Archive for category Letters

Comments on Linda Zhang, “Re-Building a Native Hawaiian Nation.”

Letter to editor by Kenneth R. Conklin, Ph.D. in response to
Linda Zhang, “Re-Building a Native Hawaiian Nation: Base Rolls, Membership, and Land in an Effective Self-Determination Movement,” Asian Pacific American Law Journal, Vol 22, No. 1, 2017, pp. 69-93.
http://escholarship.org/uc/item/39t1k0fx

I would like to set the record straight regarding a few errors of fact and interpretation in Linda Zhang’s essay “Re-Building a Native Hawaiian Nation.”

1. Alleged invasion of Iolani Palace by U.S. troops during the Hawaiian revolution of 1893

At the bottom of page 70 Ms. Zhang states the following falsehood: “Then, in 1893, American troops seized I’olani Palace, the home of Queen Lili’uokalani and the center of the Hawaiian monarchy …” Her only citation for that assertion is an internet link from 2005 which is now dead, where the underlying blogsite continues to publish only highly one-sided propaganda pushing the concept of Hawaiian independence.

The truth is that on January 16, 1893 there were 162 U.S. sailors who landed in Honolulu as a peacekeeping force because of anticipated violence between an armed militia of local men seeking to overthrow the government, and the government’s forces. Their orders were to protect American lives and property and to prevent rioting and arson. 808 pages of sworn testimony before the U.S. Senate Committee on Foreign Affairs in February 1894, in open session and under severe cross-examination, shows that the peacekeepers never invaded the Palace grounds and, indeed, did not take over any buildings nor in any way provide help to the rebels. See the Morgan Report at
http://morganreport.org
Even the Blount Report, much ballyhooed by Hawaiian sovereignty activists, makes no claim of any invasion of Palace grounds by U.S. troops.

Unfortunately the 2009 movie “Princess Kaiulani” (originally titled “The Barbarian Princess”) falsely shows such a scene. The webpage for a future film “The Islands” by Tim Chey indicates that there will be a similar scene. Both films, of course, are produced with story lines intended to sell lots of tickets by spectacularly distorting historical fact in ways that will appeal to current sentiments. Portraying U.S. troops invading the Palace is pure propaganda which only serves to incite racial strife and anti-Americanism.

2. Alleged statistical evidence of Native Hawaiian victimhood in poverty, incarceration, and health

Page 71, near the top, says “Since then, studies have shown that Kanaka Maoli, or Native Hawaiians, continue to have some of the highest rates of poverty, incarceration, school drop-out rates, and display several negative indicators of health.”

This assertion has been repeated so many times, both in the popular media and in academic “studies”, that people now believe it. This victimhood claim is cited by tycoons of the Hawaiian grievance industry who benefit from hundreds of millions of dollars in government and philanthropic grants; and also cited by politicians seeking to arouse public sympathy for efforts to create a Hawaiian tribe. The assertion arises from statistical malpractice, whose perpetrators must surely be aware that they are engaging in a scam. Two of the main points debunking the assertion are as follows:

(a) According to Census 2010 the median age of ethnic Hawaiians in Hawaii is 26 while the median age of everyone else in Hawaii is 42. That 16 year age gap explains why incomes of Native Hawaiians are significantly lower than incomes of other ethnic groups. It also explains why Native Hawaiians have higher rates of incarceration and longer sentences than other ethnicities — not because of their ethnicity but because of the huge age gap. Drug abuse, spouse abuse, and crime — especially violent crime — are the sins of young people far more than middle-age people.

(b) Virtually all so-called Native Hawaiians have mixed ancestry. Perhaps 3/4 of them each have at least 3/4 of their heritage being Asian or Caucasian rather than Hawaiian. But when someone is a victim of poverty, incarceration, disease, etc. and is asked “What are you?” they are classified as “Native Hawaiian” AND ONLY AS NATIVE HAWAIIAN even if their native blood quantum is only a small fraction of their ancestry. Someone who is mostly Caucasian or Asian should have his victimhood attributed to one of those racial groups rather than to Native Hawaiian. The most accurate way to award victimhood tally marks to ethnic groups would be to give a fraction of a tally mark to each ethnicity in a victim’s heritage equal to the fraction of that ethnicity in his genealogy. But social scientists apparently consider it politically incorrect to ask victims for ethnic percentages; and tycoons of the Hawaiian grievance industry do not want to be robbed of the victimhood claims they use in grant applications; and researchers excuse their malpractice by saying that if they award victimhood tally marks to the highest percentage in a victim’s heritage then there would be too few Native Hawaiians to be statistically significant.

For a detailed analysis and examples of both points (a) and (b) see “Native Hawaiian victimhood — malpractice in the gathering and statistical analysis of data allegedly showing disproportionate Native Hawaiian victimhood for disease and social dysfunction.” at
http://tinyurl.com/j3aolqg

3. The proposed Native Hawaiian constitution is both racist and fascist

Linda Zhang’s article tries to portray the Hawaiian sovereignty movement as benign. For example, she says on page 77 “Part A(i) of the membership criteria is based on the lineage model. The criterion is broad enough to include ‘non-Hawaiians who were citizens of the Hawaiian Kingdom and therefore have a rightful place in the citizenry,’ thereby avoiding a potential constitutional challenge under Rice v. Cayetano.” But the actual wording of Part A(i) says “An individual who is a descendant of the aboriginal peoples who, prior to 1778, occupied and exercised sovereignty in the Hawaiian Islands” — which clearly would NOT include people with no native blood who were subjects (citizens) of the Kingdom; and thus it is clearly a racial requirement and cannot avoid running afoul of Rice v. Cayetano.

A claim to racial supremacy is displayed in the proposed constitution for a future federally recognized Hawaiian tribe adopted on February 26, 2016. That constitution also demands race-based ownership and control of all the lands and waters of Hawaii, as though nobody else has rights. Up front the preamble says “we join together to affirm a government of, by, and for Native Hawaiian people” [i.e., of the race, by the race, and for the race], and “affirm our ancestral [i.e., race-based] rights and Kuleana to all lands, waters, and resources of our islands and surrounding seas.” So what will become of the 80% of Hawaii’s people who have no native ancestry? The constitution asserts the same sort of “blood and land” concept as found in other fascist governments — Native Hawaiians are descendants of the gods and brothers to the land in a way nobody else can ever be who lacks a drop of Hawaiian native blood.
See “Hawaiian religious fascism” at
http://tinyurl.com/j4o2cdj
The proposed tribal constitution passed by the Na’i Aupuni convention on February 26, 2016 is available at
http://tinyurl.com/zegptkr

 

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Response to 7/17 Editorial By New Member of Civil Rights Committee

YES, I AM CONCERNED ABOUT SECESSION, BUT MORE CONCERNED ABOUT RACIAL
DISCRIMINATION

The July 17 Star-Bulletin editorial on the new appointments to the Hawaii Advisory Committee to the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights correctly mentions that I am concerned that the Akaka Bill may lead to attempts by a “Re-organized” Hawaiian Government to secede from the United States. Yes, I am deeply concerned, as are many others, that the State of Hawaii could be torn apart. This is why:

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Testimony regarding S.310 (The Akaka Bill)

This testimony was submitted to the United States Committee on Indian Affairs regarding S.310.

S. 310 Hearing May 3, 2007

Aloha, and thank you for keeping the record open for further testimony on the Akaka Bill (S.310).

Much of the difficulty with this bill and its supporters is that they are starting from false premises. In his opening statement, Senator Dorgan wrote:

“It allows for the Native Hawaiian people to once again have an opportunity at self-governance and self-determination.”

Contrary to Senator Dorgan’s implication, the Native Hawaiian people have both self-governance and self-determination this very moment, only not as a separate racial group. Also contrary to Senator Dorgan’s implication, there has never been any race-based government in the entire history of the Hawaiian islands, including before western contact in 1778, and in fact, the Hawaiian Kingdom’s first constitution explicitly declared all people “of one blood”, and maintained itself without reference to race.

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Native Hawaiian “birthright” suspect

In a January 12th response to a January 9th article I wrote for the Honolulu Advertiser, the leaders of OHA claimed, “Native Hawaiians are the indigenous people of Hawai’i, and have the right to thrive in their ancient homeland.” I find this sentiment frightening in its consequences, contrary to the ideas of freedom, and based on false premises.

What we today call “Native Hawaiians” did not spring from the mountains of Oahu, or the beaches of Maui. As exemplified by the quintessential example of Native Hawaiian culture, the Hokule’a (now voyaging to Micronesia), Hawaiians were voyagers, explorers, and colonists from other islands in the Pacific and beyond. Their “ancient homeland” can be arbitrarily placed anywhere between Hawaii and the path they took from Africa, depending on which date one chooses. As with every people who have ever travelled to Hawaii, “Native Hawaiians” came from somewhere else – we are all immigrants here, separated only by the amount of time since our ancestor’s original arrival. To assert some special, distinct status, based on a single drop of blood before an arbitrary point in time, over all of ones’ peers who have lived together side by side for over 200 years is simply abject racism.

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