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Hawaii independence movement

The Hawaii Independence movement is steadily growing. Hawaii was an independent multi-cultural kingdom until it was overthrown by force in 1893 by a band of armed thugs in cahoots with industrial interests and the US government. Bill Clinton issued a formal apology (but no reparations) for this in 1993.

Queen Liliuokalani was toppled Jan. 17, 1893 by a rebellion led by the American minister to Hawaii and supported by U.S. military forces.

The formal apology acknowledging the nation’s part in that coup was approved this fall by both the Senate and the House of Representatives.

Supporters, led by Akaka, a native Hawaiian, had been pushing for an apology during the centennial observance of the kingdom’s overthrow.

The multi-cultural aspect of the Kingdom of Hawaii is important. Hawaii granted citizenship to all, and people from dozens of nationalities became active citizens. That’s what the independence movement wants back, an independent, multi-racial, multi-ethnic country.

Sen. Akaka of Hawaii has been sponsoring a bill that would grant limited rights to Native Hawaiians, similar to Native Americans. The independence movement tends to oppose it, seeing it as inadequate, deceptive, filled with traps, and not going far enough.

Scott Crawford, who blogs about Hawaiian independence at Hawaiian Kingdom eloquently details why he opposes the Akaka Bill in a Kos dairy.

Native Hawaiian Federal Recognition bill – please oppose

He has other Kos diaries that provide background for those, like me, who are new to these issues.

Hawaiian "Sovereignty Restoration Day"

Consent of the Governed

Scott also emailed me info about the peace movement in Hawaii. 

Re peace activities, things are actually focused more on anti-militarization in Hawaii, and have a close overlap with the sovereignty and independence folks. Issues include resisting the UARC at UH, the Stryker brigade, live-fire training at Makua Valley, and related issues, all of which I blog about under the military occupation category.

A couple of the prominent leaders are Kyle Hajishiro and Ikaika Hussey. Here’s a few links:

AFSC Hawaii

DMZ Hawaii. Stop military expanson

Stop UARC Stop expansion of military research at Univ. of Hawaii.  

Noho Newa Ma Hawaii Ne. The wrongful occupation of Hawaii.

Urgent cases: Stryker Brigade in Hawaii

Then there are the groups and activities more directed at the Iraq war and broader policy issues than just Hawaii, which includes Not In Our Name Hawaii, and Maui Peace Action. Ave Diaz and Mele Stokesbury are two main activists here on Maui with MPA. Some of them were also delegates for Kucinich in 2004 (he won Maui by the way, and I think had 8 delegates from Hawaii).

And of course, check Scott’s blog, Hawaiian Kingdom.

  • steve laudig

    In the “self promotion” department. I recommend the Hawaiian Journal of Law and Politics.

    Steve Laudig

    “Sovereignty” never simply “ceases.” Governments can be altered through constitutional means, internal revolt or by foreign intervention, but “sovereignty” of a recognized State, under international law, can only be affected either through merger with another sovereign state(s), i.e. United States Federation in 1787, or dismemberment, e.g. the former Yugoslavia into separate and distinct states in the 1990’s as a result of internal revolt. This point is elaborated by Dr. Matthew Craven’s legal opinion in 2003 concerning the continuity of Hawaiian sovereignty under international law. According to international law, there exists no merger of Hawaiian sovereignty to that of U.S. sovereignty. A unilateral annexation by Congressional action does not constitute a bilateral “merger” of sovereignty.

    Hawaiian Journal of Law and Politics: The Hawaiian Journal of Law and Politics is an online annual research journal published in association with the Hawaiian Society of Law and Politics. The Journal is edited by graduate students from the University of Hawai`i at Manoa and faculty advisers from the Departments of Law, Political Science and the Center for Hawaiian Studies. http://www2.hawaii.edu/~hslp/journal_vol1.html

  • First, Mahalo, Bob, for this post. As I have noted before, both the Akaka bill for federal recognition of Native Hawaiians, and the independence struggle which is much broader, have been discussed quite a bit in conservative blogs and traditional media, but progressive blogs have been pretty much silent on these matters. While the issues have very real and important consequences for us here in Hawaii, the implications go much beyond the islands, so I encourage folks to become familiar with the history and the issues happening today, and I really appreciate the exposure you’re providing.

    And I also strongly second Steve’s recommendation to check out the Hawaiian Journal of Law and Politics. For those who want to delve a bit deeper into the history and the legal and political aspects of the continuity and occupation of the Hawaiian kingdom, issues of Hawaiian nationality, etc, the articles there are fascinating and valuable.

    Also, a quick update on the Akaka bill. It never came to a vote (or even a cloture vote against Republican blocks) last session, but will be introduced again this session, and will be scheduled in the Senate probably not before the spring at least. Meanwhile, the US Commission on Civil Rights will be holding a briefing on the bill on Jan. 20.

    http://www.hawaiiankingdom.info/C608676235/E20060104071503/index.html

  • http://www.krischel.org/2006/01/06/the-rest-of-the-story/

    The problem you’ll often find with those advocating for hawaiian independence is that they stop reading history after 12/18/1893. Although they have a wealth of sources to quote up to 2/25/1894, the final report on the Hawaiian overthrow was released from the senate 2/26/1894, which found the charges of Cleveland, and his secret agent Blount to be baseless.

    Cleveland, after this report, went on to conduct normal diplomatic relations with the Provisional Government he once criticized, and officially recognized the Republic of Hawaii as legitimate, and even negotiated treaties with the Republic that the Republic had inherited from the Kingdom.

    Please, gentle audience, read the rest of the story.

  • Bob

    You mean the government that participated in the overthrow of the Hawaiian nation determined itself to be blameless in the affair?

    If the US was blameless, why did President Clinton issue an apology 100 years later, backed by a vote of Congress?

  • Jere and I have been having an extended discussion on the merits (or lack thereof) of the Morgan Report in the comments thread of this post, in the context of the legality of the intervention, for those who have the stomach for it:

    http://www.hawaiiankingdom.info/C1126750129/E20060106144639/index.html

    The key point being as you have pointed out – the United States can’t exonerate itself of an international violation. We don’t stop reading history after 12/18/1893 (Cleveland’s address to congress), we just don’t take the findings of a committee holding hearings in Washington, far from the scene of the crime, and having only pro-annexationists testify before them, as determinitive.

    While I also criticize some aspects of the Apology, mainly that it was directed exclusively to Native Hawaiians when Hawaiian nationals of all races were affected by the illegal actions of the United States, its recounting of historical events other than that is largely accurate. Also, small technicality, but it was actually Congress issuing the Apology, with Clinton signing it, like any resolution.

  • If the US was blameless, why did President Clinton issue an apology 100 years later, backed by a vote of Congress?

    Because it was stealth legislation passed with only a few hours of debate. Had the Morgan Report been entered into the debate, it would never have passed.

    The 1993 apology resolution was thoroughly discredited in a paper by Bruce Fein: http://www.hawaiireporter.com/file.aspx?Guid=aefef5f6-a533-486a-9459-691138355dd1

  • We don’t stop reading history after 12/18/1893 (Cleveland’s address to congress), we just don’t take the findings of a committee holding hearings in Washington, far from the scene of the crime, and having only pro-annexationists testify before them, as determinitive.

    The critical problem here is that you fail to accept Cleveland’s complete turnabout after the findings of that committee, which took Blount’s original report as well as Blount’s testimony, in addition to further eyewitness testimony, before coming to its conclusion.

    After 2/26/1894, Cleveland treated the Provisional Government as legitimate, rebuffed the Queen’s protest for interference on her behalf, and even negotiated treaties with the Republic which had been inherited from the Kingdom.

    The problem I see with any sort of legal solution to this is excellently stated by Cleveland himself in his 12/18/1893 letter:

    “The considerations that international law is without a court for its enforcement, and that obedience to its commands practically depends upon good faith, instead of upon the mandate of a superior tribunal,”

    Essentially Cleveland admits here that “international law” at the time was merely about image and honor, without any enforceable method of adjudication. Given that, if Cleveland “confessed” on behalf of the U.S. on 12/18/1893, who did he confess to? And if the Morgan Report exonerated the U.S. on 2/26/1894, to what body did the exoneration matter?

    Anyway, the conversation at scott’s blog is excellent. I highly recommend it.

  • jere obviously ascribes the “might makes right” theory of history and international law.

    here’s the full Cleveland quote (from his message to Congress, 12/18/1893) to provide context. The rest of the sentence from what Jere cited above indicates his meaning is the exact opposite of what Jere would like to infer:

    The law of nations is founded upon reason and justice, and the rules of conduct governing individual relations between citizens or subjects of a civilized state are equally applicable as between enlightened nations. The considerations that international law is without a court for its enforcement, and that obedience to its commands practically depends upon good faith, instead of upon the mandate of a superior tribunal, only give additional sanction to the law itself and brand any deliberate infraction of it not merely as a wrong but as a disgrace. A man of true honor protects the unwritten word which binds his conscience more scrupulously, if possible, than he does the bond a breach of which subjects him to legal liabilities; and the United States in aiming to maintain itself as one of the most enlightened of nations would do its citizens gross injustice if it applied to its international relations any other than a high standard of honor and morality. On that ground the United States can not properly be put in the position of countenancing a wrong after its commission any more than in that of consenting to it in advance. On that ground it can not allow itself to refuse to redress an injury inflicted through an abuse of power by officers clothed with its authority and wearing its uniform; and on the same ground, if a feeble but friendly state is in danger of being robbed of its independence and its sovereignty by a misuse of the name and power of the United States, the United States can not fail to vindicate its honor and its sense of justice by an earnest effort to make all possible reparation.

    And as to Cleveland’s “complete turnabout” here’s a proclamation he issued in Feb. 25, 1894, which was printed in the New York Sun, timed apparently to coincide with the release of the Morgan Report that same day:


    To My People:
    Whereas, my good and great sister and fellow sovereign, her gracious majesty, Liliuokalani, queen of Hawai’i, has been wickedly and unlawfully dethroned by the machinations of Americans and persons of American descent in those islands, being instigated thereto by the devil, one John L. Stevens; and whereas, my well-concieved plans for the restoration of her sacred majesty have not had the result they deserved but her majesty is still defrauded of her legal rights by her refractory and rebellious subjects, and her position is a just cause of sympathy and alarm; now, therefore, I, Grover Cleveland, President of the United States, do hereby ordain and appoint the last day of April next as a day of solemn fasting, humiliation and prayer.
    Let my people humble themselves and repent for their injustice to me and my great and good sister, and pray, without distinction of color, for her speedy return to the throne and the discomfiture of the miserable herd of missionaries and their sons, her enemies and traducers.
    Long Live Liliuokalani, the de jure queen of Hawaii

    Done at our mansion in Washington this 25th day of February, 1894.
    Grover Cleveland
    A true copy. Attest,
    Walter Q. Gresham,
    Secretary of State

  • And as to Cleveland’s “complete turnabout” here’s a proclamation he issued in Feb. 25, 1894, which was printed in the New York Sun, timed apparently to coincide with the release of the Morgan Report that same day:

    Again, scott refers to a “joke” proclamation. He found this information for me:

    On p314-315 of The Betrayal of Liliuokalani by Helena G. Allen, she says, regarding the provisional government “President Cleveland jokingly expressed his contempt in a proclamation” which she then reprints the text of. Her footnoted citation is as follows: New York Sun, February 26, 1894.

    You’ll find this joke proclamation conspicuously absent from the Messages and Letters of Grover Cleveland for his second term:

    http://www.gutenberg.org/etext/14137

    It seems that this proclamation is actually a mocking of cleveland, if anything. If it was indeed written by his own hand in jest, it seems to mock the Queen, if anything.

    You really need to read the rest of the story:

    http://www.krischel.org/2006/01/06/the-rest-of-the-story/

  • while using hyperbole to make a serious point (e.g. stevens isn’t literallly the devil) the proclamation quite clearly reflects cleveland’s true sentiment, consistent with his earlier address to congress. jere knows this. jere first tried to say the proclamation was a ‘complete fabrication’ of sovereignty activists. when the source was cited, the argument was change to it being a ‘joke’ based on allen’s characterization, without also acknowledging her statement that it expressed cleveland’s contempt. out of desperation jere is reduced to absurd arguments that cleveland was mocking the queen, self-evidently ridiculous.

  • jere first tried to say the proclamation was a ‘complete fabrication’ of sovereignty activists

    Actually, I didn’t attribute it to sovereignty activists – I merely called it a complete fabrication. And as it does not exist in the collection of Cleveland’s official letters and messages, even the most generous interpretation of events would be that Cleveland fabricated the text and Gresham’s attestment at the end of his “proclamation”, and decided to submit it to the New York Sun as an editorial. Had it been written by Cleveland and attested to by Gresham, much less for publication in a widely distributed periodical, he could just have easily made an official proclamation with the same hyperbole.

    And according to scott’s information, it was a “joke” proclamation posted in the New York Sun, not an official proclamation of the White House. The assertion that specific portions of it are to be taken literally, and others as hyperbole, is not sustainable.

    If any specific part of it was hyperbole, it is reasonable to assert that all of it could have been hyperbole, and that Cleveland was not only “jokingly” asserting Stevens was the devil, but also “jokingly” asserting that the queen was unlawfully deposed. A joke he probably wouldn’t have made if he was sympathetic to the Queen.

    I’m still looking for a copy of the article in the New York Sun, February 26, 1894 titled “Fools’ Day a Fast Day”. If anyone has access to a copy, please email me with details.

    Mahalo.

  • even if the entire tone of the proclatation was hyperbolic, hyperbole doesn’t change or invalidate the underlying meaning, it just uses exaggeration to make the point more strongly.

  • If the entire tone of the proclamation was hyperbolic, then it can be claimed:

    1) Stevens was not the devil, merely an annoying person;

    2) The queen was not wickedly and unlawfully dethroned, merely rudely deposed;

    3) Cleveland’s plans for her restoration were not well-conceived, but well-intentioned;

    4) The queen was not defrauded of her legal rights, merely inconvenienced by the result of due process;

    5) We should not humble ourselves as a nation in mourning, but merely feel bad that one of our friends lost their job;

    6) The queen is not the de jure queen of hawaii, but the queen in our hearts.

    Yeah, exaggeration here doesn’t quite get across the point I think that people who take it literally are trying to get.

    Again, I strongly suspect that this “proclamation” was a spoof editorial mocking Cleveland for his complete error in his 12/18/1893 letter as demonstrated by the 2/26/1894 Morgan Report. I could be wrong, but it doesn’t seem that way.

  • I think it’s quite clear that the “joke” proclamation of Cleveland was intended to mock Cleveland by exhibiting his “true” sentiments that he would never share with the world, with the subtext that these sentiments were irrational and unfounded.

    We’ll see more clearly when we get a copy of the New York Sun, February 26, 1894.

  • http://morganreport.org

    Now, we have the whole Morgan Report available to the public online. It clearly repudiates the Blount Report, and caused Cleveland to completely reverse his position on the matter. If you don’t believe me, go look for yourself.

    Enjoy!

  • giorgia

    I am so proud of the people of Hawaii to regain their knowlege of their language and lifestyle berfor the take over of the white man.I lived there in the 1970’s and returned for one week only, as I stood by the elementary school in Lahina my heart was filled as I heard the people on Lei Day sining and speaking Hawaiian. Whem I lived there befor they wouldnt even let them practice their native Hawaiian tounge. You rock hawaii, teach you kei keis well, let them know how strong they are, your hearts are pure and your spirits strong. Forever stronger living longer.Hawaii is the kine.mahalo ohana

  • I was born there in the 70’s, and remember quite clearly in the late 70’s singing in olelo, and learning olelo words (though not conversational olelo) in school.

    Who was it that you observed didn’t let people practice singing and speaking Hawaiian? The schools? The parents? The police?

    http://kenconklin.org/mediawiki/index.php?title=Was_Hawaiian_Language_Illegal%3F

    I am so proud of the haole who helped preserve the hawaiian language by developing an alphabet and recording their language for future generations. I am so proud of the haole who have helped the oiwi rediscover their celestial navigation skills. Hawaii is a place where we are all of one blood, no matter where we have come from, and we all share pride in the language and culture of the oiwi.

  • Paul Arrighi

    In regards to Jere’s promotion of the Morgan Report, he fails to point out that President Cleveland upon hearing that the deposed queen planned to execute the provisional government, took the step of reluctantly acknowledging the provisional government in order to save the lives of the American citizens that were behind the take over.

  • Paul Arrighi

    Here at Ken Conklins website he discusses this:

    http://kenconklin.org/mediawiki/index.php?title=Was_Hawaiian_Language_Illegal%3F

    Did the Evil Haoles Suppress Hawaiian Language As A Way of Oppressing Kanaka Maoli and Destroying Their Culture?

    The answer is unquestionably YES. I recommend reading Chapter 2 of Noenoe Silva’s excellent book, Aloha Betrayed for more imformation.

  • fails to point out that President Cleveland upon hearing that the deposed queen planned to execute the provisional government, took the step of reluctantly acknowledging the provisional government in order to save the lives of the American citizens that were behind the take over.

    Do you have any references for that Paul, or is that merely speculation on your part?

  • It is interesting to note that Minister Willis, on 12/18/1893, demanded the resinstatement of the Queen on behalf of Cleveland. Also on 12/18/1893, Cleveland, who did not know that the Queen had recanted her death threats, forwarded the matter on to Congress for their “broader discretion and authority”.

    Even if Paul is correct in his assertion that Cleveland forwarded the matter on to Congress because he couldn’t condone the bloodthirsty queen, the fact of the matter is that Minister Willis acted just as if he hadn’t done so, and demaneded the resinstatement of Liliuokalani.

    He was flatly refused by Dole.