The Best of Honolulu 2001
Most provocative notion in Hawaiian affairs
The issues of Native Hawaiian rights, sovereignty and potential models for Hawaiian self-governance have recently come to include more and more dialogue about a model of independence based not on ethnicity, but on the Hawaiian Kingdom's already existent/never-extinguished sovereignty and the actual laws of the kingdom. Two things are compelling about this idea: It's fueled by international laws that govern occupation; and two, the notion of an already existent sovereignty might affect dialogue about the relationship between Native Hawaiian people and the U.S. government.
Eight months ago, self-appointed representatives from the Hawaiian Kingdom appeared at the World Court's Permanent Court of Arbitration (Dec. 7, 2000), to defend themselves in a non-contentious case between Lance Paul Larsen and the Hawaiian Kingdom. In the body of the award handed down by the arbitrators in February, the independence of the Hawaiian Kingdom during the 19th century was acknowledged. This, combined with the fact that no known record of the Hawaiian Kingdom ever relinquishing its sovereignty exists, calls into question the legitimacy of "statehood."
Since that appearance at the World Court, international laws that govern rules of occupation and America's own domestic policies have become topics in discussions between Hawaiians.
Spurred on by his visit to The Hague, this past July 5, David Keanu Sai, Acting Minister of the Hawaiian Kingdom, submitted a complaint at the United Nation's Security Council that, like the above-mentioned case, stipulates that the Hawaiian Kingdom is still in existence. Entitled "Complaint Against the United States of America – Concerning the American Occupation of the Hawaiian Kingdom," the 139-page document includes a list of every nation the Hawaiian Kingdom had/has treaties with, as well as the international laws that still govern and protect those treaties. The document also spells out America's abuse of power, sometimes reading like a laundry list of how America has deceived and manipulated its way into occupying Hawai'i both militarily and economically. And now, by virtue of having accepted the complaint, the UN Security Council must take up the issue of America's occupation of Hawai'i.
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