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 [See endnote of 12/12/17] 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

Note added by Ken Conklin on December 12, 2017:

Today I received a complaint that this blog entry of October 8 unfairly blames Tim Chey, the director/producer of the film “The Islands”, for a racially inflammatory and anti-American falsehood apparently portrayed in the film. According to its publicity webpage the film depicts U.S. troops invading Iolani Palace in 1893 and Queen Lili’uokalani surrendering to the U.S. troops. So who then should be blamed when a film portrays a historical falsehood which misleads viewers to think it is true and which inflames anti-white and anti-American passions? The person who hires the writers, approves the script, and assembles the financing and distribution must take the blame, as surely as the captain of a ship which runs aground or sinks because of dereliction by a navigator or other subordinate officers.

The film’s webpage is at http://theislandsmovie.com/ On December 12, 2017 the webpage still states what it has stated for many months. Sentences near the end of the story’s narrative say: “Cut Forward to: 1893 We see the reporter and Liliuokalani discussing Kapiolani when the U.S. Marines now enter the palace of Liliuokalani. She surrenders as the reporter attempts to intervene.” The falsehood about U.S. troops invading Iolani Palace in 1893 and overthrowing the Queen is apparently only a minor detail in a film that is primarily focused earlier in the 19th Century, especially 1824 when High Chiefess Kapiolani challenged the power of the volcano goddess Pele and thereby persuaded Hawaiian natives to believe in the Christian God. But a small detail, like a few drops of poison, can make a glass of sweet fruit juice deadly.

The complainer also said that the film has not yet been completed, so no falsehood has yet been portrayed. Plenty of time to fix any problem. But that assertion about timing is also false. The movie’s webpage on December 12, 2017 clearly states “Production has wrapped on the high-profile movie, ‘The Islands’ set to hit theaters in November 2018.” Tim Chey’s tweet on November 24, 2017 says “So happy! We just wrapped filming on ‘The Islands’! God is good!”
https://twitter.com/TimChey1/status/934271514257473536

In early 2017 I first became aware of the effort to produce this film, thanks to news reports in Honolulu. I found the film’s webpage, was horrified by the historical falsehood, wrote a comment seeking to correct the historical falsehood, and sent it through the film’s webpage. I also spoke with a friend of mine who has the ear of Mr. Chey; but my concern failed to elicit a response. When does the point of no return come in writing or producing a multimillion dollar film? When is the time to prevent a film from portraying a scurrilous falsehood which then gets viewed by a mass audience and inflames hatred? And once the film has finished production and gets scheduled for the theaters, and perhaps ends up getting viewed by millions on “The History Channel” or “Showtime”, how can the damage be mitigated? That problem is now in the hands of Tim Chey. I am ignorant about how films are made, and unable to recommend how to correct the problem. But surely a Christian with strong moral values, who is an expert on film production and responsible for this one, will find a way to obey the Commandment “Thou shalt not bear false witness.”

This falsehood about U.S. troops invading Iolani Palace in 1893 (sometimes also that the troops arrested the Queen and imprisoned her there) has been going around. Senators Inouye and Dorgan told that lie on the floor of the U.S. Senate on June 23, 2008 to portray Native Hawaiians as victims of the U.S. to whom we therefore owe restitution and federal recognition as an Indian tribe; and it was also portrayed in the 2009 film “Princess Kaiulani.” It’s time to put a stop to this falsehood before it pollutes the Aloha Spirit. I have also been working for years to discredit other scurrilous falsehoods inciting hatred, such as: The last Hawaiian flag atop Iolani Palace was torn into pieces distributed as souvenirs to the haoles who overthrew the Queen; President Grover Cleveland issued a proclamation naming April 30, 1894 as a national day of prayer and repentance for the U.S. overthrow of the Hawaiian Kingdom; Hawaiian language was made illegal after the overthrow; The Royal Mausoleum was exempted from the ceded lands at annexation and remains a piece of Hawaiian Kingdom sovereign land; Native Hawaiians have the worst statistics for all the major diseases, drug abuse, poverty, incarceration etc. For the debunking of these and other falsehoods, put keywords into the search window, or read the history section, on my website at
http://tinyurl.com/6gkzk
To understand the political struggle in Hawaii which falsehoods like these are worsening, see the book “Hawaiian Apartheid: Racial Separatism and Ethnic Nationalism in the Aloha State” at
http://tinyurl.com/2a9fqa

 

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