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: