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The main reasons offered in support of the Native Hawaiian Recognition bill are either false or irrelevant. The bill's primary focus is racial separatism. The purpose is to protect racial entitlement programs from legal challenges, and to establish a separate apartheid government inside the State of Hawai'i restricted to ethnic Hawaiians. Supporters of the bill say it is not about race -- they say its purpose is to protect indigenous rights, self-determination, and cultural preservation; but careful study shows that is false. Claims about illegal overthrow of the monarchy, illegal annexation, and the apology bill raise the specter of secession but are not relevant to support a bill for establishment of tribal status for ethnic Hawaiians as a political entity inside the United States.

(c) Copyright 2003 Kenneth R. Conklin, Ph.D. All rights reserved

Supporters of the Native Hawaiian Recognition bill have been stung by criticism that the bill is race-based or racist. They like to give a romanticized version of Hawaiian culture, and claim the bill is intended to preserve that culture. They like to say that ethnic Hawaiians are an indigenous people and therefore should be treated just like Indians and Alaska natives, who already have federal recognition. They cite historical grievances about an armed invasion from the U.S., the illegal overthrow of the monarchy, and the illegal annexation of Hawai'i to the United States against the will and despite the protests of ethnic Hawaiians. They say sovereignty is about restoration of a nation, not about race. This essay explores all those claims, and shows that indeed the Native Hawaiian Recognition bill is entirely about race. The definition of who belongs to the “Native Hawaiian” group to be recognized is entirely based on race or ancestry (ancestry is a proxy for race). The bill proposes to give political power to a phony Indian tribe to salvage racial entitlement programs and to give one favored racial group a platform for demanding money, land, and more power for a hereditary elite.

The primary reason for introducing the Native Hawaiian Recognition bill ("Akaka bill") in Congress has always been to protect more than 160 racial entitlement programs against lawsuits. In the Rice v. Cayetano decision in February 2000 the U.S. Supreme Court clearly stated that "Hawaiian" and "Native Hawaiian" are racial categories and not political ones. The Rice decision had a direct application only to desegregate voting for Office of Hawaiian Affairs. But everyone in Hawai'i understands that the clear identification of "Hawaiian" as a racial designation in the Rice decision will eventually cause all the racial entitlement programs to be found unconstitutional under the 14th Amendment equal protection clause ("No State shall ... deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws"). The only way to save those programs is for Congress to declare that Native Hawaiians are a sovereign Indian tribe and therefore exempt from the 14th Amendment. For further information about the Rice v. Cayetano decision and why the Akaka bill was introduced, see
http://www.angelfire.com/hi2/hawaiiansovereignty/AkakaWhy.html

It is evil when a government of all the people imposes detriments or gives benefits to one selected segment of the people based on race. Institutional racism is bad enough when the institution is a private corporation, but it is far worse when the institution is the government itself. Citizens of a democracy rightly expect their government to treat everyone as equals under the law. Government has no obligation to guarantee equal results (everybody who goes fishing will bring home ten keepers), but only to ensure equal opportunity (everyone has a right to go fishing). Different people have different abilities and different levels of background preparation, and different motivation. Thus, equal opportunity may produce unequal results when different groups have unequal abilities, unequal preparation, or unequal motivation. Equality under the law requires a government to ensure equal opportunity; no government short of a dictatorship can ensure equal results. Institutional racism occurs when an institution has informal procedures or formal rules that systematically discriminate for or against a racial group. "Reverse discrimination" is a form of institutional racism that occurs when an institution (especially a government) tries to ensure equal results by giving unequal opportunity to favor one (minority) group at the expense of others (majority). Here are some forms of government institutional racism in college admissions, contracting, or granting of benefits; ranging from zero to ten on a scale of severity:

0: Absolutely equal opportunity -- the laws and their application are color-blind;

2: Affirmative outreach to solicit applicants of a favored racial group (why not do outreach based on race-neutral criteria such as poverty?); but equal judging of applications received;

4: Awarding automatic extra credit or points when judging applications from favored racial groups (thereby penalizing all others by comparison);

6: Setting quotas requiring that a predetermined number or percentage of winners must be of a favored race, regardless of objective merit or qualifications;

8: Establishing racial entitlement programs, so that all persons of a favored racial group automatically receive admission, contracts, or benefits; while people not of the favored race are excluded by law or get only whatever is left over;

10: Establishing a sovereign nation or government where only people of a favored race can vote, hold office, and receive benefits. Such a nation might allow residency only for people of the favored race, or it might include people of other races whose labors provide surplus wealth for the hereditary elite. An extreme example of such a system was slavery as practiced in the Confederate States of America. A slightly more generous system was the apartheid regime of South Africa. An even more generous such system is the exploitation of a permanent underclass such as the migrant Turkish workers in Germany (the Turkish workers and their German-born children prohibited from German citizenship). The U.S. system of migrant Mexican workers in the U.S. is saved from being a level 10 system because the workers can become naturalized citizens after a few years, and U.S.-born children are automatically citizens.

The Native Hawaiian Recognition bill would provide institutional racism at level 10, for the purpose of protecting the already-existing institutional racism of level 8 in the State of Hawai'i. Supporters of the bill say it is necessary for "social justice." They say the bill is intended to correct historical wrongs committed by the United States against Native Hawaiians. They say it is a recognition of the right of indigenous people to self-determination. Whether such lofty goals are indeed the motivations for the bill, or are merely propaganda to support selfish racial entitlement programs, is open to debate. But whatever the motivations may be for this bill, there can be no doubt that the practical effect of passing the bill would be to establish institutional racism at level 10. The Native Hawaiian Recognition bill would eventually produce a collection of land areas (similar to Indian reservations) where people with no native blood would be second-class citizens, able to work and/or perhaps to become residents, but only with permission of blood Hawaiians. As an aside, it's interesting to note that all the Hawaiian independence proposals (not the recognition bill) would make the entire archipelago of Hawai'i an independent nation where ethnic Hawaiians would be first class citizens and everyone else would be either second-class citizens (if they take a loyalty oath and give up citizenship in any other nation) or resident aliens (if they retain citizenship elsewhere). For an explanation of how the independence proposals relegate non-ethnic-Hawaiians to second-class citizenship, see
http://www.angelfire.com/hi2/hawaiiansovereignty/racistdemands.html
and for an explanation of how the concept of "indigenous rights to delf-determination" makes the Native Hawaiian Recognition bill produce level 10 racist results similar to the independence proposals, see
http://www.angelfire.com/hi2/hawaiiansovereignty/sepnatcommoncore.html

Supporters of the bill try very hard to conceal its racism. Some bill supporters might not recognize its racism at all, and might feel offended at the idea that the legislation is racist. They use flowery language to talk about ethnic Hawaiians as the indigenous people of Hawai'i, and the rights of indigenous people to self-determination. They say indigenous Hawaiians have a geneological relationship with the land of Hawai'i because the islands themselves as well as the native Hawaiian ancestors were born from the mating of the gods. They talk about the importance of preserving the beautiful Hawaiian culture and language as a great treasure of the world , and the need to protect ethnic Hawaiian people as an endangered species. They talk about historical grievances such as the illegal overthrow, illegal annexation, and the apology bill passed by Congress in 1993. They say that sovereignty for ethnic Hawaiians is about restoring a once independent nation that was illegally invaded and overthrown, and it is not about race.

For example, the new Governor of Hawai'i in 2003 is Linda Lingle, a Jewish-American woman with no Hawaiian ancestry who immigrated to Hawai'i several decades ago. Like most people in Hawai'i she loves and respects Hawaiian culture as the core of what makes Hawai'i a special place. And like other politically liberal kind-hearted non-Hawaiians, she has come to believe that the romanticized Hawaiian lifestyle and Hawaiian values need special protection which can only be achieved by giving special economic and political rights to ethnic Hawaiians. This love for the idealized values of a group, and compassion for the historical misfortunes of a group, unfortunately translates into a form of racial profiling. Ethnic Hawaiians as a group have become the sentimental mascot of Hawai'i, regardless whether individual Hawaiians choose to be treated that way or not. An individual who has a long-ago native ancestor may or may not possess the idealized Hawaiian values, and may or may not suffer from poverty, incarceration, drug abuse, or other misfortunes cited by activists as reasons why Hawaiian racial entitlement programs are needed. For discussion of this "mascot syndrome" see:
http://www.angelfire.com/hi2/hawaiiansovereignty/hawnsasmascots.html

As part of her campaign for Governor, Lingle promised to work tirelessly to support the Native Hawaiian Recognition bill, and to lobby in person for it in Washington D.C. Here is an excerpt from the Honolulu Star-Bulletin of January 10, 2003, with two [editorial insertions by website editor Ken Conklin]:
http://starbulletin.com/2003/01/10/news/story12.html
"Gov. Linda Lingle said she will lobby Congress and the Bush administration for passage of the Akaka Bill next month when she is in Washington, D.C. While officials there are aware of the bill that sets up a process of federal recognition for native Hawaiians, they do not have a deep understanding of the issue and its importance in protecting existing native programs, Lingle told participants at a native Hawaiian roundtable meeting yesterday. Lingle made a campaign promise last fall to travel to the nation's capital to lobby for the bill, stalled in the U.S. Senate the past two years over concerns it is race-based. 'I would say I want to get across the point -- and this has to be the most important because it's what's holding it up -- and that is that this is not a racial issue,' Lingle told reporters after her warmly received speech. 'This is a historical issue, based on a relationship between an independent government and the United States of America, and what has happened since and the steps that we need to take to make things right.' Lingle will be in Washington Feb. 22-27 to attend meetings of the National Governors Association and the Republican Governors Association. The trip includes a dinner hosted by President Bush at the White House. 'I think a Republican voice from Hawaii would be very important,' said Haunani Apoliona, chairwoman of OHA, which was one of 60 native groups and agencies that participated in the two-day forum sponsored by the Council for Native Hawaiian Advancement. Lingle, Lt. Gov. James 'Duke' Aiona [a former judge selected by Lingle as her running-mate because he is ethnic Hawaiian] and Micah Kane, Hawaiian Homes chairman-nominee [an ethnic Hawaiian who was Lingle's hand-picked former chairman of the Hawai'i Republican Party], were presented with a laundry list of Hawaiian issues attendees felt most important for the Lingle administration to address. Lulani Arquette, co-chairwoman of the council's board of directors, said Hawaiians have struggled to retain their culture and practices over the years. Many see this new era as an opportunity to make advances on many fronts. 'I believe that this dawn of the new century is our time,' she said."

Following are some of the arguments or claims given the most importance or made most frequently by supporters of the Native Hawaiian recognition bill; together with the reasons why they are incorrect or irrelevant to the bill. When those arguments and claims are eliminated as reasons for supporting the bill, it will then be clear that, contrary to Governor Lingle's claim, the bill is truly all about race. In fact, wealthy ethnic Hawaiians have already been working with powerful Hawaiian institutions such as OHA, DHHL, and Bishop Estate (Kamehameha Schools) to write the language of the recognition bill in a way that allows for coninuation and expansion of non-competitive sole-source contracting, enormous profits at the expense of non-Hawaiian taxpayers, and sweetheart deals for free suburban house lots on prime real estate. See:
http://www.angelfire.com/hi2/hawaiiansovereignty/AkakaNepotismCorruption.html

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Claim #1: Ethnic Hawaiians are indigenous people, who should be entitled to the same special treatment given to American Indians and Alaska natives.

Response:

How is indigenous status to be judged? Does it mean that today’s people are descended from the first people who lived in a certain place? Does it mean that today’s people have ancestors who lived in a particular place for a long period of time? Does it mean that today’s people have a lifestyle of subsistence hunting, fishing, and agriculture that binds them closely to the land? Ethnic Hawaiians are not indigenous according to any of those criteria.

Ethnic Hawaiians might not be descended from the first people who lived in Hawai'i, because there was more than one wave of immigration. The original immigrants may have been the Menehune, about 2000 years ago. Then came peaceful, egalitarian immigrants from Marquesas. About a thousand years later Hawai'i's people and culture were overwhelmed by a very different group from Tahiti who staged an armed invasion. The Tahitians had a very warlike culture with rigid social stratification between chiefs and commoners; and the Tahitians brought with them their gods including the ritual of human sacrifice. Thus it is doubtful whether today's ethnic Hawaiians are descended from Hawai'i's first people, who may have been killed off by later waves of immigrants and whose culture was very different.

Even if today's Hawaiians are descended from Hawai'i's first people, those first people arrived in Hawai'i less than 2000 years ago, and their descendants would be less indigenous to Hawai'i than than today's white English people are indigenous to England. Anyone who would feel uncomfortable calling today's person of English ancestry "indigenous" should be more uncomfortable calling people of Hawaiian ancestry "indigenous." White people inhabited England far longer than 2000 years ago; and even if "indigeneity" as first people is dated from the last major wave of conquest, the Norman conquest of England (1066) occurred centuries before the Tahitian conquest of Hawai'i (Pa’ao, perhaps 1400).

Some people might judge indigeneity by subsistence lifestyle or intimate daily relationship with the land for hunting, gathering, and growing food; or by social separateness and substantial lifestyle primitiveness compared with the surrounding modern population. For example, a tribe of Amazon Indians may be truly indigenous and in need of special protection for their environment and cultural separateness, whereas the stockbroker in Rio DeJaneiro needs no protection. But today's ethnic Hawaiians are mostly indistinguishable in appearance and lifestyle from the non-Hawaiians who live next door, work in the same corporation, play sports on the same teams, or pray at the same churches. Most ethnic Hawaiians today are pursuing a deliberately-chosen hobby rather than a spontaneous habit of upbringing if they choose to practice some elements of ancient Hawaiian culture. Hawaiians and non-Hawaiians alike choose to enjoy watching and performing hula, hearing and speaking Hawaiian language, growing taro, restoring heiau. Even if Hawaiians once were indigenous, they no longer are. Anyone who claims that the descendants of indigenous people are forever indigenous through unlimited generations is relegating the word "indigenous" to meaninglessness, since all persons alive are descended from long-ago ancestors who once upon a time were indigenous. Three-quarters of today’s ethnic Hawaiians have less than 50% native blood quantum. Many thousands have extremely low quantum (Supreme Court Justices Breyer and Souter pointed out it could be as low as one part in 512). For further discussion whether ethnic Hawaiians are indigenous, see:
http://www.angelfire.com/hi2/hawaiiansovereignty/indigenous.html

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Claim #2: Ethnic Hawaiians have a culture based on their close and special relationship to the land, so that preservation of their culture requires that ethnic Hawaiians have political control over the land (i.e., race-based political sovereignty).

This claim is clearly related to the claim to indigenous rights. It is listed separately because it seems especially attractive and compelling. Yet this claim contains a particularly dangerous form of religious intolerance capable of leading to a fascist racial supremacist ideology. Such an ideology is in fact contained in the rationale for the Native Hawaiian Recognition bill, as well as more radical proposals for an independent nation of Hawai'i.

According to Hawaiian creation legends, the gods mated and gave birth to the Hawaiian islands. Thus the islands themselves are living beings descended from the gods, and all the animals, plants, and even the rocks have a spiritual essence. Later matings of the gods produced human beings who were the ancestors of today's ethnic Hawaiians. Thus anyone who has Hawaiian blood has a special relationship to the lands of Hawai'i and to the gods of Hawai'i. That relationship is one of kinship, or family. People with no Hawaiian blood are not part of that family, and can never become part of it. Ethnic Hawaiians are to the land as younger siblings are to older siblings. Thus, the interests of the land take priority, and Hawaiians have an obligation to care for and serve the land. In return, the land gives support and food to the Hawaiians. People with no Hawaiian blood are quite simply outside this family structure. Non-Hawaiians are guests in the homeland of the Hawaiians. Although guests and hosts may enjoy a friendly and productive relationship, full rights and responsibility belong only to the hosts.

The creation stories containing such a legend (for example, Kumulipo) are beautiful, inspiring myths which give ethnic Hawaiians a sense of place (brothers and sisters of the land) and a source of pride (descended from the gods). However, if taken literally such myths produce a feeling of racial entitlement and racial supremacy. Such myths could be used to justify a right to political power for ethnic Hawaiians in Hawai'i. Such myths could be used to justify relegating people without Hawaiian blood to second-class citizenship as mere guests or resident aliens in a Native Hawaiian homeland. It would then be entirely appropriate to place restrictions on the voting rights and property rights of those who lack Hawaiian blood. Thus is established a racial theocratic oligarchy -- a system of racial supremacy for a hereditary elite, justified by a religious belief.

Under the U.S. Constitution there can be no government establishment of a religion. It would be contrary to law and to fundamental democratic principles to allow the religious beliefs of a minority (or even a majority) to dictate a political system based on those beliefs. Just because some people in a society believe they have a family relationship with the land and are descended from the gods does not entitle them to rule over other people who do not agree with those religious beliefs.

Here is a fundamental and unbridgeable clash between the religious mythology of Hawaiian sovereignty activists and the democratic ideal of equality under the law as contained in the United States Constitution. Sovereignty activists see the United States Constitution as a foreign document imposed upon Native Hawaiians against their will following a century of colonialism ending with an armed invasion of their homeland in 1893 and another 110 years of hostile military occupation since then. Politically liberal politicians in Hawai'i and in Washington D.C. who respond empathetically and sympathetically to claims that Hawaiians are indigenous and have a special connection to the land must bear in mind the disastrous consequences of racial separatism and ethnic nationalism that follow logically from translating such claims into race-based political entitlements. The religious ideology underlying racial separatism in separate enclaves of a nation within a nation, as contained in the Native Hawaiian Recognition bill, is no different from the ideology underlying complete independence for a nation of Hawai'i with racial supremacy for those who have the native blood. Indeed, many of the supporters of the bill openly argue that the creation of an Akakakanaka tribe would enable ethnic Hawaiians to get megabucks in "reparations" from the U.S. while continuing to move forward toward total independence. See:
http://www.angelfire.com/hi2/hawaiiansovereignty/sepnatcommoncore.html
For a description of the fundamental principles of unity, equality, and aloha for all, as opposed to the Hawaiian mythology, see:
http://www.angelfire.com/hi2/hawaiiansovereignty/principles.html

Setting aside the religious arguments, it is simply false, as a matter of daily lifestyle, that ethnic Hawaiians today have a closer relationship to the land than people of other ethnicities in Hawai’i. People of all ethnicities live side by side, some “on the land” but most in cities and towns. Ethnic Chinese rice farmers have a closer relationship to the land than ethnic Hawaiian stockbrokers, fire captains, or police captains living in suburban mansions or high-rise condominiums in downtown Honolulu.

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Claim #3: Ethnic Hawaiians are a separate and distinct "people" entitled to separate self-determination.

Response:

Throughout the world, conquest, subjugation, intermarriage of populations, mingling of cuntures, and mergers of nations have constantly, over time, changed which groups have an identifiable separateness sufficient to warrant nationhood. Common sense dictates that separate self-determination is appropriate for a distinct people living separate and apart from the surrounding population and whose cohesiveness over time has produced some sort of governing body that exercises substantial authority over their daily activities. This connon-sense concept of "nationhood" or "tribe" has been written into U.S. law as a set of seven mandatory crieteria which any group of Indians must meet in order to be given federal recognition as a tribe by the Bureau of Indian Affairs. For an exploration of how nations are formed and disbanded, the requirements for tribal recognition under U.S. law, and why ethnic Hawaiians fail to quality, see:
http://www.angelfire.com/hi2/hawaiiansovereignty/wannabetribe.html
Prior to 1778 Hawai'i was populated entirely by native Hawaiians of 100% blood quantum. But during the hundred years following Captain Cook's arrival in 1778, native Hawaiians consistently exercised self-determination by repeatedly choosing to embrace the cultural values, religion, language, and government structures offered by the newcomers. Regarding self-determination of native Hawaiians, see:
http://www.angelfire.com/hi2/hawaiiansovereignty/selfdetermination.html
The sovereign Kings of Hawai'i, exercising self-determination on behalf of their people, created a constitutional monarchy under the rule of law, in which people with no native blood had full and equal rights to vote and own property. Being born in the Kingdom automatically conferred full rights as a Hawaiian subject, so that within a generation after the overthrow the native population would have been vastly outnumbered with Hawaiian subjects of Japanese, Chinese, and Euro-American ancestry.
http://www.angelfire.com/hi2/hawaiiansovereignty/HanifinCitizen.html
By the time the monarchy was overthrown, many elected Legislators and nearly all appointed Cabinet officers had no native blood. A social contract prevailed in which non-natives were given full partnership in return for heavy investment of capital, labor, and expertise. See:
http://www.angelfire.com/hi2/hawaiiansovereignty/fullpartners.html
Thus native Hawaiians exercised self-determination and integrated themselves into a social and cultural system where they would no longer be separate and distinct. That system cannot now be undone, any more than ink can be pulled back into an ink bottle after it has been poured into a jar of water.

Two recently published essays have been written by two attorneys discussing the Native Hawaiian Recognition bill in view of Hawaiian history, Hawaiian racial entitlement programs, blood nationalism, and the Rice v. Cayetano decision and its progeny cases (the cases that have followed the Rice decision and are based on it). See: Patrick W. Hanifin's article:
http://www.angelfire.com/hi2/hawaiiansovereignty/hanifinaplpj070102.pdf
and Paul M. Sullivan's article:
http://www.angelfire.com/hi2/hawaiiansovereignty/sullivanaplpj070102.pdf
In addition, Paul M. Sullivan wrote a lengthy point-by-point analysis of the Native Hawaiian Recognition bill S.746 in the 107th Congress. See:
http://www.angelfire.com/hi2/hawaiiansovereignty/AkakaSullivan.html

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Claim #4: The beautiful Hawaiian culture (and language) is a great treasure of the world. That culture, and the ethnic Hawaiians who produced and sustain it, are like an endangered species in need of special protection. "No Hawaiians, no aloha." The Native Hawaiian Recognition bill would allow Native Hawaiians to establish a government with the power to create special laws to protect the Hawaiians and their culture, and to negotiate for land (which is essential for Hawaiian cultural values). Thus Hawaiians could exercise self-determination, be protected from interference, and flourish.

Response:

Ethnic Hawaiians are not an endangered species. In the first U.S. Census of Hawai'i taken in 1900 there were fewer than 40,000 people who had any Hawaiian blood. In U.S. Census 2000 there were more than 400,000. See:
http://www.angelfire.com/hi2/hawaiiansovereignty/population2000.html

This ten-fold increase of the number of Native Hawaiians in one century is matched by a great cultural renaissance of the Hawaiian language and culture over the past several decades. Several Hawaiian voyaging canoes have been constructed, including Hokule'a which has traversed the entire Polynesian triangle navigating solely by the stars. There are over 160 racial entitlement programs exclusively for Native Hawaiians, in addition to all the other public services available to all citizens of Hawai'i. The Honolulu Star-Bulletin, a major daily newspaper, publishes a regular column in Hawaiian language. Students can now go from preschool all the way through public elementary schools and public secondary schools and a public university masters degree taking all their subject-matter courses taught in Hawaiian language. The hawaiian language-immersion schools are complemented by Hawaiian culture-immersion charter schools, at taxpayer expense. For more information about the Hawaiian language and culture immersion schools, see:
http://www.angelfire.com/hi2/hawaiiansovereignty/sovereigntynecessary.html

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Claim #5: The U.S. staged an armed invasion of Hawai'i in 1893 and overthrew the Hawaiian monarchy. A few years later, the U.S. illegally annexed Hawai'i, against the will of the Native Hawaiians and without compensation to them. A century later the Congress of the United States passed a joint resolution of apology to the Native Hawaiian people, which the President signed. Common decency requires that an apology should be followed by restitution and reconciliation. International law regards the apology bill as a statement against interest -- a confession of a crime for which the United States owes reparations to Native Hawaiians and restoration of their government.

Response:

Claim #5 might be appropriate to support a demand under “international law” for U.S. withdrawal from Hawai'i and restoration of an independent nation of Hawai'i (except that the overthrow and annexation were indeed legitimate). However, surprising as it may seem, there is no element of claim #5 that would support reparations for racially-defined Native Hawaiians or the establishment of an “indigenous” (race-based) nation-within-a-nation. The reason is simple. The Kingdom of Hawai'i that was overthrown in 1893 was not entirely Native Hawaiian. In fact, it was not even predominantly Native Hawaiian. At the time of the overthrow, 60% of the population had no Hawaiian blood whatsoever. Furthermore, many elected members of the Kingdom Legislature, and nearly all the members of every monarch’s cabinet (appointed by the monarch and confirmed by the Legislature) had no Hawaiian blood. If Native Hawaiians were like an Indian tribe, it was a tribe like no other that has ever existed, where most of the chiefs were not Indians! If reparations are owed for the overthrow of the monarchy, such reparations would be owed to all the people of Hawai'i, not just one racial group. Due to rapidly growing immigration, by the time of annexation in 1898, 74% of Hawai'i's population had no native blood.

As noted earlier, during the hundred years following Captain Cook's arrival in 1778, native Hawaiians consistently exercised self-determination by repeatedly choosing to embrace the cultural values, religion, language, and government structures offered by the newcomers. Regarding self-determination of native Hawaiians, see:
http://www.angelfire.com/hi2/hawaiiansovereignty/selfdetermination.html
The sovereign Kings of Hawai'i, exercising self-determination on behalf of their people, created a constitutional monarchy under the rule of law, in which people with no native blood had full and equal rights to vote and own property. Being born in the Kingdom automatically conferred full rights as a Hawaiian subject, so that within a generation after the overthrow the native population would have been vastly outnumbered with Hawaiian subjects of Japanese, Chinese, and Euro-American ancestry.
http://www.angelfire.com/hi2/hawaiiansovereignty/HanifinCitizen.html
By the time the monarchy was overthrown, many elected Legislators and nearly all appointed Cabinet officers had no native blood. A social contract prevailed in which non-natives were given full partnership in return for heavy investment of capital, labor, and expertise. See:
http://www.angelfire.com/hi2/hawaiiansovereignty/fullpartners.html
Thus native Hawaiians exercised self-determination and integrated themselves into a social and cultural system where they would no longer be separate and distinct. That system cannot now be undone, any more than ink can be pulled back into an ink bottle after it has been poured into a jar of water.

Even if the claims about illegal overthrow and illegal annexation were relevant to demands for racially exclusionary reparations, the overthrow can be defended as an internal revolution only marginally but not decisively assisted by the landing of 162 blue-jackets from a ship in Honolulu Harbor.
http://www.angelfire.com/hi2/hawaiiansovereignty/overthrow.html
and the annexation was a perfectly legitimate contract between the United States and an independent Republic of Hawai’i recognized by all the governments that had previously recognized the Kingdom.
http://www.angelfire.com/hi2/hawaiiansovereignty/annexation.html

In September 2000 the Hawai'i Advisory Committee to the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights held a two day forum in Honolulu. The topic was the Rice v. Cayetano decision and the "threat" it posed to racial entitlement programs. Such programs are regarded by the Democrats on the civil rights commission as good protections for civil rights of poor, downtrodden ethnic Hawaiians! (The Democrat Commissioners utterly fail to acknowledge that racial entitlement programs and racially exclusionary voting and candidacy for State government officials are violations of the civil rights of all Hawai’i’s people!) Serving as panelists hearing testimony were three of the majority (Democrat) national Commissioners: Cruz Reynoso, Vice Chairperson, and Commissioners Yvonne Y. Lee and Elsie Meeks. The lengthy report from the hearings was very predictable. It enthusiastically supported enactment of the Native Hawaiian Recognition bill as a way to protect the racial entitlement programs. But at the end, the report also concluded that the overthrow and annexation had so grievously violated the civil rights of Native Hawaiians, as confirmed by the apology bill, that it would be entirely appropriate for Native Hawaiians to decide to take Hawai'i out of the U.S. The report identifies the U.S. Constitution as mere domestic law, and endorses a secessionist movement. The report is significant in the context of the present essay because it clearly shows that the Native Hawaiian Recognition bill is regarded by "civil rights" activists as merely a step along a possible path to secession, and that such secession is a matter for ethnic Hawaiians alone to decide; and if such a decision is made, then the U.S. should help educate the other 80% of Hawai'i's population to reconcile whatever conflicts might arise from implementing that decision. The report shows that the claims of illegal overthrow, illegal annexation, and apology bill are not merely supportive of racial entitlement programs and of the Native Hawaiian Recognition bill, but are also supportive of total secession -- a move that would have the blessings of the Democrat civil rights activists who support the recognition bill.

The complete report can be found on the USCCR website at
http://www.usccr.gov/pubs/hawaii/report.htm
Near the end of the report (just above the footnotes) in a section entitled “Conclusions and Recommendations,” item number 4 includes the following startling language:

"International solutions should be explored ... as a part of the reconciliation process that the United States committed to pursue in the 1993 Apology Resolution. In order to make this process truly meaningful, the federal government should engage in a dialogue with Hawaiian leaders ... The principles of self-determination and self-governance—which are consistent with the democratic ideals upon which our nation is founded—can only be meaningful if Native Hawaiians have the freedom to examine diverse options for exercising the sovereignty that they have “never directly relinquished.”[418] Accordingly, the United States should give due consideration to re-inscribing Hawai‘i on the United Nations’ list of non-self-governing territories, among other possibilities. Our nation’s experiment in democracy will gain credence (and, therefore, influence) with members of the international community to the extent that we are able to fully embrace the ideal that motivated this country’s founding fathers: consent of the governed. The Hawaii Advisory Committee is fully cognizant of the concern expressed by some that international resolution would necessarily involve secession, a drastic endeavor over which this nation purportedly fought a civil war. However, this view ignores the troubled and racist roots of our nation’s history. ... The principle of self-determination necessarily contemplates the potential choice of forms of governance that may not be authorized by existing domestic law.[420] Whether such a structure is politically or legally possible under the law is secondary, however, to the expression of one’s desire for self-determination. The important proposition is that those who would choose to swear their allegiance to a restored sovereign Hawaiian entity be given that choice after a full and free debate with those who might prefer some form of association with the United States (including, perhaps, the status quo)... The United States should ... allow for conditions that will give Native Hawaiians the full opportunity to express their desires for self-determination. If necessary, that process should engage respected international observers who could help fashion a unique solution that suits the political needs of Hawaiians. Those supervising the reconciliation process should provide for an open, free, and democratic plebiscite on all potential options by which Native Hawaiians might express their inherent right to self-determination. The process should allow for international oversight by nonaligned observers of international repute. After a period for organization of that government, the federal government should engage in negotiations with the sovereign Hawaiian entity. The Hawaii Advisory Committee believes that these deliberations should take into consideration and protect, or otherwise accommodate, the rights of non-Native Hawaiians. Thereafter, the federal government should provide financial assistance for the educational effort that may be necessary to reconcile conflicts raised by the choices made by Native Hawaiians."

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CONCLUSION

Kind-hearted, generous people often assume that Hawaiian sovereignty in general, and the Native Hawaiian Recognition bill in particular, is all about righting a historical wrong. They say Native Hawaiians are a poor, downtrodden, indigenous people whose homeland was overwhelmed by outsiders, and whose Kingdom was overthrown by an armed invasion by the United States; and therefore Native Hawaiians are entitled to reparations. They say Native Hawaiians, and their beautiful culture, are like an endangered species in need of special protection. They say Native Hawaiians are an indigenous people with close, special relationship to the land, who are entitled to self-determination. They say the Native Hawaiian recognition bill is not about racial entitlements, but is about social justice and restoring a nation.

Hawai’i’s new Governor, Linda Lingle, has bought into that mythology. As previously quoted, Lingle made a campaign promise in Fall 2002 to travel to the nation's capital to lobby for the Native Hawaiian Recognition bill, stalled in the U.S. Senate since year 2000 over concerns it is race-based. 'I would say I want to get across the point -- and this has to be the most important because it's what's holding it up -- and that is that this is not a racial issue,' Lingle told reporters after her warmly received speech. 'This is a historical issue, based on a relationship between an independent government and the United States of America, and what has happened since and the steps that we need to take to make things right.'

But this essay has shown that indeed the Native Hawaiian Recognition bill is entirely about race. It’s purpose is to preserve over 160 racial entitlement programs. Those programs are under attack in lawsuits based on the 14th Amendment equal protection clause. The only way to save them is to create an Indian tribe out of thin air, since tribes are exempt from the 14th Amendment.

The main arguments in favor of the bill have been shown to be false or irrelevant. Ethnic Hawaiians are not indigenous. They do not have a closer relationship to the land than other ethnic groups; and it is inappropriate to claim special political rights based on religious claims to a family relationship with the land and the gods. Hawaiians are not a separate and distinct “people” entitled to a separate self-determination. Hawaiian people and Hawaiian people are not like an endangered species, in need of special protection. Claims that the overthrow and annexation were illegal, and claims based on the apology bill, are incorrect. Even if such claims were true, they might be appropriate to a demand for restoration of an independent nation; but such claims are irrelevant to demands for reparations because the Kingdom that was overthrown was not exclusively or even primarily Native Hawaiian.

The clearest proof that the Native Hawaiian Recognition bill is race-based can be found in the language of the bill itself, which defines the charter membership of the Native Hawaiian political entity in the same sort of language that the Supreme Court ruled is a racial definition in its decision in Rice v. Cayetano.
http://www.angelfire.com/hi2/hawaiiansovereignty/ricevcayetano.html

It is a racial definition to define Hawaiians or Native Hawaiians in terms of having an ancestor who lived in Hawai’i prior to 1778 (Captain Cook’s arrival), or who was a native, aboriginal, indigenous subject of the Hawaiian Kingdom prior to 1893 (the overthrow), or who was eligible for a homestead lease in 1921 under terms of the Hawaiian Homes Commission Act (at least 50% native blood quantum).

The Supreme Court said, “Ancestry can be a proxy for race. It is that proxy here........ The State, in enacting the legislation before us, has used ancestry as a racial definition and for a racial purpose.” and “The ancestral inquiry mandated by the State implicates the same grave concerns as a classification specifying a particular race by name. One of the principal reasons race is treated as a forbidden classification is that it demeans the dignity and worth of a person to be judged by ancestry instead of by his or her own merit and essential qualities. An inquiry into ancestral lines is not consistent with respect based on the unique personality each of us possesses, a respect the Constitution itself secures in its concern for persons and citizens.” and “..... the use of racial classifications is corruptive of the whole legal order ... The law itself may not become the instrument for generating the prejudice and hostility all too often directed against persons whose particular ancestry is disclosed by their ethnic characteristics and cultural traditions. "Distinctions between citizens solely because of their ancestry are by their very nature odious to a free people whose institutions are founded upon the doctrine of equality."

An editorial in the Wall Street Journal of October 2, 2000 got it right. Here is that editorial in its entirety:

http://interactive.wsj.com/articles/SB970438947863036642.htm
(Link is valid, but only works for paying subscribers)


A BRIGHT LINE ON RACE

The Supreme Court ruled 7-2 this year that non-native Hawaiians couldn't be barred from voting for trustees overseeing the state's Office of Hawaiian Affairs. The Constitution plainly states the right to vote cannot be "denied or abridged" on the basis of race. But the U.S. House of Representatives has more politically correct ideas and last week passed a law that would restore Hawaii's racial spoils system. Let's hope the Senate sits on the idea.

The high court, including liberals David Souter and Stephen Breyer, ruled that Hawaii's requirement that the trustees be native Hawaiians and elected only by native Hawaiians was obvious racial discrimination. "There can be no such thing as either a creditor or a debtor race," said Justice Antonin Scalia. "In the eyes of government, we are just one race, it is American."

But Hawaii's all-Democratic Congressional delegation didn't take the court's no for an answer, and Rep. Patsy Mink has pushed a bill that would allow the Aloha state to, in her words, "sustain an election process that is restrictive to only native Hawaiian people." She and her colleagues compare their approach to the self-governing councils that American Indians and Eskimos have.

The comparison falls flat. The Founders considered Indian tribes to be separate sovereigns worthy of separate treatment. To this day, a group of people must pass strict criteria to qualify as an Indian tribe. The Senate Committee on Indian Affairs passed a measure Thursday that would create a framework for a "government-to-government" relationship with a Native Hawaiian governing body, though it doesn't go so far as to deem Hawaiians an Indian tribe. And indeed, the 200,000 native Hawaiians have never asked to be recognized as an Indian tribe; they not only lack their own system of laws, but are dispersed throughout Hawaii. If they can be accorded special status, so too could African-Americans or Bosnian-Americans, a path fraught with peril and partiality.

Harold Rice, the Hawaiian cattle rancher who challenged the state law all the way to the Supreme Court, notes that his entire family is Hawaiian-born going back to his great-grandparents. He says all Hawaiians have legitimate concerns about the running of the Office of Hawaiian Affairs, which has $300 million in assets and owns 200,000 acres. "But because Mr. Rice has the wrong ancestry, he was no longer Hawaiian and he couldn't vote," says his attorney Ted Olson.

Race-based laws are viewed as increasingly anachronistic in many quarters. In South Africa, a new poll by the Helen Suzman Foundation finds that 52% of blacks there want job decisions made strictly on merit "even if some people don't make progress as a result," up from 41% in 1996.

Similarly, in the U.S. the system of racial set-asides used by many American cities is under attack from many blacks worried about their inherent corruption and political favoritism. "Whatever public good has been accomplished by government set-asides and joint-venture programs has been outweighed by their propensity for scandal," writes Cynthia Tucker, editorial page editor of the Atlanta Constitution in a brave column last week.

Ms. Tucker recounts the corruption of set-aside programs in Atlanta and in other cities and argues that they undermine support for legitimate outreach efforts. "Even the set-aside programs that are free of corruption are still open to criticism because they are unfair, closed to those without political connections," she writes. "The only way to fix set-asides is to get rid of them."

We hope the U.S. Senate summons up even a smidgen of Ms. Tucker's courage and rejects the House's attempt to re-entrench racial voting in America. After all, a great deal of effort has been expended to try to put that behind us.


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(c) Copyright 2003 Kenneth R. Conklin, Ph.D. All rights reserved


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