The Office of Hawaiian Affairs, an agency of the government of the State of Hawaii, is trying to exercise leadership in the Hawaiian secessionist movement. This is not the first time OHA has provided money and organizational expertise to the secessionists. Documents on OHA letterhead are provided later in this essay, inviting secessionist groups and leaders to a day-long meeting on May 30, 2009 at the University of Hawaii East-West Center, and asking them to reply ahead of time to a lengthy questionnaire about their organizations and what needs OHA might help them with.
One reason OHA's leading role in the secessionist movement is troubling is that OHA is the chief pusher of the Akaka bill. OHA has spent untold millions of dollars of Hawaii government money lobbying for the Akaka bill in Washington; and untold millions more paying for TV, radio, and newspaper ads and community outreach in Hawaii and on the mainland for the Akaka bill and for the closely related Kau Inoa racial registry.
OHA and Akaka bill supporters have always had a strongly ambivalent love/hate relationship with the secessionists. Most Hawaiian sovereignty activists, including OHA trustees and Akaka bill supporters, are probably secessionist at heart. They regret that the monarchy was overthrown in 1893 and that annexation took place in 1898, and would prefer to "have their country back." But they recognize that Hawaii is now the 50th state, and that the U.S. is not likely to let go of Hawaii. So they believe the next-best thing to full independence is for ethnic Hawaiians to have "self-determination" in the form of a race-based sub-government which receives huge "reparations" in the form of money and land exclusively for ethnic Hawaiians.
Most independence activists oppose the Akaka bill because they fear it will place ethnic Hawaiians more firmly than ever under the thumb of American oppression. They fear that Hawaiians who sign up for membership in the Akaka tribe will thereby be signing their allegiance to the U.S. and acknowledging that Congress indeed has the right to exercise plenary power over them. The secessionists resent OHA's money and political power, even while they are happy to take whatever money OHA throws their way. They are like teenagers living under their parents' roof, borrowing the car, and eating food from the refrigerator; while resenting parental rules and yearning for freedom. But some very influential leaders in the independence movement support the Akaka bill as a step along the path to total independence. They see the Akaka bill empowering ethnic Hawaiians as a political entity authorized to negotiate for reparations and to speak for Hawaiians in the international arena. Major independence activists who support the Akaka bill include former OHA trustee Hayden Burgess (alias Poka Laenui) and "Uncle" Charles Kauluwehi Maxwell.
Senator Akaka himself said in a nationwide radio interview a few years ago that his bill opens secession as something for his grandchildren to decide.
OHA insists the Akaka bill does not authorize secession. However, the version of the Akaka bill now pending in Congress clearly envisions secession -- actually encourages it -- by going out of its way to say (Section 11): "Nothing in this Act is intended to ... affect the rights of the Native Hawaiian people under international law." Such a statement is gratuitous -- completely unnecessary. If international law does actually allow ethnic Hawaiians to force secession upon the State of Hawaii, or gives any other special "indigenous" rights to ethnic Hawaiians, then there is no way any internal laws passed by the U.S. Congress could possibly strip ethnic Hawaiians of such rights. Putting that sentence into the Akaka bill is clearly intended as a wink and a nod to let the secessionists know that the Akaka bill will not stand in their way and that OHA actually supports their agenda at least morally. In previous years the OHA website listed total independence as one of the possible outcomes of the Akaka bill, although OHA removed that observation when it became a focus of national political attention.
In April 2005 a secessionist symposium was held at Columbia University (New York) entitled "Sovereignty Matters: An Interdisciplinary Conference on Sovereignty in Native American, Pacific Islander, and Puerto Rican Communities" where one major participant was Davianna McGregor, Professor of Ethnic Studies at the University of Hawai'i. Her support for eventual secession is significant because she is reportedly the person who wrote most of the 1993 apology resolution, used as the major justification for the Akaka bill; and because she has repeatedly published essays in the news media as a spokesperson favoring the Akaka bill.
OHA paid for the far-left radical Francis Boyle to give speeches for three days on several islands in December 2004, favoring secession for Hawaii. Boyle, a professor of international law, had previously served as high-profile attorney for the terrorist Palestine Liberation Organization seeking international recognition. He had written a racist Constitution for the independent Hawaii proclaimed by felon Bumpy Kanahele. And he had served as attorney for convicted felon Keanu Sai, allegedly Regent Pro Tem of the Kingdom of Hawaii, to present a document to the U.S. Supreme Court demanding the U.S. de-occupy Hawaii. But knowing Boyle's background, OHA paid his honorarium and travel expenses to come to Hawaii to propagandize for secession.
Further discussion of the points above, including documentation, is provided at
So, what is OHA doing right now?
OHA is sponsoring a day-long meeting of all the Hawaiian secessionist organizations and leaders on May 30, 2009 at the Hawaii Imin Conference hall at the East-West Center on the University of Hawaii Campus.
A one-page letter of invitation on OHA letterhead, signed by OHA trustee Boyd Mossman, was sent along with a four-page check-list of areas an organization might be interested in (thus hinting at future OHA funding for these activities), and a six-page survey about the organization's structure and membership including whether the sovereignty group considers itself to be already an established government and by what authority, how leaders are chosen, whether genealogy is important for membership or leadership, etc. These eleven pages are available in a document at
The agenda for the May 30 meeting, on OHA letterhead, including a prohibition on recording the meeting, can be seen at
Lest there be any doubt that the documents are authentic, here's how they were obtained.
Scott Crawford has been the webmaster for perhaps 15 years for numerous large and small Hawaiian independence websites and blogs, and maintains his own "Hawaiian Independence Blog" at
A haole who is a zealous Hawaiian wannabe, Crawford formerly lived with Bumpy Kanahele during the Waihe'e governorship, around the time when Bumpy was illegally occupying highway and beach areas around Makapu'u. Crawford married a Hawaiian woman, and later moved with her to the Hana area where he now grows taro and runs a community kitchen in addition to continuing his webmaster service to numerous secessionist groups and individuals.
On April 16, 2009, Crawford published those two items which he said OHA had recently circulated. Because of Crawford's long history of independence activism, there's every reason to believe that the OHA documents he posted are authentic.
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