(c) Copyright 2002, Kenneth R. Conklin, Ph.D. All rights reserved
An agenda of ethnic nationalism and racial separatism has been developing in Hawai’i for more than 20 years. It went almost unchallenged until quite recently, aided by well-meaning people of liberal political views trying hard to be helpful to what they saw as a poor, oppressed minority with terrible historical grievances.
Here are some of the bricks already in place in a wall of racial apartheid:
In 1921, Congress passed the Hawaiian Homes Commission Act setting aside 203,000 acres of land in Hawai’i to be used for homesteads for Native Hawaiians of at least 50% native blood quantum. Some of those lands are now occupied by homesteaders who live in houses in racial ghettos on land they can never own and houses thay cannot pass down to their descendants of less than 25% blood quantum; and some of the lands are leased to businesses which produce revenue used for making infrastructure improvements to create more ghettos.
The 1978 Constitutional Convention created the Office of Hawaiian Affairs, racially segregated in three ways: only people with a drop of native blood could vote for trustees, only such people could run for or serve as trustees, and only such people could receive benefits. The racial restriction on voting was declared unconstitutional by the U.S. Supreme Court in the
Rice v. Cayetano decision in February, 2000;
and the racial restriction on running or serving as trustee was declared unconstitutional by the U.S. District Court in Honolulu in the
Arakaki decision in August, 2000.
The racial restriction on who can receive benefits is currently being challenged in court. It took 22 years for an obviously illegal apartheid government agency to be declared partially unconstitutional, and it remains in operation today clinging to money and power until the final stake can be driven through its heart. Legislators can do great damage in a very short time, which can take years or even decades (plus hundreds of thousands of dollars in legal fees) to correct.
The unpopulated small island of Kaho’olawe was used by the U.S. military for about 50 years as a “target” island. The military used it to practice dropping bombs, strafing, and firing large shells from ships’ canons. Hawaiian sovereignty activists, environmental activists and pacifists engaged in civil disobedience to occupy the island occasionally to protest the use of the island as a target. Eventually the U.S. agreed to stop using the island that way. Subsequently, Title X of Public Law 103-139 transferred Kaho’olawe from the federal government to the State of Hawai’i by a subsequent deed dated May 7, 1994, and $400 Million was appropriated by Congress to clean up unexploded ordnance. Native Hawaiians believe the island will belong to them exclusively, and they will be bitterly disappointed if that does not happen. But neither the statute nor the deed imposed a requirement that the island be in any way dedicated to Native Hawaiian
use. The State of Hawai'i in HRS section 6K-9, in anticipation of the Federal transfer, stipulated that "[u]pon its return to the State, the resources and waters of Kaho`olawe shall be held in trust as part of the public land trust; provided that the State shall transfer management and control of the island and its waters to the sovereign native Hawaiian entity upon its recognition by the United States and the State of Hawaii." At that time there was no "sovereign native Hawaiian entity" and there has been none since that time. HRS section 6K-3 provides that the island shall be used "solely and exclusively" for (1) preservation and practice of all rights customarily and traditionally exercised by native Hawaiians for cultural, spiritual, and subsistence purposes; (2) preservation and protection of its archaeological, historical, and environmental resources; (3) rehabilitation, revegetation, habitat restoration, and preservation; and (4) education. Only one of these four uses even mentions “native Hawaiians,” and only for the purpose of identifying that the kinds of activities to be preserved and practiced [by people of any race?] should be those that were formerly the traditional and customary cultural, spiritual, and subsistence practices of native Hawaiians. Nevertheless, control of the island at present rests with the Protect Kaho’olawe ‘Ohana through a State of Hawai’i board that is required to be predominantly Native Hawaiian.
There are additional bricks in Hawai’i’s wall of apartheid. For over a century the $6-15 Billion tax-exempt charitable trust known as
Kamehameha School has been admitting only students with at least one drop of native blood, even though that policy was not required by the will of its founder.
Recently the racially exclusionary admissions policy has come under review by the federal government, and the school has decided to withdraw from federally sponsored programs rather than allow the policy to come under further scrutiny. The trustees also made a policy decision that if forced to choose between the racially exclusionary policy or the federal and state tax exemption (worth hundreds of millions annually), the school will keep the admissions policy.
Other racially exclusionary private trusts established by the ali’i long ago include Queen Lili’uokalani Children’s Center (better known today for providing meeting space for sovereignty activists than for helping families in distress), and Lunalilo Homes (a racially exclusionary retirement home). Queens Hospital, founded by Queen Emma, now admits people of all races and apparently does not discriminate in providing charitable care for indigent people; but Hawaiian activists bitterly complain that Queen Emma (they say) set up the hospital exclusively for Native Hawaiians to provide free medical care for them.
The Hawaiian activists claim there are over 160 racial entitlement programs exclusively for Native Hawaiians, mostly funded by the federal government but some funded by the state. Examples include Alu Like (vocational training) and Papa Ola Lokahi (healthcare). There are scholarship programs, housing programs, etc. There is also the Center for Hawaiian Studies at the University of Hawai’i at Manoa, noted for its flamboyant and aggressively racist former chairperson, professor Haunani-Kay Trask, and the recently somewhat subdued current chairperson Lily Dorton (alias Lilikala Kame’eleihiwa); this school, built with taxpayer dollars, uses free tuition scholarships to recruit and indoctrinate a cadre of political activists and to spew out racist propaganda for the satellite community colleges and the Hawaiian history and Hawaiian studies component of the public school curriculum.
The largest brick has yet to be placed in the wall of apartheid. That would be the Native Hawaiian Recognition bill awaiting Congressional action. This bill would protect all these unconstitutional racial entitlement programs against legal challenges by creating a phony Indian tribe for Native Hawaiians. For details, see
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