Hawaiian Natives Move One Step Closer to Declaring Sovereignty from U.S. Government

hawaii-SovereigntyBy Carey Wedler

This week, Native Hawaiians initiated an historical election that may grant them sovereignty from the United States and the state of Hawaii, itself, after well over a century of colonial rule. More than 95,000 indigenous people will elect delegates to a constitutional convention, scheduled for this winter, when they will work to create a government that serves and represents Native Hawaiians — the only group of indigenous people in the United States currently restricted from forming their own government.

In the 19th century, European and American missionaries and traders began settling in Hawaii. They quickly formed a political movement and succeeded in transferring power from the king to his cabinet and the legislature. Though they drafted a new constitution limiting the king’s control, they also limited the voting rights of Asians and Native Hawaiians while granting that right to wealthy non-citizens.

When the king died and his sister, Queen Liliuokalani, assumed the throne, she attempted to restore power to the monarchy and return voting rights to those who had been excluded by the white settlers. White businessmen disapproved of her intentions and formed the Committee of Safety, which sought to overthrow the Queen and have Hawaii annexed by the United States. On January 16, 1893, backed by a  militia and 162 U.S. marines, the Committee achieved its goal. The Queen surrendered, and in 1898, Hawaii was annexed by the United States.

The federal government apologized in 1993 for its colonization of the island and its natives, but that failed to improve conditions for many indigenous people. According to a government report, Native Hawaiians suffer higher rates of poverty and unemployment than the rest of the population and are underrepresented in business ownership and education. Further, Native Hawaiians “are the racial group with the highest proportion of risk factors leading to illness, disability, and premature death” — a problem compounded by a lack of access to healthcare.

These stark conditions, as well as the state’s imperial history, have led many Native Hawaiians to seek sovereignty from the United States government.

In 2011, Hawaii passed a law to recognize Native Hawaiians as the first people of Hawaii. That bill also established the Native Hawaiian Roll Commission to “assemble a list of qualified and interested Native Hawaiian voters” — a move that gave infrastructure to the current push for self-determination.

Last month, U.S. District Court Judge J. Michael Seabright ruled to allow the vote, which will not be administered by the state. The month-long election will select 40 delegates to attend a constitutional convention in February. Though delegates will not be elected to any public office, they will be instrumental in deciding how Native Hawaiians will rule themselves. At the eight-week convention scheduled for February, the elected delegates will decide whether or not they want to create a new Native Hawaiian government. If a Native government is formed, delegates will also decide whether to establish a “government-to-government” relationship with the U.S. or seek total independence.

One of the members of the commission, Native Hawaiian Robin Danner, expressed optimism for the new vote:

For the first time in over a hundred years, there will be a definitive voice on Native Hawaiian issues,” she said. “A definitive and recognized government to speak for our culture, our people, our issues, instead of county or state government attempting to have a subcommittee within their agencies or structures to mouthpiece the value of native viewpoints, which has not worked well at all.”

However, the process has not been without opposition. In August, two non-native Hawaiians (sponsored by Judicial Watch) sued to stop the vote, claiming it was racially discriminatory — and therefore unconstitutional — because only Native Hawaiians would be allowed to participate. Two Native Hawaiians also joined the suit to protest that their names were added to voter rolls without their consent. Then, two additional Native Hawaiians joined to voice general opposition to the proposed process of attaining self-determination.

Kellii Akina, one of the plaintiffs, said it was “wrong for the state government to use public resources in order to promote a racially discriminatory process.” She added, “What’s really at stake here is not only the constitution of the United States but also the aloha spirit.”

Nevertheless, the case resulted in Judge Seabright’s decision last month to allow the vote. Judicial Watch has since filed an injunction in an attempt to halt the election.

Natural and Non-Toxic Products. Up to 50% Off – Every Day (Ad)

Criticism also came from an unlikely corner: Walter Ritte, a delegate candidate who dropped out of the race last Wednesday, expressed the concerns of many Natives that the government is too involved in the process. For example, though the election is administered privately, the Office of Hawaiian Affairs provided $2.6 million to fund it — evoking protests from plaintiffs in the August suit. Further, the Native Hawaiian Roll Commission, which has played an instrumental role in the push for the vote, is after all, a government entity.

Witte argued the proposed path to sovereignty would simply facilitate “continuation of the U.S. goal to illegally occupy the Hawaiian Islands.”

“If you’re going to plant a seed that is not pono [righteous],”  he said, “then you’re going to harvest something that is not pono.” He called the election “a fake pathway to nationhood and its disillusioned vision of sovereignty,” encouraging voters to remove themselves from the rolls.

Independent nonprofit Na’i Aupuni, which has campaigned in favor of the vote, quickly responded to Ritte’s criticisms that the proposed path to sovereignty was counterproductive:

“Na’i Aupuni encourages Native Hawaiians to voice their opinion on the Na`i Aupuni process because the voters and delegate candidates should hear all voices.

“However, the fact that some Native Hawaiians protest because they are concerned that their desired outcome will not be accepted emphasizes the need for a Native Hawaiian convention. Without a process to vote in leaders who can advocate among each other to find a consensus, the Native Hawaiian community will never proceed forward in unity,” a statement read.

As Danner, who works for the government-created commission, expressed, “Being native in the United States is like living a cycle of grief. Because being native in the United States is to have lost something powerful. First, you’re depressed. Then you’re angry. Then there is some acceptance and then you get to a point where you say, ‘What am I going to do about it?’ As a people I think we are at the stage where we are ready to do something about it.”

These divisions highlight a common conflict in American political life that echoes the “lesser of two evils” dilemma: should Hawaiians wait for a purer movement devoid of government influence to seek sovereignty, delaying the process and extending the suppression of their right to form a government? Or should they seize the state-sponsored opportunity they have been offered for the sake of expediency and resolution?

Assuming Judicial Watch’s appeal fails and the vote continues, it appears Hawaiians are one step closer to determining their fate — whether they like it or not.

This article (Hawaii Moves One Step Closer to Declaring Sovereignty from U.S. Government) is free and open source. You have permission to republish this article under a Creative Commons license with attribution to Carey Wedler and theAntiMedia.org. Anti-Media Radio airs weeknights at 11pm Eastern/8pm Pacific. If you spot a typo, email [email protected].

Activist Post Daily Newsletter

Subscription is FREE and CONFIDENTIAL
Free Report: How To Survive The Job Automation Apocalypse with subscription

6 Comments on "Hawaiian Natives Move One Step Closer to Declaring Sovereignty from U.S. Government"

  1. Wasn’t this tried unsuccessfully in the 1860’s?

    • Hawaii didn’t become a state until August 21, 1959. This is some of that antipathy against whites driven by Obama administration and Black Lives Matter–what it is–like the Bolshevik Revolution in Russia, it is being drive by radicals within and outside government to overthrow our Constitution and capitalism in America, it IS to finish ‘white’ control of the U.S. and permanently entrench a minority controlled government through American abortion/ILLEGAL and legal immigration and importation of muslims under Obama administration. Abortion has NEVER been about a ‘woman’s right’, it has always been about POPULATION control of native born Americans by the same people, organizations that push ILLEGAL immigration, open borders and more importation of outside 3rd world people dependent on government as their way of life. THAT is how the DemocRATS intend to “fundamentally transform” America now that Obama’s socialist policies have been crammed down our throats.

      • Exactly, as a “minority” they get a pass.
        Imagine the administrations reaction if this had been done in Texas?

  2. Agree. For anyone to call the invasion/war/slaughter/raping of the Confederate States of America by the FOREIGN power run by the R.R. attorney named Lincoln, a “civil war” is B.S. The U.S. (yet again), invaded a sovereign nation and wreaked havoc, then the parasite bankers (Carpetbaggers/Scalawags), slithered in and after giving orders to “our boys” to raise taxes etc. until the citizens of the Confederate States could no longer keep up on their illegal/foreign taxes, they strolled in and bought them up for pennies on the dollar.
    The “great emancipator” didn’t sign the proclamation until ’63 and that was because Europe was getting tired of the slaughter and was very close to demanding a stop to hostilities and beginning of negotiations… end of the global police state, begin THREE nations on North American Continent. You know, in light of the Central Bank’s ownership of this nation, it’s beginning to look as though the U.S. was “invented” for precisely that; Become big/tough/tyrannical, force Central Banks down the world’s collective throats, voila! world government with the reigns held by Central Bankers in the City of London.
    The Confederate Flag is a symbol of a lost sovereign nation and has NOTHING to do with slavery. In fact, slavery on this continent was started by Jewish merchants in the North East, (once they successfully had their Judas Class get rid of laws already in place making it illegal.
    Same hegemony used on
    Panama – etc. etc. etc.
    A leopard never changes it’s spots. Especially in a culture where arrogant ignorance is touted as a “virtue”.

    • You got it–you left out one FACT–the Emancipation Proclamation freed ONLY slaves in southern STATES or TERRITORIES–for some reason Lincoln actually admitted–he said he had NO authority to free slaves in northern states, only those in the south and THAT was who the proclamation was aimed at–he hoped to cause an insurrection in southern states by freed slaves, forcing southern soldiers to abandon battlefields and go home–what happened was Lincoln’s army had to FORCE any black slaves to join up and then it was through threat and intimidation. The slaves in the northern states weren’t actually FREE until passage of the 13th Amendment in Dec. 1865, AFTER the Confederate Constitution had ABOLISHED importation of slaves FOUR YEARS BEFORE Congress did when the Confederacy adopted the Constitution of the Confederate States in March of 1861, found in ARTICLE ONE, Section Nine.

  3. The HAWAIIN PEOPLE who live on one of the ISLANDS are ture NAATIVES =- the rest are jsut a bunch of cross breeds . ////////////////////////////////////////

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published.