Archive for category Native Hawaiians

(In)Significance of Hawaiian Kingdom Independence Day vs. Republic of Hawaii International Recognition

by Kenneth R. Conklin, Ph.D., Thanksgiving 2021
Giving thanks that the Hawaiian monarchy was overthrown and the successor Republic of Hawaii was internationally recognized as the rightful government (therefore authorized under international law to speak for the nation of Hawaii and to offer the Treaty of Annexation to the United States).

Once again this year Hawaiian secessionists are celebrating Ka La Ku’oko’a, the Independence Day holiday of the bygone Kingdom of Hawaii. It’s their way to claim that Hawaii remains an independent nation, and to seek to restore actual independence through political action in Hawaii, in the U.S., and in the United Nations.

Let’s see what all the fuss is about.

November 28 was an annual holiday of the Kingdom of Hawaii called La Ku’oko’a, which means Independence Day. It commemorated the date in 1843 when a diplomat from France and a diplomat from Britain signed a document pledging to each other that neither France nor Britain would take possession of the Hawaiian islands, because the islands had their own government capable of handling their own relations with other nations. Two identical copies of the agreement were written in side-by-side English and French; and each diplomat took one of them.

The agreement happened because a team of three men were authorized by King Kauikeaouli Kamehameha III to speak on behalf of Hawaii to government officials in France and Britain to seek recognition of Hawaii’s sovereign independence. The three men were the American missionary William Richards, age 50, one of the King’s closest advisors who composed the Kingdom’s first Constitution which the King had signed earlier in 1843; Sir George Simpson, age 56, Scottish/Quebec businessman and colonial Governor of the Hudson Bay Company of fur traders; and Timoteo Ha’alilio, a 35-year-old native Hawaiian ali’i who served as the King’s secretary.

The agreement says, in its entirety: “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, neither directly or under the title of Protectorate, or under any other form, of any part of the territory of which they are composed.”

This agreement was a mutual non-aggression pact between Britain and France where they promised to each other that neither one of them would try to take over Hawaii. It was not a treaty with Hawaii, was not addressed to Hawaii, was not signed by Hawaii, and was written only in English and French but not in Hawaiian. It was only Britain and France talking with each other ABOUT Hawaii, and was signed only by one low-level diplomat from France and one from Britain.

In 1893, after the monarchy had been overthrown, the temporary revolutionary Provisional Government of Hawaii was given de facto (temporary) recognition within two days by the local consuls of all the nations which had consulates in Honolulu, until such time as a permanent government of Hawaii could be created and could then receive de jure (full-fledged) recognition from their home governments. When the permanent Republic of Hawaii was created through a Constitutional Convention and election of President and Legislature, then during the next several months letters in 11 languages were received in Honolulu, directly addressed to President Sanford Dole, personally signed by Emperors, Kings, Queens, and Presidents of at least 19 nations on 4 continents officially recognizing the Republic as the rightful successor government of the still-independent nation of Hawaii. Photos of those letters, and some accompanying English translations of them and accompanying diplomatic letters and envelopes, are at

As always happens when a nation’s government changes, whether by monarchial inheritance or by election or by revolution, the successor government’s legitimacy and right to speak for the nation replaces the authority of the previous government; and is confirmed under international law by the formal diplomatic recognition given to it by the heads of the other nations in the family of nations. Thus the Republic of Hawaii had the right to offer the Treaty of Annexation to the United States, including the provisions that ceded Hawaii’s public lands to be held in trust for Hawaii’s people by the U.S. and provisions that nullified previous treaties that had been made by the Kingdom with other nations.

Hawaiian sovereignty activists like to imagine that the Kingdom of Hawaii remains alive today as the rightful government, ignoring the revolution of 1893. They revive the celebration of the independence day holiday of the Kingdom period as a way of asserting their imaginary continuing independence and demanding future secession and reparations from the United States. They tout the signatures of two low-level diplomats from Britain and France, talking only in their own languages and only to each other while not addressed to anyone in Hawaii, as though that non-aggression pact is somehow as powerful as the letters of formal diplomatic recognition in eleven languages addressed directly to Republic of Hawaii President Sanford Dole by Emperors, Kings, Queens and Presidents of at least 19 nations on four continents.

If you see news reports about Hawaiian Independence Day, and you want to write a comment in a place that does not allow internet links, include these two lines:
Copy/paste the following line into Google:
letters recognize Republic Hawaii

Tags: , ,

Mauna Kea Sacredness: Debunking the Assertion

Mauna Kea Sacredness: Debunking the assertion of religious sacredness as a cynical ploy by activists seeking race-based political power and money for racially exclusionary government handouts.

by Kenneth R. Conklin, Ph.D.

During Summer and Fall 2021 there were several calls for supporters of the Thirty-Meter Telescope project on Mauna Kea to submit testimony to various institutions in Hawaii and mainland USA. Following is a consolidated version of Ken Conklin’s testimony, also intended for future use. Permission is hereby granted to anyone who wishes to use it in part or in whole, provided that the URL and Conklin’s name must be cited.


Aloha. I am Kenneth R. Conklin, Ph.D., retired professor of Philosophy. I have lived in Hawaii permanently since 1992, speak Hawaiian with moderate fluency, and have developed considerable expertise in Hawaiian history, Hawaiian culture, and especially the Hawaiian sovereignty movement. My testimony about Mauna Kea focuses mostly on debunking the disrespectful assertion of religious sacredness as a cynical ploy by activists seeking race-based political power and money for racially exclusionary government handouts.

1. Activists seeking political power are (ab)using Mauna Kea as a pawn in their political game. They illegally block the access road, literally holding the summit as a hostage. They hope to either secede from the USA and re-establish Hawaii as an independent nation, or else obtain federal recognition for a phony Hawaiian tribe. The state government agency Office of Hawaiian Affairs demands megabucks in “rent” [bribe] for the telescope campus — money to be spent on racially exclusionary projects. Both varieties of activists want to control access to the telescope campus and the summit, and the kinds of activities permitted there, so they can force visitors to comply with cultural/religious protocols and listen to propaganda about Hawaii’s history. If you decision-makers withhold funding or political support for the telescopes, of if you cater to activist demands for control over visitors, including activist requirements for visitor orientation and protocol, you thereby enroll as their accomplices.

2. Extremely few people truly believe Mauna Kea is “sacred” in a religious sense. Everyone appreciates the beauty and majesty of Mauna Kea. The activists regard it as “sacred” in the sense that controlling it is essential to their political and financial success, in the same way as a football quarterback is sacred to the team, or teenagers’ weekly allowances are sacred to them. By using the word “sacred” they expect that the warm-hearted and generous people of Hawaii will step back in awe and give deference to what is falsely portrayed as their religion. The activists have a long history of claiming that every square inch of land in Hawaii is “sacred” because of a beautiful creation legend that they twist to say that anyone with even one drop of Hawaiian native blood is genealogically a child of the gods and a sibling to the land in a way nobody else can ever be who lacks a drop of the magic blood. Every location is “sacred” because chiefs, gods, or plants/animals who are body-forms of the gods lived there or did actions there. In bygone centuries Hawaiian natives buried family members or fallen warriors in shoreline sand dunes, back yards, or under their houses; thus ancient bones are found everywhere. Nowadays if a single bone is found at a construction site the whole project must be halted until a committee decides whether to spend lots of money to ceremonially protect and rebury it in place and leave a vacant perimeter around it, or whether to move it somewhere nearby. Claims of places or bones being sacred are asserted everywhere, thereby giving the activists a race-based permanent property-rights easement on all the lands of Hawaii, along with political power, and basis to demand compensation. Today’s activists have been known to bury some human bones or erect small structures either to claim that they are ancient artifacts or to claim that the Hawaiian religion is alive and therefore the artifacts newly created by its practitioners must be treated as sacred.

3. The ancient Hawaiian religion with centuries of tenure was permanently abolished in 1819, the year before the first Christian missionaries arrived. It was abolished by the four top political and spiritual leaders of the Kingdom in a public display in front of perhaps a thousand important people. They broke an major taboo whose violation normally carried the death penalty, and then gave a short speech proclaiming that the old religion was now overthrown, and ordering the destruction of all the stone temples and burning of the idols throughout all of Hawaii. The four leaders were the young King Liholiho Kamehameha II, his biological mother Keopuolani (sacred wife of Kamehameha The Great) who had the highest mana (spiritual power) in Hawaii, his regent (co-ruler) stepmother Ka’ahumanu (“favorite” wife of Kamehameha The Great among more than 20 official wives and numerous unofficial concubines), and Kahuna Nui (High Priest) Hewahewa. These leaders freely exercised self-determination on behalf of the entire nation. Soon thereafter came a short civil war. High chief Kekuaokalani, to whom Kamehameha The Great had entrusted the war god Ku, and his army, fought to preserve the old religion but were slaughtered in the Battle of Kuamo’o. Some ethnic Hawaiians today seek to revive the old religion as a political power-seeking ploy, thereby disrespecting the freely-chosen self-determination of their ancestors, and also disrespecting the Christianity practiced by most ethnic Hawaiians today. Many ethnic Hawaiians today claim to embrace both Christianity and the ancient religion, and pray or chant to the god(s) of both. There are even a few left-leaning Christian pastors who tell their flocks it’s OK to embrace both; but the Protestant missionaries of the 19th Century and the Catholic hierarchy of today reject such syncretism. One thing that makes Kauikeaouli Kamehameha III famous among historians was his gut-wrenching public vacillation between the two religions: He dearly loved his younger sister Nahi’ena’ena (same pair of parents) and made a baby with her (especially for love and also for politically-expected genealogical enhancement of mana in the royal family) even while periodically repenting and trying to be a good Christian when the missionaries warned him.

4. An essay drafted by 7 Native Hawaiian leaders in July, 2021 is entitled “The Historical Context for Sacredness, Title, and Decision Making in Hawai‘i: Implications for TMT on Maunakea.” It points out that the ancient Hawaiian religion and its gods had no objection to using areas near the summit of Mauna Kea for commercial and industrial purposes which included living and working there, digging into the ground to quarry rocks for sale or barter, and leaving their trash behind. It is not “Wao Akua” (the realm of the gods where ordinary people are not allowed to live or work). “Archaeological evidence demonstrates that, while the kapu system was in effect, Hawaiians utilized Maunakea as a valuable resource for industrial activities for over 500 years until the time of western contact. Hawaiians excavated the upper slopes of Maunakea for stone of exceptional quality to make tools. As described by Hawaiian cultural practitioner and master navigator Kalepa Baybayan during the TMT contested case hearing, “[t]hey … shaped the environment by quarrying rock, left behind evidence of their work, and took materials off the mountain to serve their communities, within the presence and with full consent of their gods.” This adze quarry complex covers an area over 900 times the size of the permitted TMT site, which itself is small compared to the entire astronomy precinct”

5. Hawaii is multiracial, with many different religions. No individual race or religion should be allowed to dictate to everyone else what will be the decisions of the government. The Constitution, First Amendment, says there shall be no “establishment of religion” by the government, meaning that government must not adopt any particular set of religious beliefs as the primary basis for making decisions that affect all people of all different religions. That Amendment allows “free exercise” of religion by any religion, so long as it doesn’t force itself on anyone who is not an adherent of it. It would be both legally and morally wrong for any government agency to award custody of Mauna Kea to any racial group or to adopt decisions or regulations establishing the ancient Hawaiian religion as the primary authority. The Constitution of the State of Hawaii, Article XII, Section 7 declares that the State “reaffirms and shall protect all rights, customarily and traditionally exercised for subsistence, cultural and religious purposes and possessed by ahupua‘a tenants who are descendants of native Hawaiians who inhabited the Hawaiian Islands prior to 1778, subject to the right of the State to regulate such rights.” Subsequent court decisions have ruled that those rights extend to ethnic Hawaiians beyond the borders of any particular ahupua’a, and apply to shoreline access and gathering of certain plants for subsistence and cultural practices. To avoid imposing racial exclusivity, all such rights should be allowed to every resident of Hawaii. We would thereby ensure that all Native Hawaiians would be protected as required by the Constitution, while also manifesting the Aloha Spirit and the value “ho’okipa” as we avoid racial supremacy or exclusivity.

In conclusion: The thirty-meter telescope project will bring jobs and economic development sorely needed in Hawaii. Objections based on culture or religion are unacceptable both legally and morally. Mauna Kea is indeed a sacred place — not only for Native Hawaiians, not only for all the people of Hawaii, but for the entire human race. It will help us explore and understand our origins and the beauty of the cosmos. It will bring us knowledge to guide our descendants as they navigate among the stars, just as ancient Hawaiians used the stars to navigate across the ocean.

See also:

On September 27, 2018 Ken Conklin submitted testimony regarding proposed rules for Public and Commercial Activities on Mauna Kea Lands. A short summary of the testimony lists 4 fundamental principles of unity and equality, two conclusions, and topics of specific rules that are analyzed. The summary is at
The complete 18 page testimony is at

Compilation of newspaper articles from 1999 to 2003 describing the importance of astronomical discoveries on Mauna Kea, opposition to Mauna Kea astronomy from Hawaiian sovereignty activists, and OHA’s attempts to extort money and political power

Ken Conklin testimony March 11, 2002 to Hawaii Department of Land and Natural Resources: How the telescope campus on Mauna Kea serves the spiritual essence of this sacred place in accord with Hawaiian creation legend.

Ken Conklin testimony January 12, 2004 NASA EIS scoping hearing: How the telescope campus on Mauna Kea serves the spiritual essence of this sacred place in accord with Hawaiian creation legend; why testimony from Hawaiian sovereignty activists should be discounted in view of their motives.

On May 21, 2015 Honolulu Star-Advertiser published a major commentary I authored: “Protesters use claims of sacredness for political agendas” Full text of the commentary, plus greatly expanded analysis, is available on my webpage “Mauna Kea 2015: Sacred Place; Political Pawn; Profane Demagoguery; Recreational Activism” at
See item 8 in that webpage for the newspaper commentary.

Tags: , , , ,

Critical Race Theory Hawaiian-Style

A Peculiar Ideological Combination Alleges Actual Native Hawaiian Victimhood; Asserts Native Hawaiian Inherent Racial Supremacy; Expresses Anti-U.S. and Anti-White Hostility; and Demands Asians in Hawaii to Ally with Native Hawaiians in the Interest of Social Justice.

by Kenneth R. Conklin, Ph.D.



In the Hawaii version of critical race theory it’s not Blacks but ethnic Hawaiians claiming greatest victimhood and demanding greatest reparations. Aside from historical grievances and demands for reparations, Hawaiians use a twisted version of a beautiful ancient creation legend to assert a blood-and-soil theology to justify claims of a fascist right to racial supremacy in culture and personal stature; and a right to race-nationalist political power. An anthropological theory of racial memory passed down genetically through generations, provides a basis for claiming authenticity of reinvented ancient knowledge and skills. Ethnic Hawaiians are portrayed as having genetically inherited racial supremacy, which surely must cause feelings of moral indebtedness and loss of self-esteem in the minds of children lacking Hawaiian blood who are taught these beliefs in the mandatory “Hawaiian Studies” components of the tax-supported schools as well as in the private schools.

As on the mainland, Whites in Hawaii are stereotyped as evil villains and colonial oppressors. Even if individual Whites have no personal history of racial misconduct nor harboring racist attitudes, they allegedly have ingrained “privilege” because the whiteness of their skin allegedly ensures that they have always been treated with deference. Like on the mainland, every White person allegedly has “implicit bias” against all other groups and especially ethnic Hawaiians — the more a “haole” denies it, the more probing and therapy must be administered to bring it out into the open. Extensive training will be required to intimidate White people to confess racism; to recognize their own implicit bias; and how to adjust their personal and political behavior to compensate for this incurable disease.

Critical race theory regards Asians in Hawaii, like Asians on the mainland, as being quasi-White. They are stereotyped as “bananas”: yellow on the outside but white on the inside. On the mainland Asians are a minority small enough to be ignored, but in Hawaii they are the majority. Hawaiian activists say Asians, including multi-generation locally born and raised Asians, are foreign settlers whose hard work and silent submissive assimilation make them accessories to, and facilitators of, White oppression of Hawaiians. Hawaiian race-partisans demand that Asians (and Whites who feel “Hawaiian at heart”) expiate the guilt they might not know they have, and step forward as allies to throw off the yoke of White oppression by becoming submissive to Hawaiians instead of to Whites. Asians (and Whites who want to be allies to Hawaiians) should listen and learn; stay in the background; offer advice in private but never try to set policy or assert leadership; give labor and money to rebuild and maintain taro patches, fishponds, and historic sites; serve food at political rallies; etc. Some ethnic Hawaiian organizations (including proposed or alleged sovereign nations) reflect this attitude in their governing bylaws or Constitutions: people with no Hawaiian native blood are welcome to join, attend meetings, and contribute money or labor; but all [pejoratively-labeled] “non-Hawaiians” are either relegated to second-class status where they cannot vote or hold office, or else the organizations’ bylaws require that a majority of the board of directors and public spokespeople must be ethnic Hawaiians (for example the statewide politically active Hawaiian Civic Clubs and formerly huge Ka Lahui [literal Hawaiian translation of La Raza]; and even the small friendly local Kailua environmental group ‘Ahahui Malama i ka Lokahi).







How ethnic-group historical grievances can be used to poison Hawaii’s multiracial solidarity
Hawaii ethnic population statistics
Ethnic Hawaiian historical grievances
Ethnic Filipino historical grievances
Ethnic Japanese historical grievances


Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Ethnic Hawaiians as a racial group do NOT own our public lands. Extending long-term leases is OK

HB499 HD2 SD2 CD1 is a bill passed by both chambers of the Hawaii legislature after many committee hearings and amendments, and was sent to the Governor on April 28, 2021.

Report Title: Public Lands; Lease Extension; Development Agreement
Description: Authorizes the board of land and natural resources to extend certain leases of public lands for commercial, industrial, resort, mixed-use, or government use upon approval of a proposed development agreement to make substantial improvements to the existing improvements. (CD1)

The bill is controversial, as can be seen by the numerous NAY votes in both chambers. Full text of the final bill, and all versions of the bill as amended along the way, and the committee reports and list of who voted which way in each committee, and files of all the testimony from each hearing, can be found at

Hawaiian sovereignty activists staged protest rallies and launched a letter-writing campaign asking Governor Ige to veto the bill. The activists assert that Hawaii’s public lands, ceded to the U.S. at annexation in 1898 and returned to Hawaii at Statehood in 1959, are stolen crown and government lands from the Kingdom of Hawaii which, they say, rightfully belong to Native Hawaiians; and extending commercial leases to as long as 99 years unjustly delays the return of those lands to the Native Hawaiians. The Governor has until June 21 to notify the legislature if he is considering a veto of this bill; otherwise the bill will become law whether or not he signs it. If he notifies the legislature that he is considering a veto, then he has until July 6 to actually veto it or sign it or else it will become law without his signature. If he vetoes the bill, the record of NAY votes in the legislature indicates it is unlikely that the legislature could muster enough votes for the super-majority needed to override a veto.

On May 29 Kenneth Conklin, Executive Director of the Center for Hawaiian Sovereignty Studies, sent Governor Ige a message urging him not to veto HB499, and to either sign the bill or let it become law without his signature. Dr. Conklin argued that the public lands never belonged to Native Hawaiians as a group. He provided a summary of the history related to those lands, including a 20-year-long litigation record ending with a 2009 decision by the U.S. Supreme Court which ruled unanimously, 9-0, that the public lands belong to the State of Hawaii in fee simple absolute, can be sold without needing permission from Native Hawaiians, and that the 1993 apology resolution is merely a resolution of sentiment with no legal force or effect regarding the public lands. Dr. Conklin’s message can be seen here.

To: David Ige, Governor, State of Hawaii
Date: May 29, 2021

Aloha Governor Ige,

Please do NOT veto HB499. Please either sign it or allow it to become law without your signature.

In recent weeks the usual loudmouthed Hawaiian sovereignty activists have held rallies and engaged in a letter writing campaign trying to persuade you to veto HB499. They FALSLY say that Native Hawaiians are the rightful owners of Hawaii’s ceded lands, and that those lands should be “returned” to Native Hawaiians, and that lengthening the term of commercial leases delays or blocks the eventual “return” of these lands to “the rightful owners.” The Honolulu newspaper has repeatedly published lengthy propaganda articles in collaboration with the outside pressure group “Pro Publica” asserting falsehoods about the history of land ownership in Hawaii.

Native Hawaiians as a group never owned the public lands, nor any portion of them. At first Kamehameha The Great personally owned all the lands in Hawaii by right of conquest. The King owned the land, not native Hawaiians as a group. In 1848 his son Kamehameha3, having inherited the land, began the Mahele process dividing the land into 3 categories: Crown lands which he kept as his personal property; Government lands owned by the government for public purposes on behalf of all the people of Hawaii regardless of race; private lands given in fee simple to individual chiefs with carve-outs for individual commoners for small parcels where they lived or farmed.

Native Hawaiians as a group had no group-ownership of any Crown land, Government land, or private land. King Lota Kamehameha5 mortgaged his Crown Lands to pay gambling debts, and by 1865 the lender was threatening to foreclose for non-payment of principal or interest. The Kingdom legislature therefore passed a law taking ownership of the Crown lands, in return for issuing government bonds to pay off the mortgage; and the King happily signed. Revenue from the Crown lands was given to the King for his expenses in maintaining a lifestyle befitting his role as head-of-state; but otherwise the Crown lands were indistinguishable from the Government lands and the merger was known from then until now as Hawaii’s “public lands.” They belonged collectively to all Hawaii’s people of all races, with no racial set-asides for “Native Hawaiians.”

In 1893 the monarchy was overthrown, and replaced by the Republic of Hawaii in 1894 — the new government took control of the public lands from the former government, as happens after any revolution or election. 1897 the Republic of Hawaii offered a Treaty of Annexation which the U.S. Congress and President agreed to in 1898. As terms of the Treaty specified, Hawaii’s public lands were ceded to the U.S. in return for the U.S. accepting responsibility to pay off the accumulated national debt from the Kingdom and Republic (the monetary value of that debt payoff was larger than the market value of all the public land). The U.S. did not simply “take” the land; it was held in trust for all the people of Hawaii regardless of race, with revenue to be used “for education and other public purposes.” The ceded lands were returned to Hawaii under terms of the Statehood Act of 1959, except for national parks and military bases, with revenue to be used for any one of more of five purposes; and for the first 20 years of Statehood virtually all the ceded land revenue was used for Hawaii’s public schools (including UH) serving all Hawaii’s children regardless of race. Native Hawaiians as a group never owned the public lands, nor any portion of them.

OHA, and a few other groups or individuals, have repeatedly sued the State of Hawaii demanding revenue from the ceded lands, or demanding that the State be prohibited from selling any parcel of ceded lands without permission from Native Hawaiians. Probably the most significant contested case over the ceded lands ran through state agency and court proceedings beginning in 1990, and ended with a U.S. Supreme Court decision in 2009. It concerned the State’s wish to transfer land at Leialii and Laiopua from the State Department of Land and Natural Resources to the State Housing and Community Development Corporation, to develop low-income housing.

When the State of Hawaii tried to sell a parcel of ceded lands there, OHA filed a lawsuit to stop that particular sale and to prohibit the state from any further sales.
On December 5, 2002 Hawaii circuit court judge Sabrina McKenna ruled against OHA, concluding that the State of Hawaii has a right to sell ceded lands.

OHA appealed Judge McKenna’s decision. On January 31, 2008 the Hawaii Supreme Court ruled 5-0 that Judge McKenna was mistaken. The Hawaii Supreme Court ruled that the State of Hawaii is permanently prohibited from selling any ceded lands until such time as a settlement has been reached regarding the claims of Native Hawaiians. That decision was based on the 1993 U.S. apology resolution in which the U.S. “confessed” to helping overthrow the monarchy in 1893, and the U.S. acknowledged that Native Hawaiians have never relinquished their claims to Hawaii lands.

The State of Hawaii filed a petition for certiorari with the U.S. Supreme Court asking it to review and overturn the state Supreme Court decision. Twenty-nine other states shortly thereafter filed an amicus brief supporting Hawaii’s petition for certiorari. On October 1, 2008 the U.S. Supreme Court granted the petition for certiorari. On February 25, 2009 the U.S. Supreme Court heard oral arguments, and on March 31, 2009 ruled unanimously, 9-0, to overturn the Hawaii Supreme Court.

The U.S. Supreme Court ruled that the State of Hawaii owns the ceded lands in fee simple absolute, has the right to sell those lands without needing permission from Native Hawaiians, and that the 1993 U.S. apology resolution is merely a resolution of sentiment which has no legal force or effect on who owns the ceded lands or what procedures must be followed when selling them.

A very large webpage provides links to legal briefs and memos, transcripts of oral arguments and decisions, full text of numerous news reports and commentaries, tracking this case from beginning to end. See

It is quite ludicrous to hear ethnic Hawaiian activists complaining about extending some leases of public land to a term of 99 years, when DHHL leases are routinely granted for 99 years and are expected to be easily renewed for another 99 years. Indeed, there are some homestead leases whose term is 999 years! (yes, that’s nine hundred ninety-nine years!) Allowing 99-year leases (and especially 999 year leases) exclusively to people who have Hawaiian native blood while denying such leases to people lacking the magic blood would be an example of systemic racism, and would be clearly contrary to the 14th Amendment Equal Protection Clause.

Governor Ige, please do NOT veto HB499. Please sign it, or allow it to become law without your signature.

Tags: , ,

TMT Mauna Kea U of Calif Regents Oral Testimony Given on 9/16/20

by Kenneth R. Conklin, Ph.D.

BACKGROUND: Hawaiian sovereignty activists have protested against the University of Hawaii proposal to build a thirty-meter telescope as part of the astronomy campus atop Mauna Kea. One of the major elements of their protest is the claim that Mauna Kea is a sacred place which TMT would desecrate — a claim sincerely believed by some but also asserted falsely for political advantage by many activists who have no religious beliefs or even conflicting beliefs. Several years ago they forcibly blocked the access road to disrupt a blessing ceremony customarily done when beginning a new project. Then in 2019 and 2020 a mob of hundreds of protesters forcibly blocked the access road to prevent construction from beginning, rotating mob members, building permanent tents and other facilities squarely on the road, and placing kupuna (elders) on their front line to dissuade police from enforcing the law. A timid, fearful, politically correct governor and mayor tolerated the year-long blockade until the COVID-19 virus forced everyone to go home.

The TMT project, like other observatories that have operated for decades, is funded by a consortium including universities on the mainland and around the world. The activists have sent their leaders to meet with the regents or boards of directors of some of those institutions to lobby them to withdraw from the project, thus undercutting its financial base. In response the University of California Board of Regents held hearings over the internet with livestreaming, and invited public testimony by telephone (to avoid infection from the COVID-19 virus). Below is Ken Conklin’s time-limited testimony from Wednesday September 16, 2020.

Aloha kakou,

‘O Ken Conklin keia mai ke ahupua’a ‘o He’eia, Ko’olaupoko, O’ahu, Hawaii.

I am Kenneth R. Conklin, Ph.D., a retired professor of Philosophy.
I have lived in Kane’ohe for 28 years, have studied Hawaiian history and the ancient religion in depth, and speak Hawaiian with moderate fluency.

Some ethnic Hawaiians oppose the TMT project because they claim Mauna Kea is a sacred place, and TMT would be a desecration of of it.

Here are three reasons why that claim should be rejected:

1. Most ethnic Hawaiians today are Christians. The real disrespect of ancestors and desecration of the ancient religion comes at the hands of ethnic Hawaiians who today abuse it as a mere pawn in their political chess game. The four primary native Hawaiian leaders, exercising self- determination on behalf of their people, officially abolished their old religion in 1819, when Kamehameha died, the year BEFORE the Christian missionaries arrived. They were King Liholiho Kamehameha II; Keopuolani who was Kamehameha’s sacred wife and mother of the next two Kings; Ka’ahumanu who was Kamehameha’s favorite wife and acted as co-ruler with Liholiho; and Kahuna Nui (High Priest) Hewahewa. They abolished the old religion by publicly violating an important taboo at a large banquet and then ordering the heiaus (stone temples) and wooden idols to be destroyed throughout all the islands. Today’s ethnic Hawaiians are welcome to invent any religion they wish; but cannot claim the old religion remains authoritative.

2. According to the most widely-recognized creation legend from the old religion, the goddess who gave birth to Haloa, the primordial ancestor from whom all ethnic Hawaiians are descended, was Ho’ohokukalani . Her name literally means “She who placed the stars into the heavens.” She gave birth to Haloa on Mauna Kea. Therefore Mauna Kea is exactly the right place where mother goddess Ho’ohokukalani should be worshipped by her descendants. Telescopes are today’s implements whereby Hawaiians today can worship their primordial goddess Mother who placed the stars into the heavens.

3. It would be unconstitutional for any governmental agency, including the Board of Regents, to adopt a religion as the basis for making laws or regulations. The First Amendment to our Constitution commands that there shall be “no law respecting an establishment of religion.” Neither the U.S. nor State of Hawaii nor State of California nor Board of Regents is allowed to elevate the ancient Hawaiian religion, nor any ersatz reinvented version of it, as the authority for making government decisions. No matter how much you may respect the ancient religion, no matter how much you may admire the modern people who reinvent that religion as a basis for their own political activism, you must ignore that religion when setting government policy for the shared use of Mauna Kea by all the people of our multiracial society.