Archive for category Commentary

The Lili’uokalani Cult — A scary but true Halloween story

Hawaiian secessionists try to inspire winners for 21st Century battles by conjuring the ghosts of 19th Century losers

by Kenneth R. Conklin, Ph.D.

Queen Lili’uokalani has become a cult figure. Hawaiian sovereignty activists worship her in an uncritical, mystical way similar to how Catholics worship the Virgin Mary. Some say her spirit lives at Iolani Palace or Washington Place, some say she lives at Mauna Ala (the Royal Mausoleum) or at her statue on the Capitol grounds; but all say she lives forever in the hearts of 527,000 Native Hawaiians (Census 2010). Other cult heroes include about 350 men arrested, including 189 put on trial, for the Wilcox attempted counterrevolution of 1895. This year at least one published essay says Hawaiians should try that again.

The activists have been working hard to make the general population of Hawaii think of Lili’uokalani as a noble, virtuous leader who was unjustly and illegally overthrown, who exercised non-violence in her peaceful surrender, who wrote beautiful music while imprisoned in her own Palace, and who behaved like a saint in forgiving those wicked haoles who dethroned her with the help of an armed invasion by the United States.

Lili’uokalani’s 175th birthday on September 2, 2013 provided an excuse for an unusually aggressive propaganda campaign aimed at stirring anti-U.S. and anti-haole resentment, and determination to restore Hawaii as an independent nation under ethnic Hawaiian control.

Of course Lili’uokalani was an important historical figure. She deserves to be remembered along with Hawaii’s other monarchs of the Kingdom period and Governors of the Territorial and and Statehood periods. But during her disastrous two years as Queen she accomplished nothing worthwhile except being overthrown. Why should she be more highly celebrated than King Kauikeaouli Kamehameha III, who reigned for 30 years with many great accomplishments? He gave up absolute power to create Hawaii’s first Constitution recognizing fundamental rights of all people regardless of race or inherited status; and he gave up absolute ownership of all Hawaii’s lands to create private property with fee-simple deeds.

Why should Lili’uokalani’s two years of ineffective and corrupt governance from Iolani Palace be more highly regarded than Sanford Dole’s masterful leadership? He governed from the Palace through nearly eleven years of profound and tumultuous change as President of the Provisional Government, President of the Republic, and first Governor of the Territory. Dole also gave earlier service as Kingdom legislator elected from Koloa, and Supreme Court Justice appointed by Kalakaua. And later Dole served for 12 years as Judge of the U.S. District Court for the Territory. Yet there’s no painting of him on the Palace walls alongside the other ruling chiefs of the independent nation of Hawaii; and no statue of him anywhere in Hawaii.

There’s a simple reason why the sovereignty activists elevate Lili’uokalani to cult hero. She was the last monarch of the Kingdom. They believe that sovereignty remained with her until she died in 1917, because the overthrow of the monarchy was illegal and annexation to the U.S. was illegal. Thus the sovereignty of the native Hawaiian people remains unrelinquished, and can be reasserted through U.S. and international courts. Hawaii does not have Holocaust deniers or Obama birth certificate deniers. But we do have overthrow deniers, annexation deniers, and statehood deniers. The Lili’uokalani cult has kuleana over the first two denials because those events happened during the ex-queen’s lifetime. Celebrating Lili’uokalani is a socially acceptable way to express resentment toward the U.S. and toward residents who lack Hawaiian native blood.

By portraying Lili’uokalani as a saintly, noble, kind-hearted, peace-loving and talented Queen, the sovereignty activists hope to make Hawaii’s people feel the pain and injustice of what was done to her by the evil haoles who overthrew her with help from an armed invasion by the U.S. In the name of Lili’uokalani, let’s rip the 50th star off the flag and give political control to the natives whose land this has always been! Her role is like Joan of Arc or Richard The Lionhearted, stirring up public passion to restore the “lahui” she championed.

As with any religious/political cult, the same small group of activists devote their lives to organizing and leading race-focused Hawaiian independence political rallies and media campaigns all year long, year after year. Some names that keep cropping up are Hayden Burgess (alias Poka Laenui) and his wife Puanani Burgess (community organizer), Lynette Cruz and her acolyte Evern Williams, Rev. Dr. Kaleo Patterson and his frequent companion Ha’aheo Guanson (peacenik), Meleanna Meyer (entertainer, filmmaker, artist, community organizer) and her sisters Maile Meyer (CEO of Native Books) and Manulani Meyer (Professor of Education at UH Hilo).

The Meyer sisters are proud to boast that they are descendants of and carrying forward the work of native Hawaiian nationalist Joseph Nawahi and his second wife A’ima (Emma) Nawahi. A’ima was a close confidant and companion of Lili’uokalani. Joseph Nawahi served for 20 years in the Kingdom legislature, served in Queen Lili’uokalani’s cabinet as Minister of Foreign Affairs, wrote the Constitution which Lili’uokalani tried to proclaim in 1893, was President of the Hawaiian Patriotic League which fought against the overthrow of the monarchy, and operated the Hawaiian language royalist newspaper Ke Aloha ‘Aina.

Five major propaganda events happened during the Summer and Fall of 2013 showing the intensity of feeling in the Lili’uokalani cult, and the willingness of its leaders to not only twist history but to proclaim outright falsehoods as truth. Meleanna Meyer was a principal organizer and participant in them all.

The programs described below, and the booklets and materials handed out free of charge, are very expensive to produce. Clearly there are some wealthy individuals and institutions paying for all this, including Kamehameha Schools, the Hawaiian Civic Clubs, and other private groups; but also including some government agencies using taxpayer dollars, who are spending enormous amounts of money on these propaganda materials, performances, and facilities. For example: Iolani Palace, Ali’iolani Hale (building behind Kamehameha statue), University of Hawaii faculty time and especially the UH Center for Biographical Research, Office of Hawaiian Affairs, Hawaii Public Library facilities for performances, and many others.

Here are the five major propaganda events led by the Lili’uokalani cult in 2013.

1. The overthrow deniers have gotten the State of Hawaii to rewrite history by changing the information on the famous Lili’uokalani statue to make it appear that she remained reigning Queen of Hawaii until her death in 1917, and held a ceremony to rededicate the statue with Governor Abercrombie and former Governor Waihe’e in attendance.

2. Lili’uokalani’s 175th birthday celebration at the Palace on September 1, 2013 (a day early) featured prayer, chanting, musical performances, and walking tours with twisted-history reenactments of events and speeches from the overthrow of the monarchy on January 17, 1893.

3. Sunday August 4, 2013 was “Hawaii International Forgiveness Day” at the Hawaii state Capitol, focused on Lili’uokalani as a “Heroine of Forgiveness” and poster-girl for nonviolence because she gave up without a fight. But the propaganda event conveniently left out the fact that a few months after the overthrow Lili’uokalani several times angrily refused to consider granting amnesty to the revolutionaries as part of an attempted mediation by U.S. Minister Albert Willis to restore her to the throne, insisting that she would behead them and confiscate their property. The propaganda event also left out the fact that in 1889 she conspired with firebrand racist Robert Wilcox and facilitated a violent attack on the Palace in an attempt to overthrow her brother (7 men were killed), and in 1895 she again conspired with Wilcox and facilitated a violent attempted counterrevolution (several men killed in 3 battles) for which she was placed on trial and convicted of conspiracy to commit treason.

4. For 5 months, September 2013 through February 2014, a program “He Lei, He Aloha” — the Legacies of Queen Lili’uokalani, is presenting a program at numerous branch libraries on 6 islands. The program resembles a church service, including an opening chant/prayer in honor of Lili’uokalani, carefully selected short passages about historical events from her book handed out to be read by volunteers from the audience, songs from her songbook with audience singalong for well-known ones, a short film, and talk-story where audience members are invited to tell their impressions and what they feel this program has inspired them to do. Audience participation is a wonderful propaganda tool, encouraging people to feel like they belong to the cult and are taking a pledge to engage in future support and action.

5. Another event in the “Mai Poina” [Never Forget] series was a theatrical performance — sort of an opera or Greek tragedy — entitled “The Trial of the Queen 1895.” Multiple performances were held in the old Supreme Court chamber at Ali’iolani Hale, including chanters, re-enactments of portions of the trial, and commentaries by a group of independence activist “scholars.” The concept is that poor dear Lili’uokalani was unjustly imprisoned for her role in the attempted counterrevolution of 1895, when several men were killed in three battles, a cache of guns and ammunition and bombs were found buried in the flower bed at Lili’uokalani’s private home (Washington Place) where she was living at the time, and letters were found which she had signed appointing the cabinet ministers for her new government when the counterrevolution succeeded. Naturally Lili’uokalani denied knowing about the cache of weapons or plans for the counterrevolution, and said she had every right to write letters appointing cabinet ministers. Of course the opera gives her the benefit of the doubt. Commentaries by the “scholars” praise the patriotism of the men who tried to restore the monarchy and were imprisoned, and praise the dignity and “mana” of Lili’uokalani.

For detailed descriptions and analyses of these five propaganda events, see
http://tinyurl.com/ks3dzrn

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Akaka tribe jurisdictional conflicts shown by mainland examples

by Kenneth R. Conklin, Ph.D.

Congress is on vacation for the month of August. Thus one-third of the 113th Congress (8 of its 24 months) has expired, and the perennial Akaka bill has still not been introduced. What’s going on? If a state-recognized Akaka tribe gets federal recognition, what kinds of jurisdictional conflicts would we see in Hawaii as shown by real conflicts now happening with Indian tribes on the mainland?

OHA is building its newest racial registry, Kana’iolowalu. Embarrassed that after a year only 9300 ethnic Hawaiians had signed up, OHA is now dragging more than 100,000 names onto the list, pulling from previous racial registries such as Kau Inoa, Project Ohana, Kamehameha Schools, etc. OHA is doing this without asking those people for permission. But Census 2010 counted more than 527,000 people claiming to be “Native Hawaiian”, so even if Kana’iolowalu gets 260,000 names (extremely unlikely) it would still be a minority of those eligible by race and a far smaller minority of Hawaii’s people.

In December 2011 I pulled together 13 news reports from the final 13 weeks of that year from various places on the mainland, concerning conflicts between Indian tribes and local communities that would clearly happen in Hawaii if an Akaka tribe gets federal recognition. For each situation I described the facts and cited a link to the full news report. This year I decided that instead of looking at a wide range of topics from a three month period, I would select news reports about a single topic from a single week. So at the end of July I put the following phrase into Google, including the quote marks: “tribal jurisdiction”; and I narrowed the search to the most recent week.

For details see http://tinyurl.com/kjoedjr

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The trouble with the Kana’iolowalu racial registry

 

by Kenneth R. Conklin, Ph.D.

 

Kana’iolowalu is a racial registration process supported by the Hawaii state legislature and using government money. The word as described by its supporters seems benign and friendly: striving together to achieve a goal, like the droplets of water in a stream. But the word has much more violent, warlike undertones. Kamehameha the Great was called “Kana’iaupuni” where that word “na’i” means “conquest” or “conqueror.” “Olowalu” means “to rush or attack in concert” and also “dodging the onslaught of spears.” So “kana’iolowalu” can best be translated as “conquest through swarming” — a method of warfare like the blitzkrieg, whereby attackers surround, rush, and overwhelm an enemy.

The main trouble with Kana’iolowalu is philosophical and moral. The state legislature is creating a list of people who have at least one drop of Hawaiian native blood. Once the list is created, the legislature intends to grant governmental powers to that racial group and then hand over state government money and land to it. Should our government be supporting a process intended to divide the lands and people of Hawaii along racial lines?

There are also many important practical and legal troubles with the actual process currently underway, including the fact that over a hundred thousand names are being dragged onto this racial registry without asking permission. These are the names of individuals previously certified as having Hawaiian native blood by race-based institutions like OHA and Kamehameha Schools, and by the Board of Health which will confirm that they have “Native Hawaiian” on their birth certificates. None of those institutions asked any of these people to affirm support for the political views expressed in the Kana’iolowalu registry. The Kana’iolowalu registry wants to give the impression that it is creating a political entity affirming the “unrelinquished sovereignty of the Native Hawaiian people”; but the overwhelming number of names in the registry will have been dragged there without permission and based solely on racial ancestry.

See the detailed essay at
http://tinyurl.com/qb3ch29

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“Pacific Gibraltar” — important new book on Hawaiian history

In 2011 a major book was published by a highly respected historian who analyzed the Hawaiian revolution and annexation.

William M. Morgan Ph.D., PACIFIC GIBRALTAR: U.S. – JAPANESE RIVALRY OVER THE ANNEXATION OF HAWAII, 1885-1898 (Annapolis: Naval Institute Press, 2011). It is available at “Bookends” in Kailua, and amazon.com. Sixteen copies are scattered around various branches of the Hawaii Public Library. A detailed book review, with many lengthy quotes from each chapter, is at
http://tinyurl.com/8y2s6o5

Most Hawaii readers will be surprised by details about Grover Cleveland’s attempt to overthrow President Dole and restore the Hawaiian monarchy through a combination of diplomatic and military intimidation in mid to late 1893; and by the fact that Congress considered it perfectly proper to use joint resolution in 1898 as the method of ratifying Hawaii’s five-year-long eager request for annexation.

Perhaps the biggest surprise in the book is the seriousness of Japan’s diplomatic maneuvering — and deployment of multiple warships in Honolulu as a show of force — to block annexation and to demand voting rights for Japanese living in Hawaii. The U.S., Hawaii, and Britain were worried Japan could gain political control of Hawaii through demographic conquest, and/or an imminent Japanese military occupation of Hawaii. The U.S. and Britain counteracted Japan’s multiple warships by their own deployments of warships in Honolulu harbor.

The author, William Michael Morgan (no relation to Senator James T. Morgan of the 1894 Morgan Report), has a Ph.D. in History from Claremont Graduate University. According to information about his book at amazon.com, Dr. Morgan was a Foreign Service officer in the Department of State for more than 30 years, and lived in Japan for 13 years, first as a Marine lieutenant in 1971-72 and then three assignments in the Foreign Service. His State Department domestic jobs included Director of the Japan-Korea desk of the old U.S. Information Agency, Acting Director of the International Visitor Leadership Program, and Director of Analysis for East Asia and the Pacific in the Bureau of Intelligence and Research. During 2007-09, he taught U.S.-Japan relations and National Security and Public Diplomacy at Georgetown’s School of Foreign Service while on “detail” from the State Department.

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HCR107 — A secessionist resolution in the Hawaii legislature that is both ridiculous and dangerous.

House Concurrent Resolution 107 (HCR107) in the Hawaii legislature would establish “a joint legislative investigating committee to investigate the status of two executive agreements entered into in 1893 between United States President Grover Cleveland and Queen Liliuokalani of the Hawaiian Kingdom, called the Liliuokalani assignment and the agreement of restoration.”

The investigating committee would be empowered to “Issue subpoenas requiring the attendance and testimony of the witnesses and subpoenas duces tecum requiring the production of books, documents, records, papers, or other evidence in any matter pending before the joint investigating
committee; … Administer oaths and affirmations to witnesses at hearings of the joint investigating committee; Report or certify instances of contempt as
provided in section 21—14, Hawaii Revised Statutes …”

This resolution is both ridiculous and dangerous. My own testimony explains why, and is on a webpage at
http://tinyurl.com/4t5pecj

The purpose of such an investigation is not merely to do academic research on an obscure historical question from 118 years ago. The purposes are to claim that the U.S. had an obligation to restore Liliuokalani to the throne; and to claim that the obligation of the President of the United States continues to this day to restore the Kingdom of Hawaii to its former status as an independent nation.

Three of the many harms that would result by passing HCR107 are briefly identified here and discussed in detail in the testimony.

1. A resolution such as HCR107 brings ridicule and disrespect upon those who support it, and upon the legislature as a whole — as shown by recalling what happened in connection with another Hawaiian sovereignty resolution passed in 2007. Many current members of the legislature, including members of this committee, participated in that debacle. The 2007 resolution established a permanent annual Hawaiian Restoration Day holiday for April 30. Reverend Kaleo Patterson knowingly used a fake Grover Cleveland proclamation from 1894, cited it as fact, and used it as the basis for a media blitz in 2006 in Hawaii and on the mainland calling for a national day of prayer for restoration of Native Hawaiians and repentance for the overthrow of the monarchy. He repeated his local and mainland propaganda campaign in 2007 and pushed a resolution HCR82 through the Hawaii legislature citing the joke proclamation as real and “proclaiming April 30 of every year as Hawaiian Restoration Day.” A 4-page flyer pokes fun at the legislature for passing that ridiculous resolution despite testimony proving the Cleveland proclamation was a joke.
http://tinyurl.com/2tj5jl

2. Such a resolution as HCR107 provides a platform whereby certain perpetrators of historical malpractice bring fame and fortune to themselves while spreading false information far and wide, using the legislature as an accomplice. Keanu Sai is the man behind this resolution. He is now revving up his third big scam based on twisted historical allegations which the resolution describes as fact. His convoluted lawsuit against U.S. government officials including President Obama, based on the allegations in HCR107, was dismissed on summary judgment in the U.S. District Court in Washington D.C. by U.S. District Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly on March 9.

3. HCR107 contains numerous false or misleading statements, some of which are refuted in my testimony. For example: There was no “executive agreement” between President Grover Cleveland and ex-queen Liliuokalani. One reason is that Liliuokalani was overthrown by the Hawaiian revolution on January 17, 1893 and no longer held executive authority after that, but Grover Cleveland was not installed as President until March. Also, President Cleveland had no power or authority to put Liliuokalani back on the throne, which is what Keanu Sai’s theory says is the core of the “executive agreement.”

For my entire testimony, see
http://tinyurl.com/4t5pecj

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Thank You, National Review

The omnibus spending spending bill died last week for lack of support. Senator Inouye had inserted into it a mandate for a study to figure out how to make a federally recognized Indian tribe out of persons who have native Hawaiian blood.

Commenting on that insert, National Review online editorialized: “ That’s a reference to the notorious Akaka Bill, an odious piece of segregationist legislation that would establish a race-based government on the Hawaiian archipelago”. That is a great description. Thank you National Review. It now appears that the proposed Bill is road kill. Now if we could only get some prudent management of the grant activity revealed on this website. That’s the mission, please help.

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Omnibus Luau

I don’t know why we should be surprised that Senator Inouye is so accomplished at adding pork to the federal budget.  After all, if there’s one thing we love out here, it’s a luau.  But even the most liberal spender might blanch at the provision that Inouye just attempted to slip into the notorious Omnibus Spending Bill:

NATIVE HAWAIIAN RECOGNITION STUDY AUTHORIZATION
SEC. 125. The Secretary of the Interior shall, with funds appropriated for fiscal year 2011, and in coordination with the State of Hawaii and those offices designated under the Hawaii State Constitution as representative of the Native Hawaiian community, including the Office of Hawaiian Affairs and the Department of Hawaiian Home Lands, and the Attorney General of the United States, examine and make recommendations to Congress no later than September 30, 2011, on developing a mechanism for the reorganization of a Native Hawaiian governing entity and recognition by the United States of the Native Hawaiian governing entity as an Indian tribe within the meaning of Articles I and II of the Constitution.

Allow me to cut through the legislation-ese:  This provision grants an unspecified amount of money for a study (made in cooperation with OHA and the Department of Hawaiian Home Lands) on implementing the Akaka Bill constitutionally.  If it weren’t for the fact that it’s a blatant pork project, one would be tempted to say something like, “Hey, since you’ve been pushing for this for years, don’t you think it would have been good to address this earlier?”  However, given the nature of politics and the truer meaning of this project, perhaps the best response would be, “Hey, you sure have a lot of nerve funneling money to the two biggest supporters of this legislation to produce a ‘study’ that will support it.”

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Akaka’s Civil Rights Problem

So much of the argument for the Akaka Bill is couched in Civil Rights terms–we are given to understand that to oppose it is to somehow oppose the rights and privileges of Native Hawaiians.  In fact, one of the most pernicious historical fallacies surrounding the former Kingdom of Hawaii as it relates to the argument for the Akaka Bill ca be found in the way that Akaka supporters blithely ignore the multi-ethnic make-up of the Hawaiian government at the same time as they push for the wholesale creation of a race-based “reorganization.”  In light of this sensitive question, it might be interesting to examine where some of the nation’s experts on matters of civil rights stand on the Bill.

Would you be surprised to hear that they oppose it?  It’s true.  On Dec. 7, 2010, the United States Commission on Civil Rights delivered a letter to key Congressional leaders reiterating their opposition to the Akaka Bill. If you’re interested, you can read the letter in full here.  (And the earlier, more detailed letter it references can be seen here.)  Without equivocation, the USCCR expresses its opposition that any attempt made to attach the Native Hawaiian Reorganization Act to a spending bill this session.  In addition, the letter states that the changes that have been made or proposed to the Act are insufficient to overcome the constitutional concerns that have been raised, and reiterates the Commission’s opposition to the Bill.

What is the source of the Commission’s opposition?   The reasons given should be familiar to most of those who have made a careful study of the legislation and its possible consequences: that Congress lacks that constitutional authority to thus “reorganize” ethnic groups into dependent sovereign nations without a strong history of self governance; that doing so will set a dangerous precedent; that it should not be used as an attempt to shore up race-based benefits threatened by recent court decisions; and that it is contradictory to the history of the Hawaiian government.

Above all, the opinion of the Commission makes it clear that the questions of race that surround the Akaka Bill are far more complex than Akaka’s supporters would like to admit.  It’s as though, in their efforts to help one ethnic group, the pro-Akaka lobby has deliberately ignored the fundamental principles of civil rights.

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Transparency?— Not with the Akaka bill

Yesterday there was much talk in Washington, DC that Senator Inouye was planning to attach the Akaka bill (presumably the latest version after major changes) to the Senate Omnibus Spending bill later in December. That would mean that would mean that it would pass without hearings or any other vetting. Indicating that the possibility was real, four seasoned U. S. Senators released statements deploring the idea. See press release here. At about the same time, Hawaii Reporter reported the story and quoted Peter Boylan, Senator Inouye’s spokesman, as saying Inouye was not planning such a move and reaffirming Inouye’s 2009 statement that attachment to an appropriations bill would be “nonsensical”. See text here.

Next was Robert Costa at NRO who reported Senator Inouye told NRO that he would like to bring the bill forward, but “it depends on if we can work out something with amendments”. He then quoted the Senator “We’ve been working on this for over a decade now….. No one can say we’ve been hiding this”. That remark prompted a response from Steven Duffield here.

If you are not confused, you should be. But here is the bottom line: there is no transparency here. GRIH stands for transparency in government. Hawaii’s people do not know anything substantive about this bill and people in government are keeping them in the dark.k

Before statehood in 1959, Hawaii had a Plebiscite. Approval was 94+%. Now a secret “nonsensical” attachment will skirt that? Walk your talk, Senator Inouye.

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What Are the ‘Returned Lands’ of Hawaii?

By Jere Krischel

In an article titled “What are the ‘Ceded Lands’ of Hawaii?” written for Honolulu Civil Beat on 11/08/2010, Professor Van Dyke makes some critical errors in his assessment of both the history and the law.  While acknowledging the Supreme Court’s rejection of the “Apology Resolution,” he still relies on it for his “legal” justification.  While quoting from the Admissions Act of 1959, he omits a key clause that differentiates between “should” and “can.”  But most problematically, Van Dyke intimates that “Native Hawaiians” were somehow legally separate during the Kingdom period in Hawaii, and that the public lands that were returned to the State of Hawaii have some sort of racial lien on them.

The first red flag we should recognize in Van Dyke’s writing is the use of quotes around the term “illegal.”  In order for something to be illegal, we must have several things – a concrete body of law which was violated, a judiciary to arbitrate the dispute, and finally, a finding after a trial presenting both sides of the issue.  Without these necessary requirements, we are substituting personal opinion for legal fact.  Although PL103-150 (aka “The Apology Resolution”) uses the term “illegal” several times in describing the Hawaiian Revolution, it does not identify any specific law which was violated, any judiciary with jurisdiction over the Hawaiian Revolution of 1893, nor any trial which was conducted to determine guilt or innocence.

So can the “Apology Resolution” unilaterally declare the Hawaiian Revolution of 1893 illegal?  Absolutely not.  Ex post facto laws are explicitly forbidden by the U.S. Constitution –  one cannot simply pass a law which declares someone’s prior actions illegal.  Neither does the legislature have the authority to declare someone guilty as a matter of legal fact.  In recognition of this and the basic principles of statutory construction, the Supreme Court on March 31, 2009 firmly established that the “Apology Resolution” had no legally binding effect, stating that the “‘whereas’ clauses cannot bear the weight that the lower court placed on them.”

The second major mistake Van Dyke makes is a subtle, but important distinction between something that is necessary, and something that is allowable.  Van Dyke states that the 1959 Admissions Act demanded that “revenues from these lands should be used” for native Hawaiians.  This is a misread of the Admissions Act, which provided limits on what the revenues could be used for, not mandates.  The specific text of the Admissions Act reads, “such lands, proceeds, and income shall be managed and disposed of for one or more of the foregoing purposes…their use for any other object shall constitute a breach of trust…”

This means that the State of Hawaii could spend every penny on public education, and not a dime on the development of farm and home ownership.  Or, it could decide to spend everything on public improvements and provisions for public use of the lands, while not funding anything else.  Any combination of “one or more” would be legal according to the Admissions Act.  The only two things that would be a breach of trust would be to spend none of the revenue at all, or spend any of the revenue on a non-permissible use, such as supporting private schools, or the development of automobile ownership.

With his words Van Dyke echoes a misinterpretation of the Admissions Act that OHA has been intentionally cultivating for many years, using it to justify a 20% share of revenue from the public lands of the State of Hawaii to native Hawaiians (although OHA specifically ignores the blood quantum definition used in the Admissions Act).  By their rationale, exactly 20% should be allocated to farm and home ownership, exactly 20% should be allocated to public schools, exactly 20% should be allocated for public improvements, and the last 20% should be allocated to make public lands available for public use.  But the Admissions Act, as plainly read, has no such mandate whatsoever.

The most insidious misrepresentation Van Dyke makes, however, is regarding the citizenry of the Kingdom of Hawaii, and the chain of ownership of the ‘ceded’ lands.

From its inception, the Kingdom of Hawaii was a multi-racial nation.  High Chief Olohana, otherwise known as John Young, fought beside Kamehameha the Great to establish the unified Kingdom, and was the grandfather of Queen Emma herself.  The first constitution of the Kingdom of Hawaii in 1840 stated boldly that all people were “of one blood,” and established equality between all races over 100 years before the modern civil rights movement in the United States.  Characterizing the Crown Lands or Government Lands of the Kingdom of Hawaii as being dedicated to only one race is a desecration of both the spirit and the laws of the Kingdom from which they came.

With his synopsis, Van Dyke perpetuates the fiction that the ‘Ceded Lands’ are still ‘ceded.’  But the truth is, they are now more properly called  the ‘Returned Lands.’  The Crown Lands and Government Lands of the Kingdom of Hawaii were consolidated into the Public Lands of the Republic of Hawaii in 1894.  These public lands (about 1.8 million acres) became the ‘Ceded Lands’ in 1898, when the Republic ceded them to the United States on the condition that the revenues and proceeds, except for the parts used for the civil, military or naval purposes of the U.S., “shall be used solely for the benefit of the inhabitants of the Hawaiian Islands.”  Van Dyke acknowledges that this created a “special trust”, but he carefully omits that the ‘Ceded Lands’ Trust was established for all the inhabitants of the Hawaiian Islands, not just for those of a specific ancestry.

When the Territory of Hawaii was established in 1900 by the Organic Act, it reiterated that the public lands were acquired by the United States in “absolute fee” under the Annexation Act, free from “all claim of any nature whatsoever.”  These ‘Ceded Lands’ finally became the ‘Returned Lands’, when the lands were returned to the public of the State of Hawaii as per the Admissions Act of 1959.  The circle was finally complete – what had originally been the public lands of all the people of the Kingdom of Hawaii, became the public lands of all the people of the State of Hawaii.

Placing exclusive racial claims upon the ‘Returned Lands’ is an abuse of the trust placed in the State of Hawaii, and a violation of our Constitutional guarantees of equal protection.  No matter how many times these false claims are repeated, and no matter how many myths are invented to justify such race-based distinctions, they will never become true, and will never be justified.  All of the inhabitants of Hawaii, regardless of ancestry, have a powerful claim to the ‘Returned Lands,’ as clearly demanded by the Organic Act and the legacy of the multi-racial Kingdom of Hawaii.

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