** Special note: This testimony to DLNR was submitted, and the webpage created, mid-day Friday August 15, 2008. Later that same day, a sovereignty group under the leadership of Majesty Akahi Nui occupied the Palace grounds and tried to break into the Palace and other buildings. This testimony is "spot on" in analyzing the underlying causes of that event, and how the Palace management is a collaborator in its own takeover. For information about the Akahi Nui coronation at the Palace in 1998 and how he fits into a pattern, see:
** The State of Hawaii Department of Land and Natural Resources (DLNR) proposed new rules for 'Iolani Palace and grounds, and held a series of public meetings on several islands to take testimony from the public. The proposed rules, including a detailed map of 'Iolani Palace grounds and buildings, can be downloaded by clicking here:
Honolulu Star-Bulletin, August 7, 2008
Meetings discuss Iolani Palace use
Statewide public hearings will be held on new proposed rules for public use of the Iolani Palace State Monument.
Officials had said the state has been talking about creating rules for Iolani Palace for years, but a protest held by the Hawaiian Kingdom Government on the grounds on April 30 was a wake-up call. The approval for the proposed rules came a little more than a month after the group blocked access to the palace grounds. Some of the proposed rules prohibit obstructing public access to the grounds and harassing or intimidating visitors.
Meetings will begin at 6:30 p.m. except on Lanai, where the start time is 5 p.m. Dates and locations of the meetings are as follows:
» Molokai: Kaunakakai Elementary School cafeteria, 30 Ailoa St.
» Lanai: 5 p.m. at Lanai High and Elementary School, Room L-16, 555 Fraser Ave.
» Oahu: Department of Land and Natural Resources' Board Room 132, 1151 Punchbowl St.
» West Hawaii: Events Pavilion, Old Kona Airport County Park, 75-5480 Kuakini Highway
» Maui: Maui County Planning Department, first-floor conference room, 250 S. High St.
» East Hawaii: State Office Building, 75 Aupuni St., Conference Rooms A, B and C
» State Office Building, Conference Room 209, 3060 Eiwa St.
Those unable to attend the meetings may submit written testimony by Sept. 5 to Administrator, DLNR Division of State Parks, 1151 Punchbowl St., Room 310, Honolulu, HI 96813. The proposed rules may be viewed online at www.hawaiistateparks.org/administrative/index.cfm. A copy of the rule changes will be mailed at no charge upon verbal or written request to the Division of State Parks' address. Copies can also be obtained from state park offices.
For more information, call Steve Thompson at 587-0303.
(c) Copyright 2008
Kenneth R. Conklin, Ph.D.
All rights reserved
I have lived in Kane'ohe for 16 years, speak Hawaiian, have studied Hawaiian history in depth, maintain a very large website on Hawaiian sovereignty, have toured the Palace perhaps 6-7 times. I have attended perhaps 200 Hawaiian sovereignty rallies on the Palace grounds, many of which were stridently anti-American and pro-secessionist. I have been a victim of intimidation and threats of violence on Palace grounds.
The proposed rules are a great improvement. However, these new rules seem to address only the behavior of the people who visit the Palace and grounds. DLNR also has authority to regulate the activities of the Friends of 'Iolani Palace, and to set guidelines for the way the Friends manage the Palace and grounds.
I believe the (mis)behavior of people who visit is often caused by their perception of who owns the Palace and what purposes the Palace should serve. Over a period of many years the Friends, the Palace management, and the docents have fostered, or allowed to grow unchecked, the concepts that the Palace belongs to ethnic Hawaiians; and/or that the Palace is the capitol building of a still-living Kingdom of Hawaii which is under belligerent military occupation by the United States; and that the primary mission of the Palace is to "educate" the people of Hawaii, America, and the world about the alleged injustices to ethnic Hawaiians caused by the U.S., especially during January of 1893.
Thus the Palace serves a purpose of propaganda for a political agenda. It fans the flames of hatred toward America and toward anyone who feels allegiance to America. Overly zealous Hawaiian sovereignty activists refuse to tolerate any speech or behavior which contradicts their twisted version of history, their perception of current conditions, or their vision for the future of Hawaii. These zealous activists then feel justified in intimidating individual visitors who disagree with them, denying them access to the Palace or grounds, and disrupting legitimate celebrations through the use of noise, physical confrontation, and threats of violence.
Three events seem prominent among the factors motivating DLNR to propose new rules: The disruption of Statehood Day activities at the Palace in 2006; the occupation of Palace grounds continuously for many weeks in 2008 by a small group of Hawaiian sovereignty activists imagining themselves to constitute the rightful, legitimate government of a living Hawaiian Kingdom; and the upcoming celebration of the 50th anniversary of Statehood in August 2009.
DLNR is well justified in fearing future disruptions and even violence. And I am well justified in telling DLNR that you need to go beyond proposing rules for regulating the behavior of visitors, and make fundamental changes in the way the Friends, management, and docents portray the Palace. Your proposed new rules treat only the symptoms of an underlying cancer which must be surgically removed.
Your proposed rules will succeed only if there are the will and resources to enforce them. It would go a long way toward restoring civility at the Palace if the Friends, management, and docents are required by DLNR to make some changes in the day-to-day operation of the Palace and to acknowledge certain historical truths and current law as a condition of employment (See proposal # 1 below).
I have six specific recommendations. Afterward I'll describe some events of 2001, 2006, and 2007 as background for my recommendations.
PROPOSAL # 1: Anyone who does not subscribe to the following statements should not be allowed to exercise authority over the Palace or grounds, nor to serve as a director, manager, or docent. Hawaii is legitimately the 50th State of the United States. Hawaii is not under a prolonged and continuing belligerent military occupation by the U.S. The monarchy came to an end in 1893, and there are no longer Kings, Queens, or Princes in Hawaii. 'Iolani Palace belongs to the State of Hawaii, DLNR, Division of Parks -- the Palace is owned by all the people of Hawaii without preference for racial distinction or claims of indigeneity. The Palace is a museum; it is not the capitol of a still-living independent nation.
PROPOSAL # 2: The U.S. flag should fly from the highest center pole every day.
OBJECTIONS TO PROPOSAL # 1: The Palace is a period piece museum celebrating the glory-days of the Kalakaua dynasty, and therefore the Hawaiian (Kingdom) flag should be the only national flag to fly there, in the interest of historical accuracy. The Palace is sacred to kanaka maoli, and we must show respect to their sensitivities by not flying the flag of the nation which destroyed their Kingdom and has oppressed them so grievously.
REBUTTAL #1 : So long as you allow only the Hawaiian flag to fly there, you serve as accomplice to the abuse of the Palace as being the capitol of a still-living Kingdom of Hawaii. You encourage hooliganism against any display of the U.S. flag or any celebration of Statehood Day.
REBUTTAL #2: The Palace is the very place where the transition to Statehood took place and was celebrated in 1959 (contrary to the views of Kippen de Alba Chu as reported by Gordon Pang in the Honolulu Advertiser of August 14, 2008). The 50th anniversary of Statehood Day, and all future celebrations of that holiday, should happen at the spot where Statehood was consummated. The U.S. flag is an essential part of that celebration. And so is 'Iolani Palace.
REBUTTAL #3 regarding the need for historical authenticity: 'IOLANI PALACE IS NOW AIR-CONDITIONED, generating an enormous electric bill which the Legislature has been asked to pay. THE PALACE WAS NEVER AIR-CONDITIONED DURING THE KINGDOM PERIOD. So if you say the Hawaiian flag must be the only flag, for purposes of historical authenticity to the Kalakaua era, then you must rip out the air conditioning for that same reason. Do not be hypocritical. Do you claim the artifacts in the Palace require air-conditioning for preservation? In most cases that's nonsense, as demonstrated by the fact that those artifacts survived for centuries with no air conditioning.
REBUTTAL #4: Some individuals might regard the Palace as a sacred place. They are entitled to their belief, but are not entitled to force their belief on the rest of us. The U.S. flag flew proudly over the Palace every day for 70 years, from 1898 until the new state capitol was completed in 1968. Apparently that did not destroy the spirituality or "mana" of the Palace. The throne room was used as a meeting hall for the Territorial and State Legislatures. The TV show Hawaii 5-0 was filmed there, with one of the bedrooms used as the Governor's office -- filming for the TV show, and display of the U.S. flag, was not protested.
PROPOSAL # 3: Broaden and balance the political diversity of the directors of the "Friends" to ensure that the board is not dominated by secessionists. Ensure that the docents who conduct tours; and also the recorded headset tour, are not focused on secessionist claims as though such claims are true. A minor example of this is the recorded tour including several descriptions of Quentin Kawananakoa, and questions directed to him, referring to him as "Prince" Kawananakoa. Such pretensions to royalty are inappropriate in the United States, whose Constitution clearly states there shall be no titles of nobility. Another example is the propaganda film about the revolution of 1893 shown in the barracks, with no rebuttal and no attempt to give a balanced presentation.
PROPOSAL # 4: Enforce your rules. Do not adopt rules which you then fail to enforce. A minor example is the failure to enforce state law requiring cars to have state-issued license plates, and failure to enforce City of Honolulu requirements to feed the parking meters. During the period of many weeks recently when one of the "Kingdom"s occupied the Palace grounds, news reports and personal observation showed cars with no valid plates and meters which had expired were simply ignored without towing or ticketing them. If DLNR imagines itself to be in control of the Palace grounds, then DLNR must coordinate enforcement with state sheriffs and city police, and aggressively summon help when there are violations of law or of the rules.
PROPOSAL # 5: The rockpile in the makai/kokohead quadrant should be dismantled. There is nothing "sacred" about it, and it did not exist prior to 1993. It's a symbol of successful lawbreaking, when it was assembled by secessionists without any permit, and later a permit was granted merely to avoid trouble. By retroactively granting a permit you showed you did not intend to enforce the rules; and thereby you encouraged rule-breaking. By dismantling the rockpile now, you can show you mean business about enforcing the rules.
PROPOSAL # 6: Instruct Kippen de Alba Chu and the Friends of 'Iolani Palace that Statehood Day 2009 is to be a true CELEBRATION and not merely a commemoration with implications of grievance and mourning. 94% of voters in 1959 said "yes" to Statehood. That's worthy of celebration.
On Thursday August 14, 2008 the Honolulu Advertiser published a story describing plans for the 50th anniversary of Statehood, in 2009. The article said the plans will "'be sensitive' to those in Hawai'i who have opposed statehood. The 25-member commission, for instance, has tried to avoid the use of the word 'celebration,' opting instead for the more neutral 'commemoration.' It has also promised to present all sides of the statehood story in its activities. ... Kippen de Alba Chu, the 50th Anniversary commission's director and executive director of Friends of 'Iolani Palace, has made it clear that no 50th anniversary activities will take place at 'Iolani Palace because none took place there in 1959."
Either news reporter Gordon Pang mis-quoted Mr. Chu, or Kippen de Alba Chu is ignorant, or else he is knowingly lying. The Palace was the venue for huge celebrations of Statehood in 1959. The Palace was the capitol of the Territory of Hawaii, and remained the Capitol of the new State of Hawaii until the new capitol building was completed in 1968. Where does Mr. Chu imagine the proclamation of Statehood was read? Where does he think the government-sponsored celebrations took place? One mission of DLNR is "historic preservation." I hope someone will take responsibility for combing the archives of the two Honolulu daily newspapers to find photos and news reports about the role of the Palace in the legislative, executive, and celebratory activities connected with Statehood in 1959, and make those news reports and photos available to the public during what I dare to call the celebration in 2009.
Will we allow a small, noisy group of secessionists to deny the vast majority of Hawaii's people the celebration to which we are entitled? Let the diehard deadenders of the Kingdom mourn and grieve if they wish; let them exercise freedom of speech to present their views to the public in an orderly and respectful way that does not interfere with the right of the majority to celebrate this event unmolested. As you listen to testimony against your proposed new rules, you will hear strident voices filled with hate toward the U.S. The protesters oppose the rules because they would interfere with the ability to monopolize Palace grounds for secessionist, royalist causes. The rules would restrict some methods the protesters have used in the past to deny free speech and access for patriotic Americans. That's a good reason to support the rules.
STATEHOOD DAY 2006
I was a participant in the attempt to hold a pro-American celebration of Statehood Day in August 2006. That celebration was led by Senator Sam Slom and Representative Barbara Marumoto, and included the Kalani High School band. We had an official permit.
But a crowd of secessionist agitators showed up before the celebration could begin. They posted very large banners stretching between the trees on the King Street side of the building, played music loudly from at least one boom-box amplified through loud-speakers, yelled at the participants through an amplified megaphone. They were there for the sole purpose of disrupting and preventing the celebration of Statehood Day.
Like sharks, they began their attack by singling out the weakest, most vulnerable targets -- the children of the Kalani High School band. They walked right up to the Kalani students who were seated and ready to play their instruments, yelled loudly in their faces, gave warnings through their megaphone that bad things were going to happen and the students should leave. The parents and chaperones, fearing for the safety of the children, did indeed lead them away and back onto their bus before a single note of music could be played.
Having successfully intimidated the band, they then swarmed the adult celebrants, with individual and small groups of hooligans stepping up nose-to-nose to yell in the faces of the celebrants including cursing, spitting, thrusting fingers repeatedly to within inches of eyes, and yelling historical nonsense. It was clear that the hooligans had a well-orchestrated plan, with individual protesters singling out individual celebrants. There was no attempt by any state or city or DLNR law enforcement officers to restore order and protect the legitimate celebrants -- indeed, it appeared there were zero security personnel present. A few weeks later at another Palace event (Liliuokalani's birthday) I questioned a group of three sheriffs in uniform who admitted that some sheriffs (perhaps themselves) had been sitting inside the Palace basement on Statehood Day and did nothing (perhaps because they sided with the views of the secessionists).
The "Friends of 'Iolani Palace" directors also did nothing to help -- indeed, at least one of the former directors was a ring-leader of the hooligans (Lynette Cruz), standing in the rear while directing her soldiers into battle. Many, if not most, of the directors of the "Friends" are actively allied with the secessionists. The Kana'ina Building is headquarters of the Friends, and has a meeting room which is often used by secessionist activists, presumably at no charge. The same meeting room when used by the U.S. Census Bureau for a training program required payment of $200 and filling out an application form which demanded to know what is the user's connection or relationship to 'Iolani Palace.
Here is a large webpage providing news reports, commentaries, and photos describing the events of Statehood Day 2006.
STATEHOOD DAY 2007
On Statehood Day 2007, the "Friends of 'Iolani Palace" staged a major day-long event on Palace grounds to celebrate the 125th anniversary of the Palace -- a very worthy purpose. However, there was no event in 1882 anywhere near that particular date that could be construed to be the "founding" of the Palace. The clear purpose of choosing that particular date was to pre-empt any celebration of Statehood Day. There was a curious event on that same Statehood Day 2007, reported in the Honolulu Weekly: when former Friends director Lynette Cruz actually led a group of protesters to sneak in through the basement entrance intending to take over the Palace for a protest, but they were stopped by staffers and turned back.
The only time since 1968 when the U.S. flag was allowed to fly over 'Iolani Palace was the month of October 2001, as a token of respect for the renewed American patriotism following the destruction of the twin towers of the World Trade Center in New York on 9-11. Numerous letters to editor by secessionist activists expressed outrage that the U.S. flag was flying over "their" Palace, including at least one letter whose writer said she would rather see the building burnt to the ground than to see the U.S. flag there. Governor Cayetano vowed that the U.S. flag would fly over the Palace daily, but later backed down. Executive Director Alice Guild, of the Friends of 'Iolani Palace, apologized to "the community" [of ethnic Hawaiians] for flying the U.S. flag; and later resigned because of the controversy. See section 3 of the webpage
The Palace has been used for many years as the focal point for anti-American secessionists. Their theory is that the revolution of 1893 was "illegal", that the U.S. staged an armed invasion and installed a puppet regime under Sanford B. Dole, and that Hawaii remains under a prolonged belligerent military occupation by the U.S. Their theory is that 'Iolani Palace remains the capitol of their still-living independent nation of Hawaii, which encompasses the entire archipelago.
The Friends of the Palace have effectively taken over a state-owned building and converted it into a propaganda showpiece, presenting stridently anti-American movies in the barracks and including secessionist commentary, filled with historical falsehoods, in the docent-led tours and the recorded headset audio tours.
My six proposals identify a few of the ways to take back the Palace for all the people of Hawaii and destroy forever the misguided impression that the Palace remains the national capitol of a still-living Kingdom. Will DLNR have the courage to implement the proposals?
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(c) Copyright 2008
Kenneth R. Conklin, Ph.D.
All rights reserved