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Hawaiian Independence, Puerto Rican Independence, Guam Independence -- Conceptual Similarities, Political Cooperation, and Puerto Rican Terrorism Against U.S. Congress


(c) Copyright 2004 - 2005, Kenneth R. Conklin, Ph.D. All rights reserved


While Hawai'i celebrates February 24, 2004 as the golden anniversary of the Great Statehood Petition of 1954, the Hawaiian sovereignty activists and Puerto Rican nationalists celebrate a date less than a week later as the golden anniversary of a terrorist attack on Congress.

On March 1, 1954 four Puerto Rican independence terrorists seated in the visitors' gallery shot and almost killed 5 members of Congress on the floor of the U.S. House of Representatives. An essay praising and justifying this "brave and noble revolutionary effort" is provided later on this webpage. The independence movement in Puerto Rico has a long and violent history, continuing until today. The independence movement in Guam is also active.

Hawaiian sovereignty independence activists like to compare the political status of Hawai'i to the political status of Puerto Rico and Guam. Those two entities were acquired by the United States at roughly the same time as Hawai'i, during the Spanish-American war. Since Puerto Rico and Guam are not (yet) states, it is possible they could eventually become independent instead of becoming states. Hawaiian activists cheer whenever the subject of United Nations action or a political status plebiscite is raised regarding Guam or Puerto Rico, because they hope similar action might be possible in the case of Hawai'i. Some activists for Hawaiian sovereignty are also active in the movement for independence in Puerto Rico and Guam, and there is considerable exchanging of information and inspiration among the three independence movements.

But of course the historical situations are very different. Hawai'i became a state in 1959 as a result of a political status plebiscite in which 94% of all the votes were in favor of Statehood. To read about the history of Hawai'i Statehood, see:
http://www.angelfire.com/hi2/hawaiiansovereignty/statehoodhistandcurr.html

Puerto Rico and Guam are not (yet) states. They were traded directly from Spanish colonial control to American colonial control as a result of treaties with Spain. By contrast, Hawai'i was never a colony of Spain and was annexed to the United States as a result of the Republic of Hawai'i offering a treaty of annexation which was then accepted by a joint resolution of Congress. The debts of the Republic of Hawai'i (most of which were inherited debts from the Kingdom) were paid by the United States as what some might consider a purchase price, since the money paid by the U.S. was more than the value of the government and former crown lands which were ceded to the United States to be held in trust for all Hawai'i's people, until those lands were then returned to Hawai'i's people at Statehood.

For more about the annexation of Hawai'i, see:
http://www.angelfire.com/hi2/hawaiiansovereignty/annexation.html

For more about Hawai'i's "ceded lands," see:
http://www.angelfire.com/hi2/hawaiiansovereignty/cededlands.html

The Hawaiian sovereignty movement has two main wings, which are often opposed to each other: Ethnic nationalist supporters of total independence often oppose racial separatist supporters of the Akaka bill for fear that the Akaka bill would interfere with future independence. But both wings of the sovereignty movement share some fundamental values. See: “Core Attitudes of Hawaiian Sovereignty Movement -- Racial Separatism, Ethnic Nationalism, Anti-Americanism, Racial Supremacy” at:
http://www.angelfire.com/hi2/hawaiiansovereignty/sepnatcommoncore.html

Because Hawaiian sovereignty activists see the United States as their enemy, it is important to understand how far the activists might go with their anti-Americanism. See: “Hawai'i's Fifth Column: Anti-Americanism in the Hawaiian Sovereignty Movement” at:
http://www.angelfire.com/hi2/hawaiiansovereignty/antiamerican.html

Since the Hawaiian independence activists take inspiration from the independence movements in Puerto Rico and Guam, some materials are provided below regarding the mood and activities in those two independence movements.

Here are four topics. Scroll down to visit the topic that interests you.

(1) STATUS VOTE TO BE TAKEN FOR THE DECOLONIZATION OF GUAM

(2) WHY PUERTO RICAN TERRORISTS SHOT UP THE U.S. HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES ON MARCH 1, 1954. ANNOUNCEMENT OF CELEBRATION OF THE 50TH ANNIVERSARY IN NEW YORK CITY ON LEAP DAY, FEBRUARY 29, 2004

(3) TWO POLITICAL RADICALS AND AN ORGANIZATION (there are probably more) WHO ARE ACTIVE ON PUERTO RICAN INDEPENDENCE, HAWAIIAN INDEPENDENCE, AND ANTI-MILITARY ACTIVISM -- TONY CASTANHA, KYLE KAJIHIRO, AND THE AMERICAN FRIENDS SERVICE COMMITTEE (Quakers)

(4) A SYMPOSIUM WAS HELD AT COLUMBIA UNIVERSITY IN NEW YORK APRIL 15-16, 2005 ON THE TOPIC OF ACHIEVING SOVEREIGN INDEPENDENCE FOR OPPRESSED PEOPLE SUBJUGATED BY THE UNITED STATES, INCLUDING AMERICAN INDIAN TRIBES, PUERTO RICO, HAWAI’I, GUAM, AND AMERICAN SAMOA. THE PROGRAM FOR THE SYMPOSIUM IS COPIED BELOW. 25% OF ALL THE MAJOR PRESENTATIONS ARE FOCUSED ON HAWAI’I. PRESENTERS INCLUDE HAWAIIAN INDEPENDENCE ACTIVISTS ALONG WITH THE PROFESSOR WHO WROTE THE HAWAIIAN APOLOGY RESOLUTION AND IS A SUPPORTER OF THE AKAKA BILL.


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STATUS VOTE TO BE TAKEN FOR THE DECOLONIZATION OF GUAM

Here are two items regarding Guam: A report from May 2003 regarding "decolonization efforts from 1998 through 2002, followed by a report from February 2004 regarding current plans. Hawaiian activists look to the Guam plebiscite as a model for Hawai'i.

http://166.122.164.43/archive/2003/May/05-09-tcp-guam.htm
Pacific Islands Report (University of Hawaii East-West Center), May, 2003
** Excerpt **

In unresolved political news, according to members of the Gutierrez administration, funding shortages will cause a delay in a decolonization political status plebiscite that was scheduled for September 2002.

This plebiscite is intended to give those classified as "native inhabitants" in the 1950 Organic Act of Guam an opportunity to select their preference for the island's future political status from among the choices of US statehood, free association with the United States, and independence.

Lack of political will and only halfhearted support by both the administration and legislature, however, resulted in a poorly funded and ineffective education campaign, as well as a nonexistent voter registration drive. While officials estimate that as many as 16,000 people could be eligible to vote in the plebiscite, election authorities revealed that only 15 had registered as of January 2002.

The plebiscite was established by Guam law in 1994, and while the election was originally scheduled for September 1998, inefficiencies in education and voter registration have led to numerous postponements. Decolonization Commission chairperson Leland Bettis explained that due to the government's financial crisis, funds were not available for either education or voter registration, and thus the taskforces that were created to educate thepublic on the three status options have faced severe limitations.

Guam Senator Mark Forbes, the author of a 2000 law that appropriated money for the plebiscite, charged the administration with demonstrating a lack of initiative and effort in utilizing the monies that were already appropriated. With the election date looming, inaction by both the administration and the Guam Election Commission signaled that the plebiscite would again have to be rescheduled for a later date.

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The Puerto Rico Herald is a radical independence website in the style of a newspaper, so its articles are not necessarily reliable as fact. But of course its articles are very reliable as indicators of sentiment in the independence movement. The following article in the Puerto Rico Herald describes an (alleged) upcoming political status vote for Guam in which only those people of "indigenous" ancestry will be allowed to vota. The way this ststus vote is described as being conducted is remarkable similar to the scenario Poka Laenui and other Hawaiian activists envision for Hawai'i independence under "international law." Note that only the "indigenous people" get to vote. To examine a resolution passed by the Senate of the State of Hawai'i in 2001 that bears a frightening resemblance to what is described as the process for Guam, see:
http://www.angelfire.com/hi2/hawaiiansovereignty/indepreso2001.html

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http://www.puertorico-herald.org/issues/2004/vol8n06/WashUpdate0806-en.shtml

PUERTO RICO HERALD - WASHINGTON UPDATE

February 6, 2004, Copyright © 2004 THE PUERTO RICO HERALD. All Rights Reserved.

"Commonwealth" Abandoned, Status Vote Set On Decolonizing Options... Bush's Budget Provisions For Puerto Rico And Acevedo's Record...

** Excerpted portion pertaining to Guam and Puerto Rico political status **

"Commonwealth" Abandoned, Status Vote Set On Decolonizing Options

Territory that the United States took from Spain by war in 1898 has scheduled a referendum this November among the possible options for its decolonization: U.S. statehood; independence; and free association (national sovereignty with a non-binding power-sharing arrangement with another nation). The association would be with the U.S.

Guam's Commission on Decolonization told the United Nations Decolonization Unit last month that the vote would be "a plebiscite . . . to determine" the future political status of the island even though the vote is not authorized -- and may well be struck down -- by the U.S. Government.

At issue is that the vote will be limited to the territory's Chamorros, the population group that developed in the Mariana Islands. (Guam is the southernmost island in the chain, a part of the Pacific Ocean's Micronesian islands.) Other registered voters -- also U.S. citizens -- ostensibly will not be able to vote.

The issue has been a bone of contention between Guam's Decolonization Commission and the federal government for years. The race-based discrimination has been opposed as unconstitutional by federal authorities and is expected to be struck down in federal court.

Chamorros are a majority of the territory's electorate but only a plurality of the population. They control the local government but leaders are concerned that they will eventually lose control to other population groups because people born on U.S. soil are U.S. citizens. Other groups on the island include: Filipinos, many of whom are U.S. citizens; U.S. citizens whose origins are in the States; citizens of the three Micronesian nations that have free association arrangements with the U.S.; and Taiwanese.

Local Guam law holds that only Chamorros should determine the territory's ultimate status because other residents have exercised "self-determination" by migrating to Guam. It contends that only the people that inhabited the island when the U.S. invaded have never exercised "self-determination."

A Commission letter to the U.N. asserted that "The Administering Power [the U.S. Government] continues to ignore the right to self-determination of the colonized Chamorros."

The letter also antagonized federal officials by requesting that the U.N. "send a mission to monitor" the vote.

The Guam and Puerto Rico "Commonwealth" Proposals

Guam's local government settled on a vote on the options for a permanent and fully democratic status for the territory after abandoning a dozen-plus-year "quest" for federal "Commonwealth" legislation.

The bill was less radical and more astutely crafted than the status proposal of Puerto Rico's "commonwealth" party but it, too, would have granted national government powers while retaining the benefits of a U.S. status. Similarities with the proposal of Puerto Rico "commonwealth" party president Anibal Acevedo Vila include grants of the powers to determine the application of federal laws and to enter into binding agreements with foreign governments.

The Guam bill did not try to pretend, however, that naming the territorial government "the Commonwealth" would end the island's status as an unincorporated territory of the U.S. Nor did it try to claim that the arrangement could be permanent.

Acevedo and some other Puerto Rico "commonwealthers" pretend that Puerto Rico is not an unincorporated territory because its local government constitution names the local government "the Commonwealth" and that the U.S. is permanently bound to the territory. The U.S. Supreme Court and Justice and State Departments, among other federal authorities, hold that Puerto Rico continues to be U.S. territory. Its political status is not permanent.

By contrast, the Guam "Commonwealth" legislation would have recognized Guam's continuing temporary, territorial status. It would have, therefore, authorized the referendum on the island's ultimate political status limited to Chamorros that Guam has now scheduled.

The bill raised a host of objections from a U.S. House of Representatives staff task force, a task force of officials of the administration of President George H.W. Bush, and the administration of President Bill Clinton. All of these federal entities had tried to accommodate Guam's concerns to the extent possible, but could not agree to Guam's key "Commonwealth" proposals.

The federal objections included limiting voting rights to only some U.S. citizens, excluding others, as well as the cession of national government powers.

The objections continued during the Clinton Administration despite Guam's governor at the time having a close relationship with Clinton and raising a reported $900,000 for the then president's 1996 re-election. The Governor publicly acknowledged that the purpose of the funds was to obtain more favorable positions on the legislation.

Guam's Self-Determination Commission is headed by the territory's governor and includes majority and minority party leaders of its legislature among other island leaders.


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(2) WHY PUERTO RICAN TERRORISTS SHOT UP THE U.S. HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES ON MARCH 1, 1954. ANNOUNCEMENT OF CELEBRATION OF THE 50TH ANNIVERSARY IN NEW YORK CITY ON LEAP DAY, FEBRUARY 29, 2004

Here is an article by a Puerto Rican independence activist justifying and celebrating the March 1, 1954 terrorist attack on the U.S. Congress. This article was circulated among Hawaiian independence activists in February 2004. Unfortunately it was not accompanied by any source citation or URL. A link is provided in the article that leads to photos of the terrorist shooting of 5 Congressmen. That link is:
http://www.rose-hulman.edu/~delacova/congress-attack.htm

The larger website containing those photos is a wealth of Puerto Rican nationalist materials:
http://www.rose-hulman.edu/~delacova

Vieques Support Campaign
http://www.viequessupport.org

NO TO RACISM & IMPERIALIST WAR!
U.S. NAVY OUT OF VIEQUES & ALL OF PUERTO RICO!

March 1, 1954 - Why Puerto Ricans Attacked the U.S. House Of Representatives

March 1st of this year will mark the 50th anniversary of the attack on the U.S. House of Representatives. A woman and three men traveled to Washington, DC to participate in an event that would stun the principal oppressors of the world. The act of defiance and valor by Lolita Lebron, Rafael Cancel Miranda, Andres Figueroa Cordero and Irving Flores drew world attention to the brutal nature of U.S. domination in Puerto Rico, which began with the 1898 military invasion.

Mainstream historians and government officials continue to describe the four Nationalists as "maniacs" and "terrorists" for their act of fifty years ago, thus demonizing the general struggle for Puerto Rican liberation. But little is ever said in history books about the admiration and respect the four patriots received from people throughout the world, also yearning for their own liberation.

PERSECUTION OF THE INDEPENDENCE MOVEMENT

Struggles for national liberation were intensifying by the end of World War II; at this time, the U.S. began labeling its attempts at worldwide domination and subjugation, "an anti-Communist crusade." Under the guise of "saving the world from Communism," the U.S. intervened in China, Albania, Greece, Uruguay, Palestine, and the Philippines. It also waged war in Korea and orchestrated the overthrow of progressive, democratically-elected governments in Iran and Guatemala.

During the 1940's and 1950's, following a pattern in U.S. history, military intervention abroad was accompanied by repression at home. Under the pretext of safeguarding the U.S. against Communism and terror, laws were enacted that violated fundamental human rights. Senator Joseph McCarthy and other extremists focused on destroying progressive movements for social change within the United States.

Many U.S. citizens were convicted under the Smith Act (1940), which prohibited any speech or publication that was seen as teaching the desirability of or advocating the overthrow of the U.S. Government. At the same time, the House Un-American Activities Committee (HUAC) as well as the Senate Internal Security Committee and the Government Operations Subcommittee dominated by Senator Joseph McCarthy, hunted for "Communists."

Because of the outright colonial presence of the U.S. in Puerto Rico, Washington openly sought to crush the independence movement with tactics that were even more repressive. New laws made it "legal" for the colonial police to gun down without warning anyone advocating Puerto Rico's independence.

Persecution by the colonial government usually meant being "blacklisted". Deprived to unemployment, many of the blacklisted activists and their families were forced to leave their homeland and were amongst the ten of thousands annually compelled to migrate to the urban centers of the U.S. in search of livelihood.

To further humiliate the people's national sentiment, the U.S pressured the United Nations in 1952 to declare that the case of Puerto Rico was an internal matter of the United States, and therefore, according to the arguments of Washington officials, no government in the world can ever accuse the U.S. of the crime of colonialism. Washington used this argument back then as it does today to blatantly cover-up historical evidence and the existence of a movement striving to remove the U.S. presence by any means.

Although the Nationalist Party and its principal leader, Dr. Pedro Albizu Campos, endured severe repression, they maintained their ideals of national dignity. Being aware of U.S. government secret plans to destroy the independence movement by murdering and imprisoning the most outspoken participants, the Nationalist leadership called for armed actions to draw world attention to the plight of the Puerto Rican masses.

On October 31, 1950, the Nationalist movement staged an uprising in the city of Jayuya and waged armed battles with colonial authorities throughout the country. Another act of the Nationalist political offensive was on November 1, 1950, a failed attempt to assassinate President Harry Truman when Oscar Collazo and Griselio Torresola approached the Blair House in Washington, DC and confronted the Secret Service and police in a gun battle. Torresola was killed and Collazo was severly wounded in the exchange of bullets.

Puerto Rican patriots viewed the measures they took as acts of self-defense, especially given that the U.S. government had virtually legalized the murder of Nationalist Party members. The right of self-defense and the right of self-determination for the Puerto Rican people were synonymous with Nationalist Party doctrine.

PUERTO RICANS THAT WENT TO CONGRESS

By the morning of March 1, 1954, Lolita Lebron, Rafael Cancel Miranda, Andres Figueroa Cordero and Irving Flores had their minds set on presenting a criticism of action to members of the U.S. Congress.

The four Nationalists drew little attention to themselves as they calmly walked up to the gallery, an area then reserved for public observation of congressional proceedings in the Capitol Building. After they had positioned themselves in the gallery overlooking the chamber where Congress conducts its business, the Nationalists displayed a Puerto Rican flag and immediately began aiming their weapons.

Lolita Lebron then shouted the solemn words of the historical struggle for independence "QUE VIVA PUERTO RICO LIBRE!" What followed within seconds were sounds of gunfire and panic throughout the hall.

As bullets flew everywhere, the racist men of privilege and power, the colonizers of Puerto Rico and oppressors of the world, found themselves running towards the exit doors in fear for their lives. In the end, about thirty rounds of ammunition had been fired and five U.S. Congressmen laid wounded, as other officials throughout the city were in complete disbelief.

The social arrogance of Washington's elite had prevented them from ever imagining that the victimized Puerto Rican people would dare carry out such a bold act within the walls of the kingdom's castle.

The four Nationalists were immediately apprehended, charged and sentenced to life imprisonment. As the Puerto Rican people mounted their struggle for the right of self-determination, in Puerto Rico and in the U.S. during the upsurge of the 1960's and 1970's, the immediate release of Puerto Rican political prisoners became a central demand.

International pressure ensued, thanks to the diplomatic work of the Cuban government and the solidarity expressed by the revolution of that country towards the Puerto Rican struggle. In the year 1979 Lolita Lebron, Rafael Cancel Miranda, Andres Figueroa Cordero, Irving Flores, as well as Oscar Collazo, were granted amnesty and released from prison by President Jimmy Carter.

What occurred in the chambers of the U.S. House of Representatives on March 1st opened a door for the world to see how barbaric U.S. imperialism is, still resorting to the oldest form of foreign subjugation. As a result of the heroic act by the freedom fighters, the Puerto Rican independence struggle gained international recognition.

PUERTO RICO WILL BE FREE!

The real criminals were not the four freedom fighters nor any Puerto Rican Nationalists who took up arms to defy the rule of colonialism; the real criminals are the invaders who came to Puerto Rico to exploit, plunder and rape.

Human suffering and despair are the consequences when the U.S. lays claim to its interests in any part of the world. Whether it is Puerto Rico, Palestine or Iraq, the conquest and pillage of one's homeland by a foreign invader has historically justified the right of a people to use force as a means for liberation.

The relationship between the U.S. and Puerto Rico has been preserved for the last 106 years with none other than the violence of U.S. colonial policy. Puerto Rican history under U.S. domination is marked by massacres, forced sterilizations, bombing campaigns, deadly experiments and other catastrophes.

Strictly enforced federal laws state that all matters concerning the social and economic life of Puerto Rico is ultimately decided by the U.S. Congress, not by the pretentiously arranged puppet government in San Juan. The plight of the Puerto Rican people is undoubtedly rooted in the denial of their right to independence and self-determination.

Puerto Rico is one of the most densely industrialized regions of the world. Because of the absence of self-determination, giant U.S. corporations are free to extract $26 billion annually from Puerto Rico. In a country of 4 million people, the per capita is one of the highest in the world. Yet, the poverty rate in Puerto Rico is greater than in the poorest U.S. state of Mississippi.

The colonizers of Puerto Rico also oppress people of other countries and pose the threat of reducing them to outright colonies as well. Puerto Ricans share a common foe with the world's people and are not alone. The U.S. invasion and occupation of Iraq and the U.S.-backed Israeli occupation of Palestine are reminiscent of all the brutality the U.S. has inflicted in order to secure the colonization of Puerto Rico.

The firmness and committment demonstrated by Lolita, Rafael, Andres and Irvin, to fulfill the quest of making their homeland an independent republic, shall be remembered and kept in the fighting traditions of the Puerto Rican masses for many generations to come.

And since Boricuas have accustomed themselves to resist colonial oppression after more than 500 years of development as a nation, Puerto Rico is surely destined to be free of the invader and will contribute to the general struggle for the emancipation of humanity.

Click below to view article related photos
http://www.rose-hulman.edu/~delacova/congress-attack.htm

Come and join us in commemorating the 50th anniversary of a monumental event in Puerto Rican history, the March 1, 1954 Nationalist attack on the House of Representatives. A salute to Puerto Rico's independence struggle and the patriotic heroes: Lolita Lebron, Rafael Cancel Miranda, Andres Figueroa Cordero and Irvin Flores.

Date: Sunday, February 29
Time: 1:00 P.M.

Location: El Maestro Cultural & Educational Center
700 Elton Avenue, 2nd Floor
(off of 154th Street)
In the Borough of the Bronx, New York City.

Transportation information: Take the IRT #2 or #5
subway trains to 149th Street & 3rd Avenue.

Sponsored by the Nationalist Party of Puerto Rico, New York Committee

For more information please call (646)361-5312


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(3) TWO POLITICAL RADICALS AND AN ORGANIZATION (there are probably more) WHO ARE ACTIVE ON PUERTO RICAN INDEPENDENCE, HAWAIIAN INDEPENDENCE, AND ANTI-MILITARY ACTIVISM -- TONY CASTANHA, KYLE KAJIHIRO, AND THE AMERICAN FRIENDS SERVICE COMMITTEE (Quakers)

Kyle Kajihiro says he has no ethnic Hawaiian ancestry. He is head of the Hawai'i chapter of the American Friends Service Committee, a radical political organization funded by the Quakers, a religion noted for its pacifism. Nationally, the primary purpose of the AFSC is to oppose all forms of U.S. military readiness and action, and to demilitarize the United States. In Hawai'i the AFSC focuses on (1) anti-military political activity such as protesting the use of Makua Valley for military training; (2) supporting the Hawaiian sovereignty independence movement in evey way possible; (3) supporting the legal rights and political desires of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgendered people. Kyle earns over $50,000 per year to agitate in support of these causes, and has at least one paid assistant. Kyle was active in both Hawai'i and Puerto Rico during the period of intense political struggle over the use of Vieques Island, Puerto Rico for the training of U.S. Navy and Air Force personnel in how to accurately bomb targets. He made at least one trip to Vieques during that period. There is a strong connection between anti-military activism and Hawaiian independence activism, because the first step toward ripping the 50th star off the flag would be to drive the military out of Hawai'i. Hawaiian activists are also very supportive of GLBT rights, because such sexual practices were commonplace in old Hawai'i and are currently commonplace among some high-profile Hawaiian activists. For an extensive look at the relationship between Hawaiian sovereignty activism and anti-military attitudes as illustrated in opposition to the use of Makua Valley for military training, see:
http://www.angelfire.com/hi2/hawaiiansovereignty/makua.html

Tony Castanha says he has some indigenous Taino ancestry (natives of Boricua [Puerto Rico] before the arrival of Columbus). He also says he has no ethnic Hawaiian ancestry. His home is in Hawai'i where he has been active for many years in the Hawaiian sovereignty movement. Despite his staff position at the Spark Matsunaga Institute for Peace, he behaves aggressively toward those who disagree with him, and he publicly hugged a high-profile Puerto Rican terrorist whom he invited to a Hawaiian sovereignty rally shortly after she was freed from prison by President Clinton. His masters thesis in political science at the University of Hawai'i dealt with the role of people with no native Hawaiian ancestry in the Hawaiian sovereignty movement (they can support but should never lead), and what political and economic rights they would have in a future sovereign nation of Hawai'i according to the viewpoints of 15 ethnic Hawaiian sovereignty leaders (they would be second-class citizens with limited or non-existent voting rights and limited property rights). That dissertation is available at:
http://www.hookele.com/non-hawaiians

Here is an exchange of letters to editor between Tony Castanha and Ken Conklin, regarding the Hawaiian sovereignty rally where Tony warmly embraced the Puerto Rican terrorist, published in on August 4, 2000 and August 20, 2000 in the Honolulu Star-Bulletin.

http://starbulletin.com/2000/08/04/editorial/letters.html

More than Hawaiians support sovereignty

I attended last Sunday's Ka La Ho'iho'i Ea (Restoration Day) at Thomas Square. This annual event commemorates the restoration of the Hawaiian kingdom by the British in 1843. The event was organized by advocates of independence, and its observance is a part of the movement for Hawaiian sovereignty.

Throughout the afternoon, I noticed that about half of the participants and those in attendance were not of Hawaiian ancestry. I saw many local Japanese, Chinese, Caucasian and others of various ethnic backgrounds. Yet a "group of 13" residents led by Thurston Twigg-Smith, William Burgess and Kenneth Conklin assert that the Hawaiian movement is about "Hawaiian" or "ethnic supremacy."

If this had been a Ku Klux Klan gathering, not many African Americans or "people of color" would have been there. So if the Hawaiian movement is "supremacist," why were half of those in attendance non-Hawaiians?

The "group of 13," not unlike the all-white male "Committee of Safety" formed to thwart the queen in 1893, continues to use race to secure their privilege, power and paradise under the guise of "equal rights."

Tony Castanha

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http://starbulletin.com/2000/08/22/editorial/letters.html

** Here is the letter as submitted. The published version was slightly edited. **

Hawaiian Sovereignty Exclusionary

Tony Castanha (SB 8/04) sees a few non-native radicals like himself at a sovereignty event and claims the movement is inclusive. Some non-native supporters are spouses or parents of natives, so they are 'ohana. Some support Hawaiian sovereignty to weaken the U.S. Tony, for example, wants the U.S. out of his "homeland" Puerto Rico. At the rally he was hugging visiting Puerto Rican terrorist Alicia Rodrigues, released by Clinton after 18 years in prison. Some leftists support Hawaiian sovereignty as the current "politically correct" cause celebre. Remember Jane Fonda supporting North Viet Nam? Some Jews supported Hitler's early rise to power because they thought he would help Germany's economy. Go figure!

Hawaiian sovereignty inclusive? Look at OHA and Kamehameha School -- Hawaiians only. Look at the Akaka bill, and proposals from the Native Hawaiian Convention -- ethnic Hawaiian supremacy would be written into voting and property laws.

It took me many years to understand that the beauty of Hawaiian culture and spirituality are opposite to demands for racial supremacy. Here I get only 200 words. For more about history, law, the Akaka bill, and the racism of other Hawaiian sovereignty proposals, please see http://www.angelfire.com/hi2/hawaiiansovereignty

Ken Conklin


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(4) A SYMPOSIUM WAS HELD AT COLUMBIA UNIVERSITY IN NEW YORK APRIL 15-16, 2005 ON THE TOPIC OF ACHIEVING SOVEREIGN INDEPENDENCE FOR OPPRESSED PEOPLE SUBJUGATED BY THE UNITED STATES, INCLUDING AMERICAN INDIAN TRIBES, PUERTO RICO, HAWAI’I, GUAM, AND AMERICAN SAMOA. THE PROGRAM FOR THE SYMPOSIUM IS COPIED BELOW. 25% OF ALL THE MAJOR PRESENTATIONS ARE FOCUSED ON HAWAI’I. PRESENTERS INCLUDE HAWAIIAN INDEPENDENCE ACTIVISTS ALONG WITH THE PROFESSOR WHO WROTE THE HAWAIIAN APOLOGY RESOLUTION AND IS A SUPPORTER OF THE AKAKA BILL.

The announcement below was circulated on the internet in March 2005 to encourage radical activists (especially from Hawai’i) to attend the symposium. Note the following presentations that are part of this conference (in the order they are listed in the announcement):

Jon Osorio, Associate Professor at the University of Hawai’i and Chairman of the Center for Hawaiian Studies, is a Hawaiian independence activist. Topic: “Conflicting interpretations of Sovereignty in Hawai`i and the Historic Roots of 'Disunity’"

Davianna McGregor, Professor of Ethnic Studies at the University of Hawai’i. She was the author of the Apology Resolution passed by Congress and signed by President Clinton in 1993, placing the United States on record apologizing to ethnic Hawaiians for the U.S. role in the 1893 overthrow of the Hawaiian kingdom monarchy. Her topic in this symposium: “Recognizing Native Hawaiians: Reality Bites.” Professor McCgegor has consistently supported the Akaka bill to recognize ethnic Hawaiians as comparable to an Indian tribe. The title of her paper (especially the phrase “reality bites”) seems to confirm what she has previously implied: that she supports the Akaka bill only because Hawai’i is firmly under the boot of the U.S.A. For example, in a major commentary in the Honolulu Advertiser of April 25, 2004 she said “I support the unique and distinct rights and entitlements of Native Hawaiians as ancestral vested rights of inheritance from our ancestors who first settled and established sovereignty over the Hawaiian archipelago. The Akaka bill affords the best protection for these rights as long as Hawai'i is under the United States.” See:
http://the.honoluluadvertiser.com/article/2004/Apr/25/op/op10a.html

Robert Underwood, formerly the elected Delegate to Congress for the Territory of Guam, is currently a Professor at the University of Guam). He served as Chair of the Chamorro Language Commission and also was active in the political status task force (seeking a plebiscite leading to independence) established by the government of Guam. Topic: "The Convergence of the Issues of Sovereignty, Political Status and Indigenous Rights in Guam. "

L. Lehuanani Lono Yim of Brandeis University). Topic: Legacies of Oni v. Meek: Property, Custom, and the Living Law of the Kingdom of Hawai`i.

Ahimsa Timoteo Bodhran of Michigan State University). Topic: ‘Oiwi Gender and Sexual Shifts in the Nationalist Agenda of Haunani-Kay Trask

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** Here is the symposium’s program as announced in late March, 2005: **

Sovereignty Matters: An Interdisciplinary Conference on Sovereignty in Native American, Pacific Islander, and Puerto Rican Communities

April 15-16, 2005
Columbia University
New York, New York

Despite a minor ripple of attention to Native Americans over the course of last year due to the founding of the Native American Museum in Washington D.C. and the appreciation of Puerto Rican voters in swing-states like Florida, Native American, Pacific Islander and Puerto Rican sovereignty matters are rarely the subject of public discourse and are severely understudied in most U.S. universities, including in areas such as comparative law, gender studies, and American studies. Comparative research across groups and disciplines is also alarmingly infrequent.

In an effort to spur debate regarding the multiple meanings and discourses of sovereignty, examine how these questions are (or not) constitutive of Native American, Pacific Islander, and Puerto Rican Studies, promote comparative work, and engage with the broader implications of nation-building in the U.S., the Center for the Study of Ethnicity and Race at Columbia University invites paper and round table proposals for an international, interdisciplinary, conference focused on sovereignty debates.

Topics may include but are not limited to the following:

-Theoretical interventions regarding universalizing and particularizing impulses in differently conceived sovereignty projects,

-intersections of multiple ethnic and national identifications,

-transnational and interethnic political coalition-building across the Americas,

-ethnic conflicts arising from migratory flows,

-nationalism, sovereignty, and different articulations of citizenship,

-issues of land and territory,

-gender and sexuality, and

-cultural autonomy.

Conference Program (Tentative)

Friday, April 15

1:00-1:30 PM

Introduction and Welcome

1:45-3:30 PM

Sovereignty Matters: “Perspectives from Native American, Pacific Islander and Puerto Rican Studies”

Maivân Clech Lâm (City University of New York), “Requiem for the Nation-state: De-linking Ethnicity and Sovereignty"

Amilcar Barreto (Northeastern University) "Burrowing from Within: Undermining National Myths and State Paradigms"

Jon Osorio (University of Hawai'i), “Conflicting interpretations of Sovereignty in Hawai`i and the Historic Roots of 'Disunity'"

Adriana Garriga Lopez and Lisa Uperesa, (Columbia University) “Differential Colonialisms and Multiple Sovereignties: Comparative Perspectives on Puerto Rico and American Samoa”

Respondent: Gary Okihiro (Columbia University)

3:30-5:15 PM

The Space of Sovereignty: Land, Law and Citizenship

Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz, "Self-Determination and Sovereignty: Native Americans at the United Nations"

Davianna McGregor (University of Hawai'i) - “Recognizing Native Hawaiians: Reality Bites”

Michael Lujan Bevacqua (University of California, San Diego), “Everything you always wanted to know about Guam, but were afraid to ask Zizek"

Charles Venator Santiago (Ithaca College), “From the Insular Cases to Camp X-Ray: The State of Exception in the United States Jurisprudence”

Respondent: TBA

5:30-7 PM

Reception - Yerbabuena - New York-based Puerto Rican and Afro-Caribbean music group

Saturday, April 16

9:30-11:15 PM

Identity and Nationalism

Efrén Rivera Ramos (University of Puerto Rico), “Sovereignty, Identity, and Citizenship in the Puerto Rican Context:

Dan Aga, “American Samoa's Political Status: Territorial Stepchild or Best of Both of Worlds?”

Robert Underwood (University of Guam) - "The Convergence of the Issues of Sovereignty, Political Status and Indigenous Rights in Guam. "

Audra Simpson (Cornell University) - “Nationalism and Its Contents: Mohawk Sovereignty and Citizenship-Formation in the Face of Empire”

Respondent: Kendall Thomas (Columbia University)

11:30-1:15 PM

Imagining Sovereignties: “The Role of Cultural Production”

Guillermo Irizarry (University of Massachussetts), “Strategic Injuries”

L. Lehuanani Lono Yim (Brandeis University), “Legacies of Oni v. Meek: Property, Custom, and the Living Law of the Kingdom of Hawai`i”

Vince Diaz (University of Michigan), “PAVED WITH GOOD INTENTIONS...Roads, Indigenous Identity, and American Imperialism 'in' Guam"

Dan Taulapapa, "Culture and the Passive Resistance of Samoans to US Colonialism"

Respondent - Frances Negrón-Muntaner (Columbia University)

1:15-2:15 PM Lunch

2:30-4:15 PM

Plural Sovereignties: Sexuality and Gender

Tina T. Delisle (University of Michigan) - "Working the Intersections of Navy Wives and Native Lives in Pre-WWII Guam"

Ahimsa Timoteo Bodhran (Michigan State University), “’Oiwi Gender and Sexual Shifts in the Nationalist Agenda of Haunani-Kay Trask”

Andrea Smith (University of Michigan), “Gender violence and Native Sovereignties”

Arnaldo Cruz Malave (Fordham) - “The Oxymoron of Sexual Sovereignty: Some Puerto Rican Literary Reflections”

Respondent: Elizabeth Povinelli (Columbia University)

Please direct inquiries to Frances Negrón-Muntaner, fn2103@columbia.edu


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