Archive for June, 2010

House votes to annex Hawaii, June 15, 1898

Taken from Politico by Andrew Glass:

On this day in 1898, the House approved Senate Joint Resolution 55 providing for the annexation of Hawaii as a U.S. territory. At the time, Hawaii was an independent republic. The vote was 209-91.

The Republic of Hawaii had been declared on July 4, 1894, under the presidency of Sanford Dole, a native speaker born in Hawaii into a family of Protestant missionaries from Maine. Dole, a cousin of the pineapple magnate, advocated the Americanization of Hawaiian society and culture, while pressing for annexation of the Pacific island chain.

An alliance of anti-imperialist Republicans and Democrats in the House — including Speaker Thomas Reed (R-Maine) — opposed the annexation treaty negotiated under President William McKinley. For nearly a month, Reed blocked the resolution from coming up for debate.

The resolution was largely the handiwork of Rep. Francis Newlands (D-Nev.). Proponents of annexation eventually prevailed by sponsoring a joint resolution, which needed simple majority approval, rather than a vote on McKinley’s treaty, which would have required a two-thirds Senate majority.

Earlier in the year, the Senate had rejected the proposal after being presented with a petition signed by 38,000 Hawaiians.

Eventually, overwhelming sentiment in the House in favor of annexation forced Reed to relent — though he voted against it.

The Senate approved the measure on July 4, 1898; McKinley signed it on July 7. In August, a ceremony on the steps of the former royal palace in Honolulu marked the impending transfer of sovereignty.

Hawaii officially became a U.S. territory on April 23, 1900. Robert William Wilcox, who had sought to restore the Hawaiian monarchy through several unsuccessful rebellions, served as its first delegate.

In 1959, Hawaii became the 50th state.

Read more:

Treaty of Annexation between Hawaii and the U.S.A. Yes, it really exists and is now available on a webpage.

Hawaiian independence (secession) activists keep saying “There was never a treaty of annexation between Hawaii and the U.S.” If that were true, then Hawaii would still rightfully be the independent nation it once was. And that would make the secessionists very happy. If there was never any cession, then there doesn’t need to be any secession. Just get the U.S., or the United Nations, or the World Court to recognize it.

But indeed there was a treaty. Annexation was well and truly done. A new webpage provides the full text of the Treaty of Annexation, and the resolutions whereby both the government of Hawaii and the government of the U.S. agreed to it. There’s also a discussion about the politics of annexation in 1898 and 2010. See

William McKinley was President of the U.S. at the time of annexation in 1898. He signed the joint resolution of Congress whereby the U.S. agreed to the Treaty of Annexation which the Republic of Hawaii had offered. That’s why McKinley High School in Honolulu has a large statue of President McKinley, holding a document in his right hand with a cover that clearly says “Treaty of Annexation.” And that’s why today’s secessionists hate both the statue and the document in McKinley’s hand. In 2009 a resolution was introduced in the Hawaii state legislature calling for the statue to be stripped of that document. The resolution actually got considerable support from some of the legislators. Talk about historical revisionism! In 2010 the crazies actually staged a protest rally at the McKinley statue, and again on the grounds of ‘Iolani Palace, proclaiming thatthere was never a treaty of annexation.

So find out the truth. Go see the treaty for yourself, at

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Kamehameha Day 2010 — What Kamehameha hath joined together, let not Akaka rip asunder

June 11 is Kamehameha Day — an official holiday of the State of Hawaii.

The greatest accomplishment of King Kamehameha The Great was to unify all the Hawaiian islands under a single government 200 years ago.

But now once again we are threatened with the Akaka bill in Congress, whose primary purpose is to rip us apart along racial lines.

The Kingdom founded by Kamehameha was multiracial in all aspects. John Young (Englishman) was so important to the founding of the Kingdom that his tomb is in Mauna Ala (the Royal Mausoleum on Nu’uanu Ave.), where it is the only tomb built to resemble a heiau, and is guarded by a pair of pulo’ulo’u (sacred taboo sticks). His bones are the oldest bones in Mauna Ala. Yet the Akaka bill would deny John Young membership in the Akaka tribe.

The first sentence of Hawaii’s first Constitution (1840), known to historians as the kokokahi sentence, was written on advice of American missionary William Richards. In English, it can be translated into modern usage as follows: “God has made of one blood all races of people to dwell upon this Earth in unity and blessedness.”

The Akaka bill would do exactly the opposite of the one-blood concept, ripping us apart for no reason other than race, establishing a binary opposition of “us vs. them,” dividing Hawaiian children from non-Hawaiian parents, spawning jealousies between members of the Akaka tribe and their cousins who are not allowed to belong. This is not aloha.

The Kingdom of Hawaii was founded by people of different races working together on the battlefield and in the government. That cooperation continued throughout the Kingdom’s history. Every person born in the Kingdom, regardless of race, was thereby a subject of the Kingdom with all the same rights as ethnic Hawaiians. Immigrants could become naturalized subjects of the Kingdom, with full rights; and many Asians and Caucasians did so. From 1850 to 1893, about 1/4 to 1/3 of the members of the Legislature at various times were Caucasians appointed by the King to the House of Nobles and also elected to the House of Representatives (and later elected to the House of Nobles after a Constitutional change).

There has never been a unified government for all the Hawaiian islands that included only ethnic Hawaiians, either among the leaders or among the people.

We’ve all heard the closing line spoken by ministers presiding over weddings: “What God hath joined together, let no man put asunder.” Today, in honor of Kamehameha Day, let’s say: What Kamehameha hath joined together, let not Akaka rip asunder.

A more detailed version of this essay is at:

Help, I’m Stuck in a Nutshell!

By Malia Hill

When you’re a blogger, you dream about finding something as neatly symbolic as today’s OHA filing against the state for past due land revenues. How lucky is it to find a perfect storm of problems and issues to define everything about Hawaii that makes you want to pull your hair out? Race problems? Economic issues? A government that puts problems off for later so that they can get worse and more divisive? It’s all there.

As you may have heard, OHA has filed a writ of mandamus against the State seeking to compel the legislature to act regarding the payment of hundreds of millions of dollars in past due ceded land revenues. (OHA has submitted proposals for payment to the Legislature for the past three years, but the proposals have all been rejected.) You gotta love the timing here, considering that the country (and state) are still reeling from the economic downturn. Especially in light of the recent legislative session, teacher negotiations, and so on. The State isn’t exactly swimming in funds, and OHA seems to be determined to make itself more unpopular in its ham-fisted approach to the issue. I’m sure the average Hawaii taxpayer will be thrilled by this turn of events.

Though one wonders whether the average Hawaii taxpayer has given up and is busy drinking mojitos on the beach rather than deal with an elected leadership that has created a tradition of avoiding hard decisions. Sure, there are those who buck the trend, but I don’t see OHA deciding that they’ll just write off $200 million any time soon. So this isn’t a problem that is going away. Instead, it promises to add to the already growing divisiveness about race, the ceded lands, sovereignty, and the Islands. Honestly, it’s a little depressing sometimes to watch the slow erosion of the island spirit thanks to these issues.

But hey, at least the weather is awesome and the beaches are great. People from crummier locales probably have nothing better to do than engage in responsible governance.

Just Use the “Easy” Button

By Malia Hill

When I grow up, I want to be an editorial writer for the Honolulu Advertiser. What a sweet gig that would be. I’d just have to get up in the morning, come to the office, change around a few sentences in a press release from some favored organization (or on a really strenuous day, check in with the head of Hawaii’s Democratic Party for the official line), then head out for a good lunch and a refreshing siesta.

What? You say there’s more to it than that?

You’re right. Sometimes I might have to go to staff meetings. But still . . . .what a great gig.

Too harsh? Well, perhaps you should consider the Advertiser’s recent editorial on the OHA suit against the state (mentioned in Wednesday’s post by the way). Titled “Real leaders find a way to pay debts,” it is little more than a rearrangement of OHA’s press release, accompanied by the wonderfully obvious title point. I’m sure that in response, Hawaii’s leaders are slapping themselves in the forehead and saying, “Of course! It’s all so clear now! Since we aspire to be real leaders, we’ll just hand over the $200 million tomorrow! I don’t know why we didn’t think of it before!”

It’s just so darned easy to be a left-leaning editorial writer. The Hawaiians deserve their money. Teachers deserve to be paid more. The environment needs to be protected better. The state of our health system needs to be improved. Government housing is a scandal. There isn’t a problem under the sun that can’t be addressed by the state treasury. Unfortunately for the actual real leaders involved, there isn’t a money tree sitting outside the state house. (Believe me, I’ve looked. Something has to explain the way the rationale of the state budget process.) And Hawaii’s taxpayers–though mellower than many–still have this weird desire to hold on to the bulk of their earnings. So sometimes, no matter how much something is deserved, there is no easy solution. Because that $200 million owed to the Native Hawaiians doesn’t come from some mysterious fountain of gold coins in the Governor’s office. It comes from our paychecks. And a lot of us have seen those paychecks take a hit lately. So we’re hurting. And the state is hurting. And it makes the whole thing a lot more complicated than OHA or the Advertiser want to admit.

How Hawaiian racial entitlements take away rights from private and government landowners in ways unique among the 50 states

Many property deeds nationwide include easements to guarantee ownership and access for electric, cable, water, and sewer lines. But Hawaii is unique among the 50 states in having racial entitlements which strip government and private landowners of property rights commonly recognized elsewhere and give superior rights to one racial group.

Here are some of the racial entitlements that strip landowners of rights they would expect in other states.

The public trust doctrine for water gives superior status to taro over rice or sugar. The PASH decision allows ethnic Hawaiians to trespass on private property to gather materials and/or to get access to the shoreline, while apparently not allowing such trespass to other races. If an ancient Hawaiian burial is discovered during a construction project, no further construction can take place until a committee of ethnic Hawaiian cultural practitioners decides whether the bones can be moved or must remain in place; and a decision to remain in place is generally taken to mean that nothing can be built on top of the bones.

While such decisions might normally be regarded as regulatory takings for which property owners could demand compensation through inverse condemnation, these decisions circumvent any such outcome by claiming to be based on newly rediscovered “traditional and customary” practices which have always been part of Hawaii’s common law or written law even though long forgotten.

For no good reason at all, a Hawaiian language phrase in royal patent deeds from the time of the Mahele has been translated as “reserving the rights of the native tenants” when in fact the word “native” does not belong there.

For no good reason at all, the regulations for the Northwest Hawaiian Islands are written to recognize all “Native Hawaiians” as having special rights to access for religious and cultural practice even though very few ethnic Hawaiians actually engage in such things and even though Japanese, Chinese, Filipino, and Caucasian bones are there which should guarantee those racial groups the same rights of access.

For no good reason at all, legislation was proposed to give ethnic Hawaiians a majority of seats on a new commission proposed to regulate bioprospecting on all public and private lands. The commission would be empowered to collect permit fees from landowners and a portion of the royalties due to landowners for the use of the samples collected from their lands, and to allocate a large portion of the fees and royalties to the exclusive use of ethnic Hawaiians.

For no good reason at all, Waimea Valley on Oahu, purchased with Honolulu County tax dollars and private funds, was simply turned over to OHA. There were recently bills in the legislature (which failed) regarding at least three valleys on O’ahu (Haiku, Kahana, and Makua) that proposed to create cultural reserve commissions with explicitly guaranteed majorities of ethnic Hawaiian commissioners, place them under the authority of OHA, and then automatically turn those valleys over to the Akaka tribe once the tribe has achieved federal recognition.

For no good reason at all, the public lands ceded to the U.S. at annexation and ceded back to Hawaii at statehood are assumed to have a racial easement on them — a special right to collective ownership by ethnic Hawaiians, including a right to derive income from them and to prohibit the state from selling any parcel of them.

For details see the new webpage at