Mr. Wilder is of American origin, but has absolved his allegiance to the United States and is a naturalized subject; Mr. Glade is a German subject.

The declaration as to the purposes of the Queen contained in the formal request for the appointment of a committee of safety in view of the facts which have been recited, to wit, the action of the Queen and her cabinet, the action of the Royalist mass meeting, and the peaceful movement of her followers, indicating assurances of their abandonment, seem strained in so far as any situation then requiring the landing of troops might exact.

The request was made, too, by men avowedly intending to overthrow the existing government and substitute a provisional government therefor, and who, with such purpose in progress of being effected, could not proceed therewith, but fearing arrest and imprisonment and without any thought of abandoning that purpose, sought the aid of the American troops in this situation to prevent any harm to their persons and property. To consent to an application for such a purpose without any suggestion dissuading the applicants from it on the part of the American minister, with naval forces under his command, could not otherwise be construed than as complicity with their plans.

The committee, to use their own language, say: “We are unable to protect ourselves without aid, and, therefore, pray for the protection of the United States forces.”

In less than thirty hours the petitioners have overturned the throne, established a new government, and obtained the recognition of foreign powers.

Let us see whether any of these petitioners are American citizens, and if so whether they were entitled to protection, and if entitled to protection at this point whether or not subsequently thereto their conduct was such as could be sanctioned as proper on the part of American citizens in a foreign country.

CooperMr. Henry E. Cooper is an American citizen; was a member of the committee of safety; was a participant from the beginning in their schemes to overthrow the Queen, establish a Provisional Government, and visited Capt. Wiltse’s vessel, with a view of securing the aid of American troops, and made an encouraging report thereon. He, an American citizen, read the proclamation dethroning the Queen and establishing the Provisional Government.


Mr. F. W. McChesney is an American citizen; was cooperating in the revolutionary movement, and had been a member of the advisory council from its inception.



Mr. W. C. Wilder is a naturalized citizen of the Hawaiian Islands, owing no allegiance to any other country. He was one of the original members of the advisory council, and one of the orators in the mass meeting on the morning of January 16.




Mr. C. Bolte is of German origin, but a regularly naturalized citizen of the Hawaiian Islands.




Mr. A. Brown is a Scotchman and has never been naturalized.




Mr. W. O. Smith is a native of foreign origin and a subject of the Islands.



Mr. Henry Waterhouse, originally from Tasmania, is a naturalized citizen of the islands.



Mr. Theo. F. Lansing is a citizen of the United States, owing and claiming allegiance thereto. He has never been naturalized in this country.



Mr. Ed. Suhr is a German subject.




Mr. L. A. Thurston is a native-born subject of the Hawaiian Islands, of foreign origin.




Mr. John Emmeluth is an American citizen.




Mr. W. it Castle is a Hawaiian of foreign parentage.




Mr. J. A. McCandless is a citizen of the United States—never having been naturalized here.



Six are Hawaiians subjects; five are American citizens; one English, and one German. A majority are foreign subjects.

It will be observed that they sign as “Citizens’ committee of safety.”

This is the first time American troops were ever landed on these islands at the instance of a committee of safety without notice to the existing government.

It is to be observed that they claim to be a citizens’ committee of safety and that they are not simply applicants for the protection of the property and lives of American citizens.

The chief actors in this movement were Messrs. L. A. Thurston and W.O. Smith.

The Hawaiian Sovereignty Movement: Operating on a False Premise

Lawrence FuchsThe Hawaiian sovereignty movement appears to have grown out of a social movement in the islands in the mid-20th century. According to one scholar, Professor Lawrence Fuchs’ Hawai‘i Pono: A Social History (1961), p. 68, “the essential purpose of the haole [foreigner] elite for four decades after annexation was to control Hawai‘i; the major aim for the lesser haoles was to promote and maintain their privileged position…Most Hawaiians were motivated by a dominant and inclusive purpose—to recapture the past.”

Native Hawaiians were experiencing a sense of revival of Hawaiian culture, language, arts and music—euphoria of native Hawaiian pride. Momi Kamahele in her article, Ilio‘ulaokalani: Defending Native Hawaiian Culture, Amerasia Journal (2000), p. 40, states that “the ancient form of hula experienced a strong revival as the Native national dance for our own cultural purposes and enjoyment rather than as a service commodity for the tourist industry.” The sovereignty movement also resulted in the revitalization of John Dominis Holt“the Hawaiian language through immersion education.” John Dominis Holt, author of the 1964 book On Being Hawaiian (1995), p. 7, is credited for igniting the resurgence of native Hawaiian consciousness.

“I am a part-Hawaiian who has for years felt troubled concern over the loss of Hawaiianness or ethnic consciousness among people like ourselves. So much that came down to us was garbled or deliberately distorted. It was difficult to separate truth from untruth; to clarify even such simple matters for many among us as the maiden name of a Hawaiian grandmother, let alone know anything at all of the Hawaiian past.”

Tom CoffmanTom Coffman, Nation Within (1999), p. xii, explained that when he “arrived in Hawai‘i in 1965, the effective definition of history had been reduced to a few years. December 7, 1941, was practically the beginning of time, and anything that might have happened before that was prehistory.” Coffman admits that when he wrote his first book in 1970 he used Statehood in 1959 as an important benchmark in Hawaiian history. The first sentence in chapter one of this book reads, the “year 1970 was only the eleventh year of statehood, so that as a state Hawai‘i was still young, still enthralled by the right to self-government, still feeling out its role as America’s newest state.” He recollected in a another book, Catch a Wave: A Case Study of Hawai‘i’s New Politics (1973), p. 1:

“Many years passed before I realized that for Native Hawaiians to survive as a people, they needed a definition of time that spanned something more than eleven years. The demand for a changed understanding of time was always implicit in what became known as the Hawaiian movement or the Hawaiian Renaissance because Hawaiians so systematically turned to the past whenever the subject of Hawaiian life was glimpsed.”

The native Hawaiian community had been the subject of extreme prejudice and political exclusion since the United States imposed its authority in the Hawaiian Islands in 1898, and the history books that followed routinely portrayed the native Hawaiian as passive and inept. Holt explained, p. 7, that after the overthrow of the Hawaiian Kingdom the self respect of native Hawaiians had been “undermined by carping criticism of ‘Hawaiian beliefs’ and stereotypes concerning our being lazy, laughing, lovable children who needed to be looked after by more ‘realistic’ adult-oriented caretakers came to be the new accepted view of Hawaiians.” This stereotyping became institutionalized, and is evidenced in the writings by Professor Gavan Daws, an American historian, who wrote in 1974, Shoal of Time, p. 291:

Gavan DawsThe Hawaiians had lost much of their reason for living long ago, when the kapus were abolished; since then a good many of them had lost their lives through disease; the survivors lost their land; they lost their leaders, because many of the chiefs withdrew from politics in favor of nostalgic self-indulgence; and now at last they lost their independence. Their resistance to all this was feeble. It was almost as if they believed what the white man said about them, that they had only half learned the lessons of civilization.

Noenoe SilvaAlthough the Hawaiian Renaissance movement originally had no clear political objectives, it did foster a genuine sense of inquiry and thirst for an alternative Hawaiian history that was otherwise absent in contemporary history books. Professor Noenoe Silva’s Aloha Betrayed: Native Hawaiian Resistance to American Colonization (2004), p. 3, a political scientist, states, “When the stories can be validated, as happens when scholars read the literature in Hawaiian and make the findings available to the community, people begin to recover from the wounds caused by that disjuncture in their consciousness.”

As a result, Native Hawaiians began to draw meaning and political activism from a history that appeared to parallel other native peoples of the world who had been colonized, but the interpretive context of Hawaiian history was, at the time, primarily James Anayahistorical and not legal. State sovereignty and international laws were perceived not as a benefit for native peoples, but were seen as tools of the colonizer. According to Professor James Anaya’s Indigenous Peoples in International Law (2000), p. 22, who specializes in the rights of indigenous peoples, “international law was thus able to govern the patterns of colonization and ultimately to legitimate the colonial order.”

Following the course Congress set in the 1971 Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act, under which “the United States returned 40 million acres of land to the Alaskan natives and paid $1 billion cash for land titles they did not return,” it became common practice for Native Hawaiians to associate themselves with the plight of Native Americans and other ethnic minorities throughout the world who had been colonized and dominated by Europe or the United States.

Linda Tuhiwai SmithThe Hawaiian Renaissance gradually branched out to include a political wing often referred to as the “sovereignty movement,” which evolved into political resistance against U.S. sovereignty. As native Hawaiians began to organize, their political movement “paralleled the activism surrounding the civil rights movement, women’s liberation, student uprisings and the anti-Vietnam War movement,” explained Professor Linda Tuhiwai Smith, Decolonizing Methodologies: Research and Indigenous Peoples (1999), p. 113.

In 1972, an organization called A.L.O.H.A. (Aboriginal Lands of Hawaiian Ancestry) was founded to seek reparations from the United States for its involvement in the illegal overthrow of the Hawaiian Kingdom government in 1893. Frustrated with inaction by the United States it joined another group called Hui Ala Loa (Long Road Organization) and formed Protect Kaho’olawe ‘Ohana (P.K.O.) in 1975. P.K.O. was organized to stop the U.S. Navy from utilizing the island of Kaho’olawe, off the southern coast of Maui, as a target range by openly occupying the island in defiance of the U.S. military. The U.S. Navy had been using the entire island as a target range for naval gunfire since World War II, and as a result of P.K.O.’s activism, the Navy terminated its use of the island in 1994. Another organization called ‘Ohana O Hawai‘i (Family of Hawai‘i), formed in 1974, even went to the extreme measure of proclaiming a declaration of war against the United States of America.

The political movements also served as the impetus for native Hawaiians to participate in the State of Hawai‘i’s Constitutional Convention in 1978, which resulted in the creation of the Office of Hawaiian Affairs (O.H.A.). O.H.A. recognizes two definitions of aboriginal Hawaiian: the term “native Hawaiian” with a lower case “n,” and “Native Hawaiian” with an upper case “N,” both of which were established by the U.S. Congress. The former is defined by the 1921 Hawaiian Homestead Commission Act as “any descendant of not less than one-half part of the blood of the races inhabiting the Hawaiian Islands previous to 1778,” while the latter is defined by the 1993 Apology Resolution as “any individual who is a descendent of the aboriginal people who, prior to 1778, occupied and exercised sovereignty in the area that now constitutes the State of Hawai‘i.” The intent of the Apology resolution was to offer an apology to all Native Hawaiians, without regard to blood quantum, while the Hawaiian Homes Commission Act’s definition was intended to limit those receiving homestead lots to be “not less than one-half” of native Hawaiian descent by blood. O.H.A. states that it serves both definitions of Hawaiian. As a governmental agency, O.H.A.’s mission is to:

“…malama (protect) Hawai‘i’s people and environmental resources and OHA’s assets, toward ensuring the perpetuation of the culture, the enhancement of lifestyle and the protection of entitlements of Native Hawaiians, while enabling the building of a strong and healthy Hawaiian people and nation, recognized nationally and internationally.”

The sovereignty movement created a multitude of diverse groups, each having an agenda as well as varying interpretations of Hawaiian history. Operating within an ethnic or tribal optic stemming from the Native-American movement in the United States, the sovereignty movement in Hawai‘i eventually expanded itself to become a part of the global movement of indigenous peoples who, according to Ivison, Patton & Sanders’ Political Theory and the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (2000), p. 89, reject colonial “arrangements in exchange for indigenous modes of self-determination that sharply curtail the legitimacy and jurisdiction of the State while bolstering indigenous jurisdiction over land, identity and political voice.”

Advertiser Photo Sovereignty

Haunani TraskIn her article Settlers of Color and “Immigrant” Hegemony: “Locals” in Hawai‘i, Amerasia (2000), p. 17, Professor Haunani-Kay Trask, an indigenous peoples’ rights advocate, argues that “documents like the Draft Declaration [of Indigenous Human Rights] are used to transform and clarify public discussion and agitation.” Specifically, Trask states that, “legal terms of reference, indigenous human rights concepts in international usage, and the political linkage of the non-self-governing status of the Hawaiian nation with other non-self-governing indigenous nations move Hawaiians into a world arena where Native peoples are primary and dominant states are secondary to the discussion.”

This political wing of the renaissance is not in any way connected to the legal position that the Hawaiian Kingdom continued to exist as a sovereign State under international law, but rather focuses on the history of European and American colonialism and the prospect of decolonization. As a result, sovereignty is not viewed as a legal reality, but a political aspiration.

Noel KentAccording to Professor Noel Kent’s Hawai‘i: Islands under the Influence (1993), p. 198, the “Hawaiian sovereignty movement is now clearly the most potent catalyst for change,” and “during the late 1980s and early 1990s sovereignty was transformed from an outlandish idea propagated by marginal groups into a legitimate political position supported by a majority of native Hawaiians.” The political activism relied on the normative framework of the developing rights of indigenous peoples within the United States and at the United Nations. At both these levels, indigenous peoples were viewed not as sovereign States, but rather non-State nations. According to Corntassel & Primeau’s article Indigenous “Sovereignty” and International Law: Revised Strategies for Pursuing “Self-Determination, Human Rights Quarterly (1995), p. 347, “indigenous peoples were viewed not as sovereign states, but rather ‘any stateless group’ residing within the territorial dominions of existing sovereign states.”

When the General Synod of the United Church of Christ (UCC) passed a resolution “Recognizing the Rights of Native Hawaiians to Self-Governance and Self-determination” in 1991, it was heralded as the beginning of a reconciliatory process between native and non-native Hawaiians for the 1893 overthrow of the Hawaiian Kingdom government. This resolution prompted the President of the UCC, in 1993, to issue a formal apology and committed the church to redress the wrongs done to native Andrew WalshHawaiians. In Professor Andrew H. Walsh’s Historical Memorandum on the Hawaiian Revolution of 1893 for the UCC’s Sovereignty Project (1992), p. 24, who was commissioned by the UCC’s Sovereignty Project to assist UCC officials in preparing a statement of apology in 1993, found that certain members of the Hawaiian Evangelical Association were complicit in the overthrow of the Hawaiian Kingdom government:

“The Christian church founded by American missionaries in Hawai‘i played no direct role in the Hawaiian Revolution of 1893. The Hawaiian Evangelical Association was, however, clearly under the control of white leaders who backed the revolution and attempted—at some cost—to influence indigenous Hawaiians to accept its outcome. The church’s leaders endorsed the revolution in their correspondence with Congregational officials in the United States and vigorously attempted to enlist American Protestant support for annexation. In addition, several individual ministers of the HEA played active roles as advocates of the revolution to the American public.”

The UCC’s Redress Plan included multi-million dollar reparations and the transference of six parcels of land on five islands to Native Hawaiian churches, the Association of Eric YamamotoHawaiian Evangelical Churches, and the Pu‘a Foundation. Professor Eric Yamamoto, a legal expert in reconciliation, in his book Interracial Justice: Conflict & Reconciliation in Post-Civil Rights America (1999), p. 215, views these reconciliatory efforts by the UCC within the framework of post-colonial theory in post-civil rights America, and focuses on interracial justice for Native Hawaiians within the United States legal system—an approach similar to the “United States’ 1988 apology to and monetary reparations for Japanese Americans wrongfully interned during World War II.” Yamamoto and other contemporary scholars, view the U.S. takeover of the Hawaiian Islands as fait accompli—a history and consequence no different than other colonial takeovers throughout the world of indigenous people and their lands by western powers.

The UCC apology also prompted the Congress to pass a joint resolution in 1993 apologizing only to the Native Hawaiian people, rather than to the entire citizenry of the Hawaiian Kingdom, for the United States’ role in the overthrow of the Hawaiian government. This resolution maintained an indigenous and historically inaccurate focus that implied that only ethnic Hawaiians constituted the kingdom, and fertilized the incipient ethnocentrism of the sovereignty movement. The Resolution provided:

“Congress…apologizes to the Native Hawaiians on behalf of the people of the United States for the overthrow of the Kingdom of Hawai‘i on January 17, 1893 with the participation of agents and citizens of the United States, and the deprivation of the rights of Native Hawaiians to self-determination.”

The Congressional apology rallied many Native Hawaiians, who were not fully aware of the legal status of the Hawaiian Islands as a sovereign State, in the belief that their situation had similar qualities to Native-American tribes in the nineteenth century. The resolution reinforced the belief of a native Hawaiian nation grounded in Hawaiian indigeneity and culture, rather than an occupied State under prolonged occupation.

Akaka-072806-18268- 0032Consistent with the Apology Resolution, Senator Akaka attempted five times since 2000 to have the Senate pass a bill that would provide for federal recognition of tribal status for Native Hawaiians. On February 4, 2009, he reintroduced Senate Bill 381 for the sixth time, known as the Akaka Bill, to the 111th Congress. According to Akaka, the bill’s purpose is to provide “a process within the framework of Federal law for the Native Hawaiian people to exercise their inherent rights as a distinct aboriginal, indigenous, native community to reorganize a Native Hawaiian government for the purpose of giving expression to their rights as native people to self-determination and self-governance.”

According to Professor Rupert Emerson, an international law scholar, in his article Self-Determination, American Journal of International Law (1971), p. 463, there are two major periods when the international community accepted self-determination as an operative right or principle. President Woodrow Wilson and others first applied the principle to nations directly affected by the “defeat or collapse of the German, Russian, Austro-Hungarian and Turkish land empires” after the First World War. The second period took place after the Second World War and the United Nations’ focus on disintegrating overseas empires of its member states, “which had remained effectively untouched in the round of Wilsonian self-determination.”

These territories have come to be known as Mandate, Trust, and Article 73(e) territories under the United Nations Charter. Because Native Hawaiians were erroneously categorized as a stateless people, the principle of self-determination would underlie the development of legislation such as the Akaka bill.

In 2011, the State of Hawai‘i enacted their version of the Akaka Bill that established a Native Hawaiian Roll Commission called Act 195, which provided “Native Hawaiians as the only indigenous, aboriginal, maoli population of Hawai‘i.” Act 195 also committed the State of Hawai‘i “to support the continuing development of a reorganized Native Hawaiian governing entity and, ultimately, the federal recognition of Native Hawaiians.” The Roll Commission will “determine eligible individuals that with to participate in the process of reorganizing a Native Hawaiian government for the purposes of Native-Hawaiian self-governance recognized by the State of Hawai‘i. Act 195 also expresses the State’s desire to support federal government recognition of a Native Hawaiian government.” Act 195 also provides that OHA will house the Commission and is responsible for it’s funding. The text of Act 195 is replete with inaccuracies and admissions to violations of the law of occupation.

The identification of Native Hawaiians as an indigenous people with a right to self-determination relies upon the U.S. National Security Council’s position on indigenous peoples. On January 18, 2001, the Council made known its position to its delegations assigned to the “U.N. Commission on Human Rights,” the “Commission’s Working Group on the United Nations (UN) Draft Declaration on Indigenous Rights,” and to the “Organization of American States (OAS) Working Group to Prepare the Proposed American Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Populations.” The Council directed these delegates to “read a prepared statement that expresses the U.S. understanding of the term internal ‘self-determination’ and indicates that it does not include a right of independence or permanent sovereignty over natural resources.”

The Council also directed these delegates to support the use of the term internal self-determination in both the U.N. and O.A.S. declarations on indigenous rights, and definedIndigenous Peoples as having “a right of internal self-determination.” By virtue of that right, “they may negotiate their political status within the framework of the existing nation-state and are free to pursue their economic, social, and cultural development. This resolution sought to constrain the growing political movement of indigenous peoples “who aspire to rule their territorial homeland, or who claim the right to independent statehood under the doctrine of self-determination of peoples.”

The sovereignty movement and Kana‘iolowalu falsely maintains that aboriginal Hawaiians have a right to self-determination, which implies that aboriginal Hawaiians were never nationals of a sovereign and independent State. Self-determination also implies that aboriginal Hawaiians are an ethnic group residing within the United States of America. Hawaiian history cannot support this position. Aboriginal Hawaiians are the majority of the population of Hawaiian subjects who have been subjected to Americanization and indoctrination. As an occupied State under an illegal and prolonged occupation, the proper framework to understand Hawai‘i’s unique situation is through international law and the laws of occupation and not through the laws of the United States, and, by extension, the laws of the State of Hawai‘i. In this way, Hawai‘i’s vibrant political and legal history is not only embraced, but is honored and respected.

The State of Hawai‘i: A Government Neither De Facto nor De Jure

ClevelandAfter investigating the illegal overthrow of the Hawaiian Kingdom government by United States forces on January 17, 1893, President Cleveland notified the Congress on December 18, 1893, “When our Minister [diplomat] recognized the provisional government the only basis upon which it rested was the fact that the Committee of Safety had in the manner above stated declared it to exist. It was neither a government de facto nor de jure (p. 453).”

Committee of Safety

The Committee of Safety was a group of thirteen insurgents that sought the protection of United States troops from the American diplomat, John Stevens, assigned to the Hawaiian Kingdom when they would declare themselves to be a provisional government. The insurgents sought protection from being apprehended for the crime of treason by law enforcement of the Hawaiian Kingdom. As soon as the Committee of Safety declared themselves to be the provisional government of the Hawaiian Kingdom, the American diplomat extended de facto recognition. De facto is a government “in fact” where it is in complete control of all governmental machinery, while de jure is a government “in law” established through the normal course of a country’s legal system. Cleveland concluded, “the Government of the Queen…was undisputed and was both the de facto and the de jure government (p. 451).” He explained to the Congress,

“That it was not in such possession of the Government property and agencies as entitled it to recognition… Nevertheless, this wrongful recognition by our Minister placed the Government of the Queen in a position of most perilous perplexity. On the one hand she had possession of the palace, of the barracks, and of the police station, and had at her command at least five hundred fully armed men and several pieces of artillery. Indeed, the whole military force of her kingdom was on her side and at her disposal, while the Committee of Safety, by actual search, had discovered that there were but very few arms in Honolulu that were not in the service of the Government. In this state of things if the Queen could have dealt with the insurgents alone her course would have been plain and the result unmistakable. But the United States had allied itself with her enemies, had recognized them as the true Government of Hawaii, and had put her and her adherents in the position of opposition against lawful authority. She knew that she could not withstand the power of the United States, but she believed that she might safely trust to its justice. Accordingly, some hours after the recognition of the provisional government by the United States Minister, the palace, the barracks, and the police station, with all the military resources of the country, were delivered up by the Queen upon the representation made to her that her cause would thereafter be reviewed at Washington, and while protesting that she surrendered to the superior force of the United States, whose Minister had caused United States troops to be landed at Honolulu and declared that he would support the provisional government, and that she yielded her authority to prevent collision of armed forces and loss of life and only until such time as the United States, upon the facts being presented to it, should undo the action of its representative and reinstate her in the authority she claimed as the constitutional sovereign of the Hawaiian Islands (p. 453).”

The investigation concluded that the United States unlawfully intervened in the internal affairs of the Hawaiian Kingdom, and that its diplomat and troops were directly responsible for the illegal overthrow of the Hawaiian government. Secretary of State Walter Gresham recommended to President Cleveland that the Hawaiian government must be restored and compensation provided. This prompted executive mediation between U.S. diplomat Albert Willis and Queen Lili‘uokalani in Honolulu to settle the dispute and by exchange of notes an executive agreement, called the “Agreement of Restoration,” was concluded whereby the President committed to the restoration of the Hawaiian government and the Queen, thereafter, to grant amnesty to the insurgents.

William_McKinleyThe President, however, did not carry out the international agreements because of political wrangling in the Congress, and the insurgents renamed themselves the Republic of Hawai‘i. President Cleveland’s successor, William McKinley, after failing to acquire Hawai‘i by a treaty of cession, signed a Congressional joint resolution of annexation into United States law on July 7, 1898, and unilaterally seized the Hawaiian Islands during the Spanish-American War on August 12, 1898, which began an illegal and prolonged occupation.

The Hawaiian Kingdom had completely adopted the separation of powers doctrine since 1864 and the government separated into three branches: executive, legislative and judicial. Here is what the government would have looked like if restoration took place according to the executive agreements, as provided by Thrum’s Hawaiian Annual for the year 1893.

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1893 Government Registry_Page_31893 Government Registry_Page_41893 Government Registry_Page_5

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1893 Government Registry_Page_9

In 1900, President McKinley signed into United States law An Act To provide a government for the Territory of Hawai‘i, and transformed the so-called Republic of Hawai‘i into the Territory of Hawai‘i. After which the United States intentionally sought to “Americanize” the inhabitants of the Hawaiian Kingdom politically, culturally, socially, and economically. To accomplish this, a plan was instituted in 1906 by the Territorial government, titled “Program for Patriotic Exercises in the Public Schools, Adopted by the Department of Public Instruction,” whose purpose was to denationalize the children of the Hawaiian Islands through the public schools on a massive scale.


Nearly 50 years later where denationalization was nearly complete, steps were taken to transform the government of the Territory of Hawai‘i into the State of Hawai‘i. President Eisenhower signed into United States law An Act To provide for the admission of the State of Hawai‘i into the Union on March 18, 1959. These laws, which have no effect beyond United States territory, stand in direct violation of treaties between the Hawaiian Kingdom and the United States, the 1907 Hague Convention, IV, and the Geneva Convention Relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War, IV.

For the United States to have secured such a stronghold in the Hawaiian Islands as a governing body in a relatively short span of time was dependent upon the seizure of an already existing governmental infrastructure. The way in which thirteen insurgents calling themselves the Committee of Safety could take over the entire Hawaiian government on January 17, 1893, was by merely replacing the Queen as the chief executive and forcing everyone in the executive and judicial branches of government to sign oaths of allegiance while the U.S. troops provided oversight through intimidation and firepower. And when the U.S. troops were ordered to leave Hawai‘i on April 1, 1893, mercenaries replaced them until 1898 when U.S. troops returned to the islands.



A common misunderstanding is that the United States created the governmental infrastructure we have today through Congressional legislation such as the 1900 Organic Act that created the Territory of Hawai‘i, and the 1959 Admission Act that created the State of Hawai‘i. This is false. All that took place was the change in names and a few added agencies. The government of the State of Hawai‘i was formerly known as the government of the Territory of Hawai‘i. The government of the Territory of Hawai‘i was formerly known as the Republic of Hawai‘i. The government of the Republic of Hawai‘i was formerly known as the provisional government. And the government of the provisional government was formerly known as the Hawaiian Kingdom. The governmental infrastructure we see today was already in place in 1893.

Professor ChangIn a presentation at the University of Hawai‘i Richardson School of Law on April 17, 2014, senior Law Professor Williamson Chang stated, “The power of the United States, over the Hawaiian islands, and the jurisdiction of the United States in the State of Hawai‘i, by its own admissions, by its own laws, doesn’t exist.  And so that means that ever since the 1898 annexation of Hawai‘i, by a Joint Resolution, they say, we have been living a myth.” “A joint resolution, as an act of Congress, cannot acquire another country,” he said. “If Congress cannot, by Joint Resolution in 1898, acquire Hawai‘i unilaterally, it cannot do so in 1959,” Chang said.

Because the United States Congress has no authority beyond the territory of the United States, the State of Hawai‘i cannot claim that it is a government duly authorized under a Congressional Act to govern the Hawaiian Islands. And as a direct successor of an insurgency that was unlawfully installed by the United States diplomat and troops on January 17, 1893, it too is neither a government de facto nor de jure. This means that actions that were understood to be governance are now interpreted as actions taken by individuals pretending to be a government. The law of occupation interprets these actions as war crimes: e.g. taxation is now interpreted as the crime of pillaging and theft; civil and criminal trials done by a court not properly constituted is now interpreted as the crime of depriving a person of a fair and regular trial; and to pursue federal recognition of Native Hawaiians as a tribe is interpreted as the crime of denationalization.

With this backdrop, Professor Chang warned the audience at the Law School, “I’m going to make one big point. …Its like a hand grenade, I’m going to give you the pin to the hand grenade, you pull the pin and everything blows up. So don’t pull the pin.”

The only way for the State of Hawai‘i to remedy this situation is to begin to comply with the laws of occupation, and by the doctrine of necessity, begin to act as a United States military government administering the laws of the Hawaiian Kingdom and the laws of occupation. This is a very complex situation and it should not be taken lightly. Dr. Keanu Sai was retained by the Office of Hawaiian Affairs CEO Dr. Kamana‘opono Crabbe to draft a memorandum and analysis of public international law and its effect on OHA and to provide recommendations in light of the alleged violations of international law and alleged war crimes. Dr. Crabbe provided all nine trustees a copy of Dr. Sai’s memorandum last week Friday.

Anecdotally—in 1893, the Hawaiian Porsche was carjacked by the United States and painted red, white and blue. Although we have not been driving the Porsche for the past 121 years and were brainwashed to believe it was not a Hawaiian car, it doesn’t mean the Porsche belongs to the United States. The fact that this history, which only spans two generations, is not common knowledge is the evidence of denationalization and the violation of Hawaiian sovereignty.