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by Hans Holznagel | published on Jul 18, 2021
Here is the link to the amended resolution “Encouraging to End 128 years of of War between the United States of America and the Hawaiian Kingdom” that was passed.
The governing body of the United Church of Christ doesn’t usually change its mind about a vote it has taken. On July 18, it did.
General Synod delegates voted to reconsider a resolution about Hawaii that they had narrowly defeated the day before. This time the resolution got 72.9 percent approval — comfortably more than the two-thirds required to pass. The vote was 328-122, with 34 abstentions.
The resolution calls on church leaders to ask that the U.S. recognize its own presence in Hawaii as an “illegal occupation” according to international law. On July 17, a majority — but not the needed super-majority — had voted for it.
The resolution had come to Synod from the UCC’s Association of Hawaiian Evangelical Churches, made up of 31 historically Native Hawaiian congregations from across Hawaii. Some 80 percent of them were founded before 1893, the year the United States took Hawaii by military overthrow.
What it calls for
Now that it has passed, the resolution charges the UCC’s general counsel with communicating the church’s position to government agencies. First, the counsel is to “listen to and consider recommendations” from AHEC, “other Native Hawaiian organizations, and Native Hawaiian voices.” Then it is to draft “communications to local, national and international leaders and organizations calling for compliance with international humanitarian law and an end to the illegal occupation of the Hawaiian islands.”
AHEC spelled out the case for that position in submitting its resolution months ago.
As amended by delegates in a two-day process at Synod, the resolution also:
- Calls on “all settings of the church … to live into the 1993 apology of the United Church of Christ delivered to the Native Hawaiian people”
- Reaffirms the Synod’s commitment “to stand alongside and in support of the efforts of Native Hawaiians to seek redress and restitution for the war crimes of the U.S. against the Hawaiian Kingdom including, but not limited to, the crime of denationalization”
- Asks for “a written and oral update on the progress on the implementation of this resolution” at the 2023 Synod.
The Synod’s rethink followed numerous points of order and points of personal privilege raised by delegates. Several said they felt the July 17 floor debate had been unfairly cut short — though Moderator Penny Lowes pointed out that the delegates themselves had defeated a motion to extend debate in that Saturday session. What succeeded on Jan. 18 — after much parliamentary analysis — was a formal motion to reconsider.
Gloria-Ann Muraki, an AHEC member and a Synod delegate from the UCC Board who spoke to the resolution in committee and on the floor, saw a higher power at work in the process.
She said the AHEC committee that originally wrote the resolution had been meeting since its July 17 defeat. “We have been reminding ourselves that we have to keep our faith in Ke Akua (God),” she said. “And that is what happened on the floor of the General Synod. We thank everyone, and it’s given us renewed faith in the UCC and its process.”
On June 14, 2021, the Association of Hawaiian Evangelical Churches (AHEC) held a workshop on 128 Years of White Supremacy in Hawai‘i. AHEC is an association of 30 native churches and 6 partnerships that include, as partnership ministries, the State Sunday School Association, Pacific Justice and Reconciliation, Kamehameha Schools, State Council of Hawaiian Congregational Churches, Christian Endeavor and the Pacific American Ministries.
AHEC is a successor of the ‘Ahahui ‘Euanelio o Hawai‘i, also known as the Hawaiian Evangelical Association, that was established in 1854 in the Hawaiian Kingdom. Well known churches such as Kawaiaha‘o and Kaumakapili are members of AHEC.
The workshop was intended to explain AHEC’s Resolution Encouraging to End 128 Years of War Between the United States of America and the Hawaiian Kingdom. The resolution was submitted by AHEC of the Hawai‘i Conference United Church of Christ to be considered at the 33rd General Synod of the United Church of Christ in July 2021.
Presenters included Wendell Davis (AHEC Papa Makua), Ron Fujiyoshi, Pualani Muraki, Kalaniakea Wilson, and special guests Joyclynn Costa, Rev. Dr. David Popham, Dr. Ron Williams, Dr. Keanu Sai.
by Hans Holznagel | published on May 17, 2021
The 2021 General Synod of the United Church of Christ, meeting July 11-18, will consider 11 resolutions and several bylaw changes. This is one in a series of articles about them. Readers can view an initial summary here and find full texts at the Synod website.
Aside from the 1941 attack on Pearl Harbor, war may not be the first thing that comes to mind when people think of Hawaii.
Some Native Hawaiians in the United Church of Christ are asking people to think again.
They are calling attention to an earlier military action, from 1893. They say it created what amounts to a state of war that never ended — and needs to end now.
They argue that, because the United States took Hawaii by military overthrow, the U.S. and the state government of Hawaii should be seen as occupying forces.
They make their case in a proposed resolution that calls for an end to “128 years of war” between the U.S. and the Hawaiian Kingdom. It will require a two-thirds vote of Synod delegates to pass.
Its sponsor is the Association of Hawaiian Evangelical Churches of the UCC. The AHEC consists of 31 historically Native Hawaiian congregations from across the Hawaii Conference. Some 80 percent of them were founded before 1893.
Hawaiian Kingdom still exists
The resolution’s key points are that the Hawaiian Kingdom never ceased to exist, even after its overthrow — and that there’s unfinished business.
It says the U.S., under President Grover Cleveland, negotiated with the Hawaiian Queen Lili‘uokalani — soon after deposing her — to restore her government to power. Cleveland himself, in an 1893 address to Congress, called the overthrow:
an act of war, committed with the participation of a diplomatic representative of the United States and without authority of Congress. ... A substantial wrong has thus been done which a due regard for our national character as well as the rights of the injured people requires we should endeavor to repair.
But the Native Hawaiian government has never returned to power — even though Cleveland, by a still-valid executive order, called for it to be restored, the resolution says.
Peace treaty sought
“Under international law, the action needed is a signed treaty of peace between the United States of America and the Hawaiian Kingdom government,” said Kalaniakea Wilson. He belongs to Kalapana Maunakea First Hawaiian Congregational Church in Nanawale, founded in 1823. He will speak to the resolution for AHEC when a committee of Synod delegates reviews it in July. Such a treaty, Wilson said, would be “similar to the agreement of restoration” between Cleveland and Queen Lili’uokalani that was “not implemented.”
The resolution also notes that the UCC and the U.S. Congress apologized in 1993 for their predecessors’ roles in the overthrow. National and Conference bodies in the UCC followed up by paying millions of dollars in reparations, in money and property, to Native Hawaiians.https://www.youtube.com/embed/CF6CaLAMh98?feature=oembed“Exposing the American Occupation” is part of the subtitle of this 2019 documentary featuring today’s leaders of the Hawaiian Kingdom.
But Wilson said these have not ended the decades of human costs paid by Native Hawaiians ever since the hostile takeover of their home.
“Thirty years have passed and there has been no solution to resolve 128 years of war crimes and human rights violations targeting Hawaiian Christians,” he said. “The Hawaiian people have been struggling to survive in Hawaii, leading in all negative health statistics, homelessness and much more. False apologies and broken promises exacerbate our situation.”
Wilson said recent struggles “have built a strong movement for self-governance that has grown stronger.” An example, he said, are Native-led efforts to protect a sacred mountain, Mauna Kea, “from continued desecration” by construction work on a large telescope.
Case for war crimes
One immediate step forward, Wilson said, would be for the U.S. government and the State of Hawaii “to cooperate with the Royal Commission of Inquiry.” Formed in 2019, it’s an official body of the Hawaiian Kingdom.
The UCC resolution refers to “war crimes” that impose “humanitarian and human rights violations daily” on Native Hawaiian people. The Commission of Inquiry is amassing historical and legal evidence to back those charges.
For example, the Commission argues that actions such as these — committed against Native Hawaiians by the U.S., as an occupying power — are war crimes according to international law:
- “Usurpation of sovereignty during occupation”
- “Denationalizing the inhabitants of occupied territory,” by, for example, outlawing aspects of Native language and culture
- “Confiscation of property”
International law “flagrantly violated”
The AHEC is not alone in the current movement to re-recognize the Hawaiian Kingdom.
One example is the United Nations Office of the Commissioner for Human Rights. Its appointed expert, Alfred M. deZayas, said in 2018 that the islands are “under a strange form of occupation by the United States, resulting from an illegal military occupation and a fraudulent annexation.” In a letter to Hawaii’s state judiciary, he described Hawaii as “a sovereign nation-state in continuity.”
Another is the National Lawyers Guild. “International humanitarian law continues to be flagrantly violated with apparent impunity by the State of Hawai‘i and its county governments,” it said in a November 2020 letter to Hawaii’s governor. “This has led to the commission of war crimes and human rights violations of a colossal scale throughout the Hawaiian Islands.”
“Stop imposing American law”
The AHEC resolution summarizes this history and these arguments in “whereas” paragraphs and footnotes. But if the Synod were to pass the resolution as written, it would simply and “strongly” urge:
- Hawaii’s state and county leaders and the U.S. Congress and president to “begin to comply with international humanitarian law in its prolonged and illegal occupation of the Hawaiian Islands.”
- “All United Nation member states and non-member states to cooperate to ensure the United States complies with international humanitarian law and bring an end to the unlawful occupation of the Hawaiian Islands.”
The law of the land — of the Hawaiian Islands, that is — is what’s at stake, Wilson said. “The first step is to stop imposing American municipal laws within Hawaiian territory,” he said, “and, second, begin to administer Hawaiian Kingdom law.”
The Hawaiian Journal of Law and Politics (HJLP) at the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa just published its third volume. Itʻs last edition, volume 2, was published back in the summer of 2006. The journal is published by the Hawaiian Society of Law and Politics (HSLP) which is a student organization at the university comprised of students, faculty and staff at the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa.
HSLP was founded as a registered independent organization under Co-curricular Activities, Programs, and Services at the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa in October 30, 2003. In 2014, the organization had disbanded, only to be revived in the Spring of 2021 with an all-new membership.
Volume 3 of the HJLP has three original articles and reprints of articles and chapters that were authored by alumni of HSLP. These alumni all have Ph.D. degrees. Of the original articles, Dr. Kalawai‘a Moore is the Editor of HJLP and is the author of the “Editorʻs Notes,” and the article “American Hegemonic Discourse in Hawai‘i: Rhetorical Strategies in Support of American Control Over Hawai‘i.” Dr. Keanu Sai is the author of “Setting the Record Straight on Hawaiian Indigeneity.” And Dr. Umi Perkins is the author of “Negotiating Native Tenant Rights.”
Authors of the reprint of articles and chapters include Dr. Keao NeSmith who is the author of “Tūtūtʻs Hawaiian and the Emergence of a Neo Hawaiian Language.” Dr. Sydney Iaukea is the author of “The Queen and I: a Story of Dispossessions and Reconnections in Hawai‘i.” And Dr. Lorenz Gonschor is the author of “The Subtleties of a Map and a Painting.”
Professor Niklaus Schweizer is the author of a book review of the “Royal Commission of Inquiry: Investigating War Crimes and Human Rights Violations Committed in the Hawaiian Kingdom.”
Dr. Keanu Sai is the author of “The Royal Commission of Inquiry.” Professor William Schabas is the author of the “Legal Opinion on War Crimes Related to the United States Occupation of the Hawaiian Kingdom since 17 January 1893.” And Professor Federico Lenzerini is the author of the “Legal Opinion on the Authority of the Council of Regency of the Hawaiian Kingdom.”
It is recommended to first read Dr. Kalawaiʻa’s “Editor’s Note” where he explains the hiatus of the HJLP since 2006 and why this volume is dedicated to the late Professor Kanalu Young who served as the faculty advisor for HSLP. Followed by Dr. Sai’s article “Setting the Record Straight on Hawaiian Indigeneity,” Dr. Kalawai’s article “American Hegemonic Discourse,” and Dr. Perkins’ article “Negotiating Native Tenant Rights.”
Dr. Keanu Sai will be covering in his presentation some of the subjects in his latest article “Setting the Record Straight on Hawaiian Indigeneity” that was recently published in volume 3 of the Hawaiian Journal of Law and Politics at the University of Hawai‘i at Manoa. Dr. Sai asked that everyone read the article before his presentation on April 8, 2021.
7:30pm Indian Standard Time (IST) is:
10:00am Eastern Time
7:00am Pacific Time
4:00am Hawai‘i Time
Dr. Sai’s presentation will be via Zoom:
Zoom Link: https://zoom.us/j/93879471109
About the Centre for International Legal Studies
Jindal Global Law School’s Centre for International Legal Studies is committed to the study of emerging areas of interest in public international law. Its mandate is to undertake collaborative research within JGU and also with other national and international entities in various areas of international law. The Centre designs training courses, lectures, seminars, conferences, and symposia for students and professionals working in the field and advises national and international public bodies on matters of interpretation and application of international law.
About Jindal Global Law School
Jindal Global Law School (JGLS), the flagship faculty for O.P. Jindal Global (Institution of Eminence Deemed To Be University), is an ambitious entrant into the Indian, and indeed the global—academic scene. The model is simple. Faculty with outstanding academic qualifications have been assembled, given world class facilities, extensive academic freedom, and embedded—in many cases re-embedded—into the Indian academic fabric. The result is an institution for research and scholarship that exists at a unique set of crossroads for almost any research issue. JGLS combines perspectives unique to the Global North as well as to the Global South, applies the potential for global collaboration towards local application, has the ability to disseminate Indian legal and policy research to a global audience, enjoys the in-house expertise to engage in seamless comparative law review, to bridge jurisdictional divides, and to draw upon a global set of faculty contacts to coordinate scholars and scholarship.
About Addis Ababa University International Humanitarian Law Clinic
The Addis Ababa University International Humanitarian Law Clinic offers a venue for the learning, research, debate and awareness raising of International Humanitarian Law. Only a few months after its establishment, the AAU IHL Clinic has become an important emerging voice in International Humanitarian Law, posting articles by Students, Scholars and IHL practitioners. Our blog is attracting readers from all over the world. Our articles range from theoretical issues of IHL to practical situations of armed conflicts. The AAU IHL Clinic encourages learners to pursue and develop legal research, analytical thinking, legal analysis and problem-solving skills through practical applications of legal rules and principles to real-world situations. It is a platform where students develop their skills in writing, publishing, presentation and correspondence. It is also a venue for scholars and practitioners to write about and present on issues they deem relevant to the proper enforcement of IHL rules. Through projects chosen by the Clinic and our partners, students will get a unique experience in IHL, within the classroom and beyond.
Dr. Keanu Sai will present on “The Hawaiian Kingdom, United States and International Law” on April 8 at 7:30pm (India Time), which is 9am (US Eastern Time) and 4am (Hawai‘i Time). To register here for the event.
The Committee meeting can be viewed live on Maui television Akaku Channel 53 or you can view online at Maui County Agendas. In the County’s agenda webpage go to Planning and Sustainable Land Use Committee meeting January 19, 2021, and click the “video” link.
Dear all NLG International Committee members and friends,
We invite you to join this important webinar below, organized by the International Association of Democratic Lawyers and the National Lawyers Guild International Committee (U.S.). Please join us and do not hesitate to reach out with any questions! Please do share this invitation with your colleagues, comrades and friends.
Saturday, January 9, 2021
10am – 1pm Hawai‘i/12 – 3pm Pacific/3 – 6pm Eastern (8 – 11pm UTC, 9 pm – 12 midnight central Europe)
Register to join over Zoom: https://bit.ly/hawaiioccupation
Facebook Event: https://www.facebook.com/events/3519049134808762
As strange as it may seem, Hawai‘i, a recognized sovereign and independent State since the nineteenth century, has been under a prolonged military occupation by the United States for the past 127 years that has led to the commission of war crimes and human rights violations of unimaginable proportions. In 2019, the Hawaiian Council of Regency proclaimed the establishment of the Royal Commission of Inquiry whose mandate is to investigate the commission of these war crimes and human rights violations in order to hold to account war criminals in accordance with international humanitarian law. Join us for a discussion on this important subject and the movement to ensure that the United States complies with the international law of occupation.
Dr. Keanu Sai is a lecturer at the University of Hawai‘i and serves as Hawaiian Minister of the Interior, Minister of Foreign Affairs ad interim, and Head of the Royal Commission of Inquiry. He also served as Agent for the Council of Regency at the Permanent Court of Arbitration, The Hague, Netherlands, in Larsen v. Hawaiian Kingdom, PCA case no. 1999-01. Dr. Sai received his Ph.D. and M.A. degrees in political science specializing in international relations and public law from the University of Hawai‘i at Manoa.
Professor Federico Lenzerini is a professor of international law at the University of Siena, Italy, Department of Political and International Sciences. He is also a Professor at the LL.M. Program in Intercultural Human Rights of the St. Thomas University School of Law, Miami, U.S., and Professor of the Tulane-Siena Summer School on International Law, Cultural Heritage and the Arts. He is a member of the editorial boards of the Italian Yearbook of International Law, of the Intercultural Human Rights Law Review and of the Cultural Heritage Law and Policy series. Professor Lenzerini received his Doctor of Law degree from the University of Siena, Italy, and his Ph.D. degree in international law from the University of Bari, Italy.
This webinar is organized by the National Lawyers Guild International Committee and the International Association of Democratic Lawyers.
After Fidelity National Title Insurance Company withdrew from providing an overview of title insurance to the Maui County Council’s Planning and Sustainable Land Use Committee scheduled for December 17, 2020, the Committee’s chairwoman, Tamara Paltin, invited Dr. Keanu Sai to present an overview of title insurance as it applies to Hawai‘i.
Dr. Sai accepted the invitation. His presentation to the Committee will stem from the Royal Commission of Inquiry’s Preliminary Report on Legal Status of Land Titles throughout the Realm (June 16, 2020), and its Supplemental Report on Title Insurance (October 28, 2020). Dr. Sai is the Head of the Royal Commission of Inquiry.
The meeting will start at 9am, Thursday, December 17, 2020. The meeting of the Planning and Sustainable Land Use Committee will be online. The Committee meeting can be viewed live on Maui television Akaku Channel 53 or you can view online at Maui County Agendas. In the County’s agenda webpage go to Planning and Sustainable Land Use Committee meeting December 17, 2020, and click the “video” link.
November 28th is the most important national holiday in the Hawaiian Kingdom. It is the day Great Britain and France formally recognized the Hawaiian Islands as an “independent state” in 1843, and has since been celebrated as “Independence Day,” which in the Hawaiian language is “La Ku‘oko‘a.” Here follows the story of this momentous event from the Hawaiian Kingdom Board of Education history textbook titled “A Brief History of the Hawaiian People” published in 1891.
The First Embassy to Foreign Powers—In February, 1842, Sir George Simpson and Dr. McLaughlin, governors in the service of the Hudson Bay Company, arrived at Honolulu on business, and became interested in the native people and their government. After a candid examination of the controversies existing between their own countrymen and the Hawaiian Government, they became convinced that the latter had been unjustly accused. Sir George offered to loan the government ten thousand pounds in cash, and advised the king to send commissioners to the United States and Europe with full power to negotiate new treaties, and to obtain a guarantee of the independence of the kingdom.
Accordingly Sir George Simpson, Haalilio, the king’s secretary, and Mr. Richards were appointed joint ministers-plenipotentiary to the three powers on the 8th of April, 1842.
Mr. Richards also received full power of attorney for the king. Sir George left for Alaska, whence he traveled through Siberia, arriving in England in November. Messrs. Richards and Haalilio sailed July 8th, 1842, in a chartered schooner for Mazatlan, on their way to the United States*
*Their business was kept a profound secret at the time.
Proceedings of the British Consul—As soon as these facts became known, Mr. Charlton followed the embassy in order to defeat its object. He left suddenly on September 26th, 1842, for London via Mexico, sending back a threatening letter to the king, in which he informed him that he had appointed Mr. Alexander Simpson as acting-consul of Great Britain. As this individual, who was a relative of Sir George, was an avowed advocate of the annexation of the islands to Great Britain, and had insulted and threatened the governor of Oahu, the king declined to recognize him as British consul. Meanwhile Mr. Charlton laid his grievances before Lord George Paulet commanding the British frigate “Carysfort,” at Mazatlan, Mexico. Mr. Simpson also sent dispatches to the coast in November, representing that the property and persons of his countrymen were in danger, which introduced Rear-Admiral Thomas to order the “Carysfort” to Honolulu to inquire into the matter.
Recognition by the United States—Messres. Richards and Haalilio arrived in Washington early in December, and had several interviews with Daniel Webster, the Secretary of State, from whom they received an official letter December 19th, 1842, which recognized the independence of the Hawaiian Kingdom, and declared, “as the sense of the government of the United States, that the government of the Sandwich Islands ought to be respected; that no power ought to take possession of the islands, either as a conquest or for the purpose of the colonization; and that no power ought to seek for any undue control over the existing government, or any exclusive privileges or preferences in matters of commerce.” *
*The same sentiments were expressed in President Tyler’s message to Congress of December 30th, and in the Report of the Committee on Foreign Relations, written by John Quincy Adams.
Success of the Embassy in Europe—The king’s envoys proceeded to London, where they had been preceded by the Sir George Simpson, and had an interview with the Earl of Aberdeen, Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs, on the 22d of February, 1843.
Lord Aberdeen at first declined to receive them as ministers from an independent state, or to negotiate a treaty, alleging that the king did not govern, but that he was “exclusively under the influence of Americans to the detriment of British interests,” and would not admit that the government of the United States had yet fully recognized the independence of the islands.
Sir George and Mr. Richards did not, however, lose heart, but went on to Brussels March 8th, by a previous arrangement made with Mr. Brinsmade. While there, they had an interview with Leopold I., king of the Belgians, who received them with great courtesy, and promised to use his influence to obtain the recognition of Hawaiian independence. This influence was great, both from his eminent personal qualities and from his close relationship to the royal families of England and France.
Encouraged by this pledge, the envoys proceeded to Paris, where, on the 17th, M. Guizot, the Minister of Foreign Affairs, received them in the kindest manner, and at once engaged, in behalf of France, to recognize the independence of the islands. He made the same statement to Lord Cowley, the British ambassador, on the 19th, and thus cleared the way for the embassy in England.
They immediately returned to London, where Sir George had a long interview with Lord Aberdeen on the 25th, in which he explained the actual state of affairs at the islands, and received an assurance that Mr. Charlton would be removed. On the 1st of April, 1843, the Earl of Aberdeen formally replied to the king’s commissioners, declaring that “Her Majesty’s Government are willing and have determined to recognize the independence of the Sandwich Islands under their present sovereign,” but insisting on the perfect equality of all foreigners in the islands before the law, and adding that grave complaints had been received from British subjects of undue rigor exercised toward them, and improper partiality toward others in the administration of justice. Sir George Simpson left for Canada April 3d, 1843.
Recognition of the Independence of the Islands—Lord Aberdeen, on the 13th of June, assured the Hawaiian envoys that “Her Majesty’s government had no intention to retain possession of the Sandwich Islands,” and a similar declaration was made to the governments of France and the United States.
At length, on the 28th of November, 1843, the two governments of France and England united in a joint declaration to the effect that “Her Majesty, the queen of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland, and His Majesty, the king of the French, taking into consideration the existence in the Sandwich Islands of a government capable of providing for the regularity of its relations with foreign nations have thought it right to engage reciprocally to consider the Sandwich Islands as an independent state, and never to take possession, either directly or under the title of a protectorate, or under any other form, of any part of the territory of which they are composed…”
This was the final act by which the Hawaiian Kingdom was admitted within the pale of civilized nations. Finding that nothing more could be accomplished for the present in Paris, Messrs. Richards and Haalilio returned to the United States in the spring of 1844. On the 6th of July they received a dispatch from Mr. J.C. Calhoun, the Secretary of State, informing them that the President regarded the statement of Mr. Webster and the appointment of a commissioner “as a full recognition on the part of the United States of the independence of the Hawaiian Government.”